Friday, August 19, 2011

The Incredible Hulks

While I've been researching the hulks of Quail Island I took a random sample of other hulks reported in Papers Past. They may not be wrecks as in a maritime accident, but regardless these once proud vessels still had stories to tell long after they had been laid up, then eventually broken up or sunk then forgotten. I like old vessels - more so when they have a story to tell. There's a few names there. Just short and sweet.

Wellington, March 3.
Captain Williams, proprietor of the sunken hulk Eli Whitney, has demanded of the Union Company £3000 in compensation of loss sustained by the Taupo running into the hulk. The Union Company have declined to pay any sum.

West Coast Times 5 March 1877

Wellington, Jan. 29. A second and third attempt to blow up the hulk Eli Whitney were failures.

Grey River Argus 31 January 1878

SYDNEY, June 27 The well-known New Zealand trader Elizabeth Graham has been sold to a Melbourne Steamship Company for a hulk.

Grey River Argus 6 June 1906

(Per Press Association) . LYTTELTON, April 6. The hulk Blackwall sank at the wharf through a seam opening. The hulk was insured for £4,000, and had 1,300 tons of coal aboard.

Bay of Plenty Times 8 April 1907

[United Peess Association.] Wellington, Feb. 11. The hulk Oreti, which had been condemned, was taken out into Cook Strait, off Lyall Bay, and sunk by the guns of the forts.

Colonist 12 February 1915
(Per Press Association.)
The Union Steam Ship Company has decided to refit another hulk as a seagoing vessel. The steamer Te Anau will leave Auckland to-day with the County of Anglesea in tow for Port Chalmers, where the hulk will be refitted.

Ashburton Guardian 27 July 1918
The Union Company hulk Ganymede, which is to be broken up at Nelson, left her moorings in Evans Bay in tow of the Titoki shortly, before 7 o'clock yesterday morning.

Evening Post  21 May 1934

(By Telegraph—Press Association.) AUCKLAND, This Day. The Show Boat floating cabaret was discovered shortly after midnight to be making water rapidly. For some ( months this former sailing vessel has been conducted as a dance club. Today the dance floor was eight to ten feet under water. The police are investigating the matter, it being alleged that eight holes made with an auger were discovered in the side of the hulk.

Evening Post 28 November 1936

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Star of the East - Kaipara (Fanny Channel) January 1855

The Star of the East was a vessel (of undetermined type) owned by the firm of Marsden & Mathews. She had loaded timber at Mangawhare. Adverse conditions meant the vessel was kept waiting inside the Kaipara Heads, for some two weeks before she could finally attempt to cross the bar and out into the Tasman bound for Sydney. On January 30th 1855, between 10 and 11 a.m. the vessel struck trouble and ended up being wrecked in the Fanny Channel. No loss of life occurred during the incident.

The Star of the East was loaded with timber, and ready for sea, at Kaipara, on the 22nd inst; she expected to sail the next day for Sydney.
 - Daily Southern Cross 26 January 1855
  LOSS OF THE "STAR OF THE EAST." We regret having to record the loss of the ship "Star of the East," Captain A. Ashmore, which occurred off Kaipara, on the morning of the 30th January. The following are the particulars, as far as we have been able to ascertain, of the unfortunate occurrence :—:
  The "Star of the East" was timber laden, and had been waiting for some days for a fair wind to enable her to proceed to sea ; on the morning of the 30th ult. a strong breeze set in from the North, and the Capt. immediately made all sail in order to get to sea, unfortunately before the vessel was clear of the outer shoal, the wind fell light, with puffs from the S.E., there being no hopes of getting the ship through the main channel, the Pilot recommended that an attempt should be made to get to get to sea by the Fanny Channel.
 Owing to the lightness of the wind, and the ebb tide, the attempt did not succeed, and the vessel struck in the Fanny Channel. The boats were cut adrift, the long boat filled, and was washed overboard ; one of the gigs was also stove, twenty men got into the remaining boat, while the Captain was stunned, by a blow received from some of the falling rigging ; on recovering he found two lifebuoys, one of which he fastened on, he handed the other to the Chief Officer, who had remained on board, they then jumped overboard and swam to the remains of one of the boats which was floating bottom upwards, where they remained until the crew having reached the long boat, and bailed her out, came to their assistance, in about an hour and a half afterwards.
 During the time the Captain and Chief Officer were on the bottom of the boat, they saw three sharks swimming round them. After some time all hands reached the North Head, and eventually Mangawhare, the residence of H Atkins, Esq., where they were hospitably received ; and the tale of the unfortunate catastrophe was immediately forwarded to Auckland.
 - Daily Southern Cross 6 February 1855

The wreck and her cargo of timber was put up for auction in Auckland on the 9th of February 1855. She still remains to this day in the Fanny Channel where she was wrecked.

For the Benefit of whom it may Concern, THOS. WESTON & CO., Will Sell by Auction, at their Stores, Shortland Street, on Friday, 9th Feb., at 11 o'clock, THE wreck of the ship STAR OF THE EAST, - as she now lies in the Fanny Channel, Kaipara Heads, French carvel built, 6 oar gig, and 2 anchors, long boat, carvel built, both secured at the landing-place Kaipara, 2 life buoys. Terms — Cash. On Account of whom it may Concern. THOS. WESTON & CO., Will Sell by Auction at their Stores, Shortland- street, on Friday next, 9th Feb., at 11 o'clock, THE Cargo of Timber, 451 Loads, shipped on board the STAR OF THE EAST, at Mangawhare, Kaipara, and supposed to be still remaining in the wreck of that vessel at Kaipara Heads. Terms — Cash. 
-  Advertisements Daily Southern Cross 6 February 1855

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Concordia - Muriwai September 1902

Muriwai Beach: Image Sourced Wikicommons

I'm still locating articles on this vessel, they are extensive and more will be added onto this post.

Near where the public at Muriwai Beach take their pleasure with kite fishing, horse riding and other leisure activities, there once once the sight of a number of wreckings of ships caught up in storms. The steel barque Concordia was another one of those victims. For her there was no chance, with the power of the waves from the Tasman Sea she was soon high and dry on the bank sands. One seaman was drowned, the rest of the crew making it ashore. And there she sat stuck fast on the beach awaiting her fate.

BARQUE CONCORDIA WRECKED.A SEAMAN DROWNED.Late last evening Inspector Cullen received a telegram from the stationmaster at Helensville that it had just been reported from Waimauku that a three-masted vessel was ashore on the West Coast, near Muriwai Creek, and some twenty miles to the north ward of Manukau Heads.
At 9 a.m to-day our Helensville correspondent wired:
 "A large barque, in ballast, came ashore near Waimauku at 4 p.m. yesterday. From particulars to hand she is standing upright. There is no information
yet available about the crew.''
(From Our Own Correspondent)HELENSVILLE, this day.Additional particular's - have since been received here, and states that the vessel ashore on the coast is the Russian barque Concordia, which left Fremantle on the 8th ult. for Kaipara, in ballast under charter to the Kauri Timber Company to load for the United Kingdom.

One English sailor was drowned, but the remainder of the ship's company, including the master, Captain Wickmass, succeeded in reaching shore.

The barque at low water lies high and dry on the beach. The Concordia is insured in the Salamander office.
A message to the same effect was received this morning- by Mr. Q. T. Niccol. No particulars of the wreck are as yet available, and it can only be surmised that, getting too close in shore, the barque, unable to make an offing against the westerly gale blowing was driven helplessly on the beach, which just about here is very sandy.

Acting under instructions from Inspector Cullen a constable left Helensville this morning for the site of the wreck. A telegram received this afternoon by Inspector Cullen states that all the crew landed safely, but one man died subsequently.

Besides Constable Watts, of Helensville, Constable Gordon, of Avondale, has also gone to the scene of the wreck.
The Concordia is a steel barque of 1031 tons, of the following dimensions: Length. 193 ft' 9in; breadth. 35ft 4in; and depth', 20ft 6 inch. She was built at Amsterdam in 1886 by Messrs. Huijgens & Oelder, and is owned by Messrs. Schfahrts, Ges & Austra, of Riga, Russia. She is classed100 Al at Lloyds'.

The barque comes from Fremantle, in ballast, under charter to the Kauri Timber Company.
-         Auckland Star 24 September 1902
THE BARQUE CONCORDIA.The stranded barque Concordia still lies on the beach south of Kaipara Harbour (says an Aratapu paper of recent date).  She has settled down about five feet into the sand on an even keel, and looks very comfortable.

Her bow is seaward, and she appears quite willing to take to the sea again with little persuasion. She seems to have suffered no injury. A gentleman who was having a look at the vessel this week states that with a little energy and expense there should be no great difficulty ill floating the barque.

At the time of his visit there was a fair wind and a growing tide, and the captain had an anchor out seaward, but he is of opinion that unless more energy is displayed the vessel will not be moved. More men and better appliances are necessary to ensure success.
- Auckland Star 7 October 1902
The Russian barque Concordia, a vessel of 980 tons, is stranded about 20 miles south of Kaipara Heads, where she was driven ashore, ballasted, by a heavy westerly gale on September 22. The crew landed on the beach, but subsequently the steward of the vessel (Henry Harris) succumbed to effects of exposure. The barque is not badly damaged, and if the weather keeps good she will be floated off.-        Auckland Star 9 October 1902

On January 5 1903 the vessel was purchased by Helensville local James Stewart and Aucklander George Nicol for just over £200. The salvage through, was not without its hazards. A small boat was wrecked in the process of attempting to refloat the huge vessel, at the end of the ordeal though at last she floated and was taken to Shelly Beach to be readied for a voyage to Auckland.

(Per United Press Association.)AUCKLAND, January 5. The iron barque Concordia, recently stranded near Kaipara Heads, was sold at auction for £200. The purchaser is James Stewart, of Helensville. The hull is undamaged and almost afloat at high spring tides.
-         Wanganui Herald 6 January 1903

Efforts are being made by the purchaser of the Russian barque Concordia, which was stranded sometime  on Rangatara beach, south of Kaipara Heads, to get the vessel off. The risky nature of these operations on such a coast was illustrated by an accident that occurred last Wednesday.
An attempt was made to run a line from the tug boat Pilot about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, to the bow of the Concordia.

Mr Harrison first went out with a small boat but was capsized. One of the Concordia's big whale boats was got out with about a mile of line in it. The crew had been carefully selected, all being good swimmers. Amongst them were Mr Harrison, who acted as coxswain, Captain Cooper, who has taken charge of the barque, a seaman named Jenner, a Russian and two others.

The idea was to get the rope out, and then drag a wire cable on which to put the steam pressure, to try and get the Concordia off. When within half a mile of the shore, however, the whaleboat swamped in the surf, and was Almost immediately smashed to pieces. For the next few minutes the crew had a very lively time. One man expressed his sensations as being rolled over and over like a cork, and he says he did his best to swim, but really knew very little more until he was helped on shore by Mr J. Stewart. He then saw Captain Cooper struggling through the surf, assisting the Russian sailor, who was pretty well exhausted.
Fortunately, however, all reached the shore safely, after a very rough half hour in the water. The difficulty the swimmers had to face was that the wind was off the shore, and tide going out, added to the surf.
When the men got ashore Mr Stewart had spirits and hot drinks for them, for which they were very thankful.
Mr Harrison, although twice capsized, made a third attempt in a small boat, and had another ducking, being overturned within a quarter of a mile of the shore.
The Concordia is lying on a hard sandy bottom, and rises at high water. A steam pump is being put on her to keep the water down in the event of her being got off safely. She will then be taken to Kaipara, load timber, and come on to Auckland for repairs.
- Auckland Star 23 January 1903
THE CONCORDIA.AUCKLAND, February 113.The Russian barque Concordia, which went ashore near Kaipara Heads several months ago and was purchased by a local syndicate, was successfully floated yesterday and towed to Helensville.
- Wanganui Chronicle 14 February 1903

The barque Concordia, of 1045 tons register, which was stranded during a gale on the West Coast in the month of September, was successfully launched on Friday, February 13. 
She is an iron vessel, and was valued at £ 7000.
The salvage operations were of an expensive character, new boilers and winches having to be conveyed over the sand hills to the coast and about six or seven tons of winch hawsers with a mushroom anchor weighing 3½ tons, all having to be conveyed to the vessel and placed.

These extensive operations were conducted under the immediate supervision of Mr James Stewart, of Helensville, Mr George Nicol, of Auckland (the purchasers of the stranded vessel), and last, but by no means least, Mr John Harrison of Aratapu, who gallantly volunteered to lay the wire cable from the sea anchor a mile off the coast to the beach.

So hazardous was this feat that Mr Harrison and his assistants in their first attempt to land through the surf with the small line had the lifeboat capsized and broken to pieces close to the beach, and after a severe struggle landed. He (Mr Harrison) being badly bruised with portions of the boat falling on him.
 At 9.30 on Friday morning all was in readiness for a trial, and the steam winches set to work, as did also the Concordia's capstan, and the powerful steamer Gosford, the latest addition to the fleet of the North Union Steamship Boating Company of Kaipara, was in attendance with Captains Sellars and Cash on board.

With great difficulty the rope from the Gosford was taken through the surf to the Concordia, all the hauling appliances were put in motion by a signal from the barque, and in a few minutes the vessel began to roll and heave, and amidst great cheering and waving of flags, was  once more launched into her native element.

Anxiety was caused by the non-arrival of the tug Sterling, which had been ordered to be in attendance. However, the Gosford proved equal to the task. Mr Harrison, knowing the great anxiety of the owners to get the vessel away from the west coast and into the harbour before dark, offered to take her through the south channel into the Kaipara. and successfully accomplishedthe navigation of the same with this large vessel at dead low water, although much to the detriment of the harbour this channel is still unsurveyed.

The Gosford towed the Concordia inside the harbour from the scene of the stranding in 5 hours, and later anchored her at Shelly Beach, when all bands engaged in the work were invited to drink to the success of the vessel and owners, and the workmen were conveyed to Helensville.

The vessel, fortunately, has suffered very little damage, and shortly proceeds to Auckland to go in dock.
-         Auckland Star 16 February 1903

While she was moored in Auckland, tragedy struck when the night watchman Michael Bain vanished overboard. His body was later found on rocks opposite Rangitoto.


The watchman of the barque Concordia,  which is lying at the Railway wharf, has been missing since Saturday, and it is  feared that he either accidentally fell overboard or fell off the wharf when  making his way to the vessel.

The man's name is Michael Bain, and he lived in Chapel Street with his half-sister, Mrs. Ellen Muller, who states that be left home at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon. He was quite sober, and would in due course have gone aboard the barque.

Enquiries on the vessel show that the missing man was paid a guinea by the captain on board at one o'clock on Saturday, and that he then went ashore.

He had not been seen since by the captain. Bain was an Irishman, 47 years of age, 5ft 6 inch in height, of fresh complexion, with dark whiskers and a moustache turning grey.
- Auckland Star 2 July 1903

FOUND DROWNED.(Per United Press Association.) AUCKLAND, July 6.The body of Michael Bain, watchman on the barque Concordia, who has been missing since June 27th, was recovered among the rocks opposite Rangitoto
.-         Wanganui Herald 6 July 1903

At the end of July when she was being readied to sail to England, the Concordia slipped her anchor cahin and drifted across the harbour to Devonport. She was recovered and towed back to dock and repairs under taken.

The barque Concordia which was anchored off Judge's Bay in readiness to sail for the United Kingdom, got adrift through her anchor chain parting early this morning, and was very nearly ashore at Devonport.

A very strong south-easterly wind was blowing at the time, raising a heavy sea. About two o'clock this morning, the captain states, the chief officer and the night watchman were on deck. In a very rough sea  the barque crossed the tide and parted her cable a short distance from the anchor, which was lost.

The vessel was then driven across the harbour on an ebb tide and brought up alongside the Calliope Dock. Her bobstays fouled the stone masonry on the harbour side of the dock, with the result that they carried away. No other damage was done. The Concordia was towed alongside the dock wharf this morning by the s.s. Awarua.

The necessary repairs were being carried out to-day.
- Auckland Star 30 July 1903

We see no more about her, after she sailed for England in August 1903, however in the Australian Newspapers I found numerous references to a barque named the Concordia. She experienced a long sailing career before ending up grounded after a severe storm. She almost matches the above vessel referred to in this post, however the vessel was stated as being built in 1800 yet she was stated as being a steel barque. It was also stated that she was built in Germany and had Norwegian owners. Therein lies the mystery. Is she the same vessel? Possibly she is or possibly not. Her tonnage was also larger whereas the vessel described in the Auckland Star article states:

"The Concordia is a steel barque of 1031 tons, of the following dimensions: Length. 193 ft' 9in; breadth. 35ft 4in; and depth', 20ft 6 inch. She was built at Amsterdam in 1886 by Messrs. Huijgens & Oelder, and is owned by Messrs. Schfahrts, Ges & Austra, of RigaRussia. She is classed 100 Al at Lloyds'." - Auckland Star 24 September 1902

The Concordia referred to in the Australian entries was sold to a British Firm then dismantled her hull used as a coal hulk from 1914 onwards.

CAPTAIN VERSUS PILOT.THE PORT ADELAIDE CASE.The action against Alfred Wells, one of the Port Adelaide Harbor pilots, by Captain S. Johnsen, master of the Norwegian barque Concordia, who seeks to recover. £119 12/ for damage caused to the vessel whilst in charge of the defendant, was continued in the Port Adelaide Local Court, before Sir. T. Gepp, S.M., and justices, on Tuesday Mr. R. Cruickshank appeared for the informant, and Mr. S. H. Skipper forthe defendant.
The cross-examination of the defendant by Mr. Cruickshank was resumed. He told counsel that the plaintiff was wrong in saying that he stated he was sorry the accident occurred. The accident was due to the vessel having taken a sheer in the wrong direction.
Captain W. H. Poynter, master of the tug Falcon, said after a tow-line had been made fast to the Concordia the defendant ordered the tug to co slowly ahead. When the Concordia was in a position to pass through the bridge fairway the tug was given orders to stop and the vessel carried her way to the bridge. As soon as she had entered the fairway the order was given slow speed ahead. The order was obeyed. The Concordia touched with, the bluff of her bow and then slid through the fairway. The blow was very slight. No fenders were used coming through the fairway by the Concordia. The means for removing the Concordia were in his experience proper. The Concordia had not too much way on. A line connected with the wharf was a better means of checking a vessel than a tug astern.
Captain Loveridge, master of the tug Leveret, said it would have been dangerous to take a line astern from the Concordia whilst she was fast by a wire line ashore. The check line to the tug astern could not have kept the Concordia’s bow straight.John Nesbitt, caretaker of Robinson's bridge, said all bolts connected with that bridge were countersunk. Vessels frequently struck the bridge in going through the fairway.The court awarded a verdict for the plaintiff for £38 16/6.
- The Advertiser 19 June 1907

COAL CARGO ON FIRE.CONCORDIA AT FREMANTLE.FREMANTLE, October 23.The barque Concordia, bound from Swansea to Balla Balla, with a cargo of coal, put into Fremantle unexpectedly in distress. She left Swansea on July 10, and everything went well till October 13, when smoke was observed coming from the fore hatch. All the hatches were immediately sealed, and as on additional precaution, the air pipes and ventilators leading to the hold were closed up. It was thon decided to make for Fremantle, and it was a great relief to the crew when Rottnest hove in sight. Separating the cargo in the lower hold is a partition of wood and canvas, and it 's supposed that the movement and friction of the vessel caused the canvas to ignite. A portion of the cargo will have to be removed before the outbreak can be subdued.
- Brisbane Courier 24 October 1911

FIRE ON A BARQUE.Fremantle, Oct 24. The barque Concordia, bound from Swansea to Ballaballo, has put in with her cargo of coal on fire since the 23rd inst. The closing of the hatches prevented the flames from spreading extensively. A portion of the cargo had to be removed to reach the outbreak.
- Colonist 25 October 1911

Cyclone at Balla Balla  Freemantle Australia (Crown of England sunk)

…..The captain of the barque Concordia seeing the anchors were unable to hold steered on a sandy beach, and the vessel was practically undamaged….
-         Thames Star 28 March 1912

After lying ashore on the beach at Balla Balla for nearly six months, the Norwegian barque Concordia is afloat again, and will shortly leave the West Australian port in tow for Fremantle, where repairs will probably be effected.
The Concordia was, it will be remembered, loading at Balla Balla when, the memorable ''willy-willy," which brought about the loss, of the Adelaide Co. a steamer  Koombana sprang up. It arose with such suddenness, that the crew of the barque were not able to do anything to save the Concordia, which was lifted high and dry on the beach, by a succession of huge seas.  
While this was happening, the  Norwegian ship Crown of England, which was lying close by the Concordia; was similarly treated by the elements, but instead of being carried on to a sandy beach, she crashed upon a reef, and almost immediately went to pieces. At first high hopes were entertained of refloating the Concordia, but as time went by it seemed as if it was not to be, and it appeared as though the vessel had found her last resting place.

However, some, more sanguine of success than others, held on to the task of refloating her, and in the end found their efforts successful.

The Concordia will be towed to Fremantle by the Swan River Shipping Co.'s new tug Wyola, which will proceed direct to Bunbury from Colombo, en route from the Tyne.
- Poverty Bay Herald 20 September 1912

A PROFITABLE TOW. Probably never before in the maritime history of the Commonwealth has a new tug made such a remarkable start as the Wyola, which left the Tyne at the end of last July for Fremantle, and arrived there last week, with the Norwegian barque Concordia in tow. This maiden tow of the Wyols, for which she will receive £650, was brought about under strange circumstances. It will be remembered that in the destructive "willy willy" on the north west coast of Australia last March the Concordia was stranded at Balls Balla when nearly loaded with ore for Liverpool. At first it -was thought that the Concordia was past recovery: then, again, it was reported that she would probably be dismantled; however, she was refloated last August, and arrangements were soon afterwards made with the owners of the Wyola to call at Balla Balla and tow the Concordia to Fremantle. The Wyola was constructed by Messrs. J. T. Eltringham and Co., South Shields, for the Swan River Shipping Company, Perth, West Australia, through the agency of Messrs. M'Ilwraith, M'Eacharn, and Co., London, and on her official trial everything proved highly satisfactory, and a mean speed of over 11½ knots was attained on the measured miles, the machinery, constructed by the Shields Engineering and Dry Dock Company, North Shields, giving every satisfaction, and developing about 1100 h,.p. She is fitted out with appliances for heavy sea towing and salvage work, her outfit including electric light and Morse signalling lamp, a centrifugal salvage pump, capable of delivering 4000 gallons per minute, steam windlass, and special type of steam winch, steam steering gear, etc.
- Examiner 14 November 1912


For many months the Norwegian barque Concordia has lain crewless in the river basin at Fremantle.

The beginning of the Concordia's end came with the disastrous gale which was responsible for the disappearance of the s.s. Koombana in March of last year. She was then laden with ore from Balls Balts, on the North -West coast, and was leaving on a trip to Europe with her cargo when she was carried ashore and beached.

There she lay with her holds full for many months, until she was eventually towed out and brought to Fremantle by the new Swan River Shipping Co. tug Wyola. She was then demasted, and her Captain went back to England enter a new commission and it was only on the request of the harbour authorities that a crew of one was placed on board to act as caretaker. For some time past negotiations have been going on between the owners in Europe and Messrs. McIlwraith, McEacharn and Co., with the result that the vessel has come into British hands and is being dismantled at the North Wharf.

For the future she will act as a collier for the afore mentioned company. The Concordia was built at Vegesaek, on the River Weser, in Germany, in 1800, and after making several trips to various outlying ports for a German firm she entered the hands of Norwegian owners under the management of Mr. N. A. Stangjun. She was a well known visitor to all the Australian ports, and ran regularly from European ports to Melbourne and Fremantle with general cargoes. On unloading here the vessel was several times chartered to load ore from Balla Balls for Europe, and it was on just such an occasion that the Concordia met her doom. She is an iron hull of 1423 tons gross registered tonnage, and was classed 100 Al at Lloyd's. It is expected that in a few weeks the necessary alterations will be completed to fit her out as a coal hulk, and it is understood that she will pass the remainder of her days at Fremantle in that capacity.

The Concordia collided with an iceberg in the Straits of Belle Isle in August, 1899, and had her bow very badly stoved in .

- Hawera and Normanby Star 19 April 1912

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Phoenix (Schooner) - December 1846

The Schooner Phoenix was built in Nelson in 1846. The first records of her being reported in the newspapers of the time, have her lying in port at Nelson in October of 1846. She left Nelson for Wellington on November 21st 1846 and was never seen again. The first sighting was reported in early December of 1846. She was wrecked near D'Urville Island with the loss of seven lives. This was possibly her first and last voyage.

It is our painful duty to state that there is every reason to fear the beautiful little, schooner Phoenix, lately built at this port and which sailed hence for Wellington, on her first voyage, on the 21st ult., has been wrecked somewhere between Stephen's Island and the Rangitoto side of D'Urville' Island.

All the information we at present possess relative to this most unfortunate event has been obtained from Mr. James M'Laren, of Croixelles, who arrived here in a boat from Rangitoto on Monday evening last.

Mr. M'Laren left Croixelles in a boat, accompanied by a canoe, on Monday the 23rd of  November, and proceeding through the French Pass, reached Rangitoto on the day following.  A native lad who had accompanied him having strolled into an adjoining bay, picked up. there a piece of the bulwark of a vessel, and , bringing it back with him, Mr. M'Laren immediately suspected it belonged to the Phoenix, which he had seen in Nelson a short time before she sailed, and that she had been wrecked in the neighbourhood. On the morning of Wednesday, the 25th, he himself . proceeded along the same coast, and picked  up several pieces of bulwark, part of the wreck of a boat, one of the main hatches and the false keel of a vessel, and a piece of sawn .limber. When he arrived opposite to Stephen's  Island, Mr. M'Laren remained there till low water to take a survey of the sunken rocks, but discovered nothing further that day.

On the following morning he started again on the same track at daylight, but finding nothing, he crossed the hills to Port Hardy, and ranged the whole of the north-west coast to Cape Stephens, without discovering a particle of the wreck.

At daybreak, on the 27th, Mr. M'Laren manned his boat and started for the Admiralty Islands. On the northernmost one he discovered part of a boat, a main-hatch, a forecastle scuttle, a handspike, and several small pieces of bulwark.

Proceeding to the next island, he there picked up part of a bag of flour, one of the companion stanchions, two of the companion doors, and  a curtain roller. As it came on to blow heavily, Mr. M'Laren was obliged to discontinue further search.

On his return to Rangitoto, a native brought him a parcel he had picked up containing letters and papers belonging to Mr. Perry, which proved at once that the wreck was that of the Phoenix. Another bag with flour, and a cask which had been stoved, supposed to have contained brandy, were also picked up by the natives ; the bags were marked AP.

On Monday, the 30th, Mr. M'Laren started for Nelson, but the state of the weather did not permit him to reach here before Monday last. The above is all we know regarding the fate of this unfortunate vessel ; what remains is mere conjecture.

The Phoenix left Nelson on Saturday the 21st November, about nine p.m., with a fair breeze. There were seven persons on board, namely, Mr. A. Perry, of this place, merchant and owner of the vessel; Cooper, master, formerly mate of the Fifeshire; Manning, mate, from Sydney in the Royal William ; Joseph Hall, a seaman ;' Scott, M'Donald, son of Mr. M'Donald, late of the Wakatu Tavern ; William Rice, shipped as carpenter; and Thomas Lightband, son of Mr. Lightband, leather-dresser.

The probability is that the night after she started, she ran in the dark inside Stephen's Island, supposing she had passed it, and was in the Straits, and striking on one of the sunken rocks there, bilged, or went down at once by the head in deep water.

The finding of Mr. Perry's parcel of private papers on the beach, leads us to think that when the vessel struck, the unfortunate gentleman seized it and rushed on deck, but whether he succeeded or not in getting into the boat, the wreck of which was found, it is impossible for us to say. As no part of the rigging or spars was found, it would seem that the vessel must have gone down bodily.

The weather at the time was very foggy, and the wind strong, without however blowing a gale. The pilot boat started on Tuesday evening, with Mr. Tinline, who had charge of Mr. Perry's affairs in his absence, to endeavour to learn something more of the fate of the vessel and those on board. Whether we view this unfortunate event as a public or private calamity, it is equally distressing. In a small community such as ours, the loss of any single member leaves a hiatus ; to lose at once seven, and among them a man who acted a prominent part in the mercantile affairs of the settlement, is a blow we shall long feel.

Mr. A. Perry was, we believe, the son of Dr. Perry, of Glasgow, and emigrated to Wellington with the first settlers. For the last four years he has carried on business in this place, and was always characterized by his indefatigable industry. No man more willingly assisted struggling enterprise, or exerted himself with greater energy to develop our resources.

If we could persuade ourselves the thing were possible, we should hope the lives of those who were on board the ill-fated vessel may yet prove safe; but, had they been carried ashore in any of the bays or on the islands in the neighbourhood, they must have been heard of ere now through the natives.

The loss of the vessel to the port is also a serious matter. Strongly built, and fitted up in the most tasteful and complete manner, we looked to her to supply the want we have long laboured under— a regular communication with the neighbouring settlements.

The captain of the Phoenix has left a wife and young family, for whom a subscription will be opened at the Custom House. Nel. E.
-         New Zealand Spectator & Cook’s Strait Guardian 2 January 1847

In February of 1847 it was reported that two masts had been seen on the sand spit, which were possibly the wreck of the Phoenix.

The Elora reports having seen the wreck on the sand spit at the mouth of the bay which we noticed last week. Two masts were distinctly visible, but whether she way a brig or a schooner does not appear, though Captain Turnbull inclines to the latter opinion, as the masts appeared to be slender. We still think it will prove to be the Phoenix. A whaleboat started on Tuesday for the spot, and we may therefore expect quickly to have full intelligence.
 -         Nelson Examiner & New Zealand Chronicle 6 February 1847

The last reported possible sighting of the wreck came in July of 1847.

Captain Watson, of the Fisherman, reports having passed a vessel, keel uppermost, off Port Gore. She was apparently about thirty tons, but as it was night when she was seen, no very accurate description of her can be given. We think it not improbable, but this may have been the hull of the Phoenix, supposed to have been lost near the spot, and which the late heavy gales may have liberated.

- Nelson Examiner & New Zealand Chronicle 17 July 1847

Guest Blog Post - Edward Wall's hulk at Customs Street

This is the second in a series of Guest Blog Posts written by my close friend and well known Historian Lisa Truttman author of the outstanding Timespanner Blog. Once again it's a privilege to present this contribution.

These days, such a find would be all over the newspapers, and the location would be covered in archaeologists.

When workmen were excavating for the foundations of Messrs Hipkins and Coutts' new warehouse in Customs Street East, Auckland, near Messrs A. H. Nathan and Co's large warehouse, in one of the trenches the ribs of a vessel were discovered about sixteen feet below the surface. Mr Ed. Bartley, the architect for the work, was informed of the discovery. He states that the ribs were of oak, and were embedded in the mud at about the old beach level. In the early days, before this portion of the city was reclaimed, Edward Wall had a blacksmith's shop near the spot where the ribs of the boat were found. Wall purchased the boat and dragged her up on the beach close to what was known as Jacob's ladder. Subsequently the boat was allowed to be buried in the earth as the reclamation work proceeded.

Bay of Plenty Times 19 August 1904

Probably, though, in 1904, work simply proceeded, and the last remains of an early enterprise lost forever.

Edward Wall apparently came to Auckland by the late 1840s -- perhaps as a result of the first war with Maori up in Northland, as one of the refugees. He set himself up on the foreshore as it was then (now Fort Street).

Southern Cross, 9 December 1848

He was in business a fair while, but by 1862, it seems it was all over.

Southern Cross 25 March 1862

This description makes Wall's store look like Auckland's equivalent to Wellington's Noah's Ark. The remains of the latter were fortunately retained, at least in part.

1863. Work was starting on the reclaimation of Commercial Bay, but the hulk was still there.

Southern Cross 26 January 1863

Cochrane tried auctioning the hulk on 16 February, but withdrew it, for lack of bidders. There was another attempt in October that year.

Southern Cross 7 October 1863

This time -- success.

Yesterday, at his auction mart, Fort street, Mr. S Cochrane disposed of the hulk in Custom-house street, formerly occupied by Mr. Edward Wall, as a boat-building depot. It was disposed of to Mr W. F. Blake, for £37 10s.
Southern Cross 10 October 1863

So were the oak ribs the remains of the hulk which seemed to hard to auction off? And whatever happened to Edward Wall?

Update, 23 May 2011: It seems the old hulk hung around as a Custom Street landmark until at least late 1865. There were finally two auctions by Harris & Turner, one in April (Southern Cross, 5 April 1865), and the second in October:

Harris & Turner auction, the old hulk alongside Custom-house Street “with all the corrugated iron, bricks, etc. etc.
Southern Cross 6 October 1865

Where was the hulk? Well, if the 1904 excavations did actually find it, then it was probably under 52-54 Customs Street East, corner of Customs Street East and Britomart Place. There'a a large building there now -- I did hear they found bits of old wharf pilings when they dug down for the Britomart train station (just to the north of that site), but I don't recall them finding large boats ...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Bad Luck Saga of the Schooner Orpheus (1875 -1907)

The Orpheus was an ill fated schooner with a history of bad luck and deaths to go with it. She started life from the ship building yards of Henderson and Spraggon at Smales Point in Auckland, New Zealand. Built in 1875 she was launched from her builder's yard on the night of 8 March 1875 to begin her maiden voyage under the ownership of Schapp & Ansenne. Her maritime career however would be full of losses of life and two sinkings. I've followed her journey through the papers of the past. Sadly her journey ended in 1907 with the tragedy of her second and final sinking off the coast of Western Australia.

A new schooner was successfully launched from the yard of Messrs. Henderson and Spraggon, at high-water last night. She was built to the order of Mr. James Ansenne, of the name of Schapp and Ansenne, and is of the following dimensions :— Length of keel,63 feet beam, 19 feet ; depth of hold, 7 feet 4 inch. ; registered tonnage, 56 ; builders measurement, 165 tons. She was named the Orpheus.

- Daily Southern Cross 9 March 1875

The new schooner Orpheus cleared for Napier this afternoon with a cargo of timber, shipped by Mr. D. H. McKenzie.

- Auckland Star 25 March 1875


[Per Press Telegram Agency]. This day. The Orpheus, schooner, from Mercury Bay for Napier, put in here yesterday through stress of weather.

- Auckland Star 26 April 1875

The first death came with the drowning of Seaman Thomas Blair when he was washed overboard in June of 1875.

NAPIER. A Seaman Drowned Monday Evening.

Monday Evening. Thomas Bair, a seaman, has been washed overboard from the Auckland schooner, Orpheus, and drowned.

- Waikato Times 15 June 1875

In 1882 the second loss of life came with the captain one William Doughty again being washed overboard during a fierce gale near Bank Peninsula in March of that year.


Captain Doughty Washed Overboard.

Mr Player, agent for Schappe and Ansenne's estate, has received a telegram from Dunedin conveying the mournful intelligence that Captain Doughty, master of the Auckland schooner Orpheus, was lost overboard during a gale on the 14th inst.

The schooner arrived at Dunedin to-day. No further particulars are yet to hand. The Orpheus left this port in ballast about a month ago, proceeded to the Thames and loaded with timber, for Dunedin. While on her way thither she had most likely been caught In one of the late terrible gales which have been experienced down the coast, and her captain while endeavouring to save his vessel, lost his own life.

Captain Doughty is one of Auckland's oldest coasting captains, having been engaged in that capacity for the past thirty years. During that time he has been most fortunate, and until the present lamentable occurrence, has never experienced & mishap of any kind. He was a first-class seaman, and was known to all as a thorough gentleman.

Many Auckland residents will regret his loss, but none more so than his wife and family of five children, who reside in Auckland. To them the intelligence of the drowning of their husband and father will be a heavy blow, and one which will be long and severely mourned.

- Auckland Star 20 March 1882


[United Press Association.]

Dunedin, March 20. Win. Doughty, master of the schooner Orpheus, timber laden, from the Thames, and washed overboard off Banks' Peninsula on the morning of the 13th and drowned. He leaves a wife and four children at Newtown, Auckland.

- Grey River Argus 21 March 1882


(Otago Daily Times, March 22nd.)

An inquiry into the circumstances under which William Doughty, the master of the schooner Orpheus, was lost overboard on the morning of the 20th March, was held before Mr Hackworth (Collector of Customs) yesterday morning . The following evidence was taken : — Thomas Walsh (the mate of the schooner) deposed : The schooner Orpheus is 52 tons register, and belongs to James Ansenne. We sailed from the Thames on the 3rd of March, bound for Dunedin.

Nothing particular occurred until we reached the neighborhood of Banks Peninsula, on the evening of the 13th inst. The wind was then blowing from the north-east, and the vessel was going about five knots before the wind. I took the wheel at 8 o'clock, and kept it until midnight, when the captain came to relieve me.

The weather at that time was thickening. The captain gave orders to take in two reefs in the mainsail, and to jibe the ship. After jibing we steered S.W. by S. Seeing that everything was clear, and the captain not requiring me up to do any more, I went below at 20 minutes to 1. At 10 minutes to 1 I had occasion to go on deck, and as I was passing forward I saw that the jib was hauled down, and I also saw the captain out on the boom making the jib fast. I went into the lee rigging, and whilst there I heard a loud shout aft. The cook, who was at the wheel, called out " Man overboard."

I ran aft, and then ran forward again, and called the other man, telling him that the captain was overboard. Then I lot go all the gear belonging to a squaresail which we had set at the time, thinking it would come down. It did not come down, but got flat aback and around the rigging, and the vessel became unmanageable for some time. It took us some 15 to 20 minutes to get her clear. There were three of us working at it to get the sail clear. After that we tacked to and fro for two hours.

We could see nothing of the man overboard. It was very dark and thick. We could not see or hear anything of the captain. Sometimes we laid the vessel to the wind. There was a six-knot breeze and a high sea from the north-east. We had a boat on board (a double-bowed boat), but did not use it. We might have got it out in time, but there was too much sea on for us to launch it. The boat was lashed across the main hatchway. There were no lifebuoys on board. We did not throw anything overboard. There was nothing we thought of at the time; but we had a deck-load of timber, and I thought afterwards we might have thrown some of it over. We must have got two miles away before the vessel became manageable. The master's name was William Doughty. He held a certificate of service " Home trade." He was between 50 and 60 years of age, and was a native of Whitby, England. He was married in Auckland, and leaves a wife and four children there.

After two hours, we stood in to the land. We could not see the land on account of it being so foggy. We then hove the vessel to, and lay that way for three days — until the 17th, when we ran the vessel to the N.W. On the night of the 17th, about 9.30, we made Cape Saunders light — south of it; then we had clear weather till we arrived in port. We got into Port Chalmers on Sunday, 10th. There were no means of getting the sail clear quicker than we did. I went aloft to clear the sail, and tried to roll it so that it would hold loss wind, and the two men on deck were pulling at it. We lost no time. The captain was very sober. There was no one on board who drank, and the captain had been an abstainer for three or four years. If the squaresail had not been set, we should have had a better chance of picking the man up. I think the captain must have gone under the vessel, as I did not hear him cry until he was aft. We did not keep the vowel away to get the squaresail down, because the vessel would not answer her helm. George Erse (an A.B. on board the schooner Orpheus) gave corroborative evidence, and also stated that on the following morning ho noticed that the gasket was carried away, not a particle being left. He thought that upon the gasket broke the captain must have gone under the vessel. Alfred Melgren, the cook, also gave corroborative testimony. This was all the evidence, and the inquiry being a preliminary one, it therefore closed at this stage, the evidence will be forwarded to the proper quarter.

- Timaru Herald 23 March 1882

By 1897 we see the Orpheus off the coast of Western Australia ending up stranded at the Albrolhos Islands in the Indian Ocean. She became a total loss but was later sold at auction, then refloated several months later. With the repair came a new name "Harriet Constance'



GERALDTON, February 7.

By the lighter lone, which arrived from the Abrolhos on Saturday night, intelligence reached Geraldton that the schooner Orpheus was hard and fast between two reefs at the islands. The Orpheus left the Bay on Thursday to load guano for Bunbury. Reaching the Abrolhos the same night, she anchored out about a mile and a half from the Woody Island passage. The next morning, getting under weigh, she drifted between the two reefs. The efforts so far to extricate the vessel have been unavailing. It is feared that the schooner will be in grave danger should southerly wind spring up before she can kedge out.

- The West Australian 8 February 1897



Geraldton, February 14.

Captain Mackenzie and crew of the schooner Orpheus arrived at Geraldton , from the Abrolhos Islands on Friday night. The captain reports that the vessel is a total wreck and is rapidly going to pieces. He states that Mr. Beddoes, of Messrs. Broadhurst, McNeil and Co., was in charge of the schooner. At 9.30 p.m. on the 4th inst. they anchored about half a mile from Woody Island in two fathoms of water.

Getting under weigh the next morning the anchors dragged. The schooner dropped suddenly into a twelve fathom hole, and before she could be checked was on the reef. Every endeavour was made, under Mr.Beddoes' directions, to take her off, but without success. On the night of the 9th inst. she filled with water, and was abandoned, lying on the reef with the bottom out. The vessel was not insured.

Captain McKenzie leaves again to-night for the Abrolhos Islands in the fishing boat Defiance to try to save a portion of the stores and gear. He complains that Messrs. Broadhurst, McNeil and Co. have refused to render him any assistance.

An inquiry will probably be held, at Geraldton concerning the wreck.

- The West Australian 15 February 1897


Cable advice has been received by Mr. J. Ansenne, of this city, stating that the Auckland schooner Orpheus is a total wreck near Houtman Islands, Western Australia. The Orpheus is a wooden schooner of 53 tons register, built in 1875 at Auckland, and owned by Messrs John Ansenne and others, of this city.

- Auckland Star 15 February 1897

PERTH, February 22.

Captain McKenzie, of the wrecked schooner Orpheus, has returned from Abrolhos Island to Geraldton and reports that he was successful in getting off most of the gear and cargo from the abandoned vessel

- The Advertiser 23 February 1897


The wrecked schooner Orpheus was sold by auction at Geraldton on Saturday. Mr. H. S, Ainsworth acted as auctioneer, and the vessel was quickly knocked down to Mr. F. C. Broadhurst for £40.

- Western Mail 5 March 1897


The schooner Orpheus arrived from Fremantle reports the latest issue of the Geraldton Express on Saturday morning.

Since she stranded on the Abrolhos, some nine months ago, the schooner was floated successfully by Messrs Broadhurst, MacNeil and Co , and repaired as required, when she was sent to Fremantle with a cargo of guano, in charge of Mr Neil Johnson, who has been so well and favourably known at this port as sailing; the lone out of Geraldton.

The vessel, after discharge, was submitted to Lloyds' Surveyor (Captain Webster) for examination, and it will be satisfactory to shippers to learn that he found the schooner in excellent condition, and has duly certified her as fit to carry dry and perishable cargoes on the coast of Western Australia.

The schooner's port of registry has been changed from Auckland, N Z, to Fremantle, so that she is now a local boat, and as soon as the necessary permission of the Board of Trade has been obtained, the name will be changed to the Harriet Constance.

While at Fremantle, Mr Johnson went up for examination before the Harbour Board, and duly passed for a master's certificate for Western Australia.

As the vessel is a smart one, and Captain Johnson can be relied upon for quick despatch, we trust Gerald ton merchants will give him ever encouragement.

She will trade principally between the Abrolhos, Geraldton, Dongarra, Fremantle and the southern ports.

The following is the Marine Surveyors report as to the present condition of the Orpheus

September 21

This is to certify that I have this day surveyed the schooner Orpheus, now lying at Fremantle, with no cargo on hoard, and the ballast shifted and timber boards taken up.

On examination I find the above vessel in good order, and showing no defects in hull She also has a good and sufficient equipment I consider her to he fit to carry a dry and perishable cargo in the coasting trade of Western Australia.

W.M. Webster, Marine Surveyor to Messrs Broadhurst and MacNeil, Perth, Western Australia. The Fremantle agents for the vessel are Messrs Jas Lilly and Co, and the Geraldton agents Messrs Burns, Philip and Co, Ltd.

- Western Australian 9 October 1897

In 1907 fears came for the Harriet Constance's safety. She had not shown up at her intended port of destination at Cossack. Despite many searches the vessel was never found - until three years later in 1910 when a report came that the wreck of the Harriet Constance had been found at Stewart Island off the North West of the Australian Coastline. All hands were lost.


The schooner Harriet Constance, 100 tons, Captain John Andersen, which sailed from Fortescue for Cossack on March 8, has not since been heard of and grave fears are entertained by the owners, Messrs Denny Bros. and Lynn, for her safety. Some ten days ago a message was rcceived at Fremantle to the effect that the schooner had arrived safely at Cossack, but it subsequentlyv transpired that this referred to another small coasting schooner. The Harriet Constance had a full cargo of general merchandise from Fremantle which port she left on Monday morning, February 18.

The mate is named Andrew Holm and is a brother in-law of Captain Andersen, whose wife and family reside in East Fremantle. The mate is also married his wife residing in Norway. He has no children.

Three other men constituted the crew, but their names are not known at present, as the articles were on board the ship. The Harriet Constance was one of the best known schooners on the coast, and within the last year was completely overhauled, and in leaving Freemantle was thoroughly well found. The belief is that she was caught in the willy-willy that did such damage to shipping on the north-west coast last month.

The owners have ordered the fullest inquiries and searches to be made for the missing vessel, but up to the present without success. In the ordinary course, of things the Harriet Constance should have arrived at Cossack within 48 hours of leaving Fortescue. The Harriet Constance was in Auckland, New Zealand. in 1875. The vessel, which was valued at £1.000, was uninsured.

- The West Australian 10 April 1907


Mr. R. Lynn. of Denny Bros. and Lynn. owners of the missing schooner Harriet Constance, stated yesterday that he had telegraphed to the Commissioner of Police asking him to send the police cutter out from Cossack to make a more complete search of the Montebello and Barron Islands to see if any discovery could be made which would explain the disappearance of the Harriet Constance. The Commissioner replied that he had immediately instructed the police at Cossack to act in conformity with Mr. Lynn's wishes.

- West Australian 13 April 1907




PERTH, December 4.

The wreck of the schooner Harriet Constance, which had been three years missing, has been found on Stewart Island, on the North-west coast. The vessel sailed from Fortescue for Cossack early in 1907, and was not again heard of.

- Brisbane Courier 5 December 1910