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Out of the Box: Life on board an immigrant ship of the 1860s
Out of the Box exhibitions showcase the treasures from the Bill Laxon Maritime Library that are not on permanent display in the Museum. Items are displayed in the Edmiston Gallery and include archives, diaries, manuscripts, rare books, ephemera and photographs.
LIFE ON BOARD AN IMMIGRANT SHIP OF THE 1860s
2 February 2015 - 2 March 2015
150 years ago the immigrant ship GANGES brought to Auckland 470 plus Irish immigrants as part of the Waikato Immigration Scheme. GANGES was charted by Shaw Savill and was to be the start of a new life in New Zealand for families of farmers and tradesmen.
Unfortunately the ship had insufficient stores of food on board suitable for the children and when whooping cough and bronchitis broke out among the passengers it proved to be fatal for 54 children and two adults. Medicines on board were basic and insufficient to treat these diseases. The ship was labelled the "Death Ship" and when it reached Auckland on 14th February 1865 many of the passengers were so weak from illness that instead of moving to their "prepared" new settlements in the Pukekohe -Tuakau - Pokeno areas; they spent two and a half months 8in the Onehunga Immigration Barracks. The Government had run out of money for the scheme and the promised assistance for housing, support for their upkeep until they were able to support themselves and publics works jobs were not able to be filled. Some men did get work on the Pokeno to Tuakau road.
This exhibition is timed to coincide with the Farrelly Family Reunion which is being held on Valentines Day 14th February in Auckland at the New Zealand Maritime Museum. Two children in the Farrelly family died on the voyage to Auckland. Coupled with the story of the ship and the Waikato Immigration Scheme are views of Auckland 1860s-1870s which given an indication of what the Immigrants would have seen when they arrived in Auckland Harbour.
Photograph: Auckland Harbour, showing the progress of the demolition of Point Britomart, Gore Street Jetty (built ca.1867), Customhouse Street East (now Customs Street East), St Paul's Church and three coasters left high and dry on the outgoing tide, 1876, taken from Queen Street Wharf.