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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69



Several vessels had been built in New Zealand of the timber of the country before Captain Hobson's arrival. The first was constructed by a sealing gang at Dusky Bay some 95 years since, and named the "Providence." She was taken to Norfolk Island, and thence to India. What became of her is not recorded, but as she was most probably the first vessel built on the Australian waters, her subsequent history would be a matter of much interest. The year following the "Assistance," of 60 tons burthen, was built at the same place, and taken to Sydney and sold for £250.

And here, perhaps, it may be pertinent to state that the sealskins caught in New Zealand waters by the gang who built the "Providence" at Dusky Bay was probably the first export from Port Jackson of the produce of Australasia, as well as being the commencement of the great sealing industry which thence took its rise, and flourished in the first quarter of this century, but had almost ceased to exist before the arrival of Captain Hobson in these seas.

The missionaries built several boats at the Bay of Islands, and several vessels were constructed at Hokianga. One, in 1835, was built at Poverty Bay, but burned by the natives before completion. An old-fashioned, high-sterned, wall-sided cutter of some 50 tons burthen was built on Queen Charlotte's Sound by "Jacky Love," the father of the half-caste family of the same name at Pic ton, and laid in the Wellington harbour for years after the New Zealand Company sent out some of its immigrants: while another was built by "Bloody Jack at Stewart's Island, and stolen from thence by a man named Macgregor, who ran her to Wellington, and thence to Whanganui. We know, however, that for several years over 100 whalers a-year entered the Bay of Islands, but until the New Zealand records are obtained by the Government from New South Wales this interesting field of inquiry is under lock and key.

A difficulty arose about 1832 with the Costoms authorities at Port Jackson, when vessels built in New Zealand traded to British ports. As New Zealand at that time was not regarded as a British colony, they could no; be registered as British vessels, though built, owned, and manned by British subjects, until a flag had been approved and selected as a national emblem by the chiefs of New Zealand, nor could they trade between Port Jackson and New Zealand while owned by British subjects, without being liable to seizure. The difficulty, however, was got rid of by the adoption of the New Zealand flag.

After 1840 vessels were built at the Great Barrier and Coromandel, as well as at several other northern ports. The official figures relating to shipping follow:—
Inwards. Outwards. Vessels belong to colony.
Vessels. Tons. Vessels. Tons. Vessels. Tons.
1845 114 16,960 126 15,837
1850 188 49,747 194 48,531
1855 378 88,614 341 79,825
1860 398 140,276 398 140,293 238 8,527
1865 862 295,625 783 283,020 466 24,484
1870 756 273,151 766 265,407 384 26,745
1875 926 416,727 940 417,820 502 42,027
1880 730 395,675 786 424,041 559 66,316
1885 706 519,700 780 513,000 597 95,885
1888 683 526,435 701 531,478 524 65,323