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ARRIVAL OF THE BARQUE GLOUCESTER.

SMALL-POX ON BOARD.

As was surmised, the barque that was spoken by the schooner Spunkie, and reported as the Sydney, proves to be the Gloucester, from Hongkong. The statement respecting smallpox having broken out amongst her passengers is only too correct. However, we are glad to say that she is not such a pest-house as was anticipated might be the case, the dread disease hayinij been confined to comparatively fey.- cases. Still, it is on board, and, therefore, the most stringent precautions are imperatively demanded in the interests of the public of the whole Colony to prevent the dissemination of the infection on shore.

The Gloucester was signalled between 8 and 9 o'clock on Sunday morning, and the ominous signal DTQ— " small-pox on board"— followed that of her name. This, however, did not deter the two steamers Iron Age and Geelong hastening down to secure the tow, which, as it happened, fell to the latter. The Iron Age was first alongside, keeping the weather gage of the infected vessel, and there she found the pilot boat, with Pilot Kelly on board, also keeping a weatherly position ; for, exercising sound disoretion, for which he cannot be too highly commended, Pilot Kelly declined to go on board the barque. In response to a hail from the Iron Age, Captaia Vincent, of the Gloucester, stated that it was not so very bad with them, or words to that effect, and then as her services were not needed, the Iron Age returned to Port. Meantime, the Geelong reached the barque, picked up Pilot Kelly from the pilot boat, and then passed a tow line to the Gloucester, and brought her inside. As soon as the Gloucester was signalled, intimation of her arrival was transmitted to the Health Officer (Captain Thomson), and ha at once summoned Dr D<"ysdale and Mr Monson to a consultation, whilst steam was raised in the Customs launch — all ready for a start down the harbour to meet the Gloucester. The launch, with the above officials on board, met the tug just above Pulling Point, and in accordance with instructions from Captain Thomson, the Gloucester was anchored just at the mouth of the boat channel, below the powder magazine. She made a flying moor of it, so as to obviate the necessity of the Geelong going alongside. The Press boat did not go down to the barque, but our representative watched proceedings narrowly, and observed that the Geelong kept the length of her tow-line away from and to windward of the Gloucester, and got clear of her as soon as possible. The Customs launch went alongside, and just held to the barque by passing her bowline through one of the lower chain plates, whilst the necessary interrogations were made. She also kept the windward side of the Gloucester, and after a stay of about ten minutes shoved off and returned to the Port As she Jeft the barque the latter ran up the yellow flag at her main. We have to thank the Health Officer for the following report:— Captain Vincent, of the Gloucester, stated that small pox broke out amongst the Chinese passengers, January 23rd, ten days after leaving Hong Kong. It ran through fifteen cases, the last of which appeared February 15th. Only three deaths occurred, two in the cases of Chinese, and one in that of a Fiji native, one of the barque's crew. He was the only one of the crew afflicted, and we are glad to hear that Captain Vincent, his officers, a European cabin passenger, and the rest of the crew, have maintained good health throughout. The sick Chinese ware quartered under the topgallant forecastle, and there attended to by their doctor, a Chinaman of course. The barque had 122 Chinese passengers on board when she left Hong Kong. There are now four, cases of small-pox under treatment, but have reached the convalescent stage. By order of Dr Dryadale, the patients were marshalled on the* forecastle, so that he might see them. There was no mistaking their appearance, faces and necks being scabbed in the extreme. ! ( A final decision was come to on Wednesday in the case of this vessel. It was resolved that all the Chinese who had. escaped smallpox should be landed on Quarantine Island, whilst those who had had the disease were to remain on board the baique. Yesterday forenoon a working party of the Chineae was told off and sent to the Island to assist in forming an encampment of tents, and to day those who are to be landed will be sent on shore. A medical man i 3 to be stationed on the Island with them, and they will be closely guarded besides. _ We understand that great repugnance was evinced by the Chinese to their removal to the Island. They professed to entertain apprehensions about starvation, and it was only upon a promise from Captain Vincent that, if they were ill-treated, he would receive them on board the barque again that they finally acquiesced in the proposed removal. We hear that, in the event of any of those who are to be removed to the Island being stricken with smallpox, he or they will be removed to the barque and placed in hospital there. The Chinese doctor remains on board. No further cases have appeared on fee at d, and the convalescent are all doing welL Mr Colin Allan, Inspector of Quarantine, went to the Island yesterday, to select a camping place for the Chinese, aud further arrangements for landing them.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18770331.2.53

Bibliographic details

Otago Witness, Otago Witness, Issue 1322, 31 March 1877

Word Count
927

ARRIVAL OF THE BARQUE GLOUCESTER. Otago Witness, Issue 1322, 31 March 1877

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