THE SIR GEORGE SEYMOUR
The third ship, the Sir George Seymour, an 867
ton barque under Captain Thomas W. Millman, with
Major John Gray, officer in charge of the Fourth
Detachment left Gravesend
on 12th August 1847. The Fencibles and their
families, and Major Gray's family and servants
embarked on 9 and 10 August. When they left port there were 14 on the sick
list, which increased to 21 persons after five days at sea – mainly sea sickness
They followed the classical
immigrant route. For 25 days they averaged six knots, slowed by the doldrums
near Madeira and Canary Islands but rounded the Cape of Good Hope and picked up the drift and
winds of the ‘roaring twenties’. They did not go below 43 degrees south (for
the comfort of the passengers). They rounded Tasmania to Three Kings Islands and down the New Zealand Coast after a ‘fine run of 103 days’.
The ship did however give assistance to the Royal William in the Tasman Sea, which was given a hundred
weight of bread, bag of coal, cask of water and 24 lbs of beef, and tool no
payment. The voyage included mustering on deck daily to air bedding, clean
berths, ventilate the lower deck and clean the swing stoves. The lower decks
were scrubbed weekly and fumigated, and they were allowed access to their boxes
for clean clothing. All the passengers had regular exercise and cleanliness
inspections. [Dr Goldney was the surgeon.] Particular
attention was given to the food. There was daily school for the children and Sunday Church service taken by the Captain.
Of the 14 deaths, nine were
children under five years, four were adult women and
one pensioner, mainly from dysentery and consumption. Joseph Bridgford, 4 months, died on 16 September. . . .
On the day of arriving in New
Zealand, 27 November 1847, Major Gray, his wife and
their servants, Mrs Parsons and [her daughter] Ellen Parsons disembarked. Only
Rebecca Massey, aged eleven years, was allowed ashore to the hospital,
otherwise the first eleven passengers were not allowed off until 1 December,
which included those on the sick list. Fresh beef, soft bread and vegetables
were issued to the pensioners daily – and were a most welcome treat.
On Monday 13 December the
Government brig Victoria hauled alongside and took on
board 54 adults, 44 children from one to fourteen years of age. On 16 December
the remaining pensioners and their families disembarked for Howick Beach.
The Sir George Seymour
then returned to England and left on 8 September 1850 with the other first three ships bringing the first settlers to Christchurch [New Zealand].
Royal New Zealand Fencibles,