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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)

Founding of the Whaling Settlement

Founding of the Whaling Settlement.

In August, 1849, the first ships left England to found the whaling colony at Auckland Island, bringing with them the Lieutenant Governor, medical men, clerks, a surveyor, a storekeeper, bricklayers, masons, agriculturalists and labourers; with sixteen women and fourteen children. Arriving at their destination in the following December, work was at once commenced. A twelve-roomed house provided for Enderby by the company, was set up; also about twenty-five other houses, and a store. In due time whaling operations were begun.

The settlement had been established for some ten months when Enderby wrote to Earl Grey, stating that all on the island (seventy-two in number, irrespective of seamen) were enjoying good health. The fact that in June gooseberry and currant plants, brought from Hobart Town, were coming into leaf, showed that the season had not been as rigorous as had been expected. This letter was written from Wellington, whither business had brought the Commissioner.

In June of the following year Enderby wrote to the Directors of the Southern Whale Fishery Company, telling them that it was his intention to embark on the Black Dog for New Zealand, one object of the visit being to confer with the Bishop on the subject of engaging a clergyman to reside as Chaplain at Port Ross; and also to obtain a medical man who would assist him (Enderby) as secretary in place of Mr. King, who had resigned. The Commissioner also stated that twelve persons were about to leave the islands, the number remaining would be ninety-five, and to provide animal food for these would require twelve sheep weekly. While in New Zealand he would try to buy 300 sheep; failing to do this on reasonable terms, he would proceed to Two Fold Bay, on the east coast of New Holland.

Enderby arrived at Auckland, New Zealand, on the 29th of August, sailing later for Australia, where he secured the sheep and also such stores as he deemed necessary. He left Sydney for Port Ross on 16th October.

Possibly, Enderby's ideas of the amount of stores necessary for the small colony, were extravagant. Dr. Dakin mentions that in looking through some old letters of Robert Towns—a Sydney shipowner, and also a kind of agent for the London Company—he noted that Towns expressed surprise at the quantities of stores ordered, stating that he couldn't “think of sending a tithe of the order.”