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at lh. 30m., however, she struck hard, and orders were given to back astern full speed. The engines never moved; the ship fell off broadside to the rollers, the sea knocking away her stern-post, port bulwarks, and boats, and making a clean sweep over all. The wind was from about S.W. to W.S.W., a stiff breeze, with occasional puffs.
In this dismal plight, Commodore Burnett, whose coolness and decision was the theme of admiration among his officers and men, gave orders to Mr. Fielding, midshipman, to take a cutter with the records, ship's books, and other articles; but, on losing sight of her, fearing that she was swamped, the pinnace was got out, and, with Lieutenant Hill, Mr. Amphlett, Paymaster, (formerly of Dido and Niger, and well known and esteemed in Auckland,) despatched to her assistance, with instructions to push on afterwards to the Heads, in the vain hope of obtaining relief through White's lifeboat, known to be stationed there; but, alas! without a crew to launch or to man her. It was an awful moment; but it is gratifying to know that even in this extremity all hands, officers and men, spoke in praise of each other, and of their gallant chief, who expressed a determination to be the last to quit the wreck. After the pinnace had left, the launch was got over the side with forty men to lay out anchors, in the hope of making grapplings fast to haul into smooth water. The ebb tide, unhappily, swept her under the bows, where she was stove, and nearly all on board, including Lieutenant Jekyll, were drowned.
The pinnace, meanwhile, continued her course towards the Heads, descrying the steamer Wonga Wonga, outward bound for Wellington. The anxiety was intense, as the Wonga Wonga went round and round, and nearly out of sight. Mr. Amphlett at length succeeded in reaching the pilot boat, and came up with H.M.S. Harrier at 10h. 30m. p.m. The Wonga Wonga anchored, and the few survivors were transferred to her from the boats of the Orpheus that had been got afloat.
To return :-The heavy guns broke adrift about 5h. 30m. p.m., tearing up the upper deck, and driving the people to the tops, the rollers becoming longer and heavier. The masts stood firmly, until the flood tide made at about 6h. 30m. p.m., they then began to go, and the ship parted in halves, the rollers breaking into the tops. When the masts went the crew gave three cheers, as if taking farewell of life. Commodore Burnett and the young gentlemen were in the mizen top; all perished except Mr. Barkly, son of the Governor of Victoria. Commander Burton, Mr. Strong, sailing master, and Lieutenant Mudge, who were in the maintop, were lost. The men who were saved succeeded in getting down the jibstay on to the jibboom, dropping from thence into smooth water, where they were picked up. Many of the survivors are badly wounded, having legs and arms broken, and bodies bruised and maimed by the guns and falling spars.
Those in the fore part of the ship are principally among the saved. When she struck and heeled over a rush was made to the rigging, and those on the main and mizenmasts were washed off almost im
mediately into the surf and drowned. The foremast soon followed the other spars, and as it fell many of the men jumped off and swam to the bowsprit, from which they dropped either into the boats or into the sea, and made their way to the boats as best they could. Many were drowned in the attempt. The pinnace and cutter succeeded in landing their men.
While all this was going on, twenty-six miles from Onehunga, a seaport town, in broad daylight, and in full view of the pilot station, no signal of the disaster was given. Her Majesty's ship Harrier, seventeen guns, Commander Sullivan, was lying at her moorings at the Bluff, within twenty-three miles of the disaster; the colonial steamer Avon was also unemployed at the Onehunga wharf.
We do not blame the pilot, for he was doing his duty on board the Wonga Wonga, which sailed at half-past twelve on Saturday, and we suppose there was no one to telegraph for assistance. The noble ship was left to her fate, and her gallant crew to the mercy of the waves, without a helping hand being stretched out to save a life, although help in such abundance was at hand.
As we have said, help was available it a proper pilot establishment had been at Poponga to make known the disaster. But although the Orpheus struck at half-past one o'clock on Saturday, it was ten o'clock at night before intelligence was communicated to the Harrier. About 10h. p.m. the pilot boat, with four men came alongside the Harrier, and reported the loss of the Orpheus. Commander Sullivan at once despatched an officer to Auckland, to report the event to the senior naval officer on the station, Captain Jenkins; and at one a.m., on Sunday morning, the fact was reported to Captain Jenkins, who left for Onehunga, after apprising his Excellency the Governor.
The inter-provincial mail steamship Wonga Wonga, Captain Renner, was fortunately in time to save several lives. As soon as intelligence of the disaster was reported to Commander Sullivan, on Saturday night, he took measures to have the little steamer Avon despatched to the wreck in the hope of saving life; but a piece of the machinery was in Auckland, undergoing repairs, and the Avon was, consequently, not available for the time being. A messenger was despatched to the engineer in Auckland, and in an hour and a half he returned with it. Meanwhile steam had been got up on board the Harrier, but it was found that the tide was too low for her to turn, and she did not get under way till near noon yesterday (Sunday). When it was found that the Harrier could not proceed to the scene of the wreck, steam was got up in the Avon, and she left the wharf at 3h. a.m. on Sunday morning, and reached the heads at daylight, when she met the Wonga Wonga returning with the survivors, who were transferred to the Avon and fetched up to Onelunga.
The following is a corrected list of the saved and lost, kindly handed to us by Captain Jenkins, of H.M.S. Miranda :
Saved.-Charles Hill, lieutenant; Duke Yonge, lieutenant; Ed. ward A. Amphlett, paymaster; Charles G. Hunt, midshipman; Henry Barkly, midshipman; Mr. Fielding, midshipman; William Mason,
boatswain ; John Beer, carpenter; fifty-three seamen ; seven boys; two marines.—Total 70.
Lost, Twenty-three Officers.-W. F. Burnett, C.B., commodore; Robert H. Burton, commander; W. F. W. Mudge, lieutenant; Arthur Jekyll, lieutenant; W. D. Strong, master; Charles B. Hazlewood, chaplain; Samuel Stephens, chief engineer; Edward E. Hill, 1st lieutenant, R.M.A.; James Clarkson, assistant surgeon; W. H.P. M. Gillham, assistant paymaster and secretary; William T. Taylor, acting second master; A. D. Johnstone, assistant paymaster; A. R. Mallack, midshipman; T. H. Broughton, midshipman; "George H. Verner, midshipman; H. N. Aylen, clerk; John T. Tozer, master's assistant; John H. Adams, engineer; John H. Vickery, assistant engineer; E. J. Miller, assistant engineer; William Adamson, assistant engineer; George F. Gossage, assistant engineer; William Hudson, gunner; ninety-five seamen; twenty-six boys; forty-five marines.—Total,
The Sydney Morning Herald makes the following remarks on this event:-“It has been for a long time known to nautical men that the channel laid down in Drury's chart has shifted considerably, and that to steer strictly in accordance with the directions would ensure the destruction of any large vessel. Commodore Burnett and Master Strong—(than whom a more efficient mariner did not hold a commission under her Majesty)-were strangers to the Manukau þarbour, and as the change in the channel had never been officially notified, the ship's course was kept in accordance with the Admiralty chart. The fearful calamity which has cast such a gloom over this community, and inflicted such a heavy loss upon the nation, was the result.”
We preserve the above in order not only to show that it was known that the channel across the bar had shifted, but to correct the wrong impression conveyed by one portion of it. The Orpheus took out from England, officially supplied to her, the notification usually given on such occasions, that the marks on the chart were not to be relied on, and had the best information that could be officially given, from Captain Cracroft's remarks. These are all momentous circumstances on which the safety of a ship on such an occasion would depend, and yet this was information officially supplied with her charts, that if it had been properly considered would have averted the catastrophe.
The readers of the Nautical will be familiar with Captain Cracroft's interesting journal of his proceedings on the coast of New Zealand. They will have observed in our number for November last, what he has said about the dangers of the Manukau bar, and how the Niger was detained by this said bar, although she crossed and recrossed it drawing seventeen feet water, * a ship, however, of 1,072 tons and 400 horse power, while the Orpheus was 1,706 tons, and also 400 borse power.
But we need not further allude to this distressing scene, where British courage under trials of the severest kind, braved the dangers which carried off above 180 souls to eternity. We annex a view which was on the chart on board the Orpheus, showing the locality of this sad catastrophe. The immediate vicinity of the interior of the harbour to Auckland (only five miles) across the isthmus, and the neighbourhood of the river, are all referred to by Captain Cracroft, along with the flourishing condition of Onebunga.
EVENINGS AT HOME AT THE NAUTICAL CLUB.—Report of the Royal
National Lifeboat Institution, The Wreck of the Orpheus-
Electric Light in Lighthouses— Perilous Balloon Descent. Following our usual custom, said the Chairman, in opening our meeting, we will call on the Secretary to read the narrative of our lifeboat proceedings, in saving the shipwrecked mariners on our own shores, in case it should be thrown into the shade by a calamity of the same nature that has occurred nearly at our antipodes, involving as it does so fearful a loss of life. Although such events seldom, very seldom occur, where so much sacrifice has taken place as in the loss of the Orpheus, still they do come “now and then,” like Warren's celebrated story, to remind us that the ships of the state, whether of wood or iron, fall a prey to rocks and shoals as well as their more fragile companions of the wave, those of the merchant service.
The Chairman then called upon the Secretary to read the report of the monthly meeting of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, held at its bouse, John Street, on the 2nd of April, Thomas Chapman, Esq., F.R.S., V.P., occupying the chair. It stated that a reward of £14 was voted to the crew of the institution's lifeboat at Padstow, for their gallant services in rescuing, during a heavy storm on the night of the 18th March, the crew, consisting of thirteen men, from the brigantine Pundema, of Plymouth, and schooner Betsy of Brixham, stranded on the Doom Bar Sand, off Padstow. Thanks were voted to Mr. Daniel Shea, chief officer of the coastguard, for putting off in the lifeboat on both these occasions, called Albert Edward, after the Prince of Wales. By a happy coincidence, she was also instrumental in rescuing a shipwrecked crew on the day that his royal highness attained his majority, on the 9th November last.
Rewards, amounting to £53 7s., were voted to the crews of the lifeboats at Rye, Winchelsea, Tynemouth, Middlesborough, Fraserburgh, Dundalk, Berwick, St. Ives, and St. Andrews, for putting off to render assistance to vessels with distress signals flying, but which did not afterwards require the services of the boats. Some services on these occasions were of a very laudable character, and attended with con