Ben Venue
Ship: 1000 tons
Captain: McGowan
Surgeon Superintendent:
Sailed London March 6th 1880 - arrived Wellington June 8th 1880

The Ben Venue, a handsome iron full-rigged ship of 1000 tons, was one of the fastest sailers afloat in the seventies. She made only four complete voyages to New Zealand and on her fifth visit she was totally wrecked at Timaru. The Ben Venue was owned by Watson Brothers, of Greenock, and built by Barclay Curle in 1865. She belonged to the large fleet of "Bens," and had been principally employed in the Melbourne trade. The ship had a narrow escape of coming to grief in 1880 [this voyage]. Captain Wilson, who has been master of the Northern Steamship Company's Waiotahi at Auckland for the past twenty years, sailed under Captain McGowan, and relates an incident which occurred when the Ben Venue was bound for Wellington. He states: "We had bad weather from the start, but nothing eventful happened until passing the Cape, when we encountered gale after gale. Early in June we overran our distance when approaching New Zealand. One night, at about 12 o'clock, with a heavy westerly gale blowing, we discovered ourselves under the lee of the Snares. All hands were called, and Captain McGowan decided to wear ship, and when we got round we found the Snares on our lee bow. We lost our mainsail, mizzen lower topsail and main lower topgallant sail, and were running under fore, main and mizzen topsails.The decks were awash, with the seas breaking over us; and it was doubtful if we could clear the island. The steering gear was smashed when wearing the ship. Captain McGowan stood on the poop quite calmly, lit his clay pipe, and sang out, 'If she touches, boys, every man for himself.' The ship by a miracle got clear, and we eventually reached Wellington on June 8th."
White Wings - Sir Henry Brett

Arrival of the Ben Venue

Name Age Occupation Comments
Saloon Passengers
Atkinson C F 17 Gentleman
Bradbury I C 26 Gentleman
Campbell AL 26 Gentleman
Mrs 21
D N Infant
Renson George 30 Gentleman
Roberts Alexander 19 Gentleman
Second Cabin Passengers
Bristow Mr 44 Grocer
MrsA 35
Drew Elizabeth 32 Cook
Franklin Martin 27 Gentleman
Sharp C J 29 Gentleman
Annie 28
Eva 3
Steerage Passengers
Foster F F 25 Engineer
Hills Frederick 25 Gentlemen (Clark)
Innings Frederick 25 Engineer
Moore Charles 27 Railway Fireman
Nicholas George 33 Labourer
Jane 37
Jane 9
Nicholas Mary 36 Spinster Sister to George Nicholas
Reed N R 21 Clerk
Ross Alexander 29 Shepherd
Shrimpton I 18 Hotel Servant
Smith Henry 29 Farmer
Edward 9 } Children of Henry Smith
Margaret 11 }
Tilly H L 44 Gentleman (Photographer)
Mrs 40
Henry 17
Marian 15
Arthur 10
Wood Sarah 23 Lady

Copyright Denise & Peter 2001

Archives New Zealand IM5/4/34 page 469
The Evening Post June 10th 1880

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