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Sir Henry BRETT was born and educated at St. Leonards on-Sea, Hastings, Sussex on February 23, 1843. He obtained his knowledge of the printing business in the office of his uncle, who was proprietor of the Hastings and St. Leonard's Gazette. Henry arrived in Auckland in September 1862 aboard the 'Hanover', and before going ashore was offered work on a daily newspaper the Southern Cross for 1 pound a day, as a shipping reporter, and in 1865 transferred to the N.Z. Herald, (Auckland NZ Daily.) After five years he bought an interest in the Evening Star (later named Auckland Star) and this was the start of his career as shipping journalist. He married Mary Moon, eldest daughter of Mr James Moon, of Westfield, Sussex on 22nd Nov. 1864 and they had two sons and three daughters. In 1865 he was transferred in this capacity to the NZ Herald. In 1870 he joined Mr McCullough Reed in founding the Auckland Star, of which he became sole proprietor in 1878. The Star's politics have always been Liberal. Its early success was largely due to the use of carrier pigeons to cope with the then very incomplete telegraphic communication. In 1890 Mr Brett started the New Zealand Graphic, the first illustrated weekly newspaper in Australasia. In the 1880s he moved into the field of book publishing and he produced a number of quarto volumes including A history of Printing In NZ, Life & Times Of Sir George Grey and The Albertlanders. He was Mayor of Auckland in 1877 and 1878, president of the chief musical societies in Auckland, a founder and past president of the New Zealand Press Association, Commissioner for New Zealand at the Paris Exhibition in 1889, and a Commissioner of the New Zealand Exhibition in 1906-7 and the recipient of a knighthood in 1916. He personally collected the information for both volumes of White Wings. As a shipping reporter he was able to talk to captains, crew and passengers as the vessels docked. He wrote both volumes late in his life and died at Rotorua on 29 January 1927 in his 84th year and regrettably did not see White Wings Vol. 2 published in 1928.
Obituary The Times 1 February 1927 pg 17
New Zealand Encyclopaedia.
Jacket of White Wings Vol. 1
Jacket White Wings edited by Cyril R. Bradwell. A full page preface by Mr Bradwell, gives more details of the life and times of Sir Henry Brett. DNZ Bio
White Wings Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 digital images online
Master Mariners in White Wings Vol.1
Ships mentioned in "White Wings" Wellington ship arrivals Captains Vessels Icebergs
The Admant. The Halcione The Rodney The Carnatic The Inverene wayback Lancashire Witch
Illustrations appearing in 'White
Wings Fifty Years of Sail in the New Zealand Trade, 1850-1900' Vol.
1 by Henry Brett. Auckland: The Brett Printing Company, Limited, Publishers,
Shortland Street, 1924. Reprint by Caper Press Christchurch, NZ from the copy in the
University of Christchurch Library 1976.
|Ann Gambles||wrecked at Bluff||281|
|Auckland||under full sail||31||Charles James||33|
|Auckland*||loading wool at Wellington||34||Jenkins||41|
|Ben Venue||in port||300||McGowan||301|
|Ben Venue & City of Perth (Turakina)||wrecks at Timaru. City of Perth refloated||302|
|Blue Jacket||under a press of canvas||327|
|Calypso||at Dunedin||138||James Leslie||138|
|Canterbury||clipper in port||71|
|Caroline||at Port Chalmers||236|
|Charlotte Gladstone*||at Gravesend||229|
|City of Auckland||under sail||20||William Ashby/ Ralls||19/25|
|City of Cashmere||wrecked at Timaru||339|
|City of Dunedin||entering Otago Heads||87||Ross||87|
|Cospatrick*||in port||62||Elmsley and survivors||63|
|Coromandel||capsized at Wellington wharf||145|
|Crusader*||at Port Chalmers||37|
|Dallam Tower*||2000 miles under jury rig||79|
|Dover Castle||at Port Chalmers||120|
|Dunedin||at Port Chalmers||148|
|Eastern Monarch||at port||312|
|Edwin Fox||formerly used as a landing stage||44|
|Edwin Fox||used as a hulk at Picton||45|
|England's Glory||wrecked at Bluff||286|
|Euterpue||at Port Chalmers||127||A. Banks||127|
|Gladys||disabled at Wellington||102|
|Helen Denny*||in port||158||William Ruthe||159|
|Hinemoa (4 masted)||towed down River Avon||216|
|Hudson*||at Port Chalmers||178|
|Hurunia||at Lyttelton dock||258|
|Hydaspes||under sail||95||Edwin s. Babot||96|
|Ida Zeigler||under sail||218||Abraham Lewis Reynolds||219|
|Jessie Osborne*||full sail||278||Falconer||278|
|Jessie Readman*||stranded at Chatham Islands||97|
|Lady Jocelyn||at Port Chalmers||40||photo|
|Lady Jocelyn||in a storm in the English Channel||42|
|Loch Awe||under sail||193||Weir|
|Loch Dee wayback||at Port Chalmers||306|
|Loch Trool||under sail||310|
|Lutterworth||alongside Firth's wharf Auck.||112|
|Lutterworth||battered hull at Wellington||113|
|Lyttelton||at Port Chalmers||151|
|Marlborough||at Port Chalmers||116|
|Margaret Galbraith||or old "Maggie"||54|
|Mataura||at Port Chalmers||268||Greenstreet||269|
|May Queen||entering Nelson||83||R. Tatchell||84|
|Merope*||anchored at Gravesend||89||Rose||90|
|Nelson*||loading at Wellington||105|
|Northumberland||on the beach, Napier||335|
|Ocean Mail*||stranded at the Chathams||315|
|Okta (Jessie Osborne)||stranded at Bluff Harbour||279|
|Opawa||at Port Chalmers||298|
|Orari*||under full sail||266||Richard Mosey|
|Otago||anchored at Gravesend||155||Pebbles||155|
|Parsee||at Port Chalmers||176|
|Peter Denny*||at Dunedin||153|
|Piako||under full sail||271|
|Pleione*||stranded at Waikeane Beach||161|
|Prince of Wales||hulk at Wellington||337|
|Rakaia||at Dunedin||288||J. Bone in 1880||289|
|Red Jacket||surrounded by ice||330|
|Robert Henderson||under sail||188|
|Saint Vincent||under sail, English Channel||214|
|Sam Mendel||at Port Chalmers||60|
|St. Leonard's*||in the river Thames||69||Richard Todd||70|
|Taranaki||at Wellington Wharf||170|
|Thomas Stephens||at Gravesend||342|
|Timaru||under Patrick Henderson's flag||122|
|Trevelyan *||at Port Chalmers||82|
|Turakina||at Port Chalmers||129||Power||131|
|Tweed||on the Thames||136|
|Waimate||at Port Chalmers||252|
|Waipa||when rigged as a barque||262|
|Waitangi||in heavy weather||291|
|Waitara||anchored at Gravesend||277|
|Wanganui (Blenheim)||under sail||293|
|Warwick||at Port Chalmers||201|
|Wave Queen||in port||185|
|Wellington||at Port Chalmers||48||Cowan||50|
|Wellington||after terrible experience with ice||49|
|Wild Deer||A fo'c'sle group||118||item wayback|
|William Davie||at Dunedin||168|
|Zealandia (1869)||at Port Chalmers||108|
Illustrations appearing in White Wings Vol. 2 : Founding of the provinces and old-time shipping: passenger ships from 1840 to 1885. Brett Printing 1928.
|Duchess of Argyle||and Jane Gifford at anchor, Auckland||40|
|Philip Laing||arrival on April 15, 1848||81|
|Mairi Bhan||in port||177|
|Strathmore||wreck at the Crozets||112|
|St Lawrence item (no photo in White Wings)|
Brett, Henry, Sir, 1842-1927. White Wings: Immigrant Ships to New Zealand, 1840-1902. Wellington [N.Z.]: Reed, 1984. Condensed and edited version of the two volume works by Brett. Editor: Bradwell, Cyril R. (Cyril Robertson) Auckland. The story of 113 of the ships which brought immigrants to New Zealand in the 20th century. Contains information mainly on ships of the New Zealand Shipping Company, the Shaw, Savill Company, the Patrick Henderson Albion Shipping Co. (the chief rival of the Shaw, Savill Company before the advent of the New Zealand Shipping Company) and some Willis, Gann and Co.'s ships, the White Star Line, the Blackball Line Houlder Bros., and other privately owned ships which sailed to New Zealand. Gives data on voyages not immigrants and includes photographs. There were hundreds of vessels making only one or two voyages to New Zealand that do not appear in the volumes. Trans-Tasman shipping is not included and the book does not contain passenger lists. This book is interesting to read as it has more stories as opposed to factual statistics. e.g.. diary excerpts.
There are a few errors in "White Wings" such as the spelling of mariners surnames and very few first names are mentioned. A few dates are wrong but over all a wonderful resource for any library public or private focusing on the sailing ships in the last half of the 19th century heading for New Zealand. Examples:
Captain Llewellyn Davies was master of Crusader. not Captain Llewellyn.
Captain Bongard commanded the Pareora 1885
Captain Bungard command the Wairoa 1887 - 1890
Captain Forsdick commanded the Waitangi 1893 - 1894
Captain Forsdock commanded the Rangitiki 1897-1898
Captain Mordue - commanded the Auckland 1885
Captain Mordeau Auckland 1886
Captain Nicol commanded the Glenlora 1890
Captain Nicholl commanded the Glenlora 1891
The Canterbury arrived in Lyttelton on August 1851 not 1857
Where do you obtain White Wings?
"Wireless has robbed the
sea of half its terrors - as well as most of its mystery."
Sail! home, as straight as an arrow,
My yacht shoots along on the crest of the sea;
Sail! home, to sweet Maggie Darrow,
In her dear little home
She is waiting for me.
High up! where cliffs they are craggy
There's where, the girl of my heart waits for me
Heigh! ho, I long for you, Maggie
I'll spread out my "White Wings"
And sail home to thee.
Yo! ho, how we go!
Oh! how the winds blow!
"White Wings" they never grow weary,
They carry me cherrily over the sea.
Night comes, I long for my dearie,
I'll spread out my "White Wings"
And sail home to thee.
Words and Music by Banks Winter (1912)
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