The barque Agamemnon London to New Zealand via Cape Town 1872

24th March 2007, 02:46
Hi folks.

I am compiling information on the above vessel to be posted on our website
and we have recently received a copy of a diary written by a passenger on
board (soon to be posted on our site). I was wondering if there was anyone
on the list was able to check newspapers of the day for information on this
vessel and her arrival in Cape Town. Here, in brief, is the story:

The barque Agamemnon departed London on March 7th 1872 with a full cargo and 21 passengers bound for Lyttelton in New Zealand. Not long after leaving
land she began to leak and with squally weather she began to leak badly. The Captain, frequently inebriated, refused to put into the nearest land but
eventually was forced to put into Rio de Janeiro on May 13th 1872.

The Captain was relieved of his post, the ship was caulked and repaired and
set sail again. This time the leaking got really bad and the vessel was
forced to put into Cape Town on September 7th 1872. Here she was surveyed and condemned, being broken up shortly afterwards. The passengers and most of the cargo were brought on to Lyttelton by the barque Lyttelton which sailed from Cape Town on November 18th 1872 and the balance of the cargo was brought on by the barque Lois which sailed a week or two later. After a very protracted voyage of about 300-odd days the passengers arrived safely in Lyttelton in January 1873.

There were various reports and recriminations published in the 1873
newspapers over here but I wondered if there was anything available in Cape
Town records concerning this incident - newspapers or otherwise. Such an
event would surely have had potential immigrants thinking twice about moving to the other side of the world? As mentioned above, all the information relating to the Agamemnon incident, as with many other shipping stories, passenger lists etc etc will be published on our website (please see below).

Thanks for any help and advice.

Kind regards


Denise & Peter
Wellington, New Zealand