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The AFRICAN departed Gravesend on 31 January, 1861 and arrived in Auckland on 8 June, 1861 via Portsmouth, with Captain Joseph Gibson in command.


Transcribed from the Daily Southern Cross, 11 June 1861, Page 3


The ship African, 800 tons, Captain Gibson, owner, arrived here on Saturday, from London, dropping anchor off the Queen-street wharf at 8 a.m., after a voyage of 120 days from the Mother Bank. She brings a general cargo besides munitions of war, military commissariat, and hospital staff detachments, and a number of private passengers. The African left on the 8th February and experienced heavy westerly winds clearing the channel. These continued, and the ship was kept inside the Canary group, which was passed on the 23rd February. The N.E. trade was light, and fell off altogether in about 8° 50' N. lat. The equator was crossed on the 19th March, in longitude 25° West. The South East trade wind was light; but in 30° South lat., 37° 35' West longitude, Captain Gibson reports encountering more favourable winds and pleasant weather. On the 11th April hove-too off the island of Tristan da Cunha, lat. 37° 6' S., long., 12° 6' W., to get supplies of fresh provisions. The ship's surgeon, Mr. Brewin, went ashore to visit two sick children, there being neither doctor nor clergyman on the island. There are now 8 men, 15 women, and 12 children on the island; but some time since they had a clergyman, and a population of 75 souls. After Governor Glass died, the clergyman and a large proportion of the inhabitants left Tristan da Cunha, and went to the Cape of Good Hope to settle; but the remainder, amongst whom are several members of the deceased Governor’s family, seem content with their isolation from, the rest of the world. Captain Gibson reports that this island is admirably situated for supplying vessels to the Australian Colonies with fresh provisions when these may have run short. There are 600 heads cattle, 600 sheep, and a large quantity of geese, ducks, and poultry; and supplies may be had at the following rates - beef, 4d. per lb.; sheep, 20s.; geese 5s.; fowls, 1s. 6d each potatoes, 8s. per cwt. Captain Gibson also remarked the absence of sea weed, reported by most navigators as being plentiful in the vicinity of the island. The Surgeon returned to the ship at 3.30 p.m., after his professional visit ashore, when sail was made, and the good ship African proceeded on her voyage. At midnight on Sunday, the 21st April, passed the Cape of Good Hope, in latitude 42° 43', and ran down the easting between the parallels of 44° and 45° South. On May 23rd at 8 p.m., encountered a fresh gale from the South to S.S.E., which increased in violence, and lasted for 36 hours. At daylight on Sunday morning, May 26th, sighted the South West Cape of Van Diemen's Land, bearing N.E. and by North, and Newstone, E. and by N.¼. N., wind South East and by South. On Tuesday, 28th May, weather fine, took departure from Van Diemen's Land, having light winds from S.S.W. and South East till within two days of sighting Cape Maria, when the African experienced a strong SW. gale, with very heavy squalls. Cape Maria Van Diemen was sighted at daylight on the 6th June; the Three Kings bore N.W.¾W, distance 12 miles. At 10 30 a.m., rounded the North Cape, it blowing hard; at 6 was abreast of Cavailli, distance 4 miles; at 8 pm, was off Cape Brett, distance 3 miles; and at midnight passed between the Poor Knights and the mainland in mid channel. On Friday, the 7th inst., as it was blowing hard, with heavy squalls, the African was brought, up under, double reefed topsails. At 4 am. passed the Hen and Chickens, distance 4 miles; at 8 a.m., was abreast of the Little Barrier, wind S.S.W., with heavy squalls; at noon Rangitoto bore S.S.W.,and the pilot having boarded her at 6 p m., she was brought up in the chan­nel at 8. At 2 a.m. on Saturday, got under way, and fetched the anchorage at 8 a.m. The ship encountered light and variable winds, with the exceptions stated, during the passage; and the baffling nature of the winds may be imagined when it is stated that she went as far West as 38° before she fell in with the westerly gales. There were three deaths on board— Mary Hewitt, an infant, 28th March; Mary Jane Hamshire, 6 months, 20th April; John Slayter, 18 years, 20th April. This young man died from con­sumption, and was in a delicate state when he came on board. The births were—Mrs. Brown, 15th March, of a daughter; Mrs. McGrath, 17th April, of a daughter; Mrs. Morrison, 15th May, of a daughter. On Saturday morning Colonel Sillery went on board the African, and inspected the troops, remarking on their clean and healthy appearance. He inquired if the men had any complaints to make, when all stated that they were perfectly satisfied with the treatment they received on board. The passengers generally speak in the highest terms of Capt. Gibson and the officers of the ship.

The following is a list of the Passengers:—

Captain Russell

Lieut.Fradget (57th Regt.)

D. N. C. Ellis

Mr. Rainsforth

Mr. Tribo (Military Store)

Mr. Waredoch (Asst. Purveyor)

Mrs. Waredoch and child

Mrs. Rainsforth

James H. and Amelia Fry

Edward, Arthur, Amelia, Herbert, Eric, Kate, and Edith Fry

P. H. Comford and wife

Henry, George, and Annie Comford

Edward Woolfield and wife

Samuel Woolfield and wife

Louisa, Fanny, and ThomasWoolfield

William Smith

A. White

Annie Randall

Henry Morgan and Mrs. Morgan

Alfred Scales and wife

William Ryland

2  R. A. Sergeants

24 of the Commissariat Staff

24 Army Hos­pital Staff

2 Armourer Sergeants

1 servant

17 wo­men and 24 children

The African spoke the Cora Linn, from Adelaide for London; all well. In lat 2º 30' North, spoke the Agincourt, by which ship a small mail was sent home.



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Copyright – Gavin W Petrie - 2012