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Early Wellington

Opening of Barrett's Hotel

Opening of Barrett's Hotel.

The New Zealand Gazette and Britannia Spectator, dated 24th October, 1840, gives a detailed account of a great event, i.e., the opening of Barrett's Hotel (Hotel Cecil site). The following persons were present:—Mr. George Hunter, chairman; Messrs. J. Wade and D. Riddiford, croupiers; Captain Hodges, Major Hornbrook, Dr. Johnston, Dr. Taylor, Captain Williams, Messrs. Guyton, Smith, J. and G. Wade, Lyon, Wadeson, Hair and page 71 others. Many were the speeches made, and following is the toast list:—


Queen Victoria, Mr. George Hunter.


Prince Albert, Mr. John Wade.


Her Majesty's Ministers, Mr. S. Revans.


Army and Navy, Mr. Hunter (Air: “Rule Britanina). Lieut. Governor and prosperity to N.Z. (Song: “Home, Sweet Home”).


Health to Col. Wakefield and success to the New Zealand Company (drunk 3 times 3 and “one cheer more.” (Song: “Merry Month of May”), John Wade.


The Land of our Fathers, Mr. Guyton (loud cheers and “Auld Lang Syne” with harp accompaniment).


Dr. Taylor proposed the health of Mr. George Hunter (Musical honours and loud applause, and song (“The fine old English Gentleman”).


Sir Geo. Gipps and Australia, Mr. Revans (Cheers).


Michael Murphy, prop. by Captain Hodges (cheers, followed by song “Safely Follow Him.”)


Commercial and Agricultural Interests of N. Z., Mr. Guyton (3 times 3 loud cheers).


Richard Barrett and Family (Loud cheers). Dr. Taylor, at the request of Mr. Barrett, returned thanks. Song, “Rory O'More,” Cap. le Grand.


Pretty Maids, Merry Wives and Buxom Widows of Port Nicholson, Mr. Geo. Hunter, followed by a glee “Here's a health to all good lassies.”


Whaling and Marine Interests of N.Z. Song: “Light of other Days,” Captain le Grand.


Press of Port Nicholson, Mr. D. Riddiford (cheers). Mr. Revans returned thanks and proposed the compositors. Mr. Yates acknowledged.


The Croupiers, Mr. Bethune.


Dr. Evans and E. G. Wakefield (Loud cheers).


Te Puni and Chiefs, Mr. Geo. Hunter.


Captains of the vessels in Port, Mr. Hair.

Other toasts followed, and the party broke up, highly delighted with the unanimity of feeling which had been manifested. The dinner was laid out with great taste by Mr. Barrett's deputy, Thos. Elvidge.

The inhabitants of the settlement received a shock about a month after the jollification at Barrett's, when it was discovered that one of the passengers of an incoming emigrant ship was ill with smallpox. A quarantine-tent was erected on the East side of the harbour (Oriental Bay), the necessary precautions were taken, the sick one was cured by the Company's surgeon, and the disease spread no further.