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

Duke Of Roxburgh

Duke Of Roxburgh.

The third arrival at Port Nicholson was the Duke of Roxburgh, 417 tons, Captain James Thomson, which brought out 167 people—80 males and 87 females. Passengers who became well known were Mr. Robert Hunter (one of the founders of the firm of Bethune and Hunter) and Mr. William Lyon, a founder of the firm of Lyon and Blair.

After leaving Gravesend the ship called at Plymouth, whence she sailed on October 5th, and dropped anchor on February 7th, 1840, a voyage of 125 days from Plymouth. In common with all the first fleet ships, the "Duke" made first of all for Port Hardy for orders. There was a strong gale from the south-east when she arrived off the port, and during a squall the vessel made an extra heavy lurch, which threw Captain Thomson into the sea. Every effort was made to rescue him, but there was too much sea on for a boat to live.

Very little is left on record concerning the arrival of the "Duke." Two trifling incidents are, however, recalled. One was that at the time a whale and calf happened to come into the harbour, and went gambolling about between Somes Island and the eastern side of the harbour. The other incident happened on the Sunday after the vessel got into port. Those people left on board, wishing to go to church, put off in the boats, but unfortunately the tide was out, and between them and the jetty at Petone Beach was a stretch of very shoal water. Dressed in their Sunday best, the new chums did not know what to do, but the good-natured natives came to the rescue. Taking the pakehas on their backs, they carried them ashore clean and dry, but as the brown men had thrown off their mats and other garments before entering the water the ladies of the party were more than a little confused.

The "Duke" made the third vessel of the fleet to reach Port Nicholson, and by that time the foreshore at Petone had become a busy locality. Tents were supplemented by shanties of various descriptions, but some of the whares put up with the help of the Maoris were of a more ambitious character, and so well built that they lasted several years. Round about this somewhat incongruous camp-settlement the belongings of the settlers were scattered, and as there were by this time about 500 white people ashore the scene was decidedly animated.