The Natal Mercury on the same day gave more detail:
'About 11.45 yesterday forenoon the CRMS Melrose was signalled from the Bluff as coming along the coast, and about 12.30 she came to the outer anchorage. It being well known that the Melrose was bringing a large number of immigrants the scene at the Point was one of unusual activity. Shortly after noon the tug Fox left the wharf for the Melrose. She had on board, in addition to the passengers for the Florence, Mr. Reid, acting for the Protector of Immigrants and Dr. Addison.
The Captain of the Melrose having declared as to the bill of health, the immigrants were at once visited by Mr. Reid. There were 100 immigrants on board ex Balmoral Castle who had come, some with free and some with assisted passage. The following are the occupations of the immigrants:- domestic servants 2, wheelwright 1, shipwright1, stone mason 2, plasterers 2, dressmaker 1, farm labourers 3, joiners 2, stereotype (sic) 1, gardeners 3, blacksmith 1, tailors 2, watchmaker 1, reader 1, cooper 1, printers 3*, machinist 1, for the Mounted Police 5.
The remainder of the immigrants are coming in the Venice. It was thought that the immigrants would be landed yesterday but the bar was so rough that it was considered advisable not to land them, but very probably they will be brought ashore today.
A great crowd, probably friends of the immigrants, had collected on the wharf on the return of the Fox but were much disappointed on learning that their friends were detained. As usual tents have been erected close to the Police Station for such of the immigrants as may have no friends to receive them. The passenger list of the Melrose will be found in our shipping column.
The following is the Melrose's report:- Left Cape Town 5th July 10.30 p.m.; arrived Algoa Bay 7th July 4.45 p.m., left 6 p.m.; arrived at East London 8th July 7.25 a.m., left 8.45 a.m.; arrived at Natal 9th July 12.15 p.m.
Experienced from Cape Town to East London light variable airs and fine weather, thence to Natal moderate breeze and fine weather.'
*Some of the immigrants were destined for employment by the firm of P Davis & Sons. The passenger list is grouped in families. Note that the first name and initial mentioned in the list is not always that of the head of the family, as some of these men had travelled ahead of their wives and children and were the Applicant rather than Immigrant; these would have been waiting to welcome the family on their arrival. A few were women travelling alone, one example being A W HUNTER who was to take up employment as a domestic servant. Some of the men were recruits for the Natal Mounted Police.
For about 20 years Melrose was a well-known visitor at Natal, regularly undertaking the coastal route between there and the Cape. Built in 1877 in Glasgow, her maiden voyage up the coast was not a success; she had to be towed back from Mossel Bay by Taymouth Castle. Weeks later, she had to put into East London with a broken shaft. She achieved dubious fame in July 1883 (presumably not the same voyage as the one reported above) when the Irishman James CAREY, a Fenian implicated in the Phoenix Park, Dublin murders of May 1882, was shot dead in the second class saloon of the Melrose shortly after she left Table Bay. Her Captain, BECHER, was later chief witness at the Old Bailey trial of Carey's killer.
The Balmoral Castle (the first ship of this name, built 1877, Glasgow, 2,48 tons) brought Sir Bartle Frere to his new appointment as Governor of the Cape in 1877. One of Currie's mailships she was soon superseded by larger and faster vessels, and by 1882 was in the hands of Spanish owners and renamed San Augustin. She then returned to the British register under her original name and was seen in Australian and New Zealand waters carrying frozen meat. Chartered by the International Line the Balmoral Castle was once more a visitor to Table Bay, until she was sold to a Quebec company, renamed Madiana and was eventually lost on a voyage from New York when she was wrecked on reefs off Bermuda 10 February 1903 carrying 82 passengers. No lives were lost.
The coaster Venice (511 tons, built 1878 in Glasgow) was intended for the South African inter-Colonial trade and ran between various coastal ports for about 20 years. Sold to an owner in Lourenco Marques in 1898 she was renamed Lusitano, later being converted to a hulk.
PASSENGERS BY MELROSE (EX BALMORAL CASTLE TO CAPE TOWN) ARRIVED NATAL 9.7.1880
HUNTE, A W
The coaster Melrose, Donald Currie's line, built 1877 Glasgow.