This page is courtesy of Chris Freeman, who is a descendent of Captain John James Richards LUCKES. Please send any enquiries or comments to me and I will forward them along.

Thank you Chris! -cra

Arrival of the Lactura

From the "The Star", Christchurch, Monday Sept. 27, 1875.


The signal for a ship from the South was run up this morning at the flagstaff, and on the Ringarooma coming in inquiries were made about her. Captain McLean stated that be saw a large ship with painted ports off the Long Lookout. She will doubtless prove to be the Lactura, from London, with passengers, now 112 days out. The ship crossed the Heads at noon today, tacking to the Northward. The s.s. Mullogh proceeded down to the Heads at 3 p.m. with the Health Officers.

From the "The Star", Christchurch, Tuesday Sept. 28, 1875.


This fine iron ship, which has been anxiously looked for during the past fortnight was signalled yesterday. Her number was run up, but being a new vessel it did not appear on the code list, and this occasioned some speculation as to her name, the Lactura and Waikato being both hourly expected. At 3.30 p.m. the s.s. Mullogh, with the Health officer and. a large party on board, proceeded down to the ship, which was then entering the Heads, with a fine spanking breeze. The ship was reached off Camp Bay, and the steamer ran alongside, and there having been no sickness on board the vessel was at once cleared. The ship is a splendid model, and has an excellent cabin. She has a large cargo, and comes consigned to the New Zealand Shipping Company. Subjoined is the captainís report:-

The clipper ship Lactura, Captain Luckes, arrived on Sept 27 from London direct after a voyage of 116 days. The Lactura was built in Glasgow, by J. G. Laurie, and. is as fine a specimen of marine architecture as one could well wish to see. Her overall length is 237ft, length of keel 225ft, beam 36ft 4in and depth of hold, 21ft 9in. The saloon is fitted up in every way for the comfort and convenience of the passengers, being very large, high and well ventilated. It is fitted with oak and maple panels, inlaid with rosewood well set off with a handsome gilt cornice. The skylight is lage and handsome, although at present very much damaged by the sea. The staterooms are large and well found, Among other improvements the passengers are provided with beds and bedding, and all table linen. The mattresses are fitted, so as to a life-buoy in case of necessity.

Subjoined we give extracts from the diary at one of the saloon passengers:- "Left Gravesend on June 2, with glorious weather and every prospect of a prosperous voyage, On June 3, the wind veered right ahead of us, with thick foggy weather, and consequently, we were tacking about the Channel for more than a week. Once in the Bay, we were hoping for a change more in our favour, but here again we were doomed to disappointment, for again the wind was dead against us, and we were obliged to go away to the Northward and Westward, a long way out of our course. We now found also, that the ship was so deep as to quite do away with all hopes of a quick passage and also that, owing to the way that the cargo of iron is stowed, that she rolled most fearfully, and being a new ship, and the rigging not at all well set up, the captain had great fears of losing some of her spars. On June 9 the weather cleared up a little, and this was taken advantage of to get the anchor on board, and reset the rigging and stays. We now got slowly on our way till June 15,when we had a fearfully hard gale and heavy sea, and as the ship took large quantities of water on board, were obliged to stand away to the Northward again, doing only five miles of our journey in twenty four hours. This weather continued until June 18, when we had a change slightly in our favour. On Friday, June 25, we ran into the N.E. Trades and glorious weather, but here again our bad luck followed us as we only had the trade winds for four days. We now had light variable winds and some rain and crossed the line on July 12. We now held the South-east trade winds till the 14th, when we had again light variable winds and generally from the South and South-east, driving us so far to the Westward, that on the 18th we were obliged to tack to the North-east to avoid the Brazilian coast. On the 19th a strong wind was blowing in the morning and a very high sea running with very heavy rain. We now made better progress for a few days seeing meantime several outward bound ships and two large French steamers. Crossed the meridian of Greenwich on Aug. 9, and now our troubles began in right earnest. We had heavy gales from the South until Aug. 18, when at 5 p.m. a heavy sea struck her, filling the decks fore and aft, smashing the sheep pen on the main-deck and washing the sheep all about the deck. Some of them were very severely damaged, and have since died. The ship was hove-to until the next morning, when we again made sail,

a strong Souí-wester still blowing, and a very heavy sea running. To add to our troubles, we found that the compasses were very unsteady, and that they could not be at all depended upon. On August 25 we again had a very severe gale, and were obliged to heave-to. A very large sea struck her that afternoon coming over the forecastle right aft, smashing the forward part of the saloon skylight and filling the saloon with water, the ship labouring, straining, and rolling very heavily, and a part of the starboard bulwark being washed away. On August 31, we sighted Amsterdam Island, and the captain was delighted to find the chronometer was about right. After this we were hove-to twice through stress of weather, but all are pleased to think our long voyage has at length come to a satisfactory end. We sighted the Snares at 2.30 p.m. on Sept. 25, ran up with fresh South-west wind, anchored off the Long Look-out on the evening of Sept.27. I have not the slightest doubt that the Lactura, if properly loaded, would be one of the fastest ships afloat, as whenever she had the slightest chance we made twelve and thirteen knots an hour. We have to thank Captain Luckes and the other officers for their kind treatment throughout.

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Last Updated on 4 Mar 2005

By Carol I Robocker-Andersen, Research by Chris Freeman

Email: Carol Robocker