Amongst the finest and the fastest of the iron clippers which took emigrants to Australia and New Zealand in the 1870's and 1880's were the magnificent 1500 ton sister ships of David Bruce's Dundee Clipper Line.
Advert in the Dundee Advertiser 1883:- The magnificent clipper Duntrune, Captain Rollo, will sail from Dundee for Brisbane (with liberty to call at Plymouth)
on Tuesday, 28th August, taking approved passengers for £5 steerage, £15 second cabin. The Duntrune and sister ships Southesk and Maulesden, belonging to this line, have made some of the fastest passages on record to Australia. The appointments of the ship are specially designed to ensure the comfort and safety of the passengers.
No less than 448 assisted emigrants, including infants and children, were embarked aboard this little 1500 tonner. The emigrants were all berthed in the tween-decks, the single men forward, married couples and chidren amidships and single women aft, each class being kept strictly apart. The crew numbered 49 all told.
Such were the aspirations of the Dundee Clipper Line, but they were not to be fulfilled on this particular voyage.
"From the start the fresh water condensation plant gave trouble,and the clipper was spoken 73 miles south west of Tory Is. with her condenser broken down----------Captain Rollo decided to put in to Madeira which was reached on Sept.28th, after a rough and trying passage.
"Here the condenser was patched up by the engineers of the Cape Liner Norham Castle and of Sir Thomas Brassey's famous yacht, the Sunbeam---------this naturally spoilt the Duntrune's passage. There was also a good deal of sickness amongst the children, which obliged Captain Rollo to take his ship along carefully in the "roaring forties." The Duntrune arrived in Moreton Bay on Christmas Day, and anchored off Brisbane three days later."
Passage time, 119 days. Sure were hardy folk in those days; if you wanted to improve your lot you got off your **** and did something about it!
(Taken from the January edition,1929, of Blue Peter magazine: an unsurpassed publication of the maritime life of this nation. I wonder if anyone might know when publication of Blue Peter ceased?)