From White Wings Vol 1
Very few passengers of the many hundreds who came out on the Bebington have a good word to say about her. In addition to being one of the slowest ships afloat in the early days, she was constantly dogged by ill-fortune.
The Bebington, a ship of 924 tons was built in 1859 and later purchased by the Shaw Savill Company. She was spoken of as 'an old tub' by many of the settlers who arrived by her. To say the least of it, conditions aboard were rough.
One Settler reports; After leaving Gravesend on 14 Feb 1876 we had very good weather and light winds and everything promised a pleasant trip, but the night after sailing we had a collision with another ship and the Bebington had a big hole ripped in her bows. Everyone thought she was sinking but after a while the officers got things quietened down and the ship headed for Portsmouth for repairs. It took 10 days to ready her for sea again. While the carpenters were busy the passengers were kept aboard and allowed ashore in relays.
They wereonly a few days out of Portsmouth when typhoid and typhus broke out amongst the immigrants. Then food, water and coals ran short. After passing Cape of Good Hope, Captain Holdrich decided to put into Port Elizabeth, Algoa Bay for fresh supplies. So short were they of fuel that the day they made the Bay the crew had to saw up some spars on deck to keep the condensers going.
The rest of the run was fairly good and Auckland reached on 15 July 1876 and met at Rangitoto Reef by a Health officer and because there was Typhoid and 67 cases of measles aboard she was sent to quarrantine at Motuihi, where she remained for 5 weeks.
During the voyage from England there was no less than 16 deaths and the passage was generally an unlucky one.
She made another voyage to NZ in 1879 to Wellington
During the voyage to the Bebington to Napier in 1874 some of the crew were aloft on one of the yardarms. One of their number when spoken to, made no reply. Upon examination it was found that he was clinging to the spar and was quite dead. The ship put into Dartmouth on 2 Aug to repair a condnenser. On 29 October suffered severe gales and a heavy sea broke on board injuring two of the sailors at the wheel and causing damage to the ship.
She had another stormy passage to Lyttelton in 1884. Shortly after sailing in February she suffered serious damage to the steering gear in heavy gales. With great difficulty a jury wheel was rigged so she could proceed. In the gale some cases of acid broke adrift and had to be jettisoned. The cabins were flooded with water and damage throughout.