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Early Wellington


“Steer, faithful helmsman, steer,
By stars beyond the line.
You go to found a realm one day,
Like England's self to shine.
Cheer up! Cheer up! Your course then keep,
With dauntless heart and hand;
And when you've ploughed a stormy deep,
Then plough a smiling land.
Thos. Campbell, 1839.

The first four ships, (the “Aurora,” “Oriental,” “Duke of Roxburgh” and “Bengal Merchant”), with their wearied, but expectant passengers, arrived at Pitoone shortly after one another (between 22nd January and 28th February, 1840). Quarters were assigned to them in hastily constructed huts, and the Company's Emigration Barracks; while some were domiciled with friends until their arrangements were completed. The population of Pito-one was now increased by about six hundred European inhabitants, including a number of women and children.

A brief description of the ships and passenger lists is recorded in the order of the ships' arrival.

The “Aurora,” a barque of 550 tons, commanded by Captain Theophilus Heale, left Gravesend on the 18th September, 1839. She had 148 emigrants, and 21 cabin passengers, on board, some of the former coming out under engagement to Messrs. E. Catchpool, W. Deans, Geo. Duppa, Eaton, Hughes, and H. Moreing.

There were 25 married couples, 36 single persons and 40 children. Following is the passenger list:—

* Did not embark.

Name Age Wife's Age No. of Children
Baker, Major R.
* Barnett, David 20 20 1
Barnett, Hannah 18
Barrow, Jas. 40 40 4
Barrow, Jas. (jun.) 23
Barrow, Chas. 21
Barrow, Thomas 19
Barry, John 29
Barry, Richard 24
Barry, Wim. 31 29 1
Boon, Robert 26
Brown, Andrew (widower) 41
Brown, David 16
Brown, John 19
*Butcher, Sarah 20
Carter, Joseph 28 27 4
Cemm, Joseph 28 24
Child, J. W.
Coppin, Job 21 20
* Crowther, Ann 15
Crowther, John 30
Davis, Edward 28 29
* Davis, Rowland 30 31 3
Deans, Wm.
Deighton, J.
Deighton, F.
Dingeus, J. 26
Drake, T.J., lady and child
Draper, Sarah 28
Draper, Martha 30 page 24
Edwards, Jas. 30 29 1
Farrance, Jas. 20 18
* Farrar, Alf 29
Friend, Rich (widower) 33 1
Gebbie, John 26 24 1
Glover, Edward 25 23 1
Glover, Maria 19
Glover, James 34 27 1
Gratage, Dan 22
Groombridge, Margt. 24
Hayward, Wm. 30
Hicks, Chas. 25
Higgins, Robert 25 24 1
Holes, Peter 28 24 2
Houghton, Robert 42 42 6
Hunt, Uriah 23 23
Langford, John A. 23 20
Lodge, John 31 27 2
Maxwell, Jas. 20 20
Maxwell, W.
Maxwell, C.
McDermot, Deborah 20
McGurk, C.
* Meech, Henry 28 25
Miles, John Clemt. 21
Milland, Richmond 29 29
*Mitchell, Thos. 19
Morgan, Miss
Morris, Ralph 44 44
Morris, Daughter 15
Morrison, William 23 23 1
Nicholls, Wm. 21
Oxenham, John 29
Oxenham, Sarah 19
Oxenham, Jemima 15
* Packwood, Edward 22
*Pain, George
Palmer, G. T., ju., and lady
Parke, Mr. R.
Parker, Samuel and lady
Parker, William 23
Parkes, Eliza 45 3
Parkes, Chas. 20
Parkes, Henry 18
Parkes, Catherine 15
Petherick, James 33 30 5
Petherick, George 19
Prible, James 40 36 5
Prible, Richard 16
Prible, Ann 15
Pudney, Joseph 23 21
Read, Henry 27 28 1
Richardson, Jas. 32
Roberts, John 29 27 3
Sadler, Jos 21
Sawyer, John 24 27 1
* Smith, Benjamin 25 24 1
Stafford, Edward 27 22
Stokes, J. M., Surgeon
Stokes, R.
Wallace, John Howard 23
Wallace, Wm. Ellerslie 25
* Walton, Ann 27 1
* Webb, William 33
Welch, — 25 28
Whitewood, Wm.
Wilkinson, John H. 23

The names of the passengers who arrived in the Company's vessels were obtained from the N.Z., copies of the ship's registers, by courtesy of the Internal Affairs Department.

The equator was crossed on the 5th of November, when Neptune paid the vessel his customary visit. The voyage was uneventful. The South Island of New Zealand was sighted at 6 p.m. on the 16th of January, and on the following day the anchor was dropped in Port Hardy. There was great excitement among the passengers as they were doubtful what kind of reception they would meet with at the hands of the natives, and every preparation was made to guard against surprise. The Maoris came off in canoes to the vessel and delivered a letter from Colonel Wakefield addressed to the captain of the “Aurora.” Some alarm was felt among the immigrants in consequence of not meeting with the “Tory,” which vessel had arrived some time previously from London. The anchor was weighed, and the vessel, with a fine breeze, passed through Cook Straits, arriving off Port Nicholson Heads on the evening of the 21st. On the following day the vessel beat up the heads against a north-west wind, accompanied by a trading barque called the “Helena,” from Sydney, commanded by Captain W. B. Rhodes, and owned by Messrs. Cooper and Holt. Both vessels came to an anchor under Somes Island on the 22nd.

Mr. J. Howard Wallace, in his extracts from his diary, January 22nd, 1840, states: “We prepared for landing. Richard Samuel Deighton and myself were the first to land, opposite the native village

* Did not embark.

Early Settlers' Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1.

Present at the Jubilee of 1890.

page 25 or pa at Petone. We strolled a short distance to the edge of the bush, observing, perched on one of the trees, several wood pigeons. Each of us the same instant shot one of the fine birds. The first great object of attraction was the venerable old chief Te Puni, his interesting and beautiful wife ‘Victoria,’ and his handsome daughter Aena, the princess, together with sons and endless relatives and a pa full of natives who were delighted to greet us with ‘Kapaite-Pakeha,’ Tena-koe, and other expressions of greeting. Our tents were soon pitched, huts were built by the natives, and what we termed the city of ‘Britannia’ formed.”

During the next week, the work of disembarking was carried on. A small jetty had been run out by the surveyors, locations were allotted near the beach for the pitching of tents and temporary huts, in the erection of which the natives assisted, and some wooden houses in frame sent out by the Company for the reception of the labouring emigrants were also set up. The following Sunday (on the 26th) the Rev. J. Buller, a Wesleyan missionary, visited the place and performed divine service on board the “Aurora.”

Captain Heale gave a farewell dinner on board the “Aurora” to the principal settlers on the 26th February, 1840.