A feature of the Southland Musem is its substantial exhibition about the subantarctic islands. Here are two elements which help tell the story of the castaways from the General Grant. The bottom image shows a recreation of the deck of the General Grant rising and falling beneath the roof of a cave. The ship was travelling between Melbourne and London in May 1866 when it was driven into a large cavern on the precipitous western side of Auckland Island. Eventually the ship was trapped in the cavern. Of the 83 passengers on board, only 15 made it to land. Four of them died attempting to sail to New Zealand, and the remainder began to fashion small rafts, such as the one shown in the top image. These were sent floating off in the hope of attracting a rescuer. Ten survivors were finally rescued 18 months after the wreck, and they brought this last float back with them.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photographs by Jock Phillips
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Courtesy of Southland Museum and Art Gallery