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THE 'RANGOON'
THE 'RANGOON'



The 'Rangoon' (above) sank in 1871 at Galle Fort - Sri Lanka 


The 'Rangoon' was a full rigged immigrant ship that was expected to make the journey from England to New Zealand in less than three months. Captain of the vessel was Captain pearman and the Surgeon Superintendent was Dr Alexander Todd (see below). The 'Rangoon' left the East India Docks on the 26th November in 1863 with 101 passengers on board but it was not until the 11th December 1863 that they received the necessary documents to leave Graves End (The final departing dates come under conflict in various reports). After a collision with another ship, the Lord Maidstone, they were towed back to port for repairs. The 'Rangoon' finally sailed on the 13th January 1864. It was a very rough voyage with a succession of gales, heavy seas and hailstorms. Reports say that Captain Pearman was rarely sober and that the responsibility of the passengers was left to the crew. Food and water provisions ran short and the passengers would gather rain water, when they could, to sustain themselves. The ship arrived in Sydney, Australia, on the 2nd June 1864. Some of the passengers took the Captain to court and a new Captain was appointed to continue the voyage to New Zealand. However the crew were unwilling to sail under the new Captain and went on strike. A police tug towed the ship out and half the crew set the ship on course for New Zealand. Eventually all the strikers returned to their duties. The ship encountered further heavy seas off The Bay of Plenty. The ships upper works were severely damaged and she limped down the coast and into port at Napier on the 23rd July 1864 - eight months after first boarding.






PASSENGER LIST:
Cornelius Oatham - aged 19

On the 12th August 1870 the Hawke's Bay Hearld lists many of the passengers, of this frightful voyage, as being defaulters to the Provincial Government. Cornelius Oatham was amongst those named and his securities are listed as having been posted by his brother 
Samuel Oatham and Samuel's partner Joseph Gill - see below.



The story of the voyage and passenger list can be viewed here:  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourstuff/Rangoon1864.htm


The 'RANGOON' s Surgeon Superintendent

 ALEXANDER TODD c1840 - 1914 - son of William & Margaret Todd

Alexander graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1863 and soon after:-

Set off around the world as Superintendent Surgeon on the ‘Rangoon’ which was making its first direct voyage from England to Napier [New Zealand]. It is hard to imagine now, with high speed international travel, how it was back then. The Rangoon left London 26th November 1863 and did not arrive in Napier until 23rd July1864 – an eight month marathon. During this time the vessel collided with an American brig and sustained damage and it was also struck with extreme weather – gales, heavy seas and hailstorms for almost all of the voyage. At one stage everything on deck was washed away, the helmsman crushed by the wheel and killed. The Captain was apparently drunk all the time (one reference kindly says the captain was ‘laid up’. The crew revolted and Todd had to assume command.

With difficulty the ‘Rangoon’ reached Napier – its upper works severely damaged and unable to proceed further so the passengers and crew landed and were discharged.
Within a short time the Governor General, Sir George Grey, and other notables called on Todd and the outcome was that Todd abandoned his world tour and decided to settle in New Zealand. Dr Todd purchased the practice of Dr. Venn of Waipawa (who was retuning to England) and at the same time was appointed both medical officer charge of natives of Hawkes Bay and surgeon to the Imperial Troops stationed in Waipawa. With the withdrawal these Forces he was appointed Medical Officer of Colonial Defense Forces and on their transfer he became Brigade Surgeon of East Coast Volunteers. He obtained a commission as Major and later Lieutenant-Colonel.

Dr Todd married Annie Mary Arrow, a daughter of Henry Arrow. Mrs Doctor Todd as she insisted on being called, is described in family reminiscences as “bossy” and “a martinet”. But despite these epithets was regarded as a stalwart of the community. She was involved in the temperance movement and after her husband’s death refused to renew the lease of the Union Brewery which was situated on her land. As a result of this the brewery had to be pulled down. Hearsay has it that Mrs Todd also confiscated Dr Todd’s walking stick to prevent him from crossing the road to the brewery.

Dr Alexander Todd and Annie Mary had three daughters – Olive, Ida and Kathleen, and a son, Alexander Todd junior.

Alexander purchased “The Pines”, now the oldest surviving house in Waipawa and it was here that he raised his family.
Information from TODD FAMILY HISTORY by Kerrie Alexander: 
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mcmurtriecfr/richard/todd/tf235.htm

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