THE NEW ZEALAND MARITIME RECORD
Registered number: 52729
1865 June With a wooden planked hull on iron frames, she was launched by Hall and Company at Aberdeen as yard number 241 for W. O. Young of London.
Reported as being one of the six fast ships built for the Orient Line and initially used as a tea-clipper in the Indian trade.
1867 January Commanded by Captain Rowland de Steiger.
1874 Owned by Anderson and Company of London and commanded by Captain B. Lodwick
1874 Departed London with emigrants for Australia
1874 July 14 Arrived at Adelaide.
1879 Used to carry coal between Australia and America, returning with a load of timber.
1887 Sold to new owners and used as an immigrant ship between England and Australia. She once completed the voyage from London to Adelaide in a record-breaking time of seventy days.
1899 Gutted by fire in Sydney Harbour, the ship was then purchased by the Westport Coal Company and taken to Dunedin where she was refitted before being towed to Lyttelton and put into service as a coal hulk. The Darra served steamers in the Port of Lyttelton for over fifty years. During this period a community of hulk-keepers with their wives and children lived aboard the coal hulks of Lyttelton Harbour.
1910 circa J. P. Barnes was keeper of Darra, the last of the hulks and once among the finest and fastest of the Orient Company's fleet. Barnes, with his wife and three girls, lived in roomy, comfortable quarters, and in the big, well-proportioned and beautifully panelled saloon, which was their living room, entertained both guests from the town and members of the crews of vessels alongside which the hulk was lying. If the former were surprised to find that a coaling vessel could be so pleasant, the latter were no doubt more grateful for the hospitality they received.
1950 December 16 The Darra's last moment of glory occurred when she was spruced up and fully rigged to represent the emigrant ship Charlotte Jane for the Canterbury Centennial celebrations. Once the celebrations had been completed the Darra was dismantled, cut down and sold as scrap.
Above and below:
1953 April An attempt was made to destroy the historic, 98 year old vessel, by the New Zealand Army attempting to blow her up. The only damage sustained was a blown out portion of one side.
Circa 1980, three views by James Turner. Enlarged copies open in a new browser window.
Circa 1980, four views by James Turner. Enlarged copies open in a new browser window.
Above and below: photographed in 1988.
Below: The Oak dining table from the Darra's saloon, now in the Lyttelton Museum.
Thanks to James Turner, the Lyttelton Museum, Steven McLachlan (specialist in Maritime Covers) and Marcus Castell. Links open in a new browser window.
New Zealand Maritime Record
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