The Star July 26th 1879

Messrs Shaw, Saville, and Co.'s Merope, now barque-rigged, is off the Heads. She left Deal on May 3, and is, therefore 85 days out. As will be seen, she brings a large number of passengers.

The Star July 28th 1879

Among the arrivals from England on Saturday was Messrs Shaw, Saville and Co's favourite Vessel, the Merope, still under the command of our old friend, Captain I. Sutherland. Since the Merope's last visit, her rig has been altered, the vessel being now barque-rigged. The change has by no means spoilt the appearance of this fine ship, and notwithstanding the fact that her skysail masts have been cut off, the vessel still presents her usual taut appearance. The alteration in her rig has not decreased her sailing powers; in fact, Captain Sutherland says that she is far easier without the after-yards. Her passage - 85 days from Gravesend, and 79 from land to land - is a very good one indeed, and shows that barque rig is suitable for the vessel. On the vessel anchoring, a number of Captain Sutherland's friends went off to welcome him back to Lyttelton, and all were accorded a most hearty reception.

Mr Thomas, occupies his old post of chief officer, and the general appearance of the ship did him infinite credit; while among the numerous passengers he has been deservedly popular. The Merope has a large passenger list, comprising 26 saloon, 9 second cabin, and 25 steerage passengers. They all seem to have been extremely comfortable on board the ship, both Captain Sutherland and Mr Thomas having as usual used every exertion to make things pleasant. The passage has been a fine weather one, the only gale met with being off the Snares on Wednesday. The Equator was crossed twenty-four days out, and on the thirtieth day the vessel was on 23 S. Here, however, the wind fail her, and it was not until three weeks later that the meridian of the Cape was crossed. There were no westerly winds until the Crozets were passed, so that the hopes of those on board of making ,as they anticipated, a very smart passage were not verified. The health of the passengers throughout the voyage was good, no sickness of any note having occurred. One birth occurred, Mrs Pentelow, a steerage passenger, being delivered of a daughter on July 13. The medical officer was Mr P. Rider Tivy, who was exceedingly attentive to all on board.