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Ship: 798 tons
Captain: John McDonald
Surgeon Superintendent:
Sailed London October 2nd 1869 - arrived Auckland January 18th 1870

The Helenslee, a ship of 790 tons, was another of Shaw Savill's early ships which made several voyages to Auckland and Otago with immigrants. She never made any fast passages, but on her second visit to the colony [this voyage] she arrived at Auckland after a fairly good run of 100 days from Glasgow. This was he best work, the last voyage to Auckland occupying 145 days. On the passage out to Auckland in 1864 she had favourable winds almost from the start, but Captain Brown and the passengers had an anxious time when passing through icebergs on November 18, when in latitude 46deg 25min south, longitude 41deg 30min east. The bergs extended for several miles, and were from 80ft to 100ft high. The Helenslee encountered a series of gales in 1872 when bound for Auckland in command of Captain Cleary. The ship sailed from London on the 11th January, and beat into the Downs on the 16th in the face of a severe gale, where she anchored and was riding with 90 fathoms of chain. Three days later she made she made another start, but before she had got far a sudden squall came unexpectedly and split several sails. This was followed by another terrific gale from WSW, and Captain Cleary considered it advisable on the 27th to put back to Portland for repairs. These were effected, and the ship made another start, but ten days later, when in the Bay of Biscay, another terrific gale broke upon the ship, accompanied by a very high and broken sea. The vessel was severely strained, and shipped large quantities of water, which fell on deck in masses of tons weight at a time. On the 30th Aprilanother fearful gale struck the ship on her starboard quarter, accompanied by a heavy sea, which broke on board and stove in the port side of the deckhouse. This necessitated the intermediate passengers being removed to the cabin for safety. On the 18th May ill-luck still followed the ship. A terrific hurricane sprang up from the ENE, accompanied by a dangerous and fearfully high sea, which filled the decks and cabin with water and carried away several sails. One of the ships sudden lurches hove the steersman over the wheel and he was seriously injured. After a spell of moderate weather during the next week the Helenslee struck another storm on the 16th May, when several more sails were split and the decks filled with water. During the night a tremendous sea struck the ship clean amidships and smashed in the topgallant rail and doing much damage to the decks. Bad weather continued until the ship reached port on June 5th, 145 days from Gravesend. Captain Cleary stated the voyage had been the most trying and anxious one he had ever experienced.
White Wings - Sir Henry Brett

Our sincere thanks to Bruce Goodman for this passenger list.

Name Age County Occupation
Saloon Passengers
Clayton Mrs  Susannah
Clarke Mr Frederick
Holloway Miss Mary
Miss Eilen
Second Cabin Passengers
Brown Samuel
Dakin Mary
Eades Annie
Graydon Margaret
Hughes William
Hyetz Fanny
Jenks Rebecca
Lealan David
Lock Mr
McDonald Mr M
Montague Bridget
O'Callaghan Mr
Otto Mr
Short A
Wilkins Charles

Copyright Denise & Peter 2004

The Daily Southern Cross January 19th January 1870