The voyages of the ship "Bombay" to New Zealand

Image by permission of Alexander Turnbull Library see [214]       Click for full size

A fully rigged ship of 937 tons built for G.D Tyser and chartered to Shaw Savill & Co. in 1862 [212]. This Bombay made four voyages to NZ and Bombay, in the south of Auckland is named after this vessel.

From "White Wings"
"It is not generally known that the Bombay gave the name of Bombay to the settlement situated about 29 miles south of Auckland. Most of the early settlers in this district came out from England by the Bombay on her first voyage to Auckland in 1863. The Bombay seldom had a fair chance when trading to New Zealand of showing what she was capable of doing, as on nearly all the voyages out she had the ill-luck to strike furious storms, either in the Channel or later. The Bombay was a full-rigged ship of 937 tons, and flying the Shaw Savill flag. On the four voyages she made to the colony she was under the command of Captain G. Sellars, a fine old gentleman and a skilful sailor." - Sir Henry Brett [7]


Voyages to New Zealand of ships named Bombay

400 ton barque "Bombay"
On 10 March 1838 the Chinese Emperor appointed a new commissioner to stop the illegal importation of opium from India and at the end of July a British ship, Bombay, was boarded and searched. It is possible that this was the same Bombay that subsequently took emmigrants to Nelson, but clearly not the ship built in 1862!

A a 400 ton barque named Bombay sailed from Gravesend 1 Aug 1842, arrived in Nelson (via Wellington), New Zealand, 14 December 1842 [211]. Again, not the ship built in 1862!

The 937 ton clipper Bombay:

  1. Sailed from London 16 June 1862, arrived Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand, (9)10 September 1862
  2. Left England 26 Aug 1863 arrived in Auckland, New Zealand 8 Dec1863
  3. Sailed from London 26 November 1864 arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, 18 March 1865.
    See 3rd voyage
  4. Sailed from London 4 May 1866, arrived Lyttelton 18 August 1866.
    The Lyttleton papers recieved a report from Captain Sellars "Indeed it has been gale, calm, gale, calm, rolling continually round, flying about round the compass, for the past six weeks."
This is the ship Bombay built in 1862!

The 990 ton City of Bombay arrived 18 Oct 1882 at Port Chalmers. Again, not the ship built in 1862!

The 3,130 ton SS Bombay built 1882 left Plymouth, United Kingdom, 11 November 1883, arrived in Port Chalmers, Otago 23 January 1884 with 511 passengers. Again, not the ship built in 1862!

Third Voyage to New Zealand

From "The Green Hill"
"The Bombay left Gravesend at 8 o'clock on the morning of November 26th, 1864 with a total of 386 passengers. Judging from the records, this was her slowest and most hazardous trip, taking 112 days in all, and according to Mr. George Wootten, it was only by the help of God that they ever succeeded in reaching their destination. Several times during the voyage, they were beset by adverse winds, extremely heavy seas, and narrow escapes from certain disaster." [213]

From "White Wings"
"The Bombay sailed from London to Auckland on November 26, 1864, and met with strong westerly gales, again sheltering at North Foreland. She lifted her anchor once more on November 30, but immediately ran into bad weather, and did not leave the Lizard Light until December 8, twelve days after weighing anchor at Gravesend. The Bombay then had a fairly good run until ten days before reaching Auckland. When she was struck by a squall from the south east, which carried away the bowsprit, the fore topmast with several yards, and the main topgallant mast and royal mast were sprung. A number of sails were blown from the yards, and altogether there was a pretty mess aloft. With considerable labour the wreckage was cut away, all speed being used, as it was feared that the heavy spars, with their attached iron work, would chafe a hole in the wooden sides of the ship.

"The next day the gale increased until it was blowing a hurricane. Nothing could be set except the upper topsail, and that was lowered down on top of the lower topsail yard. Early in the day the ship gave a sudden lurch in a more than usually severe squall, and to crown the misfortunes of the crew and passengers, there were 400 of the latter on board, the main mast went by the board and the mizzen mast was sprung. It was at first feared that the mizzen would follow the main mast, but eventually it was saved. Naturally this was a most anxious time for the passengers and crew. The ship was rolling fearfully, and the work of clearing the wreckage was terribly hard and dangerous. Later the starboard quarter boat was blown from the aft davit, and had to be cut away to prevent it doing further damage.

"In spite of the buffeting the Bombay had received she was still keeping remarkably tight. During the night the ship lay hove to with a tarpaulin in the mizzen rigging, all her canvas having been blown to ribbons, and all hands were hard at work straightening things as far as they could. In the morning the carpenter set about setting up some sort of a jury-rig, and many of the passengers lent a hand where they could. At half-past seven the welcome sight of another ship appeared over the horizon. She proved to be the Circular Saw liner Constance, from Sydney, and her skipper (Captain Elliott) at once offered to give the derelict a tow. A line was passed and the tow commenced. Fortunately the breeze held in the right direction, and the strange pair a barque and a sadly disabled ship, they made steady progress. By the time the Three Kings were reached the Bombay people had succeeded in rigging up jury gear, and they were able to get some sail on their vessel. They were in great luck, for the next day HMS. Curacao hailed in sight, and Commodore Wiseman, taking the "lame duck" in tow, brought her safely into Auckland Harbour. There are, no doubt, many of the passengers and their descendants still living in the Dominion, who will recall the anxious days experienced during this terrible storm. The voyage took 112 days." [216]

NZ Herald account of the arrival of the Bombay:
"Considerable excitement prevailed in the town during the morning of Saturday, in consequence of the report which had been current that the Curacao had been signaled in sight with a ship dismasted in tow. On arrival in harbour the ship proved to be the Bombay, Captain SELLARS. The ship had been out 111 days from the Downs, with 400 passengers and general cargo. The Bombay had fallen in with the terrific gale which had been experienced along the coast of New Zealand. Much anxiety had been felt as to the condition of the ship and passengers. We are happy to say the passengers were in the best health and spirits and that the ship was a model of cleanliness, evincing the greatest care and attention on the part of her commander and officers. When the condition of the ship is considered, knocked about as she must have been in the gale of two daysí duration, terrific seas running, and freighted with passengers, who had never before been so situated, calm and presence of mind and other sailor-like high qualities were necessary to preserve discipline and prevent anything like disturbance, which in such circumstances might have been fatal. The passengers speak in the very highest terms of their captain." [215]


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