HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

6 February 2018

The Missing Schooner Rainbow

Stories like this are stark reminders on just how dangerous sea travel was in the early 1900's.

The Rainbow of Whangaroa, owned by Messrs. Lane and Brown of Auckland, was a new three-masted schooner on her maiden voyage along the Australian eastern seaboard.
Leaving Melbourne in ballast on the 28th of November 1890 for the Clarence River, to bring down a cargo of hardwood for the Melbourne Harbour Trust.  She was under the command of the well known Melbourne Captain, Kenneth M'Donald, and carried a crew of 9 men.
Built in Auckland from Kauri and described as a handsome vessel of 297 tons register.


24th December 1890 - Reports started to appear expressing concern about the overdue Schooner. A correspondent writes to the Clarence River paper as follows:-

"something must have happened to the Rainbow. She left Melbourne before the Examiner, and, being light, might have turned turtle. She must have been in the same gale as the examiner. "

Life Buoy found off Beecroft Head.

March 25, 1891 - The Marine Board received a telegram from Jervis Bay:- "Captain Brooks, of the Schooner Samoa, reports finding a life buoy, painted white, with the words 'Rainbow of Auckland.' in black letters five miles east of Beecroft Head."


March 26, 1891
-  After the finding, melancholy reports started to appear in newspapers saying all hope was lost and it was presumed and almost certain the vessel had foundered in the stormy weather along the coast in late November taking her Captain and crew beneath the waves.


Nothing more was found from the vessel or her crew, they were never seen again.

The Crew
C.G Hollnen, John Blackie, D Ensken, H, Montgomery, W.H. Thomas, Thos. Batman, W.C. Pierkard, W. M'Neill and J. Ward.


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