5 February 2013 0 Comments

The Orpheus

(c) Rudy Sunde

The Orpheus was a proud ship
Sailing the ocean waves,
The Orpheus was a doomed ship
Sailing a watery grave

In 1863, she left old Sydney town
250 men on board, for New Zealand bound
The Tasman Sea was smooth and calm
She made her eastern run
Until she reached the Manukau Bar
There her race was run

Chorus

The Manukau Harbour is a haven safe
From the raging storm
But, the Manukau bar is a treacherous place
Where many fine ships have gone down

The Orpheus tried to take the bar
Through the breaking waves
She struck the bank which left her fast
And there she ended her days

Chorus

The Orpheus was a modern ship
Powered by steam and sail
But her mighty engines could not save
Her from her terrible fate

One boat only was got away
To reach the Whatipu shore
The steamboat Wanga southward bound
Saved a few men more

Chorus

The four brave men did refuge seek
On the mainmast high
A raging wave broke over them
And swept some more aside

189 men were lost
A sad and bitter day
189 men were lost
To lie in lonely graves

Chorus

Sailing a watery grave

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