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

Why The Women Wept

Why The Women Wept.

During the 75th anniversary celebrations in Christchurch in December, 1925, Mrs. T. V. Whitmore (who was a Miss Grubb), one of the passengers by the Charlotte Jane, gave some personal reminiscences which were of much interest as she was one of the few survivors of the band that arrived by that ship. "I remember the morning of our arrival as if it were only yesterday," said Mrs. Whitmore, then eighty years of age. "When we arrived at Lyttelton we were met by the Fly with Sir George Grey aboard. The captain and some officials from our vessel went aboard his ship, and after a time we were all taken ashore in small boats. Most of the passengers on our vessel took up their quarters in the barracks, but my father, having come to New Zealand several years before, had already built a home for US, and we went to live there.

"After the Cressy arrived—she was the last of the first four ships to reach port—the single men, who had been accommodated at the barracks, had to leave to make room for the children aboard the vessel. There were a great many youngsters on the Cressy, and difficulty was experienced in finding room for them all.

"In those days the Maori pa was right in the heart of Lyttelton, but it was not long before the natives were asked to shift, and they settled at Rapaki.

One of Mrs. Whitmore's keenest recollections connected with the arrival of the Charlotte Jane at Lyttelton is that a number of the women passengers burst into tears when the vessel drew into port. "They were crying," she said, "because they had all dressed themselves in their Sunday best, and there was nowhere to go."