Gananoque (ship)

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Namesake: Gananoque, Canada
Port of registry: United Kingdom Quebec, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, St John's, Belfast[1][2]
Route: New Zealand Packet (1860s)
Builder: George T Davie & Sons, Lauzon, Quebec[2]
Launched: 1857
Completed: 1857[1]
In service: 12 February 1858 (London)
Identification: British ON 33377[1]
Fate: Sunk
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 785[1]
Length: 158.1 ft (48.2 m)[3]
Beam: 32.6 ft (9.9 m)
Draught: 19 ft (5.8 m)[3]
Depth of hold: 21.1 ft (6.4 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged clipper ship,[4][5] later Barque
Notes: wood-hulled

Gananoque was a wood-hulled clipper ship of 785 tons, built in Quebec in 1857, that made a number of emigrant voyages to New Zealand. She had two serious collisions with icebergs in the North Atlantic, the second of which caused her loss.


Gananoque was built at Lauzon, Quebec in 1857 by George T Davie & Sons[2] and sold the following year to Thomas Bailey of Newcastle upon Tyne.[1] In May 1858 he sold a one-eighth share in the ship to Archibald Morris who became her commander.[6]

New Zealand trade

She made four voyages to New Zealand in the 1860s under contract to the provincial governments.[7] The ship was first chartered by Willis, Gann & Company for a voyage from London to New Zealand in 1860 and then for three more by Shaw, Savill and Company. The first three carried government immigrants; the fourth voyage was solely with cargo:

  • 9 February 1860 departing London, arriving Lyttelton on 9 May 1860.[8]
  • 7 July 1861 departing London, arriving Auckland on 18 October 1861.[9]
  • 7 December 1862 departing London, arriving Port Chalmers, Otago on 12 March 1863.[10]
  • 16 May 1864 departing London, arriving Port of Bluff on 5 September 1864.[11]

Later history

In 1867 Gananoque was sold to William Johnson of Newcastle upon Tyne. On 11 July 1874, on a voyage from Quebec to Newcastle, she struck an iceberg off Cape Race. Crew abandoned ship and all but one were rescued.[12][13] However, the ship did not sink, was found abandoned and taken derelict to St John's, Newfoundland,[13][14]

She was subsequently repaired, re-sheathed and re-rigged as a barque, and was offered for sale in 1876.[15]

Gananoque again collided with an iceberg on 10 May 1881 four miles off Bird Rocks, Magdalen Islands on a voyage from Belfast to Miramichi and sank quickly.[13][16] The crew landed on Bird Rocks, and were picked up from there on 12 May.[13]

Case law

The first voyage to New Zealand resulted in a High Court of Admiralty case "The Gananoque", a dispute between the ship's captain Archibald Morris and the other owners over contract payment terms. The judgement was "The law will presume that the terms of a master's engagement for one voyage extent to a succeeding voyage performed without a new agreement express or clearly implied." [6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mercantile Navy List 1858–1880". Crew List Index Project. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  2. ^ a b c "Ship Information Database". Canadian Heritage. Retrieved 2012-12-27. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "American Lloyd's Register 1869–1881". Mystic Seaport Museum. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  4. ^ "Advertising". The Argus. Melbourne. 20 December 1858. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-29 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Advertisements". Lyttelton Times. Christchurch, New Zealand: National Library of New Zealand. 30 May 1860. p. 1. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  6. ^ a b Lushington, Vernon (1864). Reports of cases decided in the High Court of Admiralty of England, and on appeal to the Privy Council : 1859–1862. Great Britain. High Court of Admiralty. 1. London: Butterworths. p. 448. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  7. ^ Brett, Henry (1924). White Wings Fifty Years of Sail in the New Zealand Trade, 1850 to 1900. 1. Auckland, New Zealand: The Brett Printing Company Limited. p. 154. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  8. ^ "Shipping News". Lyttelton Times. 13 (783). 12 May 1860. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  9. ^ "Port of Raglan". Daily Southern Cross. 17 (1446). 22 October 1861. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  10. ^ "Shipping Intelligence". Otago Daily Times (383). 13 March 1863. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  11. ^ "Shipping Summary". The Southland Times. 1 (47). 17 September 1864. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  12. ^ "Title unknown". Glasgow Herald. 6 August 1874. p. 6. Retrieved 2012-12-27. (subscription required)
  13. ^ a b c d "Ship Collisions". Institute for Ocean Technology, Canada. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  14. ^ "Title unknown". York Herald. 23 July 1874. p. 7. Retrieved 2012-12-27. (subscription required)
  15. ^ "Advertisements & Notices". Liverpool Mercury. 23 November 1876. p. 8. Retrieved 2012-12-27. [auction] ...The Barque GANANOQUE, 785 tons register. Built at Quebec under special survey in 1857, and classed seven years A1 at Lloyd's sheathed with yellow metal in 1874; is well found in stores, carries a good cargo, and requires very little ballast. Dimensions: Length, 158.2 feet; breadth, 32.8 feet; depth, ... [transcription] (subscription required)
  16. ^ "Title unknown". Glasgow Herald. 19 May 1881. p. 7. Retrieved 2012-12-27. (subscription required)

Further reading

  • Lansley, Belinda (2013). The Voyages of the Gananoque – New Zealand Immigration Ship 1860–1864. Dornie Publishing.
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