William Denny 1857

William Denny 1857

WILLIAM DENNY, steamer: The steamer left Auckland on the evening of March 2, 1857, bound for Sydney, and on the following night went` ashore near the North Cape, where she subsequently became a total loss. The steamer was on her usual course, and on the fog clearing, the land was clearly visible, bearings and distances agreeing with the vessel’s course. To be on the safe side the master had the William Denny’s course altered several points, and when she struck her course was NNW. At this time the fog was very dense, and there was just time to reverse the engines when the steamer grounded on a soft bottom. In a few minutes she floated off. The fog then cleared a little, and a high headland close to the vessel was thought to be the North Cape. The William Denny was steered south-east for a time, and then northeast and while steaming on this course suddenly. grounded at midnight. In the morning it was found that the vessel had grounded on the south side of the North Cape, between it and the island, in a small cove sheltered from nearly all the winds. Later, a diver examined the steamer and found that a small rock had penetrated the star, board side, and the lower hold was full of water. The cargo was all safe, and most of it was landed.

All hopes of refloating the William Denny were dissipated by a heavy gale which raged on July 7 and 8, 1858. All the necessary repairs had been effected and everything made ready for launching, and but for this misfortune the steamer would have been in her proper element. On July 8 the wind blew with hurricane force and the William Denny was lifted bodily from the blocks, her stem stove in, and her counter plates and poop deck started. The steamer surged 30 feet further seaward, where she ultimately settled down and began to break up. Mr. Scott, the Sydney engineer who was entrusted with the task of refloating the vessel, was finally compelled to abandon the William Denny, and returned to Auckland in the ship’s boat, the passage occupying six days.

The William Denny, No. 32,289, was an iron steamer of 595 tons gross and 422 tons net register, built at Dumbarton in 1853 by Messrs. William Denny and Brothers, and her engines were of 200 h.p. She was owned by the Auckland Steam Navigation Company, and was under the command of Captain Robert Taylor.

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