Carisbrooke Castle

This sailing ship was built in 1868 by Barclay, Currie & Co at Glasgow as a three masted ship with a tonnage of 1415, a length of 230ft 4in and a beam of 37ft 8in.

She was delivered in September 1868 for the London to Calcutta run. Records show she became the fifth Currie ship to be sold to Charles Barrie of Dundee in 1889 and was renamed Errol. When she was sold with the Cluny, Castle sail ownership came to an end.

Under the command of Captain Freebody, this ship arrived in Auckland on September 8th 1875 after a passage of 92 days. She was from Liverpool and Belfast and brought 363 settlers to New Zealand including 122 "healthy-looking, clear-complexioned" Irish lasses (in the reporter's words) who seem to have captivated the attention of an Auckland Star reporter of the time.

In 1900 she was acquired by A P Ulriksen of Mandal, retaining her name which she kept when she was sold again to Walker, Howard & Co. of London in 1904.

As the renamed Errol and under Norwegian flag, she was wrecked on Middleton Reef sailing under Captain Andreasen from Peru to Newcastle. She was caught firmly in the grip of treacherous currents and crashed on to Middleton Reef, 300 miles East of Brisbane on June 18th 1909.

Within a few hours and with her back already broken, she disintegrated into three pieces throwing her master, the mate and several of the crew to the sharks. Most of her passengers met a slow and horrible death from drowning, thirst, starvation and sharks. A raft with five men on board set out for the Annasona, which could be seen about eight miles away. There was no food on the Annasona, but they discovered some brackish water trapped in the crevices in her hull.

Those left on the Errol (Carisbrooke Castle) were soon suffering from hunger and thirst. One morning the body of the captain's wife and two of her four children were found floating near the wreck, then the next day another two children died. When SS Tofua passed by the Reef on July 12th, only five of the twenty-two passengers and crew had survived. Today nothing is visible of the barque above the sea.

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