News from 1883 Maiden Arrival of Ionic I at Wellington

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Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB Note: A notable omission from the listing of passengers in this article
is the name "Ismay." According to Anderson's White Star, Bruce Ismay was on
this trip, but his name does not appear here, nor does there seem to be any
mention of him in any New Zealand newspaper in 1883. As I mentioned here,
I now believe Anderson is wrong and I have removed the reference to Ismay's
being on this trip from White Star History.

The Evening Post, Wellington, New Zealand, 12 June 1883
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site

Arrival of the S.S. Ionic
The new and magnificent White Star liner Ionic, Captain E. O. Hallett, R.N.,
under charter to the New Zealand Shipping Company, arrived in this harbour
last night from Plymouth, making the passage in the unprecedentedly short
time of 43 days 22 hours, including all stoppages. She is by far the largest
merchant vessel, and much the longest ship of any kind, that has ever
entered this port. She is also the first merchant steamer rigged as a
four-masted ship --- that is, with three of her masts square-rigged --- that
has yet been seen in any Australasian port. The Ionic was launched on the
13th January, 1883. Her general appearance embraces all the symmetrical
characteristics of the well-known vessels of the line, having a graceful,
yacht-like hull, with ample beam, four ma«ts, square-rigged on three, thus
providing effective sail-power in the event of any breakdown of the
machinery, fully equal to that of a first-class sailing ship. Like her
sisters, the Britannic and Germanic, she has turtle backs both forward and
aft, which form an excellent shelter in wet and stormy weather for the
steerage passengers. The steerage accommodation is in three sections,
approached by separate entrances, and provided with separate lavatories,
with an ample water supply, kept in constant circulation by a pulsometer
pump. An hospital replete with every requirement is provided with each
section, and two on deck for infectious cases. The passages can be heated in
cold weather. The whole upper deck, fore and aft, forms a splendid promenade
for the steerage passengers, the saloon passengers having a special separate
deck above this again. The accommodation for saloon passengers is of the
unique and perfect descristion [sic]. It is situated amidships, immediately
forward of the engines and boilers, in the quietest and best part of the
ship. The saloon, or dining-room, is approached by a very handsome
entrance-hall from the upper deck, panelled with walnut and maple, and from
it there is access to the saloon deck, already alluded to, by an easy double
staircase with bronze and mahogany balustrading. The saloon is beautifully
and artisticaly decorated, and will form a most charming apartment. The
panelling has the appearance of embossed leather, and the relievos are
delicately and harmoniously colored, so as to give a most novel and pleasing
impression. The sofas at the side are upholstered in a subdued shade of rich
velvet, luxuriously comfortable. The ladies' cabin and the smoking-room are
on the saloon deck, and are models of artistic decoration and furnishing.
The sleeping-cabins are on the main deck - large, airy, perfectly
ventilated, and lightly and elegantly furnished. Three bath-rooms and
lavatories, beautifully tiled and arranged, are provided for the saloon
passengers. The ship is divided into eight watertight compartments, any of
which may be penetrated without seriously imperilling the vessel's safety.
The provisions against fire are most complete, and the life-saving
appliances are also of the most approved order. Two large life-rafts are
stowed on the deck-houses forward, ready for immediate use, and eight large
life-boats hang in their davits, with fittings complete and ready for
service on the shortest notice. The Ionic is built of mild steel, the
ductile qualities of which insure the maximum of strength and durability.
Her dimensions are--- Length, 440 ft; breadth, 44ft; depth, 32ft; and the
gross register tonnage, 4368 tons. She has two double-cylindered engines of
500 horse-power. The crank shafts are so constructed that the risk of a
breakdown is rendered a remote contingency, the more so as the engines are
capable of being disconnected and worked separately at a reduced speed. The
net register of the Ionic is 3070 tons, the largest ever yet entered at the
Wellington Customs. This noble steamer left London on 26th April, and
Plymouth at 2 p.m. on 28th, passing the Eddystone at 3.5 p.m. Fresh westerly
winds and fine weather were experienced, and Teneriffe was reached at 2 p.m.
on the 3rd May, exactly 7 days from Plymouth. Left Teneriffe again at 6.45
next morning. Had light airs and calms to the Equator, which was crossed on
the 12th day out. Moderate S.E. trades were met with, and the Cape of Good
Hope was passed on 20th May, 22 days out. She did not call at the Cape.
Fresh to strong westerly breezes were then experienced, increasing to a
moderate gale, with high sea, on last Tuesday and yesterday. Cape Farewell
was passed at noon yesterday, and the Ionic arrived in this harbour at 11.35
last evening, thus making the passage from Plymouth, including all delays,
in 43 days 22 hours. Deducting the 16 hours' stay at Teneriffe, her actual
steaming time was 43 days 6 hours, a wonderfully fine run. Her best day's
work was 333 knots on the 29th ult., the next best 332 for the previous day,
and the third best 328 for the day following, while on the fourth
consecutive day she did 320, thus running 1313 in four days, or at an
average rate of nearly 14 knots per hour. Her smallest complete day's run
was 261 miles, steaming against a strong southerly breeze and heavy head
swell. The run from the Cape of Good Hope was made in just 21 days. Very
fine weather was experienced throughout. She came right in last night
without taking a pilot, Captain Bone, formerly of the snip Rakaia,, being on
board as second officer, and piloting her in. She has a most able and
courteous commander in Captain E. O. Hallett, R.N. Dr. Menzies is the
Surgeon Superintendent, and the single girls are in charge of Miss Burns, as
matron. Mr. Banks, who is a second officer in the New Zealand Shipping
Company's service, is acting as third officer of the Ionic, and Mr.
Campbell, who is also in the service as third officer, is acting as junior
officer on board. The Ionic has a double set of refrigerating machinery,
which are worked throughout, so that fresh meat and fish were enjoyed even
so lately as yesterday, while a fine fresh salmon was brought out for a
Wellington resident. The Ionic brings over 400 passengers of all classes.
The single girls for the South have been sent to the Somes Island barracks
until the steamer proceeds South, which is expected to be on Thursday next.
She came round to the wharf this afternoon, and was berthed alongside the
middle southern T, whore her two predecessors lay.

Passengers --- Cabin: For Wellington --- Mr. and Mrs. Wood, 4 children, and
servant, Mr. Coote.. For Lyttelton --- Captain, Mrs., Misses (2) Sanders and
3 children. Second Cabin: For all ports --- Messrs. J. Garlick, J. Hanks, R.
Malcolm, A. Chadwick, W. G. Booth, E. Ridge, J. Annas, G. H. Bell, T. White,
H. Kenway, R. Nock, W. A. Roof, W. Bickerton, T. Greenfield, J. Brown, H.
Jones, D. Jones, Hugh Jones, E. Watts, E. A. Ford, J. Dunkley, T. Dunkley;
Mrs. Charlotte Chaplin, Mrs. Martha Booth; Misses Mary A. Coop, Jessie
Malcolm, Dorothy Booth, Jessie Freeborough, Jane Marsack, H. Martindale,
Mary E. Hewett, Dora Andrew, Jane Higgs, Hannah, Henrietta and Edith

Steerage passengers for Wellington --- Joseph, Phoebe,Wm. H., Josephine,
Kate, and Francis Hardwick; Alfred, Isabella, Hannah, James, Jane, and Bold
Aldred; James and Elizabeth Hodgson; Robert, Sarah, George, and William
Cousins; Helen Clark; Joseph, Ann, Laura, Arthur, Ada J., and Henry
Wilkinson; Mary Hills; William and Evangeline Haisman; John, Annie, Frank,
and Jessie M'Pherson; William, Maria, Ada E., Annie M., Elizabeth, and Amy
Chissell; Annie K. and Lena Ash; Daniel G. Bank; Henry and James Burrell;
Robert and William Brown; J. D. Banks, W. Coward, R. Wilson, J. A. Hornsby,
W. Swan, A. Grandison, T. Barnes, R. Legg, E. E. Lomas, G. Lawton, A. K.
Murray, L. Taylor, H. Knight, A. Tuck, C. Garnett, T. C. Rayner, W. Hailey,
J. Woodhead, G. Foster, A. G. Barnard, T. Whittaker, W. Barrett, P. Smith,
J. M'Coy, F. W. Good, J. Barr, J. Robinson, A. Rayfield, T. O'Roux'ke, W.

Government immigrants for Wellington --- William, Emily, William, George,
and John Adsett; Myrstal, Barbara, Augustina, Francisca, and Josephine
Hoffman; Enoch, Eliza, Enoch, and Edward Pickin; Joseph Hoffman, John
Somers, Cornelius Neenan, Frances Ashplant, Anne Baker, Hold Broomfield;
Martha, Mary, Jane, Annie, and Martha Brown; Mary Byrne; Annie and Esther
Carnow; Johanna and Mary Cooncy; Lizzie Cranks, Sarah A. Crippen, Margaret
Dwyer, Catherine Galway, Teresa Goodwin, Jessie Grogan, Elizabeth Hickey,
Lucia Hoffman, Margaret Hyland, Johanna Kerriak, Martha Lucas, Isabella
Murphy, Bridget Nevill, Anne Noonan, Catherine Somers, Catherine Stacke,
Emilie and Alvine Steinke, Maggie Wright, Margaret A. R. Young.

She also has 61 steerage passengers and 132 Government immigrants for
Canterbury, 7 steerage and one immigrant for Otago, and 29 immigrants
divided between Taranaki, Marlborough, Westland, Napier, and Nelson.

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