A lithograph of the clipper "Sussex"
OTAGO DAILY TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1874
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  of lay days provided for in the charter
party. Said he, "I shall be most happy to keep them on board they are no
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 List Families A-K
Passenger List Families K-L
Passenger List single Women -Not yet completed
Passenger List single Men -Not yet completed