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The Jessie Readman..........

Taken from White Wings Vol 1.

The Jessie Readman, a sister ship to the Christian McCauseland, would have completed her 23rd voyage out and home, but for the disaster that befell her in 1893, when homeward bound from New Zealand.

She was an iron ship of 962 tons, built by Scott of Greenock for Patrick Henderson, and later sailed under the Shaw Savill flag. She was a speedy and comfortable ship and brought many thousands of immigrants to the Dominion.

Captain Barton, who wa in command when the vessel was wrecked at the Chathams on her homeward voyage, had a very anxious time on her passage out to Dunedin, which port he reached on 22 Sept 1892. The Jessie Readman, like many other vessels arriving from home during the latter part of 1892 had to contend with large quantities of ice, which was first seen at midnight on August 8, in latitude 37-30S., longitude 29W. She sailed between icebergs for 130 miles, which ranged from one quarter to one and a half miles in length and from 100 feet to 450 feet in height. 50 large bergs plus several small ones were counted, the last being on August 9. The ship also encountered a heavy gale from SSW on Aug 12, attended by a very high sea, during which she lost several sails and suffered other damage.


After discharging her cargo and loading wool aat Dunedin and Napier she sailed early n dec 1892 from the latter port for London, and all went well until the Chatham Islands were reached. She experienced mainly northerly winds after clearing the NZ coast, and, when approaching the Chathams met with foggy weather

Captain Burton believed he had given the Island a wide berth, but, during the night the ship struch the island on Tuuapeka Beach. The foggy weather and tide had hove her about 6 miles from her true course in passing the island.

She became a total wreck but the officers and crew were all saved. The Jessie Readman was the only ship wrecked on the Chatham Islands to rescue her entire cargo. The wool was landed on the beach practically undamaged, but, it suffered greatly afterwards. It was carted to a level piece of grass free from the tide as unfortunately no dunnage could be procured. The only dunnage available was the fence of a sheepfarmer which meant pulling up the fence to be used as posts. The owner asked an exhorbitant cost, which captain Burton declined, the result being that the ground tier absorbed the damp, and naturally the wool was badly damaged. Then the steamers chartered to convey the wool to NZ suffered bad weather and the cargo suffered enormously.

The residents of the Chathams made a big haul from the salvage. They charged 1 (One pound) per bale to shift the wool from where it was landed, up the beach one hundred yards. Nearly all the islands horses were taken to the wreck to help.