RANGITOTO, steamer : Shortly after noon on July 30 the steamer left Nelson for Wellington with a large number of passengers, the majority of whom were women and children. When off Cape Jackson the vessel struck on a reef, the impact ripping a hole in her side four feet long and nine inches wide. As soon as possible the vessel was beached, close to where she had struck, at the foot of a cliff several hundred feet high.
Knowing that the steamer Wellington had sailed from Nelson shortly after the Rangitoto, the master of the latter vessel despatched a boat to intercept her. The boat’s distress signals were seen, and the news of the mishap communicated. When the Wellington arrived at the wreck it was found that all the passengers had been landed on an accessible part of the coast some distance away. The crew of the Wellington proceeded to assist in the salvage operations, which resulted in the passengers’ luggage, crew’s effects and the mails being saved.
Later the passengers embarked in the Wellington, which then returned to the wreck and transferred a party of the shipwrecked crew to the wreck. The Wellington was just steaming away when signals for assistance were seen. The Rangitoto had settled down in the water, and the party on board had to make a hurried departure, the chief officer having to swim to the boat sent from the Wellington.
The Rangitoto, No. 50,199, was an iron, screw steamer of 574 tons gross and 449 tons net register, built at Whiteinch, Lanarkshire, in 1869. Her dimensions were : length 209 ft., beam 25.1 ft., depth 15.6 ft., and her engines were of 140 h.p. She was under the command of Captain Hugh Mackie, and became a total loss.