Southern Cross (Melanesian Mission ship series)

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Southern Cross No. 4
Southern Cross No. 5
Southern Cross No. 7

Southern Cross is the name given to each of a succession of ships serving the Melanesian Mission of the Anglican Church and the Church of the Province of Melanesia. The first ship having this name succeeded the Undine, a 21-ton schooner built at Auckland and in service from 1849 to 1857.


Southern Cross No. 1[edit]

Southern Cross 1 was a schooner of 100 tons, built by Messrs. Wigram of Blackwall Yard, England in 1855; for £1,500. She arrived in New Zealand on 19 July 1855, and she was wrecked on 18 June 1860 at the mouth of the Ngunguru River, New Zealand, during an easterly gale. The first Southern Cross was funded by subscriptions provided by supporters of the Melanesian Mission. These included Charlotte Mary Yonge, who contributed the profits of her book The Daisy Chain.[1][2][3]

Southern Cross No. 2[edit]

Southern Cross 2 was a 93-ton yawl-rigged brigantine, which was built at Southampton and was in service from 1863 to 1873. This ship was involved in the Southern Cross Incident at Nukapu in which Bishop John Patteson was killed, which resulted in a British expedition to the island in 1871 and 1872.[4]

Southern Cross No. 3[edit]

Southern Cross 3 was a three-masted, two-topsail schooner of 180 tons with auxiliary steam power of 24 H.P.. She was built in Auckland at a cost of about £5,000, of which £2,000 was contributed from a fund collected by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in memory of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson. This ship was in service from 1874 to 1892.[citation needed]

Southern Cross No. 4[edit]

Southern Cross 4 (British Registry Official Number 98988) was a three-masted schooner, foremast, square-rigged, main and mizzen, fore-and-aft rig. 240 tons with auxiliary steam. The ship was built in Wivenhoe, Essex, England by Forrest & Sons in 1891 at a cost about £9,000, which was contributed by Bishop John Richardson Selwyn and others. This ship was in service from 1892 to 1902. When this vessel was sold, her engine was removed, and she operated as a cargo vessel around Australia and New Zealand until being lost with all hands off King Island, Tasmania in 1920.[5]

Southern Cross No. 5[edit]

Southern Cross 5 was a steel three-masted schooner with an auxiliary steam engine. This ship was built in Newcastle upon Tyne by Armstrong Whitworth & Co., with £1,000 towards construction contributed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London. She was launched by Bishop Cecil Wilson in 1903. Her officers in 1914 included: William Sinker R.N.R. (Captain), H. Burgess R.N.R. (Chief Officer), R. Gardner R.N.R. (Second Officer), W. Pitcher (Chief Engineer) and J. Murray (Bosun).[citation needed]

Southern Cross No. 6[edit]

Southern Cross 6 was wrecked on her maiden voyage from England in November 1932.[4]

Southern Cross No. 7[edit]

Southern Cross 7 (also known as Akanina, “the ship of all of us”) arrived in Tulagi harbour several months after the loss of Southern Cross 6 and her cargo, due to the immediate action by the Melanesian Mission Secretaries in both England and New Zealand. She was sold in 1955.[1][4][6]

Southern Cross No. 8[edit]

Southern Cross 8 arrived in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands from Australia after 1955, and she was wrecked soon after during a storm at Maravovo on the north west coast of Guadalcanal.[6]

Southern Cross No. 9[edit]

Southern Cross 9 was built in Australia in 1962 at the request of the Bishop of Melanesia, Alfred Thomas Hill. She is currently in service after refurbishing and rededication in 2005 by Archbishop Ellison Pogo.[citation needed] As of late 2009, the ship was based at the Taroaniara Anglican Mission Station on the Nggela Islands.[7]


  1. ^ a b "In the Solomons and other islands of Melanesia". Diocese of Melanesia. November 1943. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Pacific Progress 1849 -1949". Diocese of Melanesia. March 1949. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Ashwell, B. Y. "Journal of a visit to the Loyalty, New Hebrides, and Banks' Islands, in the Melanesian Mission schooner the Southern Cross, with an account of the wreck of that vessel". Melanesian Mission. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Pacific Progress 1849-1949". Diocese of Melanesia. March 1949. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "View Shipwreck - Southern Cross". Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Mountfort, C. L. (February 1994). "The Long Dark Island". The Desk Top Press. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Fox Memorial Cross dedicated". Melanesian Messenger Online. Church of the Province of Melanesia. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 

External links[edit]