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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The next ship to make her name part of New Zealand history was the Dunedin, an iron ship of 1,320 tons. She was one of the six “Auckland” class ships built (at a loss) by Duncan's of Port Glasgow for Henderson's Albion Line in 1874. These ships were designed for the emigrant trade, and were capable of fast passages. The best time seems to be that of the Wellington which ran from Port Chalmers to London in 69 days. Designed to carry about 400 passengers, though often she carried more, the Dunedin was 241 ft long, had a beam of 36 ft, and a hold 21 ft deep.

In 1881 after the success of the Australian trial shipment, W. S. Davidson of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company approached Henderson's who agreed to fit out one of the Albion Company's best and fastest sailing ships to carry frozen meat. The Land Company agreed to provide a shipment of up to 7,500 sheep, to pay freight of 2 ½d. per pound, and to take all risk, though they managed to insure at £5 5s. per cent. Dunedin was fitted with insulated meat chambers, boilers, and Bell-Coleman freezing machinery at Point Glasgow. She left there in August with John Whitson as Master, and arrived at Port Chalmers in November. The sheep came from Totara, North Otago, and were frozen on board. The number was reduced to about 5,000, about 130 tons in all and, despite one breakdown in the refrigerating machinery, the ship left on 15 February 1882. After a voyage of 98 days in which the machinery was run intermittently, the Dunedin reached London. Here the meat opened up in good condition and was sold for 6 ½d. per pound.

The Albion Company's success led in November 1882 to the formation of the Shaw Savill and Albion Line which fitted out other ships for the trade. The Dunedin did nine more voyages until she was lost in 1890 homeward bound, probably running into an iceberg off Cape Horn.