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THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 333, 2 May 1881
THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA.
LATEST FROM THE SCENE OF THE DISASTER. [by telegraph.] Invercargill, To-day. A male body found on the beach has been identified by Mr Thomson as that of Bailey, a waiter in the Criterion Hotel, Dunedin. Mr M'Culloch, R.M. and coroner, proceeded with the search parly last night, to Toi Tois. Mr Fairdough, Wesleyan minister, at Invercargill, also went with a view to the identification of the bodies of the Wesleyan Conference delegates. His wife is also related to Captain Garrard.
Invercargill, Yesterday. At a meeting of about 200 citizens this afternoon, at the Athenaeum, his Worship the Mayor presiding, an influential committee was formed for the recovery and burial of tire bodies of those who perished at the wreck of the Tararua. A sub-committee, which reports to the general committee, leaves by a special train for Edendale at six o’clock this evening, thence, via Wymiham, to Fort Rose and Toi Toi, to scour the beach, &c.
The Inquest. Wyndham, To-day. The inquest on the wreck commences here to-day. Recovery of a Portion of the Mail. Dunedin, To-day. The Ilawea picked up seven bags of the mail from the wreck. One bag, Auckland to Sydney ; one bag, VVelHng ton to Sydney, with enclosed mail from Nelson; one bag, Wellington to Brisbane ; one bag, Wellington to Hobart; one bag, Christchurch to Melbourne, with enclosed mails from Hokitika and Creymouth; one bag, Dunedin to Sydney, with enclosed mails for New Caledonia; one bag, Dunedin to Hobart, with enclosed mails from Christchurch. The bags were opened at Port Chalmers and their contents dried. About r,ooo letters will be able to be delivered, but the papers are reduced to pulp.
Sensation in Melboure(by cable.) Melbourne, To-day. The news of the disaster to the Tararua has caused a great and painful sensation here. List of the Survivors. The following is a list of the survivors corrected up to the hour of our going to press passengers : William Hill, steerage John Chalterton, steerage George Lawrence, steerage Henry Deely, steerage George Urbina, steerage Thomas Davis, steerage John Williams, Steerage Gustavo Tcllien, steerage. crew : Robert Lindsay, chief officer Peter Waloney, second officer James Burnett, Edward Johnson, Charles Stewart, '1 orquel Nicholson, Franz Danz, John Weston, and Thomas Dixon, A. 15s. Franz Rohel and John Maher, firemen Antonio Micalliff, chief cook. Statements of Survivors-
Robert Lindsay, the first mate, says ; I turned in at 4 a. m., the captain and second mate being on deck. At 5.15 a. in. the vessel struck. When I loft the deck the vessel was steering west. From 2 to 4 had been steering W. S.W. The weather was hazy over the land. Noticed nothing unusual when 1 called the watch. The captain came on deck and altered the course, as stated. 1 was asleep when the ship struck. I rushed on deck. The engines were reversed, but to no use. The vessel had struck aft, unshipped the rudder, broke the propeller, and the engines were of no use ; they were stopped. All hands were called to clear the boats. Ten minutes after the engines stopped the ship was full of water. At 5.50 the first boat was lowered, with the second mate in charge, four sailors, and one passenger as a crew to try for a landing. One of the passengers, Lawrence, a young man, when about half-way, swam ashore, having previously if successful) t;» remain and help in landing the passengers, lie did so, after finding his way to Brunton’s and causing to be sent the first telegraph message per station hand, Charles Gibb, who rode 3o miles to Wyndham by 12.30. Another attempt at landing passengers was made, but of five two were drowned m the surl. Another boat was lowered, the carpenter being sent with it to see if a landing was practicable on the reef. His report was unsatisfactory. The second mate was sent and tried a landing on the reef, with*.
out success. One man was lost. The j captain next sent the first mate in charge of a boat containing three passengers and ; a boy, all of whom landed safely except i the boy, who was drowned. The boat was capsized and opened at both ends, | rendering her useless. Repairs were made by the men on shore, but the sea j was too heavy to launch her. The vessel j was thumping heavily. The passengers were in tho rigging and clustered on the forecastle head, the sea breaking over heavily. At 2.30 a heavy sea washed several passengers (women and children) overboard, and after that they dropped | off one by one. A survivor, a Maltese, who swam bravely for his own life and tried co rescue a girl, states the captain got all the ladies out of the smoking-house to the forecastle head, all being there till 2.36, when a sea washed them off. The I captain displayed coolness to the last. I His exclamation when all hope was lost, I was “Oh God ! what shall we do now V 1 The steamer soon settled down.
George Robins said : I ain a steerage passenger from Otago to Melbourne. I left the ship by the last trip of the first officer’s boat. Just as wo reached the beach the boat capsized, and I made for the shore. As soon as we landed we lit a fire on the beach, and kept it burning all night. Just at dark we saw the ship. The passengers were then clinging to the rigging. I picked the cook up out of the water as lie swam ashore. Our boat was capsized right on top of us, and when we extricated ourselves we swain ashore. The sea was very rough. Gustave Tellien states : lam a steerage passenger. T. corroborate what Robins stales. When the ship first struck it seemed but slight, but after that she bumped heavily. The second time she struck a hole was made in her. She continued striking until she finally broke up. Captain Garrard was perfectly cool, and gave h : s orders very collectedly. I think he did all in his power to save us and the ship. Rob ; ns picked up the body of a saloon passenger. Tie was entirely nude, and about thirty years of age. He had redd : sh brown whiskers and moustache. Wilh'am Hill said : I was a through passenger for England in the steerage with my wife and child. At the time the ship struck 1 wont on deck to look for my wife and child. T found her washing about the deck (the females were in another compartment) wi th the child in her arms. All was confusion. The women and children were screaming. The vessel was bumping heavily on the rocks, and a heavy sea was washing over her. I told my wife to hold on to the stanchion, and went to see if there was any means of getting a boat. I found all was confusion. At last the starboard boat was got out, and as it was being lowered from the davits a sea struck her, and she was stove in. The men got back to the ship. Afrer some delay a boat wa got out on the port side, and then Captain Garrard succeeded in restoring order. He put the second mate in charge of the boat. It went round to the starboard (the leeside), and the men who could swim were also placed in her, in order that they might carry intelligence to land. The boat succeeded in getting nearshore, and a man then swam ashore. The boat returned to the ship, and the passengers were anxious to get in. A line was rove from the yard arm, and six passengers were lowered into her. They were cautioned not to go unless they could swim. I saw them struggling in the water —I allude to the passengers. I only saw three of them gain the shore. It was getting! ght at the time when the boat returned. The captain said he would not risk any more going. The females were conveyed to the smoking-room in front of the bridge. The captain, it was, I think, said to me “ Get your wife and ohild into the smoking-room ; she will be all right there.” The sea was breaking over the vessel .aft, I said to my wife if there was a chance of getting away to render aistance I would go, as I should not be allowed to remain with her. I took a survey of the shore, and seeing a smooth part near the reef, I went to the captain and called his attention to it, asking him if there was not a possibility of landing on that part of the reef. He sent away a second boat in charge of the carpenter. 1 did not see her leave the ship. When she came back the carpenter said he thought it was possible to land on the reef, if a kedge anchor was put in the boat. I asked the captain to allow me to go to the reef and examine it. I said T would hold up my arms as a signal if it wert safe to landjjon. One of the firemen went with me, and the boat’s crew. On reaching the reef in the second mate s boat we found it was not so smooth as it appeared. It Was very rough, and there was a heavy sea rolling over it. The fireman swam from the boat to the reef, ft was a very dangerous plan. 1 returned to the ship, and then went back to the reef and the fireman who swam out to the boat and was taken on hoard her greatly exhausted. Wo could not get alongside the ship again on account of the high sea. The chief officer and a boat’s crew tried to land on the reef, but could not, and they made for the beach. At this time the Hawea made the scene of the disaster, and Mr Hill’s attention being attracted to the wreckage, no furtho statement could be procured from him, Peter Maloney said: I am second officer of the Tararua. It was my watch from 12 on Thursday night to 4 a.m. on Friday. The night was very dark, and there was a thick haze over the land. The ship struck about 5 a.m. on Friday. The captain had come on the bridge, and all the officers were on deck. Captain Garrard thought he was far enough to the south to clear Waipapa Point, and gave instructions to alter the cmrse to the west, so as to head for the Bluff. A few minutes before the ship struck, the captain went aft to verify his position by the standard compass. While he was doing so, I became aware that the ship was in a dangerous position. The course was immediately altered, hut too late, for the vessel went right on to the reef to the northward of Slope Point, f. was sent away with a boat’s crew and one the passengers to find a landing, if possible, and the second boat was despatched in charge of the chief officer with the same instructions. James Maher, one of my boat’s crew, swam to the reef to find if it wore possible to laud the people there. Meantime, the chief officer’s boat had capsized. Five persons were seen to land from her. I took my boat hack to the vessel, and then returned to the reef with three steerage passengers iu addition to my boat’s crew. Those passengers, who were supposed to be able to swim, jumped overboard, and were not seen again. James Maher swam back to the boat and was taken on board very much exhausted. He was bruised in the ribs, arms, and head. Early in the day, the other two boats were washed out of the davits, and smashed. After getting Maher on board, I tried to got alongside the steamer again but found it impossible, as the sea was making a clean breach over her, excepting on the forepeak. The ladies and children were placed in the smoking room in the bridge for safety. As I could do cli more, I stood out to sea to see if I onuld fall in with any passing vessel and notain help, and at 2.30 p.m. on Saiurcoy, Captain W. Hanning, of the ketch obince Rupert, took us alongside, and damained by her till the Hawea came on.
John Chatterton said : I am a steerage passenger. 1 went off in the mate’s boat at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 29th ( with three passengers, five of the crew, and a lad (a brass cleaner). On nearing the beach, a wave capsized the boat and all hands had to swim for it. After a desperate struggle all succeeded in reaching the beach but the boy, who was drowned. When the ship strnck, I was in my bunk, and hearing the noise, said,
“ What’s that? We _ are on a rock.” j There was an. immediate rush on deck. J As soon as the passengers were there, all j was quiet and orderly. Directly she struck, the sea broke over her stern and carried away the rudder, the wheel, and the after gear. We were, 1 should say, a mile and a half from the shore, and drifted to within half a mile. She struck at a quarter past fire, and at a quarter before six a.m., the first-boat-was sent away. The first boat that tried to leave was carried away out of the davits. Soon after I got off, the women were carried to the forecastle, and at two p.in., the men began to take to the rigging. Lights were burnt throughout the night, and at
about twenty-five minutes to three on Saturday morning, I heard loud shouts, “ Bring fthe boat.” We .could see outlines of the vessel before but nothing after. A large quantity of cargo, etc., was washed ashore. A cabin passenger (a man) came ashore about four p.m. on Saturday, but he died just as they hauled him on the beach. A. young girl came ashore on the reef about eleven a.m. on Saturday. She was much disfigured about the face We on shore could do nothing to assist them. I should think there were about GO in the fore-cabin, and about 20 females in the second ladies’ cabin. 1 shipped at Auckland for Melbourne, and have lost everything. After the boat was upset I was turned over several times I could not swim all ' the time, bnt had to wait for a smooth wave and then strike out. After I got on shore I saw several persons clinging to pieces of wreck, but as they got near the be ich, they fell off and I saw no more of them. Antonio Micallef said : I am chief cook of the Tararua. At 5 a.m. on Friday Mr Ellen, the chief steward, came to me and gave me his orders for the day. I dressed and went on deck, and heard the ship bump and strike about ten minutes later. She struck again, and the captain told the second officer to call all hands, which was done, and he afterwards gave orders to stop the engines. Mr Munro, chief engineer, asked me to take care of his little boy. I kept the child for about half an hour, and then Mrs Munro took it from me. I then went to the saloon and assisted the steward to get out the passengers. There were about five ladies and some children. Four of the children belonged to Dr and Mrs Campbell, who joined at Christchuch. The passengers were then removed from the poop to the smoking cabin, as the vessel was breaking up aft. Beiore this the captain had sent the second officer away in a boat to seek a landing place, and had fired two guns and three rockets. The chief officer’s beat waa then got out, and she left in charge of Mr Lindsay, with his boat’s crew and two passengers. When the tide went down Captain Garrard asked me to go below and cook some meat. I did so, and served out meat, potatoes, and coffee. Mr Ellen afterwards directed me to get some meat, bread, coffee, etc., ready for landing to supply to the people. I did so, and as my galley was fiilling with water, I went on deck. About 2 p.m. on Friday the ship was fast breaking up, and had driven further in shore. The captain then gave orders to cany the females to the forecastle head. He carried them himself from the smoking room to the bridge, and we took them forward. We afterwards got on the forecastle, and the captain said, “ I have done all I can. I have no boats available. The tide will be out in another half hour, and I will try to do tho best I can ” Immediately he ' had ended speaking a heavy sea carried [ away the dingy and cutter. We stood on the forecastle until another struck her, and ns there was a rush of passengers to the side, the rail carried away, and I and about sixteen others fell overboard. The captain exclaimed, “ Oh, God,' what are we to do now.” I picked up a young lady, a Hobart native, and managed to keep her afloat for about five minutes, calling out for a rope, when a big sea struck us and she was washed from my hold. I saw her no more. I then made for the shore, and encountered a lot of wreckage floating about. I got chear of it with great difficulty, and before I reached the beach I was nearly exhausted. I called nut to one of the passengers ashore to help me. He pulled me out, put me on a sleigh, and laid me before a fire, where I was supplied with a drop of brandy. After resting at the fire for half an hour I was taken to the farm, supplied with dry clothes, and put to bed. This was about five p.m. on Friday. As I left I saw a lot of people in the rigging—viz., Mr Ellen, chief steward; James Warren, second steward ; William Smith, pantry man ; the second fore-cabin steward, J. Davidson; and the boy, “Tcnimy.” James Collins, the forecabin steward, was drowned. I saw some firemen on the rigging, and the engineers were on the forecastle head. Tlie third engineer, Mr Alexander Sutherland, had his leg broken in the morning by a sea. I am anxious to thank the kind people (who were so good to us all) for their generous treatment. G. L. Lawrance said : When the ship struck I went aft on the bridge, where I found the captain and both officers. The captain was giving orders to lower the boats. The seamen and fire men were steady, and were obeying orders, but the passengers were confused. The starboard boat was stove in, and the port boat was then lowered and the second mate was sent away in charge. The captain asked me if 1 could swim, and if I would go in the boat and see if 1 could get to land, there were four seamen in the boat. When we were about 500 yards from the ship, and the same distance from the shore, the mate told me to stand by and he would give me a chance to go ashore in a lull. I jumped and had no tumble until I was in the surf, which was so heavy that I rolled over many times. I kept my senses, and at last got in on top of a breaker. I was cold, so ran about the beach to circulate the blood. When warm, I made for a house about half a mile off, and asked them to telegraph that the Tararua had struck, and required assistance. They sent a man on horseback at once. I returned to the beach as quickly as possible, and was just in time to help aslmre three out of the six men who came in the second mate’s boat on her second trip. I tried to go on the reef so as to get a Hue ashore there to land the passengers, but it was impossible to do anything. I was washed off and went back to the beach. The chief mate then tried to come in near enough to cast a line ashore, but his boat swamped. However, eight of the nine that were in her landed safely. The ninth was a little lamp-trimmer who had joined the ship at Port Chalmers. After the second male stood out to sea we noticed people washed off the forecastle head, and the party went down to the beach in twos and threes to see if any assistance could be given to any who w’ere washed ashore. One passenger (Robins) succeeded in getting hold of the cook, who was put ou a sledge and taken up to the station. We built a fire on the beach and left two men in charge of it while we went up to the station for food and dry clothes. We were there about an hour when we heard cheering from the steamer. This we supposed to be au expression of delight at the poor creatures seeing a steamer standing towards the bluff. At this time the forecastle head was clear, the people having all taken to the rigging, where they were burning matches. We saw the burning of matches occasionally t'll about eleven o’clock. About twentyfive minutes to two o’clock we heard shrieks from the vessel. We ran on the beach, and heard a voice, supposed to be the captain’s, singing out for a boat. That was what we made out through the noise of the surf. That was the last we heard of her. At daybreak we saw she
i was gone; The Kakanui could not have ■ got near the Tararua in any case on ac- } count of the surf. We walked about the 1 beach to look for traces of bodies. At different times we picked up a young woman about seventeen and a young man about twenty-five. The girl's body was left on shore in charge of the mate. A young fellow was seen fighting his way through the surf with a life-buoy, but he lost the life-buoy and died just as we pulled him ashore. The body brought by the Hawea has been recognised as that of a Swede named Anderson, from the Garrick Ranges, aged about fifty. Hp had been stopping for some days at Boaz’s boarding-house, Port Chalmers. ■
Captain Angus Cameron, the Marine Superintendent of the Union Company, who landed at Boat Harbor, off Fortrose on Saturday morning, and made a thorough search of the beach as'far as was practicable, from end to end, states that at noon on Saturday, he observed the points of the Tararua’s bowsprit and inizenrnast sticking out above the surf. The wreck appeared to be a mile off shore, and on the north side of Waipapa Point. Proceeding along the beach, Captain Cameron collected the survivors of the passengers and crew (with the exception ol Mr Lindsay, the chief officer, who was, it is presumed, searching for bodies along the beach), and, with the assistance of Mr Brunton, whose station he arrived at, procured a waggon, and sent the ppor fellows as far as possible towards poat Harbor. While returning to the scene of the wreck, Captain Cameron states bp observed the bodies of a young female (apparently some 20 years of age) and a young man of from 29 to 30 years bid. The bodies were perfectly nude, and two ladies, wives of settlers, kindly proceeded to envelope the girl’s body in a sheet. Captain Cameron states that he 'gpve orders for coffins for the unfortunate young people, and left Mr Peter Maloney, second officer, with Mr A. Lindsay, the chief officer, to look after any bodies which might wash and having done all that he possibly could, Captain Cameron retraced his steps along the beach, a task of great difficulty, getting a lift for a part of the road from Mr Rich.
THE WRECK OF THE TARARUA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 333, 2 May 1881
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