Ship LASTINGHAM wrecked in Cook Strait - 1 Sep 1884 :: Genealogy
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Ship LASTINGHAM wrecked in Cook Strait - 1 Sep 1884

Journal by ngairedith

On the 1st September 1884 the 'Lastingham' was destroyed in heavy weather at Cape Jackson (a peninsula in Marlborough, New Zealand)

The Lastingham, which sunk on September 1st 1884 on the western side of Cape Jackson, was bound from London to Wellington with a cargo of general goods. 18 lives were lost during her sinking, the Captain and his wife chose to go down with the ship, 11 crew members and 5 passengers also perished, with the survivors spending 3 days before being discovered on the exposed headland, without food or water, only in the clothes they were wearing

18 lives lost
the Captain & his wife, all 5 passengers and 11 crew
there were 14 survivors


- anything in (italics) is my addition -
Manawatu Times, Volume X, Issue 1287, 5 September 1884
Per Press Association, Wellington
... Information was received at daylight this morning that the ship Lastingham, from London to Wellington, has been wrecked at Jackson's Head, Cook Strait.
The Lastingham was a ship of 1085 tons, of the Shaw-Saville line, and was commanded by Alex. MORRISON. The catastrophe happened while the vessel was running through the straits during the heavy N.W. gale on Monday night. The vessel struck the land at Jackon's Head and a terrific sea was running. The captain, his wife, five passengers, and eleven of the crew were washed away from the wreck and drowned. The remainder of the crew including the 1st and 2nd officers reached main land and were yesterday picked up by the ketch Anges, which was passing through the Straits and brought on here. The vessel has gone to pieces.
Beyond the captain and wife the names of those drowned are not yeat ascertained
The following are particulars of the wreck:- The chief officer. Mr NEALE, supplies the following particulars:-
... The Lastingham sighted the Coast of New Zealand about 8 o'clock on Monday morning last and in a little over twelve hours afterwards was a total wreck, almost on the spot where the steamer Rangitoto was lost (30 Nov 1873, no loss of life). Heavy weather prevailed at the time and continued till the vessel was driven ashore. The gale was of terrific force, and rain fell heavily for some hours previous to accident and land was not visible for more than a mile ahead. Great efforts were made by the officers and crew to prevent the vessel going ashore. At ten p.m. she went ashore and became a total wreck in less than two hours.
The crew and passengers endeavoured to save themselves in various ways, some of them plunging into the boiling sea and striking out for the shore. Others sprang from the vessel's side on to rocks in the vicinity, while others arrempted to float ashore on anything that would bear their weight.
The scene was one of indescribable confusion, wind howling, rain falling, people rushing about shouting and screeching, and the sea breaking over the ship's side.
About midnight a muster of the survivors was made when it was ascertained that 18 were missing and no doubt drowned, the captain and wife and the whole of the passengers (five in number) being among the number.
A miserable night was spent and on Tuesday efforcts were made to find a habitation within distance of the shore but without success. Three of the men, CHALMERS, WOOD, and ALFREY, continued on their journey in hopes of discovering inhabitants and were not seen afterwards by those of the survivors who are now in Wellington.
It is difficult to say whether they will be found alive.
The survivors - fourteen in number, endured great privation while in the neighborhood of Jackson's head, owing to their not having saved anything. The captain endeavored to save the log books, ship's papers, etc, but as he lost his life in attempting to reach the shore with his wife it is not likely those articles will ever be recovered. The only articles of food which came ashore were 4lbs of pickled pork and two packages of oatmeal and cornflour. They stopped their hunger by gnawing the raw meal and drinking an oatmeal mixture, fresh water being found close to the wreck. The men had to run up and down the beach to keep up the circulation. Wednesday was fine and their clothes were laid out to dry and the survivors obtained much needed rest, having been without sleep for 36 hours. Each night the men huddled together under rocks to keep themselves warm and on Thursday night they discovered a small vessel passing. A piece of blanket which had come ashore was fixed to a pole and moved to and fro. The signal was observed. and a boat being lowered. the survivors were soon on board the ketch, which proved to be the Anges from Pelorus Sound to Kaiapoi, with timber. Captain Jensen of the ketch, attended to the wants of the shipwrecked mariners, and then bore for Wellington.
At the time of rescue the men had almost given up hope of being rescued, as on Tuesday and Wednesday, no less than five steamers were seen passing close to land, and although signals were made none on board seem to have noticed them. However, no effort was made to rescue them.
When they were taken on board they were thoroughly exhausted. The chief officer is of opinion that had they to stop another night on the coast some of the party would have succumbed to the privations.
Those saved are:
(all seamen)
* John NEALE, chief officer
* John BARTON, second mate
* DIDDLE, steward
* ROBERTSON, carpenter
the apprentices are:

The whole of the passengers were drowned.
Their names were, Messrs:
None of them were married men and it is understood they have never been in New Zealand

The names of the officers and men drowned were:
* Alex MORRISON, master, aged about 60 years of age, and his wife, who usually accompanied him on all his voyages
* Henry GROVES, third officer
* Peter McQUIRE, cook
* John MURRAY, sailmaker
all seamen and SHARP & PEARCE, two of the complement of four boys, which the ship carried

The wreck of the Lastingham has cast a gloom over the city and flags are lowered half mast as a mark of respect to those who perished.
Instructions have been issued to send a steamer from Picton to proceed to the scene of the catastrophe and institute a search for three of the survivors who were hunting for a habitation and could not be found when the others were rescued.
A subscriptions was started this morning in aid of the survivors and ?36 handed to chief officer to provide clothing for his shipmates (equivalent in 2009 to $5,900).
An enquiry into the disaster is being held before the Collector of Customs.
It is understood that Captain Morrison, who commanded the Lastingham, had retired from the sea sometime back but was ruined by the failure of the Glasgow bank and had to go to sea again, this being his second voyage.
The lastinham struck head on and immediately broached to when her side was exposed to the fury of the terrific sea running and the deck houses boats and everything about decks were swept overboard. The sea continued making a clear sweep over the ill-fated vessel and in about an hour the decks bulged out and this was the last seen of the vessel as she them slipped off the rocks and disappeared in deep water. It was with the greatest difficulty any of the crew managed to reach the rocks and they were then in a very exhausted condition and their hands were severely lacerated
Captain Babot of Shaw, Saville and Co has taken charge of the survivors and will see to their wants being properly attended to.
The shipwrecked crew speak in high praise of treatment they received at the hands of Captain Jensen of the ketch Agnes

A view From the summit of Mount Kaukau across Cook Strait to the Marlborough Sounds in the distance

by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2009-03-16 00:08:56

ngairedith has been a Family Tree Circles member since Feb 2008.

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by bullseye on 2009-03-25 22:14:15

The photo that you refer to on the above site is not authentic - that photo appears to be of the 'Lyttelton' with a mast removed! I have been searching everywhere for an authentic photo of this wreck. If you look on;
and other articles on this site there are names of some of the survivors

by ngairedith on 2009-03-26 00:57:53

Thank you for that - disappointing it is not the real photo ...
I will also keep an eye out for an authentic photo

by ngairedith on 2012-12-22 00:19:53

the names of those drowned and of the survivors now added

by TheSandlapper on 2014-06-25 03:27:30

Anyway you can think of that I may track to see if the Burrell who drowned is my line?

by kiwiboatie on 2017-03-14 23:16:30

I dived on the Lastingham some years ago. She is in the entrance to Port Gore on the Cape Jackson side & not far from the cape. She was carrying among other things, grindstones, many of them still on the bottom at that time.
A ship called the Rangitoto is sunk in a similar across the cape in Queen Charlotte Sound.

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