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Dying Blessing

Found 26 December 1889, Whanganui, New Zealand.

In a corked bottle, written in pencil:

Ship County of Carnarvon, September 3, 1889.
Anyone who should find this bottle will earn the dying blessing of three men, who do not expect to live an hour, by letting our friends and relations know our fate. We are sinking fast. All hands but us three were washed overboard last night. We were dismasted, and the binnacles and everything washed away by one sea. Every sea washes over the deck fore and aft. I don’t know where we are, but by the skipper’s reckoning at midday yesterday we were about 1000 miles from New Zealand. We have been sinking fast ever since the squall struck us. May God help us, for we may sink at any minute – George Wright. The other men with me are Vincent Wallace and James King.

The County of Carnarvon, of Liverpool, left Newcastle, New South Wales, for Valparaiso, Chile, on 5 June 1889 with a crew of more than 20. In September, a battered boat bearing the ship’s name was found on the beach at Taku, New Zealand. Locals said the boat had come ashore during a heavy storm. The colonial government despatched the steamship Hinemo to search for survivors, but none were found.

[Newcastle Morning Herald, 7 January 1890]