The Avalanche and Forest
The Avalanche and The Forest are two separate ships.
The Avalanche was a three - masted, iron passenger ship
operated by the New Zealand Line. It was carrying sixty-three passengers
and a cargo of goods from Manchester. Most of the passengers were
colonists returning to New Zealand after visiting England, and emigrants
setting out to make new lives for themselves.
The Forest was a Canadian cargo ship built out of wood.
It was said that it took a whole forest to build it, hence its name!
It was bound for New York and was sailing in ballast, that is without
The two ships collided in bad weather off Portland on the night
of 11th September, 1877. The Forest hit the Avalanche
several times on the port side. The Avalanche was almost
cut in half and sank in five minutes. Its passengers and most of
the crew were trapped below decks and were unable to escape.
The crew of the Forest launched three lifeboats, only one
of which survived. It was unable to land on the Chesil Beach so
Portlanders used their own boats to rescue the twelve survivors.
A monument was built overlooking the site of the wreck to remember
those who died in the tragedy.