News from 1882: Maiden voyage of the ship Garfield

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: Not stated in this article is that this was Garfield's maiden

The Argus, Melbourne, 13 June 1882
Retrieved from the National Library of Australia web site,
Newspaper Home


The Garfield, which arrived yesterday from Liverpool, is a steel ship, and
one of the largest merchant men built specially for a sailing vessel afloat.
There are converted steamships of a little more tonnage to be met with here
and there, but even these have not the carrying capacity of this new ship.
The Garfield is from the well known yard of Messrs. Harland and Wolf, [sic]
of Belfast, builders of the White Star Atlantic liners, and and she is owned
by the White Star Company. Her dimensions are as follow:--Length, 299ft. 8
10ths, beam 41ft 2-10ths, and depth of hold 24ft. 8-10ths, giving her a
gross capacity of 2,347 tons, or a net register of 2,290 tons. She was built
under special survey, and is on the highest class on Lloyd's register.
Although deeply laden with a deadweight cargo, the greatest which has ever
come here in a sailing vessel, she sits well on the water. She is, moreover,
nicely masted and sparred, and is one of the finest specimens of marine
architecture which has been here for some time. Externally the ship gives no
indication of her enormous stowage capacity, and it is only on stepping on
to her spacious deck that an idea is gained of her dimensions. She brings
close on 4,400 tons of cargo, and the lines of bar and other iron on her
manifest are the largest which have ever come to this port in one bottom.
The poop Is 72ft. in length, and contains a very handsomely finished and
furnished saloon, with accommodation for a limited number of passengers. The
Garfield has been built with a view to demonstrate that sailing ships need
not necessarily be driven out of the running by the modern cargo-carriers
and in so far as profitable working is concerned she bids fair to be a
success. With regard to her sailing capabilities Captain Thompson reports
most favourably, and avers that she is as easily handled as a yacht. In
proof of this he mentions that after making Cape Otway at noon on Saturday,
he beat up to the Heads against a strong northerly wind, tack for tack, in
30 hours. The ship left Liverpool on March 23, and passed Tuskar on March
25. Heavy S.W. gales were encountered at leaving, and were followed by
moderate breezes to the N.E. trades which proved very indifferent. The
equator was crossed on April 19, in lon. 26 deg. 2min. W. , and after
dragging across the latitude of the S.E. trades, which were poor throughout,
the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope was crossed on the 50th day out, in
lat. 41 deg 25 min S. The longitude was run down between the parallels of
41deg and 44deg., and in her track across the Southern Ocean, the ship had
to contend with easterly winds and gales for five days off the pitch of the
Cape. Westerly winds then set in, and continued until May 26 and 27, when
light N.E. winds and calms were met with. From the longitude of Cape Leuwin
northerly and variable winds prevailed until arrival. On May 18, Patrick
Devaney, one of the crew, was washed overboard and drowned. The Heads were
entered yesterday morning, 80 days from Liverpool, or 78 days from Tuskar.
The Garfield will be berthed at Sandridge railway pier to discharge cargo.