The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)
The Second Migration
The Second Migration.
In 1848 there came a letter from McLeod's second son, Donald, who played a large part in the eventual settlement at Waipu. (McLeod married Mary McLeod; they had six sons and two daughters). In 1838, John Grant McLeod and Murdoch McLeod (sons) had built the brigantine Maria. Loaded with produce it was dispatched to Glagow in the charge of Donald, who was instructed to sell both ship and cargo there. Instead of returning home, however, he went to Australia, and no more was heard of him till 1848, when he wrote the fateful letter. He gave his father glowing accounts of Australia. In a short time men were hard at work preparing timber to build a barque, later called the Margaret, to take McLeod and all she could accommodate to Adelaide. Soon after, the buildin of a brig, the Highland Lass, was started for the same purpose.
Established though they were, the spirit of adventure and the thought of page 30 a better future for their descendants in more temperate climes made them once again start a fresh adventure. Five of the six ships that carried them to Australia were built by their own labour, from the forest timber stage to the rigging. The sixth ship was repaired and reconditioned by them. The money to finance the migration they subscribed among themselves. In their ranks were masters, officers and crews, and each family provisioned itself. Nothing, material, cultural or spiritual, was left to chance. They had men and women for every trade and industry required—schoolmasters and their own respected minister, Rev. Norman McLeod.
Probably without parallel, too, was that the party included their representative in the Nova Scotia legislature, John Munro, later to represent them in the Auckland Provincial Council and the New Zealand House of Representatives. One of the two principal financiers of the venture (the other was John McKay) was John Fraser, the Pictou-born son of Hugh Fraser (a near relative of Lord Lovat, chief of the clan), one of the famous Fraser Highlanders who were in the van of the British Army at the capture of Quebec (1759). It was the Hon. Simon Fraser, whose knowledge of French and quick wit deceived the French sentry and made possible the attack on Quebec. The incident is one of the most well-known in popular history. This soldier led the Clan Fraser against the Government at the Battle of Culloden (1746).
John McKay died at Waipu when nearly 100 years old. A great horseman, he rode one of the liveliest of horses even in his extreme old age. Old letters say his speed in travelling to and from church scandalised the minister.
The Margaret (236 tons) arrived at Adelaide on April 10th, 1852. She had aboard 140 persons, including the Rev. Norman McLeod. Captain W. M. McLeod, deputy harbourmaster at Wellington, has the book “Norie's Navigation,” which the Rev. McLeod used on the trip. He made daily observations of the sun and worked out the latitude and longitude in order to check the officers' calculations. He was an expert navigator.
Arrived in Australia the search for land was disappointing both in Adelaide and in Victoria. The Rev. McLeod corresponded with Sir George Grey who offered special facilities for himself and his people settling as a group. Thus began the migration to New Zealand.
In Melbourne, McLeod had a disastrous experience. There was a typhoid epidemic and three of the minister's six sons died within six weeks. Old letters relate that he took this as a sign of Divine displeasure for leaving Nova Scotia.
The Highland Lass (179 tons) arrived at Adelaide on Oct. 6th, 1852. There were 136 aboard, crew included, and of these there were 37 McKenzies. Captain Murdoch McKenzie was commander. Of those who arrived in Australia by the Highland Lass, 90, plus 33 from the Margaret, travelled to Auckland by the Gazelle, owned by the McKenzie brothers. Chief officer was John Jacob, afterwards to command the Melanesian Mission schooner, Southern Cross, for 21 years, including the tragic occasion when Bishop Patterson was murdered by natives.
The Gazelle later brought a further party, including the Rev. McLeod and his wife and daughter (later Mrs. H. F. Anderson) from Melbourne. They arrived at Manukau on Jan. 26th, 1854. McLeod was then 72, and beginning again where most men would have been glad to give up the burden; indeed, would have been compelled by nature to do so.
In all, six ships made the migration to the Antipodes from Nova Scotia—the Margaret, Highland Lass, Gertrude, Spray, Breadalbane and Ellen Lewis—the smallest 106 tons, the largest under 300.
Duncan McKenzie and Duncan McKay, of the Highland Lass party, saw Sir George Grey, and selected Waipu for their settlement. The first to go there were the families of Hector and Duncan McKenzie and of Duncan McKay.