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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

14-15 October 1871

14-15 October 1871

All persons have to land in surf boats, and as there is no change of landing anything in a gale we doubted if we should get ashore. We got up at five in the morning before sunrise, and standing before us towering above the clouds we saw the snow-clad peak of the conical and extinct crater now called Mount Egmont, rising from an almost flat plain, to a height of 9,850 feet above the sea level. Down along the South, other ranges of mountains appear but as the clouds rose when the sun burst out we lost sight of the Tops. After a while the surf boats came out, bursting thro’ the surf, and pulled out by means of a rope into deep water and thus came alongside the ship. These boats carry about 4 to 6 tons, and it is curious to see how the cargo is removed from the steamer to these boats which in the swell are knocking about in all directions as far as the ropes will permit’- very often all the cargo looks like page 21 going into the sea, yet no mistakes are made. We went in one of these boats to the shore, as we had 100 Tons of Cargo to discharge which took from 6 o’clock until 3 to get out and put to shore. On landing we stepped onto Iron Sand, black as possible, such as you may have seen from sample, and called the Titanic Iron Sand. The coast for miles is covered with this material – the part high up on the beach being washed by the sea at high water. and t The lighter portions consisting of sand (silica) is carried down by the waves, while the heavier being iron stone or sand is left. I confess to disappointment as to the purity of the bulk. The quantity of the best is small as compared to the whole. I visited the works at which the trials for smelting had been made, but the whole thing was so badly done that no wonder it was a failure. The furnace was about the size within of a small cupola, or about 18 inches; and the air generator, or blast engine, a simple fair driven by a small WaterWheel. I could not see exactly in so short a visit, how to account for this singular deposit, but I believe it is caused by the constant washing away of the igneous rocks in which the iron is evidently scattered and from the proximity of the grand Mount Egmont, no doubt there must have been very large volcanic action. The Country at the back is the Maori King County, and not explored.

The little town of New Plymouth is simple indeed, but there is a library with the latest Works and Newspapers, altho’ only a population of 200 Whites. We came across the real native animal in the shape of the Maori. Some were dressed with European clothes, but most wore the native mat, page 22 and the dress of old time. We heard that it was possible that two of the tribes would fight very soon, but as yet it does not seem likely to break out as against the Government.