The "Opawa"

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

To view  larger image of the Opawa, click here

The original oil painting of the Opawa is in the P&O Lines board room in Wellington.

Immigrants for South Canterbury, New Zealand

Arrived Lyttelton : Oct. 25 - Opawa, ship, 1131 tons, Friston, from London. N.Z. Shipping Co., agents.

The Star Tuesday October 26 1880
The Opawa, From London to Lyttelton
The New Zealand Shipping company's ship Opawa, Captain Friston, was signalled at 4 p.m. yesterday. The Opawa has some 150 immigrants aboard. She has made a good passage of 81 days from Plymouth, having left there on August 5. The p.s. Lyttelton was despatched to bring the ship in.

The Star Wednesday 27 October 1880
The officials went off to the ship at 9 o'clock yesterday morning, and all being well on board she was cleared at once. The number of immigrants brought by the Opawa was 119 single women, 10 families equalling 31 adults, and five married women with their children, 12 in number, who join their husbands here. The passengers are an exceptionally respectable body of people, and the greater number of them come out to friends already settled in the Colony. The passage was a very favourable one, especially from a medical point of view, only one death occurring, that of Elizabeth Leckenby, aged 22 months, from tubercular meningitis, on Oct. 20. The weather experienced was moderate throughout, the top-gallant sails hardly being off the ship; the average daily run being 269 miles, while the best day's work was 312. The Snares were made 77 days out, but the winds up the coast were not of the most favourable.

The Surgeon-Superintendent, our old friend Dr George Styche Eadson and it is evident he is eminently qualified for the sphere he has chosen, as this, his eleventh passage to the Colony with immigrants, has been equally successful as any of the previous passages. Associated with Captain Friston, are Mr Cruickshanks, chief officer, and Mr Baumgiirtner, second. The single women were quartered aft in the 'tween decks, and the married folks midships. The climatic changes were not great, the highest thermometrical reading being 58deg on August 23, and the lowest 46 deg in OCtober, both registers being taken in the 'tween decks.

An unusual and grand sight was seen on August 8, the ship passing no less than 11 large English war ships, comprising the Channel Fleet. The ships appeared in double lien, the Admiral's ship, the Minotaur, in the van, preceded by a steam tender. The vessels were all under sail. When the Opawa came in sight of the fleet the church flags where flying, but these were hauled down just before the Opawa hoisted her flags, which the Admiral's ship the Minotaur answered first, followed by the others of the fleet. The Opawa at the time was hauled on a wind and she stood across the bows of the fleet, affording her passengers a splendid view of the very rare and grand sight. The decks of the men-of-war, Captain Friston says, were crowded with blue jackets all anxious to have a look at the number of fair passengers he had aboard. Besides the Minotaur, two other ships were also flying Admiral's flags.

Left Plymouth at 6.30 am., August 5. Crossed the Equator on Sept. 3, in 23 deg W, 29 days out. Sighted Tristan d'Acunha on Sept. 18, and passed the prime meridian on Sept. 21, and the Cape on Sept. 25. Prince Edward's Island was passed on Sept. 29, in 44d S., and the Crozets on Oct. 1, in 44 d 30m, and Kerguelen' Land on Oct. 5, in 46 deg S. The Leuwin was passed on Oct. 13 and Tasmanian on Oct 18, in 48d S,. Oct. 21, sighted the Snares right ahead at 9 30.a.m. distant 20 miles, and at noon was abreast of them. Sighted the Peninsula at 10.45 a.m. on Monday about 15 miles distant; made the Heads in the afternoon, and towed up to an anchorage at 6 30 p.m. The passengers were landed yesterday afternoon, and the ship will be berthed at the Gladstone pier this morning.

Immigrants per Opawa for Timaru -
Timaru Herald October 21 1880 page 2, column 3

For the following list of immigrants for Timaru, four families and 29 single women, per Opawa, due at Lyttelton about the end of this month, we are indebted to Mr F. LeCren, Immigration Officer: -

Akers 		Mary
Brosnahan 	Mary
Carrall 	Johanna
Dower 		Mary and Honorah
Emmerson 	Mary Jane
Fitzgerald 	Mary, Nano, and Kate
Hogan 		Johanna Margaret
Hood 		Eliza
Keane 		Ellen Mary
Kennedy 	James and family
Kevanagh 	Catherine
Lannine 	Honorah
Leckonby 	Elizabeth, John and Elizabeth
McAllister 	Mary Eliza
McGrath 	Ann
McGrath 	Kate
McHenry 	Mary
Mallet 		Debia Jane
Murphy 		Ellen
Poff 		Kate
Ryan 		Mary
Ridings 	Eliza
Rooney 		Lizzie and Mary
Rourke 		Bridget
Sharp 		Henrietta
Small 		Sarah
Twaddle 	Margaret
Walker 		Mary
Williams 	Flora
Wilkinson 	Rebecca Catherine
New Zealand Bound

Another voyage

The Opawa from Plymouth dropped anchor at Lyttelton 7 December 1878. 105 out of the 290 of immigrants were for Timaru. She was to have berthed at Timaru but was unable to get in to the port due to gale force winds. Passengers for Timaru Passengers for Lyttelton. The Opawa made two trips to New Zealand in 1878.  The first in January and the one the list applies to in December.  Both of these trips were to Lyttelton.  In all there were 22 trips made by the Opawa between 1877 and 1896.  The  arrival ports included Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Nelson as well as Lyttelton.
The 'Opawa'
sailed 13 Jan  1877 arrived Lyttelton 16 Apr 1877
sailed 27 Sep 1877 arrived Lyttelton  3 Jan  1878
sailed 29 Aug 1878 arrived Lyttelton  7 Dec 1878