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Early Wellington

New Zealand Company's Ships

New Zealand Company's Ships.

The following is a list of ships despatched by the Company since the date of its formation, and published with the first report page 467 of the directors (the 14th May, 1840) in the “N.Z. Journal,” 6th June, 1840, and the 24th April, 1841:—

  • 5/5/1839—London, Tory, 382 tons, 6 passengers, Capt. E. M. Chaffers.
  • 1/8/1839—London, Cuba, 273 tons, 30 passengers, Capt. J. Newcombe.
  • 13/9/1839—London, Oriental, 506 tons, 155 passengers, Capt. W. Wilson.
  • 18/9/1839—London, Aurora, 550 tons, 138 passengers, Capt. T. Heale.
  • 18/9/1839—London, Adelaide, 640 tons, 186 passengers, Capt. W. Campbell.
  • 5/10/1839—Plymouth, Duke of Roxburgh, 417 tons, 167 passengers, Capt. Jas. Thomson.
  • 20/10/1839—London, Glenbervie, 387 tons, 5 passengers, Capt. Wm. Black.
  • 30/10/1839—Glasgow, Bengal Merchant, 503 tons. 160 passengers, Capt. John Hemery.
  • 19/11/1839—London, Bolton, 540 tons, 232 passengers, Capt. J. P. Robinson.
  • 13/12/1839—London, Coromandel, 662 tons, 44 passengers, Capt. E. French.
  • 16/2/1840—London, Brougham, 227 tons (store ship), Capt. G. Kettlewell.
  • 24/2/1840—London, Platina, 303 tons (store ship), Capt. M. Wycherley.
  • 5/7/1840—London, Martha Ridgway, 121 tons, 199 passengers, Capt. J. F. Bisset.
  • 13/8/1840—London, London, Capt. H. Shuttleworth.
  • 25/8/1840—London, Blenheim, 374 tons, Capt John Grey (Moses Campbell on Register).
  • 14/9/1840—London, Slains Castle, Capt. Jas. Petrie.
  • 21/10/1840—London, Lady Nugent, 600 tons, Capt. Santry (Capt. Martin on Register).
  • 8/12/1840—London, Olympus, 500 tons, Capt. White.
  • 23/12/1840—London, Ballev, 140 tons, Capt. Sinclair.
  • 5/1/1841—London, Lord William Bentinck, 444 tons, Capt. Jas Crow.
  • 5/2/1841—London, Katherine Stewart Forbes, Capt. John Hobbs (peter Elder on Register).
  • 6/4/1841—London, Tyne, 500 tons, Capt. Chas. Robertson.
  • 20/4/1841—Gravesend, Prince Rupert, 400 tons, Capt. H. E. Atkinson.

The “N.Z. Journal” announced, in its issue of the 22nd January, 1842, that the barque “Tyne” (Captain Robertson) sailed from London, and left the Downs on the 9th April, 1841, with the following passengers on board:—Messrs. Wm. Martin, Wm. Swainson, Birley, Reeve, Prandreth, Jas. Tnnes and Mr. and Mrs. Outhwaite.

The New Zealand “Journal,” London, dated 2nd October, 1841 (page 248, in Sir Frederick Chapman's collection) contains a shipping table of arrivals at the Port, as under:—

The letters after the names of the ships mean b (barque), br (brig), c (cutter), s (schooner), sh (ship).

Date. Ship. Tons.
Sept. *Tory (b) 382
Nov. Hokianga (s) 75
Dec. 4 Success (c) 80
Dec. Aquilla (c) 40
Jan. 1 Cuba (b) 270
Jan. Elizabeth (br) 196
Jan. 24 *Aurora (b) 550
Jan. 24 Susannah Anne (s) 79
Jan. 24 Eleanor (b) 152
Jan. 31 *Oriental (b) 506
Feb. 8 *Duke of Roxburgh (b) 417
Feb. 20 *Bengal Merchant (b) 503
Feb. 20 *Guide (br) 147
Feb. 25 Lunar (br) 165
Feb. 25 Atlas (br) 136
Mar. 4 *Cuba (b) 270
Mar. 7 *Adelaide (sh) 640
Mar. 7 *Glenbervie (b) 387
Mar. 8 Tory (b) 380
Mar. 10 Lady Lilford (sh) 596
Mar. 20 Nimrod (br) 174
Mar. 21 Earl Stanhope (sh) 350
Mar. 29 Hannah (s) 90
Mar. 29 Integrity (b) 220
Apr. 5 Middlesex (sh) 6 564
Apr. 18 *Cuba (b) 273
Apr. 19 Ariel (s) 150
Apr. 19 Harriett (c) 45
Apr. 21 Bolton (b) 540
Apr. 22 Sally Anne (s) 70
Apr. 28 Surprise (s) 30
May 3 Justine (b) 265
May 11 Black Joke (b) 20
May 17 Jewess (s) 57
May 29 Bee (br) 136
May 29 Sally Anne (s) 70
May 30 Martha (br) 127
June 2 Surprise (s) 30
June 2 Integrity (b) 220
June 8 Speculator (br) 97
June 10 Hope (sh) 400
June 13 Nimrod (br) 150
June 13 Lady Leith (br) 149
June 15 Hannah (s) 90
June 20 Herald, H.M.S. 400
June 23 Hannah (s) 90
June 25 *Brougham (b) 227
July 5 Martha (br) 121
July 6 *Platina (b) 303
July 8 Eleanor (b) 192
July 13 *Cuba (b) 270
July 13 Lady Leith (br) 149
July 19 Surprise (s) 30page 468
July 20 Sally Anne (s) 70
July 22 Portenia (br) 220
July 22 Hannah (s) 90
July 24 Jane (sc) 15
Aug. 4 Success (s) 80
Aug. 16 *Brougham (b) 227
Aug. 17 Harriett (s) 90
Aug. 19 Black Joke (s) 20
Aug. 21 Kate (s) 62
Aug. 29 Cosmopolite (sh) 500
Aug. 30 Coromandel (sh) 780
Sept. 3 Britomart, H.M.S. 270
Sept. 4 Lady Leith (b) 149
Sept. 9 Jewess (s) 57
Sept. 12 Eleanor (b) 192
Sept. 15 Essington (s) 150
Sept. 25 Cheerful (s) 120
Sept. 25 Lunar (br) 97
Sept. 28 Surprise (s) 30
Sept. 29 Jane (s) 15
Oct. 3 Hannah (s) 90
Oct. 8 Sally Anne (s) 70
Oct. 9 Elizabeth (s) 75
Oct. 13 Magnet (b) 148
Oct. 20 Fair Barbadian (s) 130
Oct. 20 Essington (s) 150
Oct. 20 Africaine (b) 600
Oct. 20 Hannah (s) 90
Oct. 30 *Brougham (b) 227
Nov. 5 Favourite, H.M.S. 300
Nov. 7 Emigrant America (b) 180
Nov. 9 Susannah Anne (s) 70
Nov. 9 Elizabeth (s) 75
Nov. 14 Eleanor (b) 192
Nov. 14 *Martha Redgway (sh) 621
Nov. 14 Sally Anne (s) 70
Nov. 17 Cheerful (s) 120
Nov. 17 Surprise (s) 30
Nov. 17 Royal George 30
Nov. 19 Jane (s) 15
Nov. 23 Black Joke (s) 20
Dec. 1 Sally Anne (s) 70
Dec. 2 Morley 600
Dec. 3 Heron (Chilian brig) 200
Dec. 5 *Cuba (b) 270
Dec. 12 *London (sh) 700
Dec. 12 Elizabeth (s) 75
Dec. 13 Patriot 189
Dec. 14 Jane (s) 15
Dec. 16 Emigrant American (b) 130
Dec. 18 Kate (s) 76
Dec. 20 Jewess (sc) 57
Dec. 23 Magnet (b) 148
Dec. 24 St. Marie (br) 98
Dec. 27 *Blenheim (b) 374
Dec. 28 Dolphin (s)
Jan. 7 Lord Sidmouth (b) 196
Jan. 10 Surprise (s) 30
Jan. 22 Mary Taylor (br) 200
Jan. 22 Elizabeth (s) 75
Jan. 24 *Brougham (b) 227
Jan. 25 Royal George (s)
Jan. 25 *Slains Castle (b) 550
Jan. 25 St. Marie (br) 98
Jan. 27 Sisters (br) 96
Jan. 28 Lapwing (s) 75
Jan. 30 Jane (s) 75

A brief summary of ships arriving at the port in the early days compiled from information obtained from various sources, is herewith enumerated.

Some of the information is taken from biographical notes of settlers extracted from the “Cyclopaedia of N.Z.” (Wellington No.).

In such cases only the person referred to is mentioned as passenger, but a clue is given to indicate the year of the ship's arrival.

The ships' tonnages and sources of further information are given in parentheses.

Grimstone's “Southern Settlements,” p. 58, gives a return, showing the number of vessels built and wrecked between 1840 and 1845. In 1841, two were built. 32 tons; 1842, nine, 138 tons; 1843, two, 71 tons; 1844, four, 61 tons; 1845, five, 98 tons, Total, 22 built, 400 tons.

The American ship “Elbe,” wrecked, Palliser Bay, 1840. Ships “David” and “Winwick”; the barque “Tyne” wrecked at Sinclair Head.

Arrival of the “Brougham.”

Her passengers for the second trip, arriving 9th February, 1842, were Messrs. S. Brees, H. S. Tiffen, A. Whitehead, and Gilbert. She brought out some cattle also for Mr. Thompson. The trip took 92 days.

In going through the French Pass, she had been swept by the violent tide, rushing through the narrow channel, on a shoal not marked on the French charts, which were the only ones yet existing of that part of the coast. At low tide she had been left on the ledge almost on her beam ends, but was got off with but little injury; and reached Nelson in safety.

page 469

She also bumped on a rock in the north entrance of Astrolabe Roads, but, being an old teak built Calcutta pilot vessel, she had received no injury.

On the 5th of May the “Brougham” sailed for London with a full cargo of oil and whalebone, and several passengers. Among these was Captain Chaffers who was independent enough to sign the petition for Captain Hobson's recall. His services as Harbour Master had been declined by the Government, while they refused even to authorise his acting in the pay of the Company, and neglected to appoint an officer in his stead. He was tendered a testimonial signed by seventy of the most respectable of the settlers, and a sum of money to purchase a piece of plate in England. The other passengers were persons like Mr. Petre and Mr. Francis Bradey who went with the intention of returning to take up their final abode in the Colony.

Shipping Lists, 1842–1844. The Port Nicholson shipping list, containing arrivals, etc., at the port from the 2nd of April, 1842, to the 1st of April 1843 (numbered 357 to 632), and 1st May, 1843 to 1844 (numbered 633 to 876) may be seen in the supplement to the “N.Z. Gazette” and “Britannia Spectator,” lodged in the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Journal of the “Early Settlers” (Vol. 1, No. 3) mentions that the bell of the brigantine “Subraon” was recovered by Sir Win. Fitzherbert and presented to St. James' Church, Lower Hutt. When the new church was built, the bell was placed in the belfry of St. Augustine's Church school room at Petone, and was used since 1913.

H.M.S. Acheron. The “Weekly Press” Diamond Jubilee number (30/5/1928) shows in its pages a sketch of H.M.S. “Acheron” at Port Chalmers in 1848. She brought out the first British settlers for Otago.

1853—“Panama Fleet.” 1854—“Dodo,” Danl. Wakefield; “New Era.” Peter Bell, G. Brown. 1855—“William and Jane,” W. H. Beetham; “Indian Queen.” E. Jackson. 1856—“Zingari” (Johnston & Co., agents), Dr. Dorset. (Miss Dorset, Grant Road, has in her possession a receipt from the purser for £20 for a trip from Wellington to Auckland.) 1857—“Alma,” W. Armstrong-Ross. 1858—“Acasta,” Mr. Seager; “Montgomery,” Wm. Moxham; “Oliver Lang,” J. Chew and H. Belliss.

1859—“Canard,” E. Snelgrove; “Midlothian,” W. Mowbray; “Wild Duck,” Cap. Babot, D'Ath and Lusac. 1862—“Stormbird”; “Asterope,” J. D. Tripe. 1863—Panama, N.Z. and Australian Royal Mail Co. (“Evening Post,” 7/2/1925). 1864–“Mallard,” T. F. Drummond, E. Feist. 1965—For shipping in the Sixties See Mr. Clarence Turner's recollections “Evening Post,” 7th February, 1925); “Tararua,” arrived March, 1865, wrecked on Waipapa Point, April, 1881 (“Evening Post,” 7th February, 1925); “Weymouth,” passengers C. Earle, and P. J. Carman. The “Weymouth” brought the
Fig. 287.—Captain W. R. (affectionately known as Bully) Williams. From the original in the Sailors' Friendly Society's Hall, Stout Street.

Fig. 287.—Captain W. R. (affectionately known as Bully) Williams. From the original in the Sailors' Friendly Society's Hall, Stout Street.

page 470 first cable for Cook Strait. 1867—Anchor Company line of boats (Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, p. 774); “Electra,” A. M. Moon. 1869—Flying Squadron, “Galatea,” H.M.S—Duke of Edinburgh's visit—“Celaeno,” N. J. H. Blow, Taylor and Watt Line, Catherine Johnston; “Tyne,” Governor Grey, “Edward Stanley,” “Seagull,” “Yarra,” “William.” 1873—N.Z. Shipping Co. (Encyclopaedia N.Z., Vol. 1, p. 776) “Crusader,” W. Thane, “Hindostan,” J. J. Boyd. 1874—“Clipper Ships,” article from the “Blue Peter,” by B. Lubbock (Evening “Post,” 2/3/1927). 1875—Harbour Steam Company, “Hourah,” W. A. Kellow. 1877—“Anne Mellhuish,” Captain Johnson; “Hurunui,” F. de J. Clere; “Ocean Mail,” Sir A. Douglas. 1883—Shaw, Savill and Albion Company (“Cyclopaedia N.Z.,”) Vol. 1, p. 782). Union Steam Ship Co. grew out of the Harbour Steam Co., started by Mr. J. Jones in 1861, with a paddle steamer called the “Golden Age.” Mr. Jas. Mills was made managing director in 1869, and in 1875 the company was merged into the Union Steam Ship Co., of N.Z. Fleet in 1883, consisting of “Rotomahana” (1727 tons), “Wakatipu” (1796). “Te Anau” (1652), “Arawata” (1098), “Ringarooma” (1096), “Rotorua” (926), “Hero” (985), “Albion” (806), “Alhambra,” chartered (766), “Penguin” (749), “Hawea” (720), “Wanaka (493), “Taiaroa” (469), “Waitaki” (412), “Southern Cross” (263), “Maori” (174), “Beautiful Star” (176), “Manapouri” (1900), on way out. The vessels being built this year (1883) were the “Wairarapa” (1900 tons), “Hauroto” (2000), “Omapere” (600), “Mahinapua” (450).

G. Turnbull and Co. owned the “Alexa” (425 tons), and “May” (237 tons); agents for Shaw, Savill and Albion Co., and others. Captain Williams owned the Black Diamond Line, and Colliers, Johnston and Co. owned the “Go Ahead.” Mr. E. Pearce owned the “Aurora” (schooner); Mr. J. Dransfield the “Conference” and “Malay”; Messrs. Levin and Co. owned the “Kiwi,” and were agents for other steamers. Messrs. Waddell, McLeod and Weir owned the “Sarah Pile” (timber vessel). Messrs. Stewart and Co. owned the “Kentish Lass.” The N.Z. Shipping Co. carried on an extensive trade between the port and London. The Anchor Line owned the steamers “Chas. Edward,” “Kennedy,” “Wallace” and “Murray” (Wellington Almanac for 1883).

Tyser Line was established about 1891 (“Cyclopaedia N.Z.,” Vol. 1, p. 790); Huddart Parker Line, 1893, ibid, p. 775; Levin and Co., 1897, ibid, p. 776; Shire Line, 1897, ibid, p. 790; Steam Packet Co., 1897, ibid, p. 795; U.S.S. Co., 1897, ibid, p. 790. The American Fleet visited Wellington in 1925. The “Carinthia,” 1925 (Evening “Post,” 24/12/25).

An article, “Brigs and Schooners,” Wellington's old-time shipping, may be seen in the “Free Lance, 12th August, 1925.

The H.M.S. Hood visited Wellington in 1926, and the oil tanker “Plume” arrived at Miramar Wharf, 26th January, 1927. See “Life on an Oil Tanker,” in “Dominion,” 26/7/1927.


Mr. F. J. Halse, Wadestown, has in his possession a very interesting map of New Zealand, upon which he records the name of vessel, date of wreck, and locality of wreck occurring on the New Zealand coast. This map shows the earliest wreck records to the present day, and should at some time be lodged in the Turnbull Library.

An article, entitled “Posted Missing,” and compiled by Mr. M. Campbell for the “Evening Post,” 20th April, 1929, p. 10, page 471 deals with wrecks occurring between the years 1865 to 1895.

“Where lies the land to which the ships would go? Far, far ahead is all her seamen know And where the land she travels from? away, Far, far behind is all that they can say.”

* Chartered by the New Zealand Company.