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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

The Lady Nugent

The Lady Nugent.

Although not the biggest ship that came out to New Zealand, the Lady Nugent, 600 tons. Captain Santry, brought out the largest number of passengers sent out at one time by the Company. Evidently the Company did not believe in overcrowding its emigrants, for one hears none of the complaints that became only too common when the tendency seemed to be for some of the shipping companies to crowd as many people as they could on board, and feed them as cheaply as possible. On the Lady Nugent there were 263 people, the next largest number to that being the 232 brought out in the London three months before. The Lady Nugent sailed from Gravesend on October 21st, 1840.

Running short of water, she put into Hobart on February 27th, and while she lay there great inducements were held out to the people to disembark and make their homes in Tasmania instead of going on to the wilds of New Zealand. But they wisely decided to stick to the ship, which left on March 5th, and they eventually arrived in Wellington on March 17th. Among the cabin passengers was Mr. Edmund Storr Halswell, F.R.S., who had been appointed by the British Government to the post of Commissioner of Native Reserves in New Zealand. Halswell, like so many of the names of ships and pioneers of those stirring times, has been preserved by its use as a place name, Point Halswell, where Mr. Massey's grave stands, being called after this early official.

It was stated that a finer body of British people than the Lady Nugent party had rarely left Great Britain. They came from various parts of England and Scotland and the North of Ireland; the majority from Hawkchurch, Dorsetshire, and the near villages. The greater number were married pairs. The central dormitory of the Lady Nugent was fitted up for the married and their children; beyond these, towards the bow, swung a couple of dozen hammocks for young men; and sternward the unmarried females were stowed, two and two, in some of the best berths in the ship.