APHRASIA, steamer: While on a passage from Auckland to Newcastle, N.S.W., the steamer was wrecked in Takou Bay, just north of the Bay of Islands, on the night of November 2, 1864. Under sail, the Aphrasia left Auckland on October 3, and experienced fine weather as far as the Great Barrier, when a strong breeze from the southwest was encountered. When the ship was off Mangonui Harbour the wind suddenly changed to north-west. The vessel was tacked and steered for the shore, and while doing so it was discovered that she had sprung a leak. The ship then stood in for the bay under Flat Island. It was found that she had made a quantity of water, and pumping was continued all night. In the morning the leak was discovered under the boilers, and as the water still gained a number of Maoris were brought on board to assist the crew. After three hours pumping the steamer was dry. She got under way at 7 p.m., and the captain attempted to make for Russell, but it was found impossible to keep her free from water. At midnight the Aphrasia was in a sinking condition, and to preserve life the boats were lowered and the crew left the vessel at dayÂ¬break. The master and three men went back with the intention of beaching the vessel, but, being unmanageable, she went ashore on the rocks and sank immediately. The steamer afterwards broke up and became a total wreck, everything being lost. The crew walked to Russell and then proceeded to Auckland by the steamer Wonga Wonga.
On December 2 the Resident Magistrate at Russell was occupied in investigating the charge brought against the crew of the Aphrasia for wilÂ¬ful and malicious injury to the vessel, and the charge of perjury against three of them. After a lengthy examination the Bench came to the deciÂ¬sion that in the absence of the captain there was not sufficient evidence to send the case before a jury, and the men were discharged. One of the crew, after being discharged, was sworn in as evidence by the prosecution, said that he knew the captain destroyed the log-book after the wreck, and that he believed the captain threw the screw of the pump overboard.
The Aphrasia, No. 31,610, was a paddle steamer of 131 tons gross and 99 tons net register, built at Deptford, County Durham, N.S.W., in 1841, and her dimensions were: length 99.6 ft., beam 16 ft., depth 8.5 ft. She had two engines of 40 h.p. The steamer was owned by Captain Robert Dyason, of Port Chalmers, and commanded by Captain Stewart.