The Strathallan's Arrival
Contemporary reports of the Strathallan's arrival and the number of
passengers who disembarked at Timaru are conflicting, and an examination
of the original passenger list reveals that several alterations were made.
The Lyttelton Times, in recording the arrival of the vessel at Lyttelton on
21 January 1859, stated that several passengers did not disembark at Timaru,
as intended, but continued the voyage to Lyttelton.
Among these were
Enoch Barker, his wife and two children, and John McDonald and his wife.
Some children who disembarked at Timaru are not included in any published
An account of the vessel's arrival, as told by an eyewitness, Charles Black,
who carried the news to Lyttelton, stated that the Strathallan arrived off Timaru
on Friday, 14 January 1859, and dropped anchor about three miles out because
a boisterous southerly was blowing. This had abated sufficiently by Sunday,
16 January, to allow some of the passengers to disembark.
completed by Monday, 17 January, and the Strathallan sailed for Lyttelton that
evening, taking four days to make the journey along the coast.
Among the Strathallan's passengers were some immigrants who had been
unable to join their own ship because of illness and had been left behind.
They were not included in the passenger list because their passages had already
been paid as immigrants and debited against the ship in which they should
The following is a reasonably accurate list of those who disembarked at
Timaru, compiled from the ship's papers:—
Berrill, William, and his wife Abigail
Brodie, James, and his wife Mary
Butterworth, William, and his wife Emma
Cairns, William John, his wife Elizabeth, and their son Robert S.
Double, William, and his wife Sarah, and their six children, Caroline, Emily,
Ann Maria, Elizabeth Ann, Amos and William Daniel
Exley, Harpin, his wife Susan, and their son Albert
Gibson, James, his wife Margaret, and their four children, James, Alexander,
Rebecca A. and Margaret
Gibson,. John, and his wife Sarah
Gordon, George, his wife Christina, and their six children, John, William,
Christina, Charles, Catherine and Elizabeth
Hammond, John, his wife Mary, and their son Robert
Hornsby, Thomas, and his wife Ann
Hayes (four children travelling with Hornsby and his wife), George
William, David, Thomas and Margaret
Jones, William, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Ann
Kohn, Frederick, his wife Catherine, and their daughter Mary
Kennedy, Charles, and his wife Margaret
Mackay, Robert, his wife Bell, and their four children, Robina., Ann,
Alexander and Christina
Padgett, William, his wife Martha, and an infant
Patterson, Thomas, and his wife Margaret
Reed, Robert, and his wife Mary Ann
Scarf, William, his wife Letitia, and their children, William and Letitia
Scarf, Robert, and his wife Jane
Stranks, William, and his wife Matilda
Ward, John, his wife Ellen, and their children, Elizabeth and William
Ward, Robert, his wife Elizabeth, and their daughter Catherine
Wade, Richard, and his wife Emma
Wilson, John, his wife Elizabeth, and their three children, Valentine, E.,
and Mary Ann
Young, Albert, his wife Emma, and their two children, Emma and Louisa
The single men were:—
Henry Butcher, Edward Jesson, John Pollock
James Blythe, James Lumsden, John Stewart
John Clark, John Manchester, Charles Smith
John Chapman, George Manchester, Thomas White
Richard Champion, William Murray
Francis Harrison and James Proudfoot
The single women were:- Isabella Chapman, Isabella Hayes
The Lyttelton Times recorded that H. Healey, his wife, and their child
disembarked at Timaru.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE VOYAGE
THIS RECORD of the voyage of the Strathallan was extracted from a diary kept
by J. T. Morris, who did not disembark at Timaru but returned there from
Lyttelton and became a popular figure in the town.
OCTOBER 12th 1859
12. Started at last. Man overboard.
13. Went ashore at Gravesend with E . Mustered on the poop, and was
made captain of No. 27 mess. Prayer meetings on board.
14. Towed down to the Nore. Cast anchor off Ramsgate. Weighed again at
5 p.m. Saw the comet.
15. Off Deal. Up anchor again 3 a.m. Wet foggy morning. Poor grub.
Anchored again at 12 a.m., Deal. Preserved meat and potatoes. Plenty of
bumboats alongside. Porpoises. French coast in sight. Fine day. Made sail
at 8 p.m. Passed Foreland.
16. Beachy Head at 7 a.m. Isle of Wight in the evening. Serving out stores
17. French coast in the morning. Off Cape la Hogue. All hands making
puddings. Dark wintry night. Sea rising. Ship going well.
18. Sea higher. Ship going well. Commenced serving out water. ' Bay of
Biscay 0! ' Sick. Pitch and toss. Heavy sea all night. All in motion.
19. Sea as high as the maintop. Rain and cold. Much sickness on board.
Pig fell down the main hatch. Chaffinch followed us from Beechy Head.
Through the Bay. All right again.
20. Ship going well. Studding sails set. Shoals of porpoises.
21. Becalmed all day. Starling came on board, and a hawk. Several whales
about the ship. Another pig down the main hatch.
22. Dead calm still. A woman died this morning. Funeral at half-past 4. Stiff
breeze all night.
23. Puffy breeze all the morning, then calm. Ship's newspaper read after dinner.
24 (Sunday). Breeze during the morning. Passed the Joshua and Mary of
London. A child died this afternoon.
25. Funeral this morning. Dull heavy weather. Continually close hauled.
27.27 lat. today.
26. Close hauled. No progress. Heavy sea all last night, broke the cabin
windows. Very heavy weather; shipping a great deal of water.
27. Fine morning. Becalmed, looking out for the Trades. A song below at
night till 12. Trades expected.
28. Fag end of the trade winds. Trades at last! First warmth of sun.
29. Favourable. Sun warmer, light wind.
30. Similar weather.
31 (Sunday). First fine Sunday. Sun warm; sea smooth; wind fair. Dinner
and tea on the forecastle. Very pleasant day altogether.
1. Fine day. Wrote for minister. Steward and boy fought. Our steward and
boy came sleeping with us.
2. Fine day. Flying fish seen, also waterspout. Concert on deck in the evening.
3 and 4. Light winds. No progress.
5. The Trades at last, at 2 in the afternoon. Going well. Saw flying fish.
6. Going well. Lots of flying fish. Dance on deck in the evening.
7 (Sunday). Splendid weather. Flying fish came on the poop. Several nautilus
seen. Ship very lousy. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon passed the Pierre la Grande
of Dunkeyen from Bordeaux for the Brazils.
8. No sun. Fine breeze. Ship going well. Aired bedding. Dance on deck.
9. All well. Squall of wind and rain. Much lightning at night.
10. Wet. Buckley and Tobin fought. Becalmed all day. Shoal of fish blowing
alongside after dark.
11. Becalmed. A large ship in sight all day and yesterday. Lunar rainbow at
8 o'clock at night. Breaking out stores all day - the hottest job that I ever had.
Becalmed all day. The ship still in sight. A squall of wind and rain at
7 p.m. and then becalmed again. Dreadful rain all night; the ship flooded.
13. The same sort of weather. The ship in sight still. Fish jumping all round.
Becalmed nearly all day. Rain at intervals.
14. Becalmed still. Ship still in sight. Very hot. Sharks' fins in sight. A shark
came on the port side and went away aft, and after smelling the bait went away
ahead. The first mate got down on the guys of the martingale, and dropping the
bait the shark presently came back and took it. Landed it on the main deck
and cut it up. It proved to be about a year old.
15. Shark for breakfast fried in butter. Shark for tea stewed in vinegar. Very
light winds all day. Ship still in sight. Breeze in the evening.
16. Pickles sent to prison for 12 hours. The 30th day since we saw land.
Ship going better. Leaping and games on deck. Lay on forecastle at night till
rain caused a retreat.
17. Ship going well at last. Sailing close-hauled. Dancing and singing at
night. South-east trades.
18. Ship going well. School of whales at 2 in the afternoon. Crossed the Line
between 2 and 3. Neptune came on board in the evening. Pumps rigged; all
hands pumped on. Plenty of grog in forecastle with sailors; all singing and jolly.
19. Ship going well. Ten knots an hour. Fine day and all well.
20. Mrs Kohn's child died this morning. Funeral at half-past 4. A ship right
ahead of us at half-past 11 in the morning. We are in chase of her.
21. Ship still ahead, but we have gained a few miles on her by noon. Fore
stun'sail set and main top-gallant. Going from 10 to 12 knots.
22. Lost the ship in the dark last night, after chasing her between four and
five hundred miles.
23. Mrs Padget had a child at 3 this morning. Abreast of St Helena at
mid-day. Between 15 and 16 south lat.
24. 4 doz. shirts, 18 pairs of trousers, etc., etc., lost. A general search among
the boxes, but no result. 20 degree south at 12. Looking out all night for
25. Large shark swimming round the ship. Stiff breeze.
26. Blowing stiff all the evening and night. Clewed up the royals, etc. First
mate knocked a cabin passenger down on the poop.
27. Strong breeze. Gus B- washed shirts, etc., and the wind blew them all
28. Fine weather.
29. Two ships in sight, the first since the 21st. Becalmed all day. Whales
blowing about the ship. Five mile walking match on the poop.
30. The Julia, 52 days out from Callao for Liverpool and Cork, in sight this
morning. At 8 a.m. the ship 10 miles off. A boat put off and came alongside
a little after 10. Left again a little after 12, with letters and some tar, twine, etc.
Becalmed all day, the sea as smooth as a sheet of glass. Saw a large sun fish.
About the hottest day we have had.
1. Gentle wind. Rather cooler. Going from four to five knots with the breeze
right aft. Shoal of porpoises. The first mate tried to harpoon one but failed.
In the latitude of the Cape at last.
2. Fresh breeze on the starboard quarter. Ship going 9 to 11 knots. The lacing
rope of the fore-topmast-staysails carried away. 12 o'clock: 36 deg. lat. S., 27
deg. long. W. Several large albatrosses in sight.
3. Albatrosses, Cape pigeons, etc., in sight. Fishing for them. No go. Becalmed
all the morning. The King Phillip, of London, for Bombay with between five
and six hundred troops, which was in sight all day yesterday, came alongside
of us in the afternoon and a race ensued, but she left us before dark. The men
cheered us for several hours, and the bugler played ' Home Sweet Home ', and
' Cheer Boys, Cheer '. Stun'sails below and aloft, but she left us behind. She
sailed three days before us.
4. Stiff breeze. Plenty of sail on. Ship going before the wind from 10 up to
13 knots. The water rising under the bows like a great plume of white feathers.
Main-top-gallant yard-arm carried away.
5. Strong gale, beginning last night at about 10. At twelve the rolling yard of
the main-topsail broke off at the end, the whole ship giving a tremendous lurch,
and throwing boxes, pots, etc., in every direction. At 7 in the morning while
hauling in the haulyards on the poop we shipped a sea up the whole of the
starboard side, the ship lying right over on the water, carrying away everything
loose on deck, and flooding the whole of the 'tween decks a foot deep in water.
Took in sail and drove before it, the wind blowing fearfully and the sea rolling
in perfect mountains. Ship rolling frightfully, and shipping water every few
moments. About 8 it began to abate and we were again enabled to set the
foresail, and thank God the worst of it was over. Driven by it 270 miles, going
sometimes nearly 13 knots.
6. Heavy sea still rolling, but not so much wind. Went below to get things to
rights in the hold. All in a mess among the stores. Shooting albatross on the
poop in the afternoon. Going over 12 knots all the evening. Splendid sailing.
7. Fine morning. Ship all right. Sighted the Island of St Antonio in the night.
Concert at night and grand chorus in bed.
8. Wet morning. Ship went as high as 13 knots at some time during the past
night. Said to have run 324 miles yesterday in the 24 hours. Doubtful. Started
a new band in the evening. Ship rolling very much. About the longitude of the
Cape and about 45 south.
9. Light winds. Ship rolling dreadfully. Sailor Jack knocked the boatswain
down. Single men's band on deck in the evening. Fight between Clark and
Jim the sailor.
10. The ship still rolling dreadfully. Wind gradually falling. Supposed to be
6,500 miles from port yesterday morning.
11. Mrs Bishop's child died last night. The cabin steward went into the hospital
on Thursday. Row between the captain and boatswain; between the boatswain
and little Jimmy the sailor and general quarrelling. Child buried between 12
and 1. Heavy seas during the service. Dreadful weather all day till midnight,
then it gradually broke off. The second stormy day. Thank God for its
12 (Sunday). Fine day with good breeze. Ship going well. Sermon on the
13. Stiff breeze. Ship going up to 14 knots, over 300 miles in the day. The best
sailing since we started.
14. Another day's fine sailing. Hospital cleared out.
15. Calm gentle wind. Shoal of porpoises alongside. Mrs Abbott's child died
at 9 p.m. Ship close hauled; right over on her side. Strong wind. 10 p.m.,
13 1/2 knots.
17. Awful weather all night, the sea breaking right up the rigging. Rain in the
morning. Wet through with hauling ropes on deck. The first mate going to put
Cameron the sailor in irons.
18. Wind right aft. Ship rolling heavily all day. Patches of sea weed floating
past all day. Porpoises about.
19 (Sunday). Fine morning. Ship going well. Blackfish about the ship. Cold,
rain and snow. Look out for land. Kerguelen's Land (or Crozets) half-past
three on the starboard side. There is a doubt as to which it is. Heavy squalls
of wind and rain from E. by N. Hard work to keep the ship off. Waves washing
over her and our side under water. Flying jib carried away, off the rocks.
Lot of ducks flew off the island; ragged looking fellows.
20. Getting out a new flying jib. Starboard fore stun'sail boom carried away.
Rigged the main ditto in its place. More sea weed. Sleep on the forecastle.
Looking out for more land.
21. The longest day with us. Fine morning, then storm of snow and hail. The
boom rigged yesterday snapped off in the middle. Mended concertina. Band
22. A barrel of flour and box of raisins given to the passengers for their
Christmas box on the quarterdeck. Ship going well.
23. Ship going splendidly, and from 10 to above 14 knots an hour. 72 east at
24. Another stormy day. Shipping water every moment. One sea filled the ,
whole belly of the mainsail and then plumped down the main hatchway.
Mr. Double's child died this afternoon and was buried directly afterwards.
Wind fell off about 8 p.m. Ship rolling fearfully. Southern lights, or Aurora
Australis very plain after dark.
25 (Saturday, Christmas Day). Fine day. Splendid weather. Shiny, cool and
pleasant. Ship going well. Two children christened this morning. One called
William Strathallan Padget and the other Strathallan Hayes. Plenty of plum
duffs on board. Sailors all drunk and fighting. Blue murder. Hurrah!
26 (Sunday). Queer. No how. All wrong. Too soon after Christmas.
27. Fine morning. Another stun'sail boom carried away during last night
Ship rolling very heavily all night and this morning. Snow at midday. Another
boom carried away this afternoon. Rough weather. Heavy hail and snow at
intervals during the night. Manchester's phot. stolen.
28. Snow this morning. Bitter cold. More heavy snow and hail. The boatswain
29. Clearing out under the forecastle. Snow and cold.
30. Nearly a calm. Curious piece of sea weed floated past. Good breeze in
evening and all night.
31. Ship going tremendously all day. Half-past 6 p.m. main-topmast stun'sail
carried away. The last day of the old year. At midnight the ship's bells rang
for a quarter of an hour, after which a concert of pots and pans kept up a chorus
until the captain brought out the rum bottle. Heavy sea. Water coming
on the drummer.
1st, 1859. Strong wind all day. Sea rising. Mrs Brightmore, the mad woman
brought down to the single men's hospital at night. Mutiny and rebellion.
ladder taken down and the devil to pay.
2 (Sunday). Another stormy day. Wind blowing, sea rolling. Main topgallant
sheet chain carried away. Child died this afternoon. Wind fell about 8 p.m.
Ship rolling all night.
3. Beautiful morning. Sunshine. Smooth sea. Very little wind. Child buried
this morning. All hands sorting out boxes for Timaru.
4. Light wind all day. Row between old Pickles and young Everett.
5. Wakeful last night. Went on deck. Curious appearances like balls of fire
floating past every moment in the dark. Breeze all day.
6. Dreadfully rough day. The wind nearly ahead. The sea breaking over every
moment from 9 in the morning until 4 in the morning of the 7th. Mrs Brightmore
died in the afternoon, and was buried directly afterwards. Land birds about the
ship. Wet through in the afternoon from two seas that came on board.
7. Almost a dead calm. Serving out stores. Half the usual quantity for those
going to Timaru.
8. Both anchor chains up and bent on. The steward knocked off by the captain's
orders one day this week. Pumping ship in the evening.
9 (Sunday). Light winds. Very little progress. Row between B. and R.
R. tried to cut B. down with a scraper. A watch kept below all night for fear
of R. assaulting B. in his sleep.
10. Light wind. The ship going no how. The cat-fall hove ready for the
anchors. Studding-sail booms all taken in. Looking out for the land. Breeze
right ahead. Seven points off her course. A shoal of large fish in sight extending
for more than ten miles, blowing every moment. No land in sight yet.
11. Nearly a head wind with heavy fog. No seeing above half a mile. Half
week's allowance of rations for Timaru people. Caught a large mohawk, as
large as a fine goose, and turned it loose on deck. Got the anchors over the side
and got more chain up. Put the ship about at 8 p.m.
12. Cold, misty, wet morning. Struck the bell at 6 a.m. All hands looking out
for land. Faint appearance of land at different times during the day. Wind
falling, dead calm in the evening.
13. Studding sails set again. Land on the port bow about 11 a.m., between 30
and 40 miles distant. NEW ZEALAND! 35 miles from land at noon. 2 p.m., mist
and light rain, land down again. 3 p.m., chains of high mountains on the port
bow. Land continually rising ahead. 4 p.m., more very high mountains just
rising. Long, being made fast in the fore rigging, drew his knife and threatened
to stab little Jimmy the sailor.
14. Ten thousand mountains towering far above the clouds, some of them
covered with eternal snow, but all barren and desolate, not a sign of human
being or human works. Thousands of little red lobsters the size of shrimps, and
jelly star fish. One of each caught. Gnats, butterflies, and dragonflies flying
about at 9 a.m. All the studding sails set at night. 6 a.m., sailing under closereefed
fore and main topsails and standing jib. Half-past eight, more sail again.
Half-past ten, made signal for a pilot. More mountains, the high ones crowned
with snow. A point ahead which we are trying to round. Heavy tide running
in-shore. Our cake stolen.
TIMARU AT LAST! Five houses in sight. A boat comes off with six men. They
come on board and the boat is smashed against the side. Spanish Joe, the sailor,
gets a ducking in slinging the boat for lifting. Shoals of porpoises round the
ship. Riding with one anchor and a gale of wind blowing. Sent down all the
royal yards. No accommodation for the immigrants A queer look out! The
water since the morning of the 12th of a brilliant green. Several of the
immigrants engaged. One short ale is 2s 6d per bottle, rum 9d a glass, tobacco
4s 6d a pound, a sheep for £1 or £1 5s.
15. The wind took off in the night and freshened again this morning. Another
boat came alongside last night at 12 with seven men to look after the others.
Very cold wind. Ship rolling all day in the ground swell. Served out provisions
today for full week for Lyttelton; two days for Timaru. Boat left at half-past
16 (Sunday). Boat came alongside at 6 a.m. with seven men, bringing off a
live sheep, a leg of mutton and some grog. Hove the anchor chain straight up
and down before 8 a.m. Old Jimmy pitched into the black cook and the
boatswain followed suit. All in confusion. Beautiful morning, warm sun.
Made sail and stood further in and anchored in 9 fathoms. The boatswain went
on to the poop and made a noise and got put into irons. Had fresh mutton for
dinner in the forecastle. Radishes and new potatoes brought on board.
Commenced landing passengers.
17. Finished landing passengers.
This description of the arrival was written by J. A. Young who afterwards
lived at Winchester:—
' We arrived off Timaru on January 14th, 1859, and lay off a good distance
from the shore. The first persons to come on board were Mr. Woollcombe,
Captain Cain, and old Sam Williams. Their boat was made fast so that it got
under the stern of our ship and was broken. Mr. Woollcombe came into the
cabin and asked me where the captain was. I called the captain and he brought
out his papers. I wondered who this man was. I saw another (Captain Cain
this was) standing outside, and I went and asked him who the man inside was,
and he said it was the Resident Magistrate. Well, I thought to myself, if that
is the Resident Magistrate, we have come to a queer place. It was his dress that
amused me. He wore a blue serge jumper, moleskin trousers tied at the knee
and turned up at the bottom, and heavy Cookham boots yellow to the top with
clay. I learned afterwards that he had been building a cob whare, and had been
puddling the clay by tramping it.
The next boat brought two sheep for the cabin
from Mr Rhodes. . . . There were plenty of vegetables for those who landed on
the first day. Myself, wife and two children landed by the last boat but one,
and we found that those who had landed before us had had the best of the good
things provided. Strong Work Morrison was the steer-oarsman of the boat we
came ashore in. As soon as we landed we looked for quarters and found that
the only place unoccupied was Mr Rhodes's shed for storing wool. I went up
two or three tiers of bales, and selected the top of two bales. We fixed up a
screen of shawls and blankets and made ourselves as comfortable as we could.
As soon as a stir was made next morning I looked over the top of our screen at
the scene below. What a sight! There were men in from the bush to welcome
us, with buckets of port wine and rum, and they were ladling it out in pannikins
to anyone who would partake of it.'
Here is Young's description of Timaru:-
' There were only four or five houses in the place, which was all covered with
native tussock. Sam Williams had an accommodation house on the beach, near
the wool shed, and they were then adding to a lean-to which had a licence
(which is now the Royal Hotel) .. . . Captain Cain was living in a cob house on
the hillside, where Turnbull and Co.'s brick store is, at the back of Mee's office.
Dr Butler had a small one-roomed house at the back of what is now the
From "South Canterbury - A record of Settlement" by O.A.Gillespie 1958