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The 'ADAMANT' London to Bluff 1875

The Southland Times, Friday, December 3, 1875, P2C2

The long looked for Adamant was signalled Wednesday afternoon. The harbourmaster boarded her in the straits. The wind failing, the vessel was unable to reach the usual shoreage grounds, and Pilot Smith was left in charge for the night, Captain Thomson returning to the shore.

We have learned that there were six deaths during the passage, one woman three children and the master of the ship, Captain Birch, who died six weeks before sighting the Bluff. On arrival of the Express, due tomorrow, she will be engaged to tow the Adamant into port. As the vessel has not been passed by the health officer, we are unable to give particulars of her voyage out.

The Adamant was an old vessel when bringing immigrants to New Zealand. She was an iron barque of 815 tons, built in 1858, and later purchased by the Shaw Savill Co. She made nine voyages to New Zealand, two of these were to Bluff in 1875, in the command of Captain Highman, and 1882 in the command of Captain Tonkin. Her first voyage though was to Lyttelton in 1873.

The most remarkable and eventful passage out by the Adamant was in 1875. She sailed from Gravesend on 14 July in command of Captain Birch. The report published in the Invercargill paper stated that Captain Burch was much given to a drink. He kept the ship sailing about the coast of Brazil for three weeks, and on 17 September, at 10 o’clock, ran her on a sand bank within hail of the shore, so close that the natives waded out and conversed with those on board. The barque was refloated within a couple of hours. Eventually the Chief Officer, Mr Tupman Highman, took over command. About six weeks before the vessel arrived at the Bluff Captain Birch died, and was buried at sea. After her long passage of 144 days the provisions were almost exhausted. The Adamant landed 271 immigrants at the Bluff.

Another account of this remarkable passage was that of Mr Nathaniel Ayling who settled at Invercargill with his family of eight in 1875. “After crossing the Line the Adamant lost the trade winds, and for weeks no headway was made, and finally the vessel grounded on the Brazilian coast. After the vessel was floated off, the Line was recrossed and the trade winds picked up, and from that time good progress was made. Mrs Ayling died a week before the captain.

Below is the list of passengers for the Adamant.


List of Passengers from Gravesend to Bluff on ship ADAMANT Departed Gravesend 14th July 1875, Arrived Bluff Friday December 2nd, 1875.

NAME OCCUPATION AGE FROM ACCOMODATION Alfred JOHNSON labourer 26 ESS SMQ Peter KENAN farm labourer 24 DOW SMQ Micheal KELLY farmer 24 CLA SMQ Micheal KELLY farm labourer 21 CLA SMQ Thomas KELLY farm labourer 20 CLA SMQ Edward KEENAN farm labourer 22 DOW SMQ Andrew LOWRY farm labourer 18 DOW SMQ Dugald LIVINGSTONE shepherd 22 ARL SMQ John LOGAN bootmaker 34 LDY SMQ Bernard McGINN farm labourer 34 TYR SMQ Robert HORRIS carpenter 23 HAN SMQ James MAHER shoemaker 23 TIP SMQ Alex McLENNAN saddler 26 RSS SMQ Charles McLACHLAN navy 33 RFW SMQ John McCANDLESS gardner 20 DRY SMQ Daniel McCOY farm labourer 22 TYR SMQ Richard PLAW farm labourer 24 KEN SMQ Jos. E. PERRY farm labourer 23 DEV SMQ S, Henry RICHARDS farm labourer 18 KEN SMQ John RODERICK farm labourer 32 CGN SMQ Robert ROBERTSON ploughman 24 DFS SMQ Charles RODAN ploughman 21 DON SMQ James SMALL farm labourer 23 DOW SMQ John J.S. THORN wagon maker 20 WAR SMQ Charlotte A. THORN servent 27 WAR SWQ Charles SIMMONS miner 18 KEN SMQ Phillip WALSH farm labourer 19 COR SMQ Thomas BROWN bricklayer 29 LAN SMQ John BERGIN farm labourer 23 QCO SMQ Alfred GILBERT chair maker 20 WAR SMQ John JAMES farm labourer 18 GLA SMQ George JAFFRAY ploughman 23 ABD SMQ Thomas MULLANE farm labourer 21 COR SMQ Patrick O'CONNELL farm labourer 21 COR SMQ John O'DWYER farm labourer 24 CLA SMQ Timothy SULLIVAN farm labourer 22 TIP SMQ Hugh WALKER farm labourer 25 DNB SMQ William SHAND farm labourer 20 ABD SMQ Stephen GOLDSWORTHY labour 23 CON SMQ John BEER labourer 18 WIL SMQ Dennis HESSION labourer 26 GAL SMQ John FORD labourer 27 GAL SMQ Thomas JOYCE labourer 28 GAL SMQ William PASCO 17 SRY SMQ Mary DUNPHY milliner 23 KIK SWQ Alice FIELD housemaid 17 JSY SWQ Ellen HALL servent 22 DOW SWQ Margaret IRWIN servent 25 DRY SWQ Elizabeth IRWIN servent 28 DRY SWQ Elizabeth MINERS servent 33 CON SWQ Agnes McILROY servent 21 DOW SWQ Marie QUINLIVAN servent 19 CLA SWQ Emma BUCKINHAM servent 26 WLS SWQ Mary A. STROUD cook 21 BKM SWQ Johanna O'CONNOR servent 16 LIM SWQ Sarah O'CONNER servent 20 LIM SWQ Mary O'CONNER servent 18 LIM SWQ Sarah QUIRK servent 19 COR SWQ

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