Go Back Report # 1280



     A “Ball of Fire.”—The Southern Cross of the 10th April thus describes a remarkable natural phenomenon: —“On Friday last the paddle-steamer Duke of Edinburgh, while on a trip from Auckland to Whangarei, and when between Bream Tail and Whangarei Head, experienced a violent storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning. About 9 o’clock in the evening, during the heaviest of the storm, a large ball of fire descended in dangerous proximity to the vessel. From Captain Farquhar’s description of the phenomenon it must have been, without doubt, one of the most extraordinary of the kind ever witnessed. He says that the report caused by the atmospheric disturbance and the concussion were such as to shake the vessel from stem to stern in a most violent manner, and that as soon as he recovered from the shock he saw a large ball of fire, about the size and shape of a hogshead, descending from the clouds in a perpendicular line. It appeared so close to the ship that he at first feared it would fall on board; but it dropped into the water about 50 feet from the steamer. Captain Farquhar states that at the time of the explosion he experienced a most extraordinary sensation, being totally unable to speak for some seconds. He also states that the ball of fire emitted a strong smell of sulphur.”


Reference for the above text is: South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, May 9, 1871, p. 6.

Received from: Chris Aubeck (Magonia Exchange), E-mail dated May 24, 2011.




South Pacific - New Zealand

Auckland               Latitude 36-50-00 S, Longitude 174-50-00 E (D-M-S) [harbour]

Whangarei            Latitude 35-48-00 S, Longitude 174-25-00 E (D-M-S) [harbour]

Whangarei Head   Latitude 35-49-00 S, Longitude 174-30-00 E [populated place]

Bream Tail             Latitude 36-03-00 S, Longitude 174-35-00 E [cape]

Reference: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmaviewer/




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