THE SINKING OF THE STEAMER VENTNOR
TUESDAY 28 OCTOBER 1902
OFF OMAPERE BEACH, NEAR HOKIANGA HEADS, AUCKLAND
Taken from New Zealand Shipwrecks 1795-1975 By C W N Ingram (First published 1936)
The steamer [Ventnor] left Wellington at 9.30am on October 26th, bound for Hong Kong. Conditions were ideal at the time of departure ... At 12.40am on the 27th, a shock which shook the vessel from stem to stern made it manifest to all on board that the Ventnor had struck a rock ... to the southward of Cape Egmont. The engines were at once reversed and the vessel managed to get clear. In the meantime the pumps were brought into use, but from the first it was found that they were unequal to the task ... At 9pm it became evident that the Ventnor was going down fast, and all hands were ordered to the boats. These, four in number were launched by their respective crews ... the Ventnor's stern rose in the air and she sank, bow first at 9pm on Tuesday 28th October.
Hokianga Heads light was seen at a distance of about 10 miles and the boats were headed in that direction. At daylight on the 29th, two boats reached Omapere Beach....The small steamer Energy later arrived at Hokianga Heads with the Ventnor's third boat crew...
On board the Ventnor were 499 coffins containing the remains of Chinese who had died in New Zealand. Of the coffins, 265 came from Dunedin and 177 were from Greymouth, the latter number including some which contained only the bones of Chinese who had died 20 years before. Ten only of the coffins were shipped by Yee Yong of Wellington, and did not belong to any society, while 489 coffins were shipped by the Chong Shing Tong Society, which is a branch of a notable society in China called the Tai Chuen. The Tong coffins were insured for £5490, this amount assuring the cost of exhuming and coffininf the corpes.
THE CAPTAIN'S BOAT.
Marlborough Express, Volume XXXVI, Issue 254, 31 October 1902, Page 3
Auckland, October 31.
The following is a list of those in the Ventnor's missing boat:—Captain Henry George FERRY, second officer A E LAWSON, carpenter W SCHLEYER, first engineer J McCASH, fourth engineer R TAYLOR, fireman VAN ROPPEL [VAN POPPEL], also Emil RANNOW (A.B.), HASIGUCHU and five Chinese passengers.
Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 9576, 4 November 1902, Page 2
Among the bodies of the Chinese carried by the Ventnor was that of the late Mr Sew HOY, the well-known pioneer in godd-dredging, of Dunedin.
THE VENTNOR'S MISSING BOAT.
Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVI, Issue 10791, 5 November 1902, Page 1
TUIPARA HEADS, November 4. - The steamer Sterling returned this morning after a three days' search for the Ventnor's missing boat. She went as far as the North Cape. Nothing was seen of the boat or crew.
A search was then made for the Ventnor's fourth boat, containing the master, two officers, and other members of the vessel's complement. On November 11th, the missing boat and wreckage was found washed up on the beach north of Hukatere...
The Court of Inquiry was held in Auckland on the 14 and 17 November 1902 - the decision being that negligence or incompetence was the cause of the disaster.
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