News from 1902: Maiden voyage of Athenic

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Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Evening Post, Wellington, 2 April 1902
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site

Early this morning the new White Star liner Athenic arrived in the stream
from London via Capetown and Hobart. At 7 o'clock the Port Health Officer
boarded the steamer, and after his inspection was complete, she was berthed
at the Queen's wharf.

Mr S. C. J. Freeman-Matthews, purser, reports of the voyage as follows:---
Left Plymouth 15th February, met with strong SSE winds while crossing Bay of
Biscay, and arrived at Teneriffe on 20th February. After landing
passengers, mails, &c. left Teneriffe same day, and had moderate NE trades
and cool weather to Equator, which was crossed on 26th in long 10 W. Met
moderate SE trades, and one day before arrival at Capetown considerable
delay was caused by fog. Arrived at Table Bay on 8th March. Left Capetown
same day, and strong to moderate W and SW winds prevailed during the passage
to Hobart, which was reached last Thursday. The steamer left Hobart on the
following day, and encountered strong SE gales with very high seas, for
three days, and thick weather on reaching the New Zealand coast. The exact
steaming time from Plymouth to Wellington was 43 days 7 hours 37 minutes.
The passengers express themselves as being delighted with the new steamer,
and all have enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

The steamer brought the following passengers for Wellington:---
First-class--- Miss Dixon, Mesdames Dixon, Eaton, Dr Whyte, Messrs M'Laghn,
M'Causland, Carter. Second-class--- Messrs Eyre, Hexter, Smith, Ellioit,
Burrell. Third-class---Miss M'Ateer, Mesdames Griffiths, Halford, Jones,
Messrs Black, Griffiths (2), Haigh, Halford, Ross, Kenyon, M'Donald, Miller,
Naylor, Petersen, Spelman, Trickett, Wilkie, Masters Jones (2), and seven
troopers from South Africa. She has also a large number of passengers for
other ports.

Captain C. H. Kempson, RNR, is in command, and has with him the following
officers:--- Chief officer, F. Hart; first, J. Roberts; second, A. Leslie;
third, G. Robertson; fourth, W. Molley; chief engineer, J. Bell; second, A.
Duncan; third, W. Harrison; fourth G. F. Hoskins; fifth, J. H. Hingston;
sixth, W. P. Butchart; electrical engineer, S. B. M'Clellan; chief
refrigerating engineer, J. Calderwood ; second, A. Hibbard; chief steward,
W. E. Wheate; purser, S. C. J. Freeman-Matthews; surgeon, S. S. Depree.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Evening Post, Wellington, New Zealand, 2 April 1902
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site


The White Star Liner Athenic, which arrived in port this morning from
London, via the Cape and Hobart, is the first of three large twin-screw
steamers which are being built by Messrs Harland and Wolff, Limited, for the
service which has for so many years been successfully conducted between
London and New Zealand by Messrs Shaw, Savill, and Albion Co., Limited. She
is the biggest boat that has yet visited the colonies. Her dimensions
are: -Length extreme, 520 ft; b.p., 500 ft; breadth, 63ft; depth, 49ft, with
gross registered tonnage of 12,234 tons. She has exceptionally comfortable
accommodation for about 100 first saloon, 100 second saloon, and nearly 200
third-class passengers. The first saloon dining-room is in the fore end of a
large deckhouse on the upper deck, and is tastefully decorated with white
and gold panels in satinwood framing. The library, which is immediately
above the saloon, is a spacious apartment about 10ft high, fitted with
comfortable lounges and chairs and a large bookcase containing a
well-selected assortment of books. This room is decorated in carved oak, and
is surmounted with an ornamental skylight. The floor is laid with parquetry.
The first saloon smokeroom is upon the same deck as the library, but further
aft, and is decorated in embossed leather with mahogany furniture. Ample
mechanical ventilation is provided. The flooring is of rubber tiling similar
to that on board all the White Star passenger ships. In the second saloon
accommodation the dining-room is a handsome apartment, decorated in polished
hardwood. There are also comfortable library and smokeroom. The floor of
the latter is laid with rubber tiling. The third-class accommodation is most
comfortably fitted, in separate rooms, having two and four berths each. The
large dining saloon, situated at the after end, is furnished with separate
revolving chairs. There are also provided third-class library and smokeroom,
tastefully decorated. Ample appliances of the latest and most approved type
are supplied for the working of cargo. Refrigerating apparatus and chambers
have been fitted for carrying 100,000 carcases of sheep. The 'tween decks
are also fitted with the necessary arrangements for carrying fruit and dairy
produce. The refrigerating plant is on the carbonic acid system, constructed
by Messrs J. and E. Hall, Dartford, and the cooling effect is transmitted to
the holds by means of brine circulating through coils of pipes in the usual
manner. Like all other vessels of the White Star fleet, the Athenic is
lighted throughout by electricity. The machinery, which has been constructed
in Messrs Harland and Wolff's Engine Works, consists of two sets of
quadruple expansion engines, each having cylinders 22in, 31 1/2in, 46in, and
66in, by 48in stroke, and her ocean speed exceeds 12 knots. The Athenic is
fitted with bilge keels to ensure increased steadiness at sea, and her great
capacity renders her admirably fitted for the carriage of troops and horses.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Evening Post, Wellington, New Zealand, 3 April 1902
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site


A case of cargo-broaching came in for a heavy penalty at the Magistrate's
Court to-day. John Hinde and George Lucas, articled seamen on the s.s.
Athenic, were charged, before Mr. W. R. Haselden, S.M., having broached the
cargo on 19th March and stolen £2 worth of champagne and whisky, the
property of the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company. They pleaded Not Guilty.
Lucas is 21 years of age, Hinde considerably older.

Mr. Gully, for the prosecution, said he would prove that the cargo had been
broached; that the accused were found drunk at the time; that bottles, some
containing liquor, had been found practically in their possession in their
bunks; and that they made an admission when the officers investigated.

Frank Hart, chief officer, deposed that on 19th March, when the steamer was
half-way between Capetown and Hobart, Hinde was found under the influence of
liquor, but walking about; Lucas was drunk and asleep. The hatches were
bolted, but a man could get to the cargo through the ventilator, and there
were traces of a rope having been passed over and down the ventilator, and
of a man having descended by it, rubbing the sides of the ventilator in his
descent. A case of champagne had been broken open, and some full bottles of
the same brand were found in Lucas's bunk, and an empty bottle was found
under Hinde's pillow. Lucas on awaking threatened to shoot the officers,
assaulted witness, and was put in irons. Seeing Hinde talking to an ordinary
seaman, witness said to the latter, "Are you in this, too?" Hinde answered,
"No, he is not, there is only the two of us in it." Lucas stated that it was
as easy going down that ventilator as through the "twopenny tube."

Hinde cross-examined witness to show that liquor could be supplied to a
seaman by passengers or by other persons. Passengers buying at the
third-class bar were not compelled to drink the liquor on the spot.

The Magistrate pointed out that the possibility of theft by others was not a
defence in a case of possession.

Hinde - Did you call me into your cabin one morning and give me a drink of

Witness replied in the negative, and said on that morning he had spoken to
Hinde to remonstrate with him for influencing a boy to steal. Witness on
that occasion said, "Hinde, I know you're a blackguard." Hinde replied, "I
know I am myself."

Hinde (interjecting) - I know you're a liar.

Witness went on to say that he told Hinde on that occasion that every man
had a little good in him, and asked Hinde not to influence the boy to steal.

Hinde denied having influenced the boy to steal.

After the second and third officers had given corroborative evidence, Hinde
said his defence was that he did not broach cargo.

The Magistrate remarked that did not make much difference.

Lucas said other seamen supplied the liquor, and he took his share. It was
he who put the bottle in Hinde's bunk. He (Lucas) did not go down the hold.

The Magistrate said it was clear Lucas must be convicted.

A second charge of broaching and theft of 10s worth of whisky on 2nd March
was then taken.

The chief officer gave evidence that Hinde was found under the influence of
liquor, and had boasted to witness that it would never be found out how the
liquor was got. Witness released Hinde on his undertaking to see that the
circulating of liquor among the crew was stopped. Shortly afterwards Hinde
was drunk again, and boasted that he had got the liquor out of the cargo.

Hinde- I am charged with broaching because I was drunk?

Witness - And because you confessed.

Hinde- Did I confess when I was sober?

Witness - No.

The boatswain gave similar evidence, and he and the captain spoke well of
Lucas's general conduct on board ship.

The Magistrate convicted both accused. He said it was very necessary to
protect owners of property on ships, and as a crew had, if so disposed,
opportunities to steal that were not possible to an ordinary labourer, such
dishonesty must be severely dealt with. He held that Hinde was far the most
to blame and had led Lucas astray. He would take two months off Hinde's
sentence in consideration that accused had already been a fortnight in
confinement. On the first charge, Hinde would be sentenced to ten mouths'
and Lucas to six weeks' imprisonment; on the second charge, no sentence.

Each accused was ordered to forfeit £1 out of wages in connection with the
offence on 19th March, and Hinde was ordered to forfeit 10s in connection
with the charge of 2nd March, which was dismissed as against Lucas.

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