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Historical Records of New Zealand

Lieutenant-Governor Collins to Under-Secretary Cooke

page 288

Lieutenant-Governor Collins to Under-Secretary Cooke.

Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land, 1st October, 1808.


The ship Rose being about to depart hence for England, I avail myself of the opportunity of addressing you upon the subject of a dispatch received from Lord Castlereagh at Port Jackson, an extract of which has been transmitted to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux. It is therein stated that “this settlement is represented by Governor King to be at too great a distance for the general resort of whalers, and therefore not likely to become of any material importance.“ What motive that officer could have for this assertion is unknown to me, and I cannot but think he must, have intended to have spoken of the settlement at Port Dalrymple, as it is well known that no whaler has ever put in there for the purpose of procuring a cargo; whereas this place has been resorted to every season since I have been here by whalers, many of whom have filled their ships with oil procured in the river and adjacent bays, and proceeded therewith to England. It is situated contiguous to New Zealand, the advantage of which is that at the end of the fishing season there, if it should have proved unsuccessful, the ships may run to this river and compleat their cargo, as the black whale resorts hither when the sperm whales quit the coast of New Zealand. Several of the latter have also been killed off Cape Pillar by ships coming to this river, and a whaler, the Dubuc, now about to return to England, has taken in 180 tons of black whale oil procured here this season.

I am the more desirous of stating these particulars to you, sir, as it appears by Lord Castlereagh’s letter that in the event of Governor King’s information being right no settlers are to be sent here, but it is to be retained as a place where convicts may be usefully employed until the utility of forming in it a more permanent establishment may be more fully ascertained.

At the date of His Lordship’s letter it could not have been known that the whole of the settlers at Norfolk Island, with very few exceptions, having it in their option where to fix their future residence, had made their election of this settlement, a great part of whom are now in it, and the remainder daily expected, from whose exertions, if properly supported and encouraged, I have every hope that this part of New Holland will ultimately be entitled to attention.

I have, &c.,

David Collins.