The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76
Hoisting the British Flag at Auckland
Hoisting the British Flag at Auckland.
I was happily able to be of some assistance to Governor Hobson in selecting the best position for a settlement, as far as the harbour and navigation were concerned. We visited the Tamaki River and afterwards the Waitemate, a spacious harbour, well suited for communication with many parts of the country page 31 inland. On our return to the Bay of Islands His Excellency, in a very kind and flattering manner, offered me the appointment of Harbourmaster at the Waitemate, where he had determined the seat of Government, to be called Auckland, should be formed. Subsequently a Lieutenant of the Royal Navy came with a recommendation from high authority for his appointment to the office, but the Governor declined to make any change. Soon afterwards the Surveyor-General and myself were despatched and directed to fix the precise spot as most suitable for a settlement, and for a port of easy access and safe anchorage for shipping. We were accompanied by several officers of the Civil Service, and a body of mechanics and working men in a hired transport under my control. Our tents were pitched on a beautiful slope facing the entrance of the harbour, amidst trees adorned with fine parasite plants and hanging clematis flowers. On the 18th of September 1840 I had the honour and satisfaction of hoisting the first British flag after Captain W. Symonds, who had been appointed to the office of Resident Magistrate, had procured the necessary land from the natives to be the property of Her Majesty; and the ceremony was concluded by hearty cheers and a salute from the ship. Some weeks later the Governor came from the Bay of Islands in a ship of war, and expressed himself well pleased with the [spot selected. That spot is now the centre of a large city and district containing page 32 more than 60,000 inhabitants, and possessing churches of various denominations, fine public buildings, and institutions for education and public amusement, surrounded by beautiful villas and gardens with all modern improvements and conveniences for health and comfort. For many years afterwards it was a source of the highest interest and delight to see the surrounding country cleared, the plough at work, and human dwellings extending day by day in that delightful, agreeable, and healthy climate. My time was chiefly employed in marking and buoying the few dangers in the approaches to the harbour, and attending to the shipping arriving from the Australian colonies and the mother country with emigrants and merchandise. During my time of office no serious loss of any vessel took place, and the harbour has proved to be one of the best in the Australian colonies. In the year 1844 we had some native troubles, and I was