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'Soukar' - not a fast sailer

New Zealand Bound

The Soukar sailed 29 Sept. and arrived Lyttelton 24 Jan. 1876, 105 days, Captain Adams. 
Not comfortable for passengers and one of slowest ships in fleet. She was an iron ship of 1,304 tons.
Made fifteen voyages from the UK to N.Z. Her final trip out was in 1898-99.

PL = Passenger List for Lyttelton and Timaru bound passengers (opens up in a new window) pdf

References: New Zealand Immigration Passenger Lists, 1871-1915, database, Family Search (opens up in a new window) Go to browse, port Lyttelton or Timaru, 1876.


Timaru Herald, 26 January 1876, Page 3
From the Lyttelton Times, Jan. 25
Messrs Shaw, Savill and Co's. ship Soukar commanded by Captain Adams, was signalled yesterday morning, at 11.30. The vessel. which brings a number of immigrants, not only for his port, but Timaru, has for some days been expected; and when her number was run up, shortly after 1 p.m.. all anxiety on her account was at an end. The ship, favoured by a spanking North-east breeze, ran up the harbour at a rapid rate, and came to anchorage at Rhodes' Bay at 2 p.m.. At 2. 15 p.m., the Health Officers Commissioners, and agents proceeded to the ship in the s.s. Gazelle, and arrived alongside at 2.35 p.m. Shortly before this, the health account was handed on board the steamer, from the pilot boat, on its way to shore. The inspection having terminated, and after lying alongside for an hour, the reporters were allowed on board. This is the second time that the Soukar has visited Canterbury, and she is still in command of Captain Adams. The ship embarked at Gravesend 244 immigrants, 123 being for Timaru, and 121 for Canterbury, all arriving in good health, saving the four deaths of children from diarrhoea, and one from heart disease. During the voyage two births took place. During the detention ample time was given for viewing the exterior of the vessel, and from her appearance she had met with very heavy weather. Her foregallanttopmast was gone, also her flying jibboom and the port whisker,, as also a portion of the topgallant bulwarks. Proceeding on board, a cordial welcome was tendered by Captain Adams, and the Commissioners having made their inspection, the reporters were allowed to go through the ship. The single girls' compartment looked very clean and tidy; there were 36 girls, 14 being for Timaru, and they are mostly English servants, Mrs Evans who came out as matron, gives them excellent characters. The married people's compartment was in good order. The occupants are mostly of the labouring class and appear well fitted for the requirements of the Province. They spoke well of the treatment they had received, and also of the excellency of the stores and water supplied. The single men's compartment was clean and roomy, and well lighted, and the men, who are for the most part artizans, with a good sprinkling of laborers, appear to be a very intelligent lot of men. A visit was paid to the gallery and condenser, both of which had acted well during the voyage. As usual, at the close of a voyage, everything was in some confusion, and the word being given that all single girls should get ready to go ashore, produced a scene that was worth seeing. The girls hurried their bundles and beds up the hatchway with alacrity. In the married couples' compartment the scene was not less lively, fathers and mothers being busily employed in packing up their cooking utensils, beds, &c. The single men also showed their anxiety to get ashore at once, and were much disappointed when they found they could not do so. At four o'clock, the s.s. Gazelle, with the single girls on board steamed from the ship amid the vociferous cheers of those on board. Captain Adams and his officers have gained the highest esteem of all on board, and Dr Lloyd, who has come out as surgeon-superintendent, was highly spoken of for his care and attention. The remainder of the immigrants will be landed to-day. The ship brings a large cargo and is consigned to Messrs. Dalgety and Co.

Captain's report

The following is the captain's report of the voyage, which occupied 105 days from the start. Left the dock on Sept. 29th; embarked passengers on 30th; left Gravesend on Oct. 5; was detained in the Downs till the 7th by an accident to the condenser; towed from the Downs on the evening of the 7th with a fresh breeze from West-south-west; made sail at Dungeness. and beat down channel against strong westerly winds; landed pilot on the 10th off the Start.... On Dec. 23. veering to the Westward, and blowing a perfect hurricane; towards the morning of Jan. 24 lost the fore topsail in trying to take it in; the maintopsail also blew clean out of ten boltrope. About 2 am a heavy sea broke clean over the ship, which washed everything moveable off the poop, carried away the starboard lifeboat out of the davits, and flooded the deck house and saloon with water. The captain and chief officer were knocked down, and narrowly escaped being washed overboard; the latter was also severely injured in the side....

On to Timaru

Timaru Herald, 25 January 1876, Page 2
By a telegram received by the Immigration Officer last night, we learn that the ship Soukar has arrived at Lyttelton with immigrants, and that the Timaru portion will, reach here on Thursday next. All the immigrants are well.

Timaru Herald, 28 January 1876, Page 3
Arrived January 27- Lady Bird, s.s., 219 tons, Andrews, from Lyttelton. The New Zealand Steam Shipping Company's s.s. Lady Bird, from Lyttelton, came to anchor yesterday morning at daylight. She landed a number of immigrants, and left for Dunedin at 7 a.m.

Timaru Herald, 28 January 1876, Page 3
Immigrants — The Immigrants for Timaru from the Soukar, at Lyttelton, numbering 84 adults, arrived here yesterday morning early by the steamer Lady Bird; and they and their luggage were landed by the Timaru Landing and Shipping Company, and the Government Service in about two hours. The immigrants comprise families equal to 43½ adults, 30 single men, and 11 single women. The single women are mostly domestic servants, and the men follow occupations which fit then for colonists, the greater number of them, being farm laborers. Immediately after landing, the immigrants were conveyed to the barracks. A coach load of the new-comers will leave for Waimate this morning at 10 o'clock, and engagement can be made at the barracks there on and after Saturday next. At the Timaru barracks, the families are open for engagements now, but the single women, cannot be secured for situations until to-morrow.  

Captain Joseph Tyndall Adams

Evening Post, 21 December 1912, Page 7
Captain Adams, who was born in London in 1842, went to sea at an early age in the ship Norfolk, and after a few years at sea, while still a young man, he reached the position of chief officer of the s.s. Soukar — one of the last vessels to carry passengers Home from India round the Cape of Good Hope. Shortly after the Soukar left India on his first voyage the captain died, and Mr. Adams, who was then only about 23 years of age, navigated her to England, and on arrival was given the command. He served in the Indian trade for some years, and when the Soukar was purchased by the Shaw Savill Company Captain Adams came to New Zealand in her. That was in the early 70s. He commanded the Soukar for ten years, and shortly after the New Zealand Shipping Company was formed he transferred his services and was given command of the Hurunui, on her second voyage, in 1876. He afterwards commanded the Wairoa, in which he made a number of voyages to Wellington, and the Wanganui. When the latter vessel was sold, in 1888, Captain Adams settled down at the Taita, where he has lived quietly ever since. He was married twice. He leaves three sons (the eldest being Mr. E. C. Adams, of the Union Company, Wellington), and two daughters of his first wife, and four sons by his second wife, who survives him.

Pen Portraits

Low, Benjamin, Farmer, Willowbridge.  PL image 4
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] 1903  page 111
Mr. Low was born in Essex, England, in 1840. He became a teacher, and was, afterwards, for some time engaged in mercantile life, before coming out to Lyttelton in the ship “Soukar,” in January, 1876. Mr. Low entered the service of the Education Board, in Christchurch, and was for twenty-one years teacher in charge of the Willowby public school. He retired from the service in September, 1897, and settled at Willowbridge, where he had acquired 113 1/2 acres of rich land. Mr. Low is an old Forester, and was a member of the Order in England, but is unattached in New Zealand. During his residence in the Ashburton district he acted as an auxiliary preacher in connection with the Methodist Church, and since removing to South Canterbury he has become a recognised local preacher. He was married, in 1867, to a daughter of the late Mr. B. Harris, of Burstead, Essex, and has four daughters and one son. Mr. Low's son, Mr. H. B. Low, B.A., is second master of the Hokitika High School. The youngest daughter holds the Master of Arts degree, and was for three years connected with the staff of the Christchurch Girls' High School, but is now married to Mr. Henry Dohrmann, of Studholme.

Finlay, James, Farmer, Bennett's. PL image 5
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] 1903 page 490
Finlay, James, Farmer, Bennett's. Mr. Finlay was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1849, and was brought up as a shepherd. He followed his calling till 1875, when he came to Lyttelton by the ship “Soukar.” Mr. Finlay found employment as a shepherd at Woodstock station, and was for some time employed in that capacity at that station or at Fernside, which was the property of the same owners. In 1880 he took up a piece of freehold land at Bennett's where he has since conducted a dairy and mixed farm. Since 1899 Mr. Finlay has been a member of the Carleton school committee. He was married, in January, 1874, to the daughter of Mr. John Wallace, of Lanarkshire, and has five sons and four daughters.

Shipboard Diary

Alexander Turnbull Library - Unrestricted, 98 pages, a photocopy.
History : Farm labourer who came to Lyttelton as an assisted immigrant in 1876. He acted as schoolmaster during the voyage
Shipboard diary recording a 109-day voyage to New Zealand with his wife Ann Gimblett describes daily events, notes births and deaths on board, includes a list of passengers, and a 21 verse poem `Voyage of the ship Soukar from London-Canterbury, NZ'  

"It has been a dreadful passage. I shall never undertake another one."
Quote from James Gimblett