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Encyclopedia > HMS Orpheus

The HMS Orpheus was a corvette that sunk off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand in 1863. 189 people died in the disaster, making it New Zealand's greatest maritime tragedy. French steam corvette Dupleix (1856-1887) Canadian corvettes on antisubmarine convoy escort duty during World War II. A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, smaller than a frigate. ... Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest urban area in New Zealand. ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ...

Contents


The ship

The HMS Orpheus (named after the Greek hero Orpheus) was a Jason class corvette, a screw-driven vessel built in the Chatham Dockyard in Kent, England, in 1861. The ship was 69 metres long, 12 metres wide, and 7.3 metres deep; it had a crew of 259. It was owned by the Royal Navy, and at the time of the wreck was delivering naval supplies and troop reinforcements for the Maori Wars to Auckland. The Orpheus was commanded by Captain Robert Heron Burton, and it displayed a broad pennant to indicate that Commodore William Farquharson Burnett, Senior Officer of H. M. Ships and Vessels on the Australian and New Zealand Stations, was also on board. The head of Orpheus, from an 1865 painting by Gustave Moreau. ... This article needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway in Kent, England, came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, and thus requiring added defences. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population - Total (mid-2004) - Density Ranked 1st UK 50. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches. ... The term Māori Wars, now more commonly referred to as the New Zealand Wars, or sometimes The Land Wars, refers to a series of conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. ... The military rank of Commodore is used in some navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a Captain, but is less than that of a flag officer. ...


The wreck

The Orpheus left Sydney, Australia, on January 31, 1863. Its approach to Manukau Harbour on February 7 ran near Whatipu beach, through a series of dangerous sand bars. The weather was clear and sunny. Although the bars had been charted twice, in 1836 and 1856, a revised pilotage guide from 1861 was available that indicated that the middle sand bar had moved northwards and grown considerably in the intervening time. While the Orpheus carried both the out-of-date chart and the updated guide, and the Sailing Master William Strong originally used the updated instructions for entering the harbour, he was overruled by the Commodore and the ship proceeded according to the 1856 chart. Sydney Harbour looking south from the vicinity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge towards the CBD skyline; the Opera House is visible in the background on the left. ... January 31 is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Manukau Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in New Zealand and the sixth largest in the world by area. ... February 7 is the 38th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Whatipu beach Whatipu is a usually-deserted beach on the coast of New Zealand west of Auckland. ... In geography, a bar is a linear shoaling landform feature within a body of water. ... A nautical chart is a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions. ... 1836 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Pilotage is the use of fixed visual references on the ground or sea to guide oneself to a destination. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


As the ship approached the submerged bar, a navigational signal from nearby Paratutai Island was received instructing the ship to turn north to avoid a collision. Soon after, Frederick Butler (a convicted deserter, and one of only two men on board to have previously entered Manukau Harbour) alerted the senior officers to the improper course they were taking. Despite finally attempting to correct their course, a few minutes later, at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, the Orpheus hit the bar. Desertion is the act of abandoning or withdrawing support from someone or something to which you owe allegiance, responsibility or loyalty. ...


The force of the surf soon caused the Orpheus to swing around, exposing its port side to the waves. Considerable damage was sustained: the hatches burst open, cabin windows were shattered, and the Orpheus began to take on water. The crew attempted to abandon ship, however the power of the sea's surge made escape extremely difficult, and many sailors were swept away. Port is the nautical term (used on boats and ships) that refers to the left side of a ship, as perceived by a person facing towards the bow (the front of the vessel). ...


The Wonga Wonga

Meanwhile, the harbour pilot / harbourmaster of Manukau Harbour (Thomas Wing, who also created the original 1836 chart) was guiding the steamship Wonga Wonga out of the harbour. When it became apparent that the Orpheus was in trouble, the Wonga Wonga approached the beached ship and attempted to pick up survivors, many of whom had climbed into the rigging as the deck became submerged. At approximately 8:00pm, the masts began to break, killing most of the crew who remained on board. The Wonga Wonga remained in the area overnight looking for survivors, and then buried what dead could be recovered in the sand-dunes on shore. A harbour pilot guides ships through the narrow, shallow and dangerous coastal waters between a harbour and the open sea. ... In many countries, a harbourmaster is an official responsible for enforcing the regulations of a particular harbour or port, in order to ensure the safety of navigation, the security of the harbour and the orderly operation of the port facilities. ... Paddle steamers - Lucerne-Switzerland Left: original paddlewheel from a paddle steamer on the lake of Lucerne. ... This article is about the rigging of ships, and is based on the detailed article in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, now in the public domain. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ...


Aftermath

Three inquiries were held after the shipwreck, but due to the unwillingness of the Royal Navy to admit an officer's culpability much of the blame was laid on Thomas Wing for not guiding the ship into harbour and for failing to properly maintain the signalling station on Paratutai Island. In all, 189 people died in the wreck of the HMS Orpheus, including Commodore Burnett and Captain Burton, giving it the highest casualty rate ever for a New Zealand shipwreck. A shipwreck is the remains of a ship after it has sunk or been beached as a result of a crisis at sea. ...


See also

This list of shipwrecks is of those sunken ships whose remains have been located. ... This is a list of corvette and sloop classes of the Royal Navy. ...

External links

  • New Zealand Disasters: The HMS Orpheus
  • Ships of the World: The HMS Orpheus

References

  • Otago Witness (March 7, 1863). p. 7.
  • The Daily Southern Cross (February 9, 1863).
  • Callan, Louise. (2000). Shipwreck: Tales of Survival, Courage & Calamity at Sea. Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett. ISBN 1869587847

  Results from FactBites:
 
HMS Orpheus (1861) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (630 words)
HMS Orpheus was a corvette that sank off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand in 1863.
HMS Orpheus (named after the Greek hero Orpheus) was a Jason class corvette, a screw-driven vessel built in the Chatham Dockyard in Kent, England, in 1861.
Orpheus was commanded by Captain Robert Heron Burton, and she displayed a broad pennant to indicate that Commodore William Farquharson Burnett, Senior Officer of H. Ships and Vessels on the Australian and New Zealand Stations, was also on board.
HMS Orpheus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (127 words)
The second Orpheus was a Jason class corvette launched in 1861 and wrecked off Auckland, New Zealand in 1863.
The third Orpheus was an Odin class submarine launched in 1929 and sunk off Tobruk in 1940.
The fourth Orpheus was an Oberon class submarine, commissioned in 1960
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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