Spar Timber off Tairua, New Zealand.
1843 H.M.S.Tortoise voyaged
convicts to the penal settlement to
proceeded to New Zealand to cut
load timber, mostly kauri spar timber, for the voyage back to
in June, 1843.
small part of her cargo at Great Barrier
sailed to the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula where,
in early January 1843, she anchored near Tairua in the lee of
Slipper Island .
timber camp was set up ashore at
and with the help of the local Maori she loaded the rest of her
in April ,
the sails were unbent and most of the running rigging and
topgallant masts had been sent down. The painting depicts the ship
near the end of her stay off
of the spars are being loaded through the bow ports and the
hands are busy loading supplies, sending up the topgallant masts and
crossing the topgallant yards. The large boat on the right is
possibly the ship's launch although it does seem a bit large. It is
included in the painting as it was clearly illustrated in a drawing
done at the time by Thomas Laslett, the timber purveyor employed on
the voyage by the Admiralty. He was meticulously accurate in the
The Tortoise (969 tons)
originally the Sir Edward Hughes,
launched in Bombay in 1784. She was taken over by the
British Navy in 1806. Although rigged as a ship
she was designated a barque as it was usual to differentiate between
vessels by their hull shape in the 18th.century.
account of the voyage is presently being written by Don Armitage of
Whangarei, New Zealand. It is due to be published in 2013.