A lithograph of the clipper "Sussex"


Arrival of the Sussex

Favoured by a light leading breeze during Thursday night, the Sussex fetched the Heads yesterday morning, and meeting with prompt attention from the steamer Geelong, was towed into Port, and moored right abreast of the town by noon.
A good account of the sanitary state of those on board having been given by the captain and doctor, she was boarded by the Immigration and Customs officials, and by the Press; and during the investigation which followed, her condition and that of the immigrants was ascertained to be most satisfactory.
Captain Strap, Dr Hamilton, the surgeon-superintendent, and the officers of the ship, accorded a most courteous reception to the visitors, and replied with prompt candour to the numerous interrogatories put to them.
"I have conveyed a great many emigrants to various places in my time" said Captain Strap, "but a better class, taking them all through, than those I have now on board I never travelled with". The single women had been well-behaved, and gave little or no trouble beyond that which in all emigrant ships is inseparable from keeping the ends of the ship separate. Did he think there were any bad characters in the extreme sense of the term, amongst them? was one question put to the captain, and he readily replied - "Not one, I am positive". The single men, too, were spoken well of, and had proved amenable to the discipline of the ship; whilst the married people were described as respectable, and likely to prove an acquisition to the population of the province. Touching nationalities, the immigrants are a mixed lot; there are Scotch and Irish and English and 69 foreigners... Germans, Hungarians, and Swiss. The total number of souls who left Britain in the Sussex was 494 , equal to 402 statute adults, but eight deaths had occurred on the passage, irrespective of the deaths of two infants born on board. Thus the ship arrives with 487 souls, equal to 398 statute adults. This number comprises 56 single women, 100 single men, and 78 married couples with their children, the number of the latter being estimated at about 100. We give those numbers as they were supplied us on board; but there is a discrepancy between their total and the total number of souls - possibly a score or two of children were overlooked. The single women were described as good workers - several of them being farm girls, who could milk and make butter. They all looked healthy, strong, and respectable, as they mustered on the poop and not a few of them were comely. The physique of the men was also tolerably good, but, whilst some were robust in the extreme, others wore that wan appearance common to life in crowded thoroughfares. But, for all that, we are of opinion that the Colony is the gamer by the arrival of the Sussex, and that her immigrants are likely to prove a help to, instead of a burden upon, the land. They brought a capital recommendation with them, in the shape of a clean ship. We never inspected a cleaner [if so clean] single women´s compartment as that on board the Sussex, and the married people´s and single men´s places were also in very commendable condition. The berths were arranged in blocks, with side-alleys in the married people´s compartment, and the ventilation in each was good, with however, barely enough light. And yet the ship was pierced with side-scuttles; but then, the ´tween decks were not so lofty as many we have inspected, whilst there seemed to be a short allowance of deck lights. There were the usual offices all well kept, and a nicely arranged dispensary, luckily not much called upon during the passage. The ship was supplied with a fresh water condenser - one of Chaplin´s- which, although it did supply enough fresh water, worked very badly indeed, and was frequently under repair. No better evidence of the good character of the immigrants need be desired than the remark of the captain when he heard that owing to the crowded state of the Immigration Barracks, the ship would in all probability have to retain her passengers for the full number [7] of lay days provided for in the charter party. Said he, "I shall be most happy to keep them on board they are no trouble".
We may observe that the immigrants were healthy all the passage, the only deaths being in the case of children, as follows: May 6, James Wall, aged 19 months, died of congestion of the brain; May 13, Philip Ross, two months, congestion of lungs; May 13, George Wiblin, five months, debility; May 21, George Boume, three years and two months, chronic diarrhoea; May 23, Maria Collier, 13 months, dentition; May 28, Charles King, one year and three months, diarrhoea; July 15, Wm. Stratton, three years, croup; July 15, Fred. Milcham, four years, croup.
The Sussex is a fine ship, of stately appearance, and is owned by Messrs. G. Marshall and Co., of London. She is about six years old, and until this voyage has been engaged in the Calcutta trade. Captain Strap, her master, is not quite a stranger in these waters, having paid the port a visit ten years ago, when in command of the ship Mystery. The Sussex is 1805 tons register, and her dimensions are - Length, 232 feet; beam, 37 feet; dept of hold, 23 feet. She comes here almost in ballast trim, having only some 600 tons of cargo for the Provincial market. Her report states that she sailed from Gravesend on April 18th, was towed to Beachy Head, and on the following day landed the pilot at the Isle of Wight. She had leading winds and fair weather in the Channel, and cleared it on the 21st. A spell of heavy S.W. weather knocked her about in the Bay of Biscay for several days, and thence fine moderate weather and variable winds attended her to the N.E. Trade, which was picked up on the 5th May in lat,30. The Trade proved strong and steady, and ran her right into the S.E. Trade in 2o N., the wind hauling from N.E. to S.E. on 16th May. The Equator was crossed on the 17th in long. 26.40, and after blowing a fresh steady breeze, the S.E. trade gave out on the 23rd in lat. 17.13. A day or two of light baffling weather followed, and then westerly winds, S.W. at first and afterward veering to west, came to her aid and sent her spanking along to the Cape, the meridian of which was crossed on the 10th June in lat.44. A day or two before that the wind took northing and increased to a fresh gale, and from that time until she was well up with the New Zealand coast, she was followed by a succession of heavy gales from N.N.E. to S.W. by the West. The worst of these visitations commenced on the 17th June, when a gale came on from N.N.E. and increased to hurricane violence. It´s intensity had been indicated by the barometer falling to 28.14 and that it was a circular blow was evident by the manner in which it worked round the compass, and tailed off at south of S.W. This was the same gale in which the ship Devana suffered on the 18th June in lat.45.50. Her glass sank to 28.50. The Sussex weathered it, hove to under lower maintopsail and reeded staysail, and when those sails blew out of the bolt ropes, under other suitable canvas. A tremendous sea got up, but the ship behaved well, and, considering all things, shipped very little water. Bitter squalls of hail and sleet attended the gale. The Sussex was hove to for 32 hours, and then, the gale veering into west, she was kept away and ran before it until it took off. The other gales she encountered were less notable, because they blew steadily and kept the sea true; but they brought up a great deal of rain, scarcely one really fine day being experienced whilst the ship ran her easting down. This she did in about the 49th parallel, crossed the meridian of the Leuwin on the 30th June, and reached to within a day´s sail of the Snares on the 10th inst. There the westerly winds deserted her, and she was assailed by a furious gale from north, with a spice of easterly in it. This brought her down to the fore and main lower topsails, under which she head-reached for thirty hours. Late on the 11th, sail was made, and the Snares were passed during the night, but not sighted, the weather being to thick. However, early next day the welcome cry of "Land, O!" resounded through the ship, and there, on the port bow, was the high land about Bluff Harbour. A light westerly wind took her along the coast, and on the following day [Monday] she was off the Heads; but the wind coming strong out of S.W., she kept well to sea, and stood in on Tuesday and signalled. Her subsequent movements have been already reported, but we may remark that if she had not mistaken the tenor of a signal that was hoisted at the Signal Station, she would in all probability have stood in and anchored, instead of taking the offing for it. The old No.1 flag of Marrvat´s code and the Blue Peter signifies bar impassable, stand to sea; whilst No. 1 signifies a ship to the northward. The Heads Pilot states that No. 1 was hoisted, whilst the captain of the Sussex thought it was the Blue Peter, and acted accordingly.
The Sussex is charted by the New Zealand Shipping Company.

Passenger Index

Passenger List Families A-K

Passenger List Families K-L

Passenger List single Women -Not yet completed

Passenger List single Men -Not yet completed