Official Number
Date of Build/Launch: August 1874
Yard Number: 285
Owner: Shaw, Savill & Co.

Builder's List:
Owners Saville & Temple, London; Contract £19,972.

Lloyd's Register of Shipping:
1875-76: Owner Shaw, Savill & Co.; Port belonging to London; Master T. Bishop.
1876-77: Master E. Williams.
1877-78: Port belonging to Southampton.

Larn, Shipwreck Index of British Isles:
11/09/1877, 12 miles SW of Portland Bill; on voyage London-Wellington; General cargo; Capt. E. S. Williams; Crew 35 (32 lost); Passengers 63 (all lost - emigrants).
In SW gale force 8 red light of another vessel seen - inexplicably (but only 3 crew on deck) AVALANCHE did not give way. Other vessel, the FOREST, in attempting to avoid collision, struck AVALANCHE on port side, causing her to sink within 5 mins. 3 on deck (only survivors) jumped onto FOREST'S forecastle. FOREST was abandoned within 15 mins and crew took to open sea in boats of which only one survived to reach Chesie Beach where they were assisted ashore in a gallant rescue.

Belfast Newsletter, 21/05/1877:
News received from New Zealand of loss of Australian clipper chip OCEAN MAIL. Vessel cleared from Wellington for London March 10 and was ready for sea at same time as Messrs Shaw, Saville & Co.'s clipper ship AVALANCHE. Both vessels had similar cargoes, were each of the very highest class and only differed slightly in age. They were therefore considered very fairly matched and great interest was felt in the contemplated race home. The crews are said to have betted considerably on the result. But OCEAN MAIL had only been out three days when she ran ashore and became total wreck (all saved).

Birmingham Daily Post, 13/09/1877:
AVALANCHE carried 26 saloon, 17 second cabin and 20 third class passengers. She carried no emigrants, pasengers bring mostly colonists. After colliding with the FOREST she was nearly cut in two and sank within three minutes, before there was time to launch the boats. Only survivors of AVALANCHE were 3rd Officer, J. C. Sherrington, and 2 seamean, Mills and McCarthy. They were in only surviving boat of the FOREST, which was pluckily rescued by two Portland fishing boats, which battled with the waves for a considerable time before reaching it.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 25/09/1877:
Cunard company contemplate improved type of ship with several water-tight bulkheads to a deck 5 or 6 feet above waterline. The AVALANCHE, though a fine vessel, was sunk in a few minutes through the absence of this prime necessity.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 14/10/1877:
Report of official enquiry into loss of AVALANCHE and FOREST - the commissioner, after reviewing the evidence, said it was clear the AVALANCHE, being on the port tack, must have known when they saw the red light of the FOREST that she was on the starboard tack and consequently it was her duty to give way. She had the option of either going ahead or astern as she saw fit. She elected to go astern, was undoubtedly primarily responsible for collision, at the same time. Without suspending or cancelling certificate of Capt. Lockhart of the FOREST, they thought he ought to be reprimanded for not keeping his eye on the green light of the AVALANCHE and not acting with greater promtitude at the moment of collision.

The Graphic, 15/12/1877:
In contemplation to build in Portland a small church as memorial to Capt. Williams, passengers and crew of ill-fated ship AVALANCHE - to give sacred character to resting place of those who lie beneath the waves opposite proposed church. The captain of the AVALANCHE was very popular and much respected in New Zealand, whither he had made several voyages. Numbers of those who have been passengers with him will no doubt gladly help to raise it in his memory as a recognition of the courtesy and kindness they have received from him.
A. HALL & Co.
length 215' x breadth 36 1/12' x depth 21 1/6'
gross tonnage 1210 tons

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