Record of the voyage of the Strathallan
from a diary kept by J. T. Morris, who did not disembark at Timaru but returned there from Lyttelton and became a popular figure in the town.
12. Started at last. Man overboard.
13. Went ashore at Gravesend with E . Mustered on the poop, and was made captain of No. 27 mess. Prayer meetings on board.
14. Towed down to the Nore. Cast anchor off Ramsgate. Weighed again at 5 p.m. Saw the comet.
15. Off Deal. Up anchor again 3 a.m. Wet foggy morning. Poor grub. Anchored again at 12 a.m., Deal. Preserved meat and potatoes. Plenty of bumboats alongside. Porpoises. French coast in sight. Fine day. Made sail at 8 p.m. Passed Foreland.
16. Beachy Head at 7 a.m. Isle of Wight in the evening. Serving out stores all day.
17. French coast in the morning. Off Cape la Hogue. All hands making puddings. Dark wintry night. Sea rising. Ship going well.
18. Sea higher. Ship going well. Commenced serving out water. ' Bay of Biscay 0! ' Sick. Pitch and toss. Heavy sea all night. All in motion.
19. Sea as high as the maintop. Rain and cold. Much sickness on board. Pig fell down the main hatch. Chaffinch followed us from Beechy Head. Through the Bay. All right again.
20. Ship going well. Studding sails set. Shoals of porpoises.
21. Becalmed all day. Starling came on board, and a hawk. Several whales about the ship. Another pig down the main hatch.
22. Dead calm still. A woman died this morning. Funeral at half-past 4. Stiff breeze all night.
23. Puffy breeze all the morning, then calm. Ship's newspaper read after dinner.
24 (Sunday). Breeze during the morning. Passed the Joshua and Mary of London. A child died this afternoon.
25. Funeral this morning. Dull heavy weather. Continually close hauled. 27.27 lat. today.
26. Close hauled. No progress. Heavy sea all last night, broke the cabin windows. Very heavy weather; shipping a great deal of water.
27. Fine morning. Becalmed, looking out for the Trades. A song below at night till 12. Trades expected.
28. Fag end of the trade winds. Trades at last! First warmth of sun.
29. Favourable. Sun warmer, light wind.
30. Similar weather.
31 (Sunday). First fine Sunday. Sun warm; sea smooth; wind fair. Dinner and tea on the forecastle. Very pleasant day altogether.
1. Fine day. Wrote for minister. Steward and boy fought. Our steward and boy came sleeping with us.
2. Fine day. Flying fish seen, also waterspout. Concert on deck in the evening.
3 and 4. Light winds. No progress.
5. The Trades at last, at 2 in the afternoon. Going well. Saw flying fish.
6. Going well. Lots of flying fish. Dance on deck in the evening.
7 (Sunday). Splendid weather. Flying fish came on the poop. Several nautilus seen. Ship very lousy. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon passed the Pierre la Grande of Dunkeyen from Bordeaux for the Brazils.
8. No sun. Fine breeze. Ship going well. Aired bedding. Dance on deck.
9. All well. Squall of wind and rain. Much lightning at night.
10. Wet. Buckley and Tobin fought. Becalmed all day. Shoal of fish blowing alongside after dark.
11. Becalmed. A large ship in sight all day and yesterday. Lunar rainbow at 8 o'clock at night. Breaking out stores all day - the hottest job that I ever had. Becalmed all day. The ship still in sight. A squall of wind and rain at 7 p.m. and then becalmed again. Dreadful rain all night; the ship flooded.
13. The same sort of weather. The ship in sight still. Fish jumping all round. Becalmed nearly all day. Rain at intervals.
14. Becalmed still. Ship still in sight. Very hot. Sharks' fins in sight. A shark came on the port side and went away aft, and after smelling the bait went away ahead. The first mate got down on the guys of the martingale, and dropping the bait the shark presently came back and took it. Landed it on the main deck and cut it up. It proved to be about a year old.
15. Shark for breakfast fried in butter. Shark for tea stewed in vinegar. Very light winds all day. Ship still in sight. Breeze in the evening.
16. Pickles sent to prison for 12 hours. The 30th day since we saw land. Ship going better. Leaping and games on deck. Lay on forecastle at night till rain caused a retreat.
17. Ship going well at last. Sailing close-hauled. Dancing and singing at night. South-east trades.
18. Ship going well. School of whales at 2 in the afternoon. Crossed the Line between 2 and 3. Neptune came on board in the evening. Pumps rigged; all hands pumped on. Plenty of grog in forecastle with sailors; all singing and jolly.
19. Ship going well. Ten knots an hour. Fine day and all well.
20. Mrs Kohn's child died this morning. Funeral at half-past 4. A ship right ahead of us at half-past 11 in the morning. We are in chase of her.
21. Ship still ahead, but we have gained a few miles on her by noon. Fore stun'sail set and main top-gallant. Going from 10 to 12 knots.
22. Lost the ship in the dark last night, after chasing her between four and five hundred miles.
23. Mrs Padget had a child at 3 this morning. Abreast of St Helena at mid-day. Between 15 and 16 south lat.
24. 4 doz. shirts, 18 pairs of trousers, etc., etc., lost. A general search among the boxes, but no result. 20 degree south at 12. Looking out all night for Trinidad.
25. Large shark swimming round the ship. Stiff breeze.
26. Blowing stiff all the evening and night. Clewed up the royals, etc. First mate knocked a cabin passenger down on the poop.
27. Strong breeze. Gus B- washed shirts, etc., and the wind blew them all to pieces.
28. Fine weather.
29. Two ships in sight, the first since the 21st. Becalmed all day. Whales blowing about the ship. Five mile walking match on the poop.
30. The Julia, 52 days out from Callao for Liverpool and Cork, in sight this morning. At 8 a.m. the ship 10 miles off. A boat put off and came alongside a little after 10. Left again a little after 12, with letters and some tar, twine, etc. Becalmed all day, the sea as smooth as a sheet of glass. Saw a large sun fish. About the hottest day we have had.
1. Gentle wind. Rather cooler. Going from four to five knots with the breeze right aft. Shoal of porpoises. The first mate tried to harpoon one but failed. In the latitude of the Cape at last.
2. Fresh breeze on the starboard quarter. Ship going 9 to 11 knots. The lacing rope of the fore-topmast-staysails carried away. 12 o'clock: 36 deg. lat. S., 27 deg. long. W. Several large albatrosses in sight.
3. Albatrosses, Cape pigeons, etc., in sight. Fishing for them. No go. Becalmed all the morning. The King Phillip, of London, for Bombay with between five and six hundred troops, which was in sight all day yesterday, came alongside of us in the afternoon and a race ensued, but she left us before dark. The men cheered us for several hours, and the bugler played ' Home Sweet Home ', and ' Cheer Boys, Cheer '. Stun'sails below and aloft, but she left us behind. She sailed three days before us.
4. Stiff breeze. Plenty of sail on. Ship going before the wind from 10 up to 13 knots. The water rising under the bows like a great plume of white feathers. Main-top-gallant yard-arm carried away.
5. Strong gale, beginning last night at about 10. At twelve the rolling yard of the main-topsail broke off at the end, the whole ship giving a tremendous lurch, and throwing boxes, pots, etc., in every direction. At 7 in the morning while hauling in the haulyards on the poop we shipped a sea up the whole of the starboard side, the ship lying right over on the water, carrying away everything loose on deck, and flooding the whole of the 'tween decks a foot deep in water. Took in sail and drove before it, the wind blowing fearfully and the sea rolling in perfect mountains. Ship rolling frightfully, and shipping water every few moments. About 8 it began to abate and we were again enabled to set the foresail, and thank God the worst of it was over. Driven by it 270 miles, going sometimes nearly 13 knots.
6. Heavy sea still rolling, but not so much wind. Went below to get things to rights in the hold. All in a mess among the stores. Shooting albatross on the poop in the afternoon. Going over 12 knots all the evening. Splendid sailing.
7. Fine morning. Ship all right. Sighted the Island of St Antonio in the night. Concert at night and grand chorus in bed.
8. Wet morning. Ship went as high as 13 knots at some time during the past night. Said to have run 324 miles yesterday in the 24 hours. Doubtful. Started a new band in the evening. Ship rolling very much. About the longitude of the Cape and about 45 south.
9. Light winds. Ship rolling dreadfully. Sailor Jack knocked the boatswain down. Single men's band on deck in the evening. Fight between Clark and Jim the sailor.
10. The ship still rolling dreadfully. Wind gradually falling. Supposed to be 6,500 miles from port yesterday morning.
11. Mrs Bishop's child died last night. The cabin steward went into the hospital on Thursday. Row between the captain and boatswain; between the boatswain and little Jimmy the sailor and general quarrelling. Child buried between 12 and 1. Heavy seas during the service. Dreadful weather all day till midnight, then it gradually broke off. The second stormy day. Thank God for its abatement.
12 (Sunday). Fine day with good breeze. Ship going well. Sermon on the forecastle ladder.
13. Stiff breeze. Ship going up to 14 knots, over 300 miles in the day. The best sailing since we started.
14. Another day's fine sailing. Hospital cleared out.
15. Calm gentle wind. Shoal of porpoises alongside. Mrs Abbott's child died at 9 p.m. Ship close hauled; right over on her side. Strong wind. 10 p.m., 13 1/2 knots.
17. Awful weather all night, the sea breaking right up the rigging. Rain in the morning. Wet through with hauling ropes on deck. The first mate going to put Cameron the sailor in irons.
18. Wind right aft. Ship rolling heavily all day. Patches of sea weed floating past all day. Porpoises about.
19 (Sunday). Fine morning. Ship going well. Blackfish about the ship. Cold, rain and snow. Look out for land. Kerguelen's Land (or Crozets) half-past three on the starboard side. There is a doubt as to which it is. Heavy squalls of wind and rain from E. by N. Hard work to keep the ship off. Waves washing over her and our side under water. Flying jib carried away, off the rocks. Lot of ducks flew off the island; ragged looking fellows.
20. Getting out a new flying jib. Starboard fore stun'sail boom carried away. Rigged the main ditto in its place. More sea weed. Sleep on the forecastle. Looking out for more land.
21. The longest day with us. Fine morning, then storm of snow and hail. The boom rigged yesterday snapped off in the middle. Mended concertina. Band again.
22. A barrel of flour and box of raisins given to the passengers for their Christmas box on the quarterdeck. Ship going well.
23. Ship going splendidly, and from 10 to above 14 knots an hour. 72 east at midday.
24. Another stormy day. Shipping water every moment. One sea filled the , whole belly of the mainsail and then plumped down the main hatchway. Mr. Double's child died this afternoon and was buried directly afterwards. Wind fell off about 8 p.m. Ship rolling fearfully. Southern lights, or Aurora Australis very plain after dark.
25 (Saturday, Christmas Day). Fine day. Splendid weather. Shiny, cool and pleasant. Ship going well. Two children christened this morning. One called William Strathallan Padget and the other Strathallan Hayes. Plenty of plum duffs on board. Sailors all drunk and fighting. Blue murder. Hurrah!
26 (Sunday). Queer. No how. All wrong. Too soon after Christmas.
27. Fine morning. Another stun'sail boom carried away during last night Ship rolling very heavily all night and this morning. Snow at midday. Another boom carried away this afternoon. Rough weather. Heavy hail and snow at intervals during the night. Manchester's phot. stolen.
28. Snow this morning. Bitter cold. More heavy snow and hail. The boatswain groggy.
29. Clearing out under the forecastle. Snow and cold.
30. Nearly a calm. Curious piece of sea weed floated past. Good breeze in evening and all night.
31. Ship going tremendously all day. Half-past 6 p.m. main-topmast stun'sail carried away. The last day of the old year. At midnight the ship's bells rang for a quarter of an hour, after which a concert of pots and pans kept up a chorus until the captain brought out the rum bottle. Heavy sea. Water coming on the drummer.
1st, 1859. Strong wind all day. Sea rising. Mrs Brightmore, the mad woman brought down to the single men's hospital at night. Mutiny and rebellion. ladder taken down and the devil to pay.
2 (Sunday). Another stormy day. Wind blowing, sea rolling. Main topgallant sheet chain carried away. Child died this afternoon. Wind fell about 8 p.m. Ship rolling all night.
3. Beautiful morning. Sunshine. Smooth sea. Very little wind. Child buried this morning. All hands sorting out boxes for Timaru.
4. Light wind all day. Row between old Pickles and young Everett.
5. Wakeful last night. Went on deck. Curious appearances like balls of fire floating past every moment in the dark. Breeze all day.
6. Dreadfully rough day. The wind nearly ahead. The sea breaking over every moment from 9 in the morning until 4 in the morning of the 7th. Mrs Brightmore died in the afternoon, and was buried directly afterwards. Land birds about the ship. Wet through in the afternoon from two seas that came on board.
7. Almost a dead calm. Serving out stores. Half the usual quantity for those going to Timaru.
8. Both anchor chains up and bent on. The steward knocked off by the captain's orders one day this week. Pumping ship in the evening.
9 (Sunday). Light winds. Very little progress. Row between B. and R. R. tried to cut B. down with a scraper. A watch kept below all night for fear of R. assaulting B. in his sleep.
10. Light wind. The ship going no how. The cat-fall hove ready for the anchors. Studding-sail booms all taken in. Looking out for the land. Breeze right ahead. Seven points off her course. A shoal of large fish in sight extending for more than ten miles, blowing every moment. No land in sight yet.
11. Nearly a head wind with heavy fog. No seeing above half a mile. Half week's allowance of rations for Timaru people. Caught a large mohawk, as large as a fine goose, and turned it loose on deck. Got the anchors over the side and got more chain up. Put the ship about at 8 p.m.
12. Cold, misty, wet morning. Struck the bell at 6 a.m. All hands looking out for land. Faint appearance of land at different times during the day. Wind falling, dead calm in the evening.
13. Studding sails set again. Land on the port bow about 11 a.m., between 30 and 40 miles distant. NEW ZEALAND! 35 miles from land at noon. 2 p.m., mist and light rain, land down again. 3 p.m., chains of high mountains on the port bow. Land continually rising ahead. 4 p.m., more very high mountains just rising. Long, being made fast in the fore rigging, drew his knife and threatened to stab little Jimmy the sailor.
14. Ten thousand mountains towering far above the clouds, some of them covered with eternal snow, but all barren and desolate, not a sign of human being or human works. Thousands of little red lobsters the size of shrimps, and jelly star fish. One of each caught. Gnats, butterflies, and dragonflies flying about at 9 a.m. All the studding sails set at night. 6 a.m., sailing under closereefed fore and main topsails and standing jib. Half-past eight, more sail again. Half-past ten, made signal for a pilot. More mountains, the high ones crowned with snow. A point ahead which we are trying to round. Heavy tide running in-shore. Our cake stolen.
TIMARU AT LAST! Five houses in sight. A boat comes off with six men. They come on board and the boat is smashed against the side. Spanish Joe, the sailor, gets a ducking in slinging the boat for lifting. Shoals of porpoises round the ship. Riding with one anchor and a gale of wind blowing. Sent down all the royal yards. No accommodation for the immigrants A queer look out! The water since the morning of the 12th of a brilliant green. Several of the immigrants engaged. One short ale is 2s 6d per bottle, rum 9d a glass, tobacco 4s 6d a pound, a sheep for £1 or £1 5s.
15. The wind took off in the night and freshened again this morning. Another boat came alongside last night at 12 with seven men to look after the others. Very cold wind. Ship rolling all day in the ground swell. Served out provisions today for full week for Lyttelton; two days for Timaru. Boat left at half-past 4 p.m.
16 (Sunday). Boat came alongside at 6 a.m. with seven men, bringing off a live sheep, a leg of mutton and some grog. Hove the anchor chain straight up and down before 8 a.m. Old Jimmy pitched into the black cook and the boatswain followed suit. All in confusion. Beautiful morning, warm sun. Made sail and stood further in and anchored in 9 fathoms. The boatswain went on to the poop and made a noise and got put into irons. Had fresh mutton for dinner in the forecastle. Radishes and new potatoes brought on board.
Commenced landing passengers.
17. Finished landing passengers.
This description of the arrival was written by J. A. Young who afterwards lived at Winchester:
' We arrived off Timaru on January 14th, 1859, and lay off a good distance from the shore. The first persons to come on board were Mr. Woollcombe, Captain Cain, and old Sam Williams. Their boat was made fast so that it got under the stern of our ship and was broken. Mr. Woollcombe came into the cabin and asked me where the captain was. I called the captain and he brought out his papers. I wondered who this man was. I saw another (Captain Cain this was) standing outside, and I went and asked him who the man inside was, and he said it was the Resident Magistrate. Well, I thought to myself, if that is the Resident Magistrate, we have come to a queer place. It was his dress that amused me. He wore a blue serge jumper, moleskin trousers tied at the knee and turned up at the bottom, and heavy Cookham boots yellow to the top with clay. I learned afterwards that he had been building a cob whare, and had been puddling the clay by tramping it.
The next boat brought two sheep for the cabin from Mr Rhodes. . . . There were plenty of vegetables for those who landed on the first day. Myself, wife and two children landed by the last boat but one, and we found that those who had landed before us had had the best of the good things provided. Strong Work Morrison was the steer-oarsman of the boat we came ashore in. As soon as we landed we looked for quarters and found that the only place unoccupied was Mr Rhodes's shed for storing wool. I went up two or three tiers of bales, and selected the top of two bales. We fixed up a screen of shawls and blankets and made ourselves as comfortable as we could. As soon as a stir was made next morning I looked over the top of our screen at the scene below. What a sight! There were men in from the bush to welcome us, with buckets of port wine and rum, and they were ladling it out in pannikins to anyone who would partake of it.'
' There were only four or five houses in the place, which was all covered with native tussock. Sam Williams had an accommodation house on the beach, near the wool shed, and they were then adding to a lean-to which had a licence (which is now the Royal Hotel) .. . . Captain Cain was living in a cob house on the hillside, where Turnbull and Co.'s brick store is, at the back of Mee's office. Dr Butler had a small one-roomed house at the back of what is now the Crown Hotel.'
From "South Canterbury - A record of Settlement" by O.A.Gillespie 1958
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