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Hokitika and the Hokitika River 1874.
Tuesday 20th December 1864 marks the founding
of Hokitika, the day the s.s. Nelson, 123 tons, landed a cargo of
stores and diggers. This was the first time that Europeans had braved the often
tempestuous channel leading into the river. It is estimated that over 37,000
people disembarked at Hokitika between 1865-1867, and in 1866 alone over 40% of
New Zealand's immigrants entered the Colony through Hokitika. The town was
officially gazetted a port in March 1865 after a careful survey by Captain
Frederick Gibson, and by October 1866 there was wharfage enough for 15 vessels.
Terrors of the bar - a hazardous river port 1865 - 1954
There were 42 shipwrecks at the mouth of the Hokitika River.
All the rivers on the West Coast were bar-bound. The Grey
Date Name Type Tonnage 1865 May 12 Oak brigantine 190 tons 1865 May 15 Gannett cutter 27 tons 1865 July 24 Rosella schooner 26 tons 1865 June Glasgow schooner 47 tons was wrecked about 2 miles south 1865 June Wakool steamer 1865 June Waipara steamer 1865 June Gannet cutter 1865 June Caroline 1865 June 28 Esther schooner 76 tons 1865 June 29 Sir Francis Drake schooner 188 tons 1865 June Titania screw steamer 54 tons 1865 Aug. 2 Defiance ketch 27 tons 1865 June Montezuma brig 136 tons 1865 Aug. New Zealand p.s. 374 tons 1865 Nov. 2 Craigevar brig 181 tons 1865 Nov 3 Dolphin schooner 32 tons 1865 Nov. Sarah schooner 38 tons 1866 Dec. 2 Ballarat p.s. 98 tons 1867 July 22 Gratitude brigantine 1867 July 23 Frederick barque 171 tons 1867 May 9 Goldseeker brigantine 148 tons 1867 Nov. 2 Elizabeth brigantine 113 tons 1867 Aug. 27 Emma ELIZA schooner 22 tons 1873 Dec. 20 Aborigine brigantine 131 tons
Lost on the way to Hokitika: Ben Nevis, Blue Bell, Bonnie Lass.
Claendon run ashore near Waimea Creek, near Hokitika, Dec. 1868 when sprung a leak
Eleanor stranded at the Grey River Mach 1866.
Harriete Nathan, brigantine, of 113 tons, built in Tasmania in 1844, left Hokitika on April 6th 1868 bound for Tasmania and was never seen again.
1867 Harriett brigantine. Went ashore at s. spit Greymouth,18 July, after arriving from Melbourne
Hokitika reached its peak population in 1866 when it was home to at least 6,000 people. In the same year 44% of all immigrants to New Zealand entered the colony through the Port of Hokitika. In 1867, even with a smaller population of just over 4,500, it was the sixth largest town in New Zealand. Stores were built of permanent materials and were well stocked with goods from Melbourne. Between the years 1865 and 1866 had 101 hotels, within a radius of 800 metres. In the surrounding gold fields thousands of diggers endured hardships - densely wooded and rough terrain right down to the river banks, unbridged rivers, trackless forests, difficulties in transporting provisions. Diggers worked the creeks, gullies and terraces, and from time to time came to town to sell their gold and go on the spree. The digger either in his travels or on the gold field suffers hardships enough to break the stoutest constitution, and many a poor fellow has succumbed and died. Many drowned in the rivers trying to get to the coast overland from Nelson or Canterbury or even when landing in open boats on the beaches. The rollers are impressive even today. Due to a rainfall of more than 100 inches a year, hills became waterfalls, rivers became torrents and tracks became sloughs before they could be turned into streets and roads. Hokitika, means "direct return."
Hokitika, on the bar-bound mouth of the Hokitika River, on the West Coast of the South Island, sprang into life in 1864 when gold was found at her back door and despite its hazardous entrance and the snags that infested the river Hokitika was officially gazetted as a port on 8 March 1865 by the Canterbury Provincial Government who was desperate for revenue. By 1866 Gibson Quay was usually crowded with small ships or at least those that had survived the ordeal of entering port. Despite this more overseas vessels and more immigrants arrived at Hokitika than at any other New Zealand port in 1867. Between 1865 and 1867 there were 108 strandings 32 of which were total wrecks. River floods joined the surf in making difficulties. Food and supplies came by sea by many coasting-craft which broke their backs crossing the bars or which ended their working-life on the north or south. Hundreds of adventurers were willing to pay £5 apiece for the twelve hours' passage from Nelson and the high rates of insurance did not deter ship-owners. The Hokitika Harbour Board did not come into existence until 1876 and the Hokitika Harbour limped on long after the gold ran out, trade dwindled and the port was closed in 1954. Hokitika was the largest "port of value" between 1865 and 1867.
In 1948 there still several banks, hotels, boarding houses, a hospital, newspaper, breweries, dairy factory, a Whitebait canning factory etc. and the largest gold dredge in the world was still working three miles from the town and the population of the Hokitika borough was 2,840 with goldmining (sluicing and dredging), saw milling and farming the chief support for the town. Hokitika's average sun hours 1835 hours, average rainfall 2835mm (111 inches), average rain days 168. The highest daily rainfall on record is 582 mm (22.9 inches) which occurred at Rapid Creek, Hokitika catchment where the mean annual rainfall exceeds 6000mm (236 inches). Average monthly rain 231mm (9 inches) to 277 mm (10.9 inches).
The Right Hon Richard John Seddon was born at Eccleston, near St Helens, Lancashire, on June 22, 1845. His father was the headmaster of Eccleston Hill Grammar School. The maiden name of Mr Seddon's mother was Jean Lindsay, and she came from Annan, in Dumfriesshire. He reached his eighteenth year was engineer in the Vauxhall Foundry, in Liverpool. Obtain his BOT cert. in 1863. He left for Victoria and went to Bendigo. In 1866 he landed in Hokitika in the Alhambra and made his fortune at the old Waimea diggings. Opened a store called "Big Dam". In 1869 he returned to Melbourne and married Miss Louisa Jane Spotswood d/o Capt. John Stuart Spotswood. First entered public service on the Arahura Road Board in 1869. He acquainted himself with Parliamentary procedure. In 1878 elected the first Mayor of Kumara, and he directed the selection and laying of the township. In 1904 as Premier he said to reporter of the "Star" regard his love for Westland "This is my country, you, know," Buried in Wellington.
Source: A great NZ National library site
Otago Witness June 3 1865 pg4
Disastrous Gales at Hokitika
The s.s. Lady Darling arrived at Port Chalmers after being detained at Hokitika for 8 days. Onboard Mr Murray, shipwright, Port Chalmers. Vessels mentioned
Schooner Glasgow, built and owned by Mr Murray, Port Chalmers, a new vessel only a few months old, not covered by insurance, sold for £5. after stripped of her spars, sails and rigging.
The steam lighter Favorite
The Omeo, Capt. Edwards, parted her cable but returned to sea after receiving passengers Mr Thatcher, Madame Vitelli and several women and their families. Captain John Robertson, of the steamer Favourvite, and Captain Leys, of the Ruby, also came on board from the Omeo..
S.S. Wakool with part of the cargo from the Omeo's cargo on board was driven on the beach with great violence, and became a total wreck in a few hours. The Wakool was the property of Captain John McLean, of the Alhambra. She for some time previously been engaged as a steam-lighter between Lyttelton and Christchurch.
The paddle steamboat Nelson was still high on the beach, and not likely to be got off.
The steamer Bruce was driven on the beach.
Schooner Yarra - shipped 70 tons oats from Circular Head, came back to her anchorage.
The steamer Waipara went ashore five miles to the southward of the river, became a total wreck and sold piecemeal.
The cutter Gannet also got ashore. She was from Picton, with timber and general cargo. Was sold for L10.
Two days later the schooner Caroline came to the same fate. She had been at the Grey River for coal, but failed to get in, and having become leaky lately, and at Hokitika went ashore close to the steamer Nelson, which remains on the strand.
As the Ruby got under way to lighter sheep from the Omeo, she was caught by the fresh of the river and driven foul of the schooner Brothers, and when crossing the bar, her funnel went overboard. It was only on her last trip from Bluff to Port Chalmers, that an accident of a similar nature happened to her.
The schooner Lloyd's Herald, belonging to Captain Adams, Dunedin, arrived off the Port previous to the first gale.
The departure of sailing craft on the 25th inst., included the United Brothers, the Caledonia, and the Brothers, the latter having on board the gear belonging to the Glasgow. They got over the bar safely, and went south with a fair wind. The brig Craigiever still remained inside. The gale was also sever along the Australian coast. An Adelaide telegram of the 15th states that the Rangatira, from King George Sound's Sound, had four of her men drowned in attempting to get the mails ashore. A Newcastle the schooners Secret and Roderick Dhu, and the brig Lass of Gawler, lay in the worst positions.
West Coast Times 26 July 1865
Arrived - July 22 - s.s. Wallaby, 79 tons, Whitwell, from Nelson. Cabin:
Ashley Mr Baylis Mr Beasley Mr Belmar Mr Blexau Mr Connal Mr Edgar Mr and Mrs Hill Mr Hunter Mr Law Mr Mallinson Mr and three children Morris Mr Pike Mr Schacht Mr Schluter Mr Watt Mr Wise Mr and 17 in steerage
July 21 - Rosella, schooner, 36 tons, Sellars, from Auckland. Passengers:
Douglas C. McDonald C. McLean R. McRic J and F Franc Victor
Captain Poole, of the Leonida - one of the
vessels now lying outside waiting for an opportunity to enter - came ashore
Monday and nearly drown. The Leonidas made a smart run from Melbourne of nine
days. He got on board again accompanied by "Long Jim". or Mr James Tier, as our
new pilot. Rev. J. Buller, of Christchurch, has arrived overland from that town
and will preach on Sunday. A party of five men left Termakau for the Grey River
in a whaleboat, but in attempting to enter the Grey the boat swamped, and all
the poor fellows drowned. We announce the wreck of another vessel at the mouth
of the Hokitika River, the schooner Rosella, from the Manukau with
passengers and cargo, having grounded on the southern spit in crossing the bar
and the surf quickly drove her immediately adjoining the wreck of the Sir
Francis Drake. The Rosella was built six months ago and is insured to
the sum of 1800. Her passage from Manukua had been long, fifty days. They had
not a pint of fresh water on board and had run out of provisions. William Scott
drowned in a pond near Mokonui about 20 miles south of Hokitika. Wreck of the
Titania on the Hokitika bar.
The Hokitika mail arrived here after experiencing great difficulties on the road. Snow is very deep between Arthur's Pass and Porter's. The mailman crossed the river twenty seven times; the last time he had to swim.
West Coast Times July 29 1865
Arrived July 27 - Lyttelton, p.s., 49 tons, Palmer, master, from Nelson
Per Lyttelton - 12 original and 22 ex Lady Darling.
Per Lady Darling, from Dunedin, Lyttelton and Nelson - Saloon:
Bladin Mr and Mrs and 2 children Band Mr Barnes Mr Brian Messrs (2) De Leon Mrs and 4 children and servant De Leon Mr S Harrison Mr Mcnamara Miss Millen Mr Patrick Mr Reeves Mr South Mr Staite Mr Thomson Mr Topley Mr C. and D. Thomson Mr and about 100 in the steerage
Per Wallaby - cabin: Mr Hunter, Mrs Fitzgerald
and 4 in steerage.
The Lady Franklin, in attempting to enter, mistook the channel, and got on the worst part of the spit- a piece scarcely covered even in high water.
The harbor has become quite impassable for sailing vessels through the sinking of the Titania, almost in mid channel, she having been forced off the bank on Wednesday night last by the heavy sea then rolling in. Her masts and the end of her bowsprit are all that are now are visible of her.
The foolhardy practice of coming on shore in a small boat from the vessels outside is now becoming more and more prevalent, three or four having accomplished the feat within the past few days. The shippers of the schooners Montezuma and Jennie Dove were in one of the boats that landed yesterday; the latter vessel is reported to be making 8 or 9 inches of water per hour, and it is expected she will have to be beached.
We have been shown some excellent photographic views taken by Mr Christenson, among which maybe noted the Lyttelton steamer and the Lady Franklin as they now lie on the south spit, and the visible remains portion of the Titania.
West Coast Times Wednesday 2nd August 1865
July30 - Crest of the Wave, schooner, 58 tons, Brown, master, from Nelson. Passengers
Harrison Mr McCartney Mr Ryan Mr Sedgwick Mr Taylor Mr Williams Mr Young Mr
Mary Van Every, schooner, 41 tons, D. McPhaidan,
master, from Stewart's Island. No passengers.
August 1 - Montezuma, brig, 136 tons, Evans, master, from Melbourne (ashore). Passengers -
Grant Mr Leahy Mr Miller Mr Murdoch Mr Mckenzie Mr O'Driscoll Mr Reay Mr Rusk Mr Sheldon Mr
It has been determined to blow up the wreck of
the Titania steamer, now lying in mid-channel of the Hokitika river. The p.s.
Lyttelton got off the bar safely during Friday night and on Sunday
went out to lighter the Lady Darling. The cutter Advance was
knocked off the bar and now lies high on the north spit. The Lady Franklin
is also nearly hammered over the bar.
A boat belonging to some men who arrived off this port in the Maid of Erin, from Nelson, was manned by the owners, and pulled along side the Lady Darling, from which vessel they took eight passengers. The boat, manned by five men - four pulling and one at the steer-oar, Capt. Ogilvy,- then made for the beach. The roller struck the boat, half filled the boat with water, the boiling surf overwhelmed the poor fellows and submerged the boat. Their names were Samuel Goddard (boatman), John Ogilvy (Captain, of the Canterbury), Robert Cooper?, George Gordon and John Batt (passenegrs per Lady Darling). The names of the men drowned are John McIntosh, Edward Tamson, ___ Thompson, Robert Turner, Henry Heron, Thomas Allen and George Hawkins. Seven bodies recovered. Interment took place yesterday. The first vehicle bore the remains of Mr R. Turner, second son of Mr Samuel Turner, of the Exhibition Store. The burial service was read by Mr J. Cross, in absence of a regular minister.
Richard Reeves instructed to sell the Defiance and the Montezuma.
Mr Thatcher delivered the following address in aid
of the funds for the benefit of the Hokitika Public Hospital.
Well then, this is the famed Corinthian Hall
Presided o'er by Thatcher and by Small;
This is the place where diggers nightly stand
And listen to us on the blessed sand.
They pay their shilling, and in here they walk-
Some about business come here to talk,
Making a ro__, and parting by the hour
About the price of candles and of flour.
Alas! our patrons, now all go away,
And leave us for the attractions of the Grey;
But worst of all, for weeks we've been deploring
The want of seats and a good wooden flooring.
The great Reeves comes, how sad to see him there,
And not be able to give him a chair;
Upon the beach he sometimes stands all day,
Knocks down the vessels there, and sells away:
To rest himself no doubt, would be a treat
Alas, alas! I can't give him a scat
But soon, they tell me, he will be our mayor-
I'll have to buy his lordship then a chair....
Otago Witness 12 August 1865 pg 16 and West Coast Times 26 July 1865
Inquiry into the wreck of the s.s. Titania on the Hokitika bar, was held before G.S. Sale, Esq., R.M. and Captain Robertson, late of the p.s. Favorite. Joseph Hughes, late master of the s.s. Titania. Drew 7 feet water. Left Dunedin on the 12 inst. and arrived Hokitika bar on the 18th. Saw the Tiger lying stranded. William Bendall, mate of the Titania steamer. James Kerley - harbor mater and pilot. The top mast at the signal station is about 25' long. George Lowrie, signalman at the Signal Station, Hokitika.
Black ball at masthead means high water. White flag hoisted under the ball means ebb tide, bar dangerous.
In order to keep the Titania away ran up the blue flag and yellow center, which is the nearest flag we have to the blue peter. Means number 8 - Marryatt's code. The ball denotes the tide; the flag denotes the state of the bar. Passengers: William Quinlan, J. McNeil, John Brookman, Joseph Churches, James Valentine, Edward Hankins, T.H. Rochfort, L. Skelly, Walter Bell, G. Perriman.
West Coast Times August 12 1865 pg12
Port of Hokitika
Arrived - 9th Wallaby, s.s., Whitwell, from Nelson, via Grey River. Passengers -
Baylis Mr Blackman Mr Byrne Mr Curtis Mr J Frost Mr Gaskin Mr Hardy Mr Loffat Mr McLean Mr Martin Mr Matthews Mr O'Donnell and 16 in the steerage
Aug. - Caledonia, ketch, Falconer, from Dunedin. No passengers.
Aug. 10 - Maid of Erin, 73 tons, Sullivan, Duedin, via Nelson. No passengers.
Aug. 11- William Misken, s.s., Hepburn, from Dunedin. Passengers- Cabin
Badger Mr F Bentinck Mr Blacwkood Miss M [Blackwood] Bristow Mr G Casey Miss Cochrane Mr William Crawford Mrs Cochrane Mr William Doran Mr G. Fish Mr H.S. Golding Mr W. Galan Mr A Limes Mr H. Lioel Mr O McGellan Mr J McNab Mr J Rugg Mrs Stacey Mr J Stack Mr O
During the greater portion of the present week, our business have mostly been engaged on the salvage of the unfortunate p.s. New Zealand. As valuable a cargo never tried to cross the bar of Hokitika, nor was there ever on the West Coast such a destruction of property caused by what seems the most culpable incapacity or carelessness. Opinion on the matter is strong in every circle; and we hop that an investigation thorough and searching will be made into the causes of this fresh disaster - accident it cannot be called.
Resident Magistrate's Court before Mr G. Sale, Esq., R.M.
Walter Dwyer, charged with willful and continued disobedience of orders on board the steamship New Zealand.
Wrecking- David Smith, charged with have stolen a number of pairs of drawers from the New Zealand.
John Brozil and James Alexander, the one for having stolen two pick-handles, and the other two axe-handles from the wreck of the New Zealand, were severally sentenced to a week's imprisonment, with hard labor.
The gold produced on this field is at present forwarded by steamer to Nelson, at which point it is shipped on board the Australian steamers. That is to say it goes the quickest, safest, and least expensive route. The banks, the principal if not the only shippers - are satisfied. The good people of Christchurch, in the innocence of their imaginations, entertain a confused idea that by bringing the gold into their city their trade will receive an enormous impetus. They evidently labor under the delusion that the gold will be spent there. They picture to themselves crowds of diggers who have sent down their hard-earned pile by escort, and have followed it themselves with the intention of "knocking it down" in the old-fashioned way which we have read in story-books. All this is absurd. Diggers and storekeepers with scarce an exception, sell to the Banks on the spot, and the gold naturally passes to the head office through the branch or agency which has paid the money for it.
The late wreck of the Mary in Totarauni. She was
bound for Hokitika with a cargo of sawn timber. She was frail and rotten. and
We understand that the contract for the formation of the main road to Christchurch, between the beach and the saddle has been signed, and the contractors - Messrs Armitage - will immediately commence operations.
The steamer Wallaby, which left Thursday for Nelson, took away 1723 ozs gold, the produce of the Grey field, and which of course paid duty to the Nelson province. The banks have promptly established agencies on the Grey. The Wallably, in addition to the above , took 9276 ozs, the produce of the Hokitika goldfields.
One step at least towards the construction of a line of telegraph to Christchurch has taken place -namely, the erection of a "Telegraph office," as a boldly-painted sign over a small building next the Post office proclaims. Thatcher supposes that a certain police officer of this town is styled a detective because "nothing he's detected yet;" and the same reason the small building has induced the authorities to style the above small building a telegraph office, because there is no telegraph yet in existence. We are willing, however, to accept even this small installment as a sign that work has not been altogether lost sight of, and trust sincerely that it will be speedily pushed forward, to a successful termination.
West Coast Times Tuesday 15 August 1865 pg2
Inquiry. Loss of the P.S. New Zealand. Captain Anderson. She was owned by Messrs Taylor and Co., of Boston, United States. Arrived off Hokitika on August 7th. Franklin West, chief engineer on the New Zealand. William Dwyer [Patrick Dwyer] [Walter Dwyer], second engineer of the New Zealand. Captain Kerley was on board the Cymraes.
George Lowry, signalman. At low water noticed she had broken amidships. James Thomas, fireman. Edward Houghton, shipping agent. Stephen Roff.
A stranger visiting Hokitika for the first time, and not
previously apprised of the unenviable notoriety which this port has gained for
itself since the West Coast was rushed, would be astonished at the multitude of
wrecks and remains of wrecks with which the beach is covered. From the entrance
to the river to where the Montezumna has been cast high and dry on
the sands, the picture is one that cannot be equalled in the colony, and perhaps
the not in the world. In one spot the last remnants of the Oak may
be observed - showing, even now, how well and faithfully she must have been
built; further on, a confused mass of ruin, a heap of splintered planks and
ribs, marks the place where the Sir Francis Drake and the
Rosella finally succumbed to the force of the waves. Yonder can be seen
the masts of the Titania, and nearer home, what is left of the steamship New
Zealand supplies us with a painful reminder of the dangers of Hokitika.
Everywhere, from the water's edge to the top of the spit, are scattered portions
of luckless vessels which have gone to pieces. Masts, anchors, chains, standing
riggings, windlasses, may all be found, and a sprinkling of old in sufficient,
if it were worked, to give materials for a good sized steamer. Never before was
such a gloomy sight seen in New Zealand. A year or two ago the Bluff Harbor had
the worst reputation of any place on the coast. Captains and shoppers had a
dread of going there, and insurance companies raised their rates on goods
consigned thitherward; and yet the Bluff Harbor is and always was a Milford
Haven compared to Hokitika. The same vessels and the same captains have traded
for years, very probably without the occurrence of a single disaster worthy of
mention, and their first voyage to Hokitika has likely enough been their last.
The same thing has happened so often that the most unwilling are compelled to
acknowledge that the fault lies with the harbour and not the captains of the
vessels. The harbor is bad.
The paddle steamer Lady of the Lake is now on the ways, and has been moved a sort distance towards the river. The Mary Ann Christina after a month's hard and preserving labor on part of the contractors, is now within twenty yards of the river, and is also expected to be "walking the waters" in a day or two.
Mr Charles Flowers, the mailman from Christchurch, overland arrived a day early.
Aided by the high tide Sunday the sea is washing at the door of the Walker's Hotel and men are at work shifting it.
J.P. Christenson, watcher maker, Revell street.
J. Cottingham, Union Hotel.
John Smith, contractor, Arthur's Pass Rd.
E.J. Cahill, at Bracken's Queenstown Hotel.
Timothy O'Malley wants his brother Pat to know that he arrived by the William Miskin on the 11th instant, and is gone south. Enquire at Swanson, Ryrie and Co., Store, Hokitika.
Robert Mitchell, late of Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland, to communicate with his brother William Mitchell, Baker, Miller's Flat, Otago.
Diggers' Arms Hotel, Gibson Quay. Henry Griffiths.
L.E. Nathan and Co. selling potatoes, Revell St.
Captain Black, of the Wild Wave. The lengthy passage of the schooner had caused the consumption of all the water on board, the daily allowance for some time being reduced to less than a punnikin; and even this scanty supply had all but run out, when the steamer Lyttelton was observed on her trip upward from Hokitika. The signal of distress was hoisted, but though the steamer passed do closely that no doubt could exist of the signal being seen, yet no notice was taken, Captain palmer going straight on his voyage. The schooner was becalmed at the time so that there was no chance of running anywhere for a supply of the vital element. The Wallaby turned providentially turned up, the captain of which having a little more Christianity and humanity in his composition, at once bore down on seeing the signal, and sent a cask of water on board. We trust we shall never again have to report conduct like that of the commander of the Lyttelton, so utterly unworthy of a seaman and a gentleman.
The work of recovering the engines that belonged to the ill-fated New Zealand is rapidly proceeding and at night gives the beach quite a lively appearance. The purchasers will ship them to Melbourne, where doubtless, they will be well rewarded for their spirited undertaking.
Coast Times Saturday 19th August 1865 pg 2
Port of Hokitika
Arrivals - Aug. 18 - Sarah Pile from Sydney (Outside). Landed 49 males and 1 female, per Yarra, and proceeded on her voyage to Dunedin.
Our local rhymester, it seems, is after all determined to leave Hokitika, for his farewell benefit is announced. He will take his departure by the Wallaby on her next trip. We sincerely regret his determination - not only because the town will be wretchedly off for amusement when he is gone, but also because he is of greater use than generally supposed in a place like this, where not a few reforms that have taken place are traceable directly or indirectly to the effect or dread of Thatcher's satire.
It has become in sort of fashion to decry Thatcher, even by
those who go regularly and laugh at his jokes; but when the lash falls on
themselves, oh! what an outcry they raise. Personalities, forsooth! The best
evidence is a public need, lies on the fact of his invariable success whenever
he goes, and will doubtless continue so as long as he remains before the public.
During his stay here he has been liberally supported;
His latest novelty is in reference to a letter of the Hokitika correspondent of the "Lyttelton Times," which stimatises the audience that nightly assemble in the Corinthian Hall as a "noisy, dirty, drinking, smoking, cursing crowd." and which he most happily answered by a song. Folksongs
Otago Witness, 24 September 1896, Page 38
"The Squatter's Man." " J. J." Sends one of Thatcher's songs with this heading, and remarks that he believes' he is "the only man who knows it this side of Thatcher's grave." We quite, believe the assertion, for there are about 120 lines of it, of which the following are a specimen :
Eight hundred miles I had to face
Hump my drum with a lagging pace,
And sleep in the bush with the sable race.
You must do the best you can,
For at a shanty you dare not stop,
Your paltry goods they're sure to cop,
The peeler says, " Then let him. hop,
His career is nearly run."
The squatter's well known by his beard
For every other year he's sheared,
And up to one I boldly steered
To be a squatter's man.
No, we think we have done our duty to the memory of the late Thatcher, and must ask our readers to believe that however crude many of his verses appear at the present day, they were widely appreciated as sung by him at the time they were written.
West Coast Times Thursday 24 August 1865
Sailed -August 22 - Wallaby, for Nelson - Passengers - Cabin
Baigent Barnicoat M Cox Garwood Gilman De Costa McTavish Merrington Piper Saunders M. Saxton Van Damme Virtue Young and nine in the steerage.
The Lady Darling has added some 350 souls to our already large population but they are but a very small portion of those who are anxiously waiting to come. Now that the two small tug steamers - the Yarra and Uno -- have arrived, these new-comers will have a far better chance of landing speedily.. The streets during the early part of the week presented quite a bustling appearance, being thronged with by sturdy specimens of humanity, many of them swagging-up within an hour after landing, making ready for a start up country. Two days, however, have been sufficient to partially clear them away.
Large numbers of men are on their way overland from Nelson to the mines, the Government having completed cutting a track overland to within ten miles of Maori Gully, the richest portion of the goldfield. The constant arrival of vessels with goods has entirely destroyed the packing trade from Hokitika to this port. The streets are still as nature left them, no fostering Government aid lays an axe to any of the trees yet; there they are, one dense mass, valuable stores studded about amongst them.
West Coast Times 26 August 1865
Married. On the 22nd instant, by the Rev. G.S. Harper, James Grinley, son of Captain Grinley, of Alva, Scotland, to Marian Blackburn, of Glasgow.
Died. On the morning of the 22nd August, at the Greymouth township, Mr James Harper, late of Albion, near Toronto, Canada, Canada West, in the thirty-second year of his age.
Amongst the numerous vessels that have during the past four months, been beating about the coast, and that have been prevented through the stress of weather and the want of a steam tug from crossing the bar, the schooner Lloyd's Herald stands prominently forward. Arrived Lloyd's Herald, Captain Crabble. Left Dunedin 27th of April for Hokitika. Rounded Cape Campbell on the 10th. Anchored at Blind Bay 23rd May. Remained at Nelson until 3rd June, repaired. On the 31st, during the night it blew terrifically - al vessels lying at anchor had to slip, the Montezuma and Defiance - coming to grief. Bore up to Nelson. On the 18th again left, and on the 23rd, towed into Hokitika safely, into the port she had so long and so vainly striven to reach.
The steamer Maid of Yarra has been stripped of her yards, &c and fitted specially for the Lyttelton and Heathcote trade. The light now shown on Dog Island (Foveaux Straits) is burning brightly.
West Coast Times 26 August 1865
How the Maoris Obtain their Ammunition.
The systematic supply of these munitions of war consisted of window sashweights, made of lead, and innumerable kegs of powder in casks. The weights were sent by tons to the Bay of Islands, where there was hardly a window of this kind to be found in all the district; and all this was carried on by an Auckland firm, one of whose members was connected with the Provincial Government of Auckland, and who made their pile, and went afterwards over to Sydney, and represented that it was necessary to have a vigorous prosecution of the war against the natives, and also complained that American whalers were supplying the natives! A schooner belonging to the Auckland firm, Coombes and Daldy, and was under orders of another firm, Black and Co., Mr R.G. Hawkes - employed by Coombes and Daldy source of info. Black and Co. were afterwards summoned and they were fined £100 for selling powder and small arms. But the thing was not stopped; the schooner came at night and landed 12 casks., the natives carrying them away.
Otago Witness August 25 1865 page 18 column 3 & Sept. 2 page 14
The Wreck of the New Zealand at Hokitika
West Coast Times Tuesday 5th September 1865
Port of Hokitika
Arrived Sept. 4 - Gothenburg, s.s., from Melbourne, with cargo and 259 passengers, of whom 92 were landed at Hokitika.
Birth: Mrs Heron, on the 4th instant, at her residence, Sawyer's Point, of a daughter.
The Grey "diggings' disappointed us, rich as it was to some few lucky ones, but the old characteristic prevailed - shallow, easily wrought, and confined to creeks and gullies.
Mr Walmsley, Bank of NSW, was stuck up, by 4 or 5 armed men between No town and twelve-Mile, on the Grey River Goldfields, of 821 ounces of gold dust and about L1000 in bank notes. Reward L200 or 400 for recovery of stolen property.
Inquest on a body of a man discovered in the River Aruhura on 2nd. William Keating, one of the jury, on viewing the body, recognised it as an old acquaintance. He deposed that his name was James Bucknall, and he had known him for eight years. Belieed Bucknall to be his name, although he was in the habit of changing it, as he had friends well to do in the old country, and he was ashamed at the idea of their knowing his position. Lawrence deposed that he was the mate of the deceased, whose name is Richard Stevens, a seafaring man.
From Blind bay to Milford Sound, presents a coast line of nearly three hundred miles, without a harbour that a vessel can run to for shelter, while there is a population thronging to the West Coast which threatens to exceed in number that of any province in the colony.
Sarah McLaren wife of one of the engineers on board the Wm. Miskin, she keeps a small store in Hokitika.
Thomas B. Crabb, master of the Lloyd's Herald
William Adams, owner, Lloyd's Herald
William Black, master, Wild Wave
Thomas Zealand, master, p.s. Lady of the Lake
A. Smith, owner of the schooner Wild Wave
Ard. Bell, master, p.s. Mount Alexander
William Hopper, master and owner, City of Nelson
Thomas Whitwell, master, s.s. Wallaby
James Leys, late master, s.s. Ruby
Louis Anderson, late master, p.s. New Zealand.
R. Smith, master and owner, schooner, Iona
John Cowan, master, Wallace
Robert Nicol, master, p.s. Yarra
J. Houghton, late owner schooner Blue Bell.
Robert Manson, owner, Wallace
James McBeath, owner, Ruby
Lloyd Taggart & Co., agents and owners.
Charles McLean, master, s.s Eleanor
Hokitika, 1st. Sept. 1865
West Coast Times Thursday 7th September 1865
Port of Hokitika
Edward and John Houghton, merchants of Hokitika and owners of the p.s. Lady of the Lake, suing the captain, Captain Zealand.
During the past fortnight our bar has been in such a wretched state, and the weather has been so exceedingly unpropitious. Waited for the signal "bar safe." The first to cross was the Leonidas, brigantine, took ground and was washed up, bows first, about the flagstaff. The s.s Wallaby was the next that took the bar, and out of the crowd assembled not one doubted her safe arrival. Next came the Yarra, having the Dolphin in tow, followed by the Maid of Yarra in charge of Captain Kerley. Followed by the schooner Phoenix, the Minnie followed close upon her heels, the Australian Maid coming next;. The Minnie took ground on the north spit, and was towed off in the afternoon by the Yarra. The Florence, United Brothers and Three Sisters came in next. The Katheraw brought up the rear.
West Coast Times Saturday 9th September 1865
Port of Hokitika Arrived
Sept. 7 - William Miskin, s.s., 115 tons, Hepburn, master, from Dunedin and Nelson. Passengers - cabin:
Bradley Mr Cook Mrs Crawford Mr Cummings Mr Edes Mr and Mrs and 2 children Gibbs Mr Hicks Mr Kilgour Mrs Muir Mr Paley Mr H Reeves Mrs and 4 children and servant Schroder Mr Sharp Mr Sharply Mr Short Mr Wardry Mr
Sailed on Thursday's tide.
Sept. 7 - Wallaby, s.s., for Nelson. Passengers:
Cabin: Mr Thatcher and Madame Vitelli;
and 4 in the steerage.
Two fine schooners came to grief in the channel when the breeze failed. The Dancing Wave, from Dunedin, with a full cargo. The Leonidas.
West Coast Times Tuesday 12th September 1865
Port of Hokitika Arrived
Sept. 9 - Bruce, p.s., with passengers ex Albion, from Melbourne. Cabin -
and 13 in the steerage
Sept. 11 - Traveller's Bride, ketch, 40 tons, Milne, master from Dunedin, via Nelson. Passengers -
Cran Mr Darling Mr Gibbons Mr Pevlic Mr Smith Mr
Time will doubtless prove whether the road or the sea is to be
the chief highway to Hokitika.
One of the chief obstacles between Hokitika and the Grey, is the Teramakau river. A gentlemen from this town was being conveyed across the river in the ferry boat, his horse behind him, when suddenly on of the thole pins broke, and the boat was at the mercy of the swift and angry current, which instantly hurried it towards the breakers., Fortunately, the horse possessed sufficient "savee" to see something was wrong, and at once headed back for the bank; and as the owner of the animal kept a tight hold of the tether, which happened to be extra length, the boat was towed ashore.
Dr Beswick has been appointed coroner for this district. He was worn in by C.C. Schae, Esq., J.P.
The mailman walks the chief part of the way from Christchurch to Hokitika, carrying mails of the average weight of 35 or 40 lbs.
West Coast Times 14 Sept. 1865
Inquest. Thomas Ball, the Hokitika milkman, inquest took place at the Harp of Erin Hotel before Dr Beswick. Absolom Brook, who is charged with murdering him. Dr Berndt.
Otago Witness 9th Sept. 1865 pg 11
The Mount Alexander is wrecked. The Gothenburg, from Melbourne, has been obliged to proceed to the Grey, owing to the unfavorable state of the bar at Hokitika. The navigation is stopped, and the river is making a new course. The news from the diggings between the Hokitika and the Grey is favorable.
pg 18 Hokitika Shipping
The heavy freshet that has so very considerably increased the volume of water discharged by our river during the past few days has materially altered the channel at its mouth; This occurrence is of the greatest importance to us, and we do most sincerely trust that at least during the approaching summer - we shall be spared the pain of having to record such wholesale destruction of valuable vessels and merchandise that happed here during the past winter.
Otago Witness Oct. 6 1865 pg10
Steamers of the West Coast.
Owners of the Barwon have purchased the steamer Thane, of about 150 tons, and twenty-horse power, to run between Nelson and Hokitika. Will carry 150 tons on a draft of six feet. A Dunedin house, Morison, Law and Co., have purchased the steamer Evening Star, of about the same tonnage, but with sixty horse-power. Presume will run between Dunedin and Hokitika. The Kennedy was in Sydney being overhauled. The departures from Nelson for the Grey and Hokitika, within the last few days have been the Wallaby, the William Miskin, the Gothenburg, the Ballaarat, the Samson, the Lyttelton and the Eleanor; the Nelson and the Egmont start today, the numerous passengers who arrived yesterday from Sydney and Auckland, having the opportunity afforded them of proceeding to the Grey by Nelson, or to Hokitika by the Egmont, only spending one night in Nelson on their way. - Nelson Examiner.
pg 11 The Samson and Maid of Yarra (crowded with passengers from the Omeo) were wrecked at Hokitika on Friday last; also the John Bullock schooner in tow of the Samson, after her weary voyage of five months. See pages 15 & 16, Oct. 14
Otago Witness October 14 1865 pg 15
Wreck of the steam-tug Samson and schooner John Bullock at Hokitika is thus described in the "West Coast Times" of September 30. The usual auction sale will, we suppose follow....
Otago Witness Saturday 14th October pg 12
The steamship Alhambra arrived at Port Chalmers on Monday after another expeditious voyage to and from Hokitika. The steamship South Australian, arrived at Hokitika with 250 passengers, after a passage of five days from Melbourne. Schooner Jane Lockhart stranded on the South Spit. Three vessels are stranded at the Grey River - the Planet from Auckland got ashore on the North Spit, Murray from Sydney, an iron built steamer, broke her rudder, and Jessie. The cutter Petrel arrived at Jackson's Bay with a few passengers. The steamer Gothenburg sailed from Melbourne on the same day as the South Australian, with 200 passengers, and from Hokitika the Airedale had sailed for Auckland with a hundred disappointed diggers.
Hokitika Shipping page 2
The brigantine Jane Lockhart attempted to cross the bar at Hokitika outward bound for Sydney, a in consequence a breeze failing her when she got into the break, getting into the rollers, she took ground, and is now lying opposite the Titania, on the south spit. Our old friend the Maid of Yarra in coming in from the Omeo (which vessel she has been lightering) kept a little too close to the north spit, and is now sharing the difficulties of the Lady of the Lake. The s.s. Star of the South, in attempting to enter the river unfortunately took ground in the channel through the north spit, remained hard and fast until Sunday morning, when having discharged part of her cargo on the spit, she was so much lightened as to float off into deep water the same night. The p.s. Lady of the Lake, that has had nothing but continuous misfortunes since her arrival here, having made one passage overland, has been in Chancery, and for the past six weeks has been lying idle in the river, has got into trouble. She made an effort to get outside, but keeping to far northward, in crossing the bar she got into broken water and not having the power to stem the sea, the captain thought it was advisable to return. In doing so she shipped a heavy sea which partially extinguished her fires, being caught in the current, she was thrown ashore abreast the flagstaff, where she lies very much in the way of the signalman. Save the time, trouble, and extra expense incidental to carting the cargo of the Maria from the spit to town, consignees have but little to complain, the whole of it having been landed in first-rate order. The work of dismantling the Maria has commenced, and in a day or two she will have nothing standing but her lower masts. The progress that has been made in removing the Yarra from her former perilous position has certainly exceeded our most sanguine expectations. She is now more than half way across the spit, by the end of the week will be in the river. One of the ship's company of the Star of the South lost his life when a seaman in question was proceeding aloft he missed his hold and fell overboard. The body was recovered in 10 minutes, life extinct. Flags of all vessels in harbour were half-masted as a mark of sorrow for this untoward event, and the body committed to the earth the same afternoon.
Otago Witness 11 November 1865 pg9
From the West Coast Times 4th Nov.
Heavy floods, loss of the Brig Craigevar and the Schooners Dolphin and Sarah. Never since the settlement of Hokitika have we been visited by such a flood as the one which rolled down the river on Friday, and the destruction it has caused among the shipping, and the inconveniences and excessive discomfort it has entailed upon the residents in Gibson's quay, Sewell street, and Weld street, have been commensurate with its volume. Loss of one life. The Dolphin and the Sarah were lying at the lower quay were torn from their fastenings and swept over the bar. The Dolphin went ashore on the beach, just at the back of the Shakespeare Hotel, in Revell street at about 6 am where in half an hour she was reduced to a heap of indistinguishable wreck. Her sister in misfortunate, the Sarah, has not been seen. one man was on board her. The brig Craigevar, that during the past fortnight has been lying in ten river, nearly abreast of the flagstaff, where she has been discharging her cargo, took in ballast, and on Thursday night, being all but ready for sea, the Lioness towed her into the lagoon. She was seen slowly dragging on to the south spit. With the force of the freshet was carried over the bar into deep water. When she was abreast of the slaughter yards, the surf obtained the mastery and the unfortunate Craigiever was tossed like a nut shell on the beach, and in half an hour lay high and dry. An immense crowd assembled to witness the catastrophe. Fate seems to have determined that she should after all leave her bones here. Mr E_gear, the contactor has loss an immense amount of plant and timber.
Otago Witness 4 November 1865 pg3
The "West Coast Times" give an account of the drowning of Henry Lawson, the owner of the cutter Rose, of Sandridge, which was conveyed by the barque Golden Age, from Melbourne, and in which Lawson, with two other men (Henry Piening), attempted to land. Henry Ross, one of the survivors. Crew of the Montozuma were determined to beach her or die in the attempt -gale blowing. One more we hope that this latest warning will not be disregarde d, and that this is the last time we shall ever hear of an attempt to land on our shores by beaching a boat, and if boats are brought over here from either Melbourne or Sydney, their owners in seven cases out of ten, harbor steamers (through the weather) cannot tow them in, and the exceptional cases of 'favorable opportunities' are so few and far between that it is hardly worth while depending on them."
Otago Witness 24 Nov. 1865 pg 11
Three bodies have been picked up on the West Coast, two of which were found near Teremakau, and one near Saltwater Creek. In all probability one of them is the body of the unfortunate owner of the Rose of Sandridge, and perhaps the poor fellow who was lost in the Sarah the other day may be one of the remaining two.
1649 passengers documented in the 'West Coast Times' to Hokitika in November 1865 by sea.
The West Coast Times Thursday 2nd
November 1865 pg 2
Port of Hokitika
October 21 - Thane, s.s., from Melbourne
Nov. 1 - Star of the Evening, Fox, from Dunedin. 30 passengers and a full general cargo.
Gothenburg, Mackie, from Melbourne (26th). Experienced moderate winds with fine weather. Passed the Hero on the 28th inst., 250 miles east of Swan island. She brings to our shores Mr Stevens; English Troupe of acrobats consisting of Mr and Mrs Stevens, the masters Stevens (two), Pablo Fanque and son, Messrs Hatton, Briggs, Rayner, Wilkins, Charles, Wildt, and Master Poono. Passengers - cabin:
Briggs Mr Calmer Mrs Davis Mr Douglas Mr Fife Miss Hatton Mr Horne Miss Lee Miss Raynor Mr Riley Mrs Smith Mrs Sothern Mr Stevens Mr and Mrs and two master Stevens (two) Tatton Mrs and child Thomaon Mr Wilkins Mr and 300 in the steerage. Henderson and Bonar, agents.
Prince Alfred, p.s., from
Manakau, 64 passengers
Albatross, schooner, from Manakau
The Panama, New Zealand and Australian R.M. Co.'s steamer Egmont, James Hagley, commander, left Manukau Oct. 25th. Arrived off Hokitika on Oct. 29th . Brings 63 passengers and 10 tons cargo.
West Coast Times 7 November 1865
Nov. 5 -Rangitoto, s.s., Scott, from Melbourne. Passengers -saloon:
Ayres Mr and Mrs Bryant Mr Carstairs Mr Lungevey Mr Miller Mr Morely Mr Stenton Mr Taylor Mr Tupper Mr F. Greer and Co. agents
Rangatira, s.s., Seymour,
from Nelson, with 44 passengers.
Elizabeth, schooner, from Sydney, with 56 passengers.
Nov. 6 - Albion, s.s., Kidney, from Melbourne. Passengers - cabin
Bukker Mr Button Mr Car Mr Freeman Mrs Little Mrs and family McDonald Mr McKitchen Mr Prince Mr Reeves Mr Rostine Mr Shepherd Mr Stevenson Mr and 163 in the steerage
The 3 masted fron schooner Alma, 160 registered tons, Captain
Moore, left Prince Phillip heads on Friday 27th ult. She reached the roadstead
on the 3rd and was towed in by the Lioness on the 5th.
The barque Eucalyptus, 174 tons, Capt. Riddle, from Adelaide on the 15th, arrived off Hokitika on the 28th and after waiting outside for a week was towed over the bar by the Lioness. She being the largest sailing craft that ever entered the river.
The Kate Grant, captain Matzen, left Auckland on the 17th ult. She arrived at the roadstead on ten 4th and was towed up to the wharf by the Lioness the day after.
The schooner Dancing Wave, Captain Brown, left Port Chalmers on the 21st ult. On the 4th anchored off Hokitika, and on the 5th towed over the bar and reached the wharf safely.
West Coast Times Thursday 9
Nov. 8 - Albambra, s.s., McBean, from Dunedin. Passengers - cabin
Connel Mr Creath Miss Duhan Mrs Hale Mr and Mrs Hardwick Mr Harrison Mrs Helms Mr and Mrs Heymason Mr Kesteson Miss McRae Mr and Mrs Railanged Mr Whitinton Mr Wilson Mr From the Bluff - Beaven Mr Campbell Mr and Mrs Cullis Mrs Smith Mr Young Mr and from both ports 432 in the steerage
Sorata, barque, from
Sydney, 95 passengers.
During the afternoon of Wednesday last, the Jessie, schooner, which has been lying on the south spit, for above a fortnight was, by the operation of the spring tide, released from her unenviable position, and is now safe and sound, securely anchored in the river.
Again, yesterday, the Murray, which, by a contrary change of wind, was thrown on the north spit, was gently lifted by the tide into the river and is now in the Lagoon undergoing a few repairs previous to her departure for Sydney.
The bar at high water is at present over 18 feet deep.
The schooner Julia, which has arrived from Melbourne via Hokitika on the 30th Nov. has been purchased by Mr William Kennedy of the firm of Moody and Co., Jetty Street, for the NZ trade. The Julia is commanded by Capt. Ebenezer Wyse, late of the steamer Lady Barkly, and formerly captain of Lord Dufferin's yacht Foam, on her voyage to the Artic regions. Captain Wyse also commanded the steamer Hotham in her search for Burke and Wills. Left Hokitika on the 18th Oct. On the 24th with heavy head S.W. sea and heavy rain, the mate at the helm, George Blays, seaman, was forward, and by some means fell overboard, and no one saw him till the mate heard him call out a-stern. The vessel was wore short round soon after and waited till daybreak but could not see him. he had on at the time a good deal of clothing and a heavy pea jacket, also a large pair of digger's boots full of nails. These must have taken him down at once. This happened un lat. by act. 167 deg. 8 min, 15 sec. E. Otago Daily Times.
West Coast Times Thursday 11
Nov. 9 - James Paterson, s.s., Fitzsimons, from Sydney; 74 passengers.
Claud Hamilton, s.s., Farcie, from Sydney. Passengers - Cabin: Messrs Bonar, Western and 119 in the steerage.
Wong Wonga, s.s., Mundle, from Nelson
Nov. 10 - Kennedy, s.s., Whitwell, from Nelson. Passengers - cabin; Messrs Blackman, Vare and Guichard.
West Coast Times Thursday 11
Bruce Bay - The gold field remains undiscovered. A mate River, where 1s is charged for crossing. A few yards above in a bay is anchored the cutter which brought Hunt and party down, while on the sea shore, immediately opposite, the wreck of Mr McGregor's heather Bell, is now lying. The population of this place is 200.
West Coast Times Thursday 11
The Sydney Morning Herald of the 2nd.
There is clearly a fresh rush to Hokitika. From our gold fields and from the coal mining districts of the Hunter, there is an exdous going on to the new Eldorado. Private letters giving accounts of great success have had there natural effect, and with that faith in his own good luck which every man seems more or less to possess, many are preparing themselves for a venture. The accounts published in the newspapers, however, do not warrant any hasty movement. They speak of the new diggings as already overcrowded and rather warn than invite fresh arrivals. The editor or reporter on the spot comes across the unlucky as well as the lucky; and sometimes finds the former far the more communicative. That the west coast of New Zealand is a goldfield has already been proved. Although there may be plenty of gold, mining must be carried on to a great disadvantage, owing to the climate, the cost of living, and the abscene of good harbors. Both capitalist and laborers are in such a case the sanguino pioneers, often at ruinous cost to themselves, young countries are peopled and developed. Others reaped where they sowed. Such sanguine pioneers seen essential to the rapid progress of any country. Where everybody is too prudent to run any risk, everything is very stagnant, and possible fountains of wealth remain unsealed. The gold-diggers are the enterprising laborers of our community and do a work corresponding to that of enterprising capitalists, and their apparent freshness has done wonders. Hundreds have failed and lost all, yet on the whole the gold-diggers have achieved marvellous success - a success that would not have been possible if they had always been as prudent and cautious as virtue requires. The "Herald" takes a sensible view of the exodus of miners from NSW "We are sorry to see so many able-bodied men leaving our colony, but if they can better themselves by doing we are not entitled to discountenance their departure. We draw men from the old country to better their fortunes, and if they can secure that betterment in one part of Australasia more than another, it is for them to go where they can best realise the purpose of their emigration. Anything like jealousy on the part of one colony at the temporary prosperity of another is out of place, and it is as narrow minded as it is ingenerous. The prosperity of any one is sure to prove in the long run the prosperity of all, and the adversity of one the adversity of all. Yet while we do not grudge New Zealand its golden treasures, we cannot but think that if a little of the energy that is expanded by some of our people in running away to the other countries were expended in developing our own resources, the temptation to run away would be considerably diminished. But there is a charm in distance, in novelty, and in the chance of great prizes."
A man may be justified in running the risk of loss, of peril, and of hardships, in hope of making better provision for himself and family. But he is not justified in leaving his wife and children to the risk of starvation. The digger pursuing his fortunes has too often forgotten those who ought to be his constant thought. On no principle of morality is a man justified in leaving his wife and children to public or private charity while he goes off to make his pile. Yet it is a thing that is done at every rush. Those who have the management of our charitable institutions know the vast amount of want and misery that has been caused by the wholesale desertion of families. Out of sight, out of mind.
West Coast Times Thursday 14
Nov 13 - Hero, s.s., Logan, from Melbourne. Passengers - saloon
Birch Mr Doig Mr Hodson Mr James Mr and Mrs King Mr and Mrs Steerage 130
Mary Anne, ketch, Triste,
from melbourne with full general cargo
Harriett, galliott, McMaster, from Melbourne with full general cargo,
Maid of the Yarra, s.s., Hughes, from Nelson. Passengers: 6. cargo 6 bullocks, 88 sheep, 60 pigs.
Nov. 11- Dancing Wave, schooner, Brown, for Auckland
Wong Wonga, s.s., Mundle, for Nelson
Nov. 12 - Eucalyptus, barque, Riddle, for Sydney
Cymraes, schooner, Perkins, for Dunedin
Nov. 13 - Gem, schooner, Riscordan, for Melbourne
Crest of the Wave, schooner, Clark, for Auckland
Rangitoo, s.s., Harris, for Melbourne,
Hero, s.s., Logan, for Dunedin
Vessels in Port
Schooners - Maid of Erin, Dart, Tiger, Phonix, Wallace, Kate Grant, Alma, Wild Wave, Colin Campbell, William, William and Mary.
John Bullock, Maria, Mount Alexander, p.s Lady of the Lake.
Arrived Nov 7 - Albion, s.s., from Melbourne via Hokitika
Rangatira, s.s., from Hokitika
Sailed for Hokitika Nov. 7
Nov. 8 Rainbow, cutter, 13 tons, Stewart, for the Grey, in ballast
Emma Eliza, schooner, 23 tons, Lloyd, for the Grey, with fourteen original passengers.
Wallaby, s.s., for the Grey, Nov. 9
Egmont, s.s., for Hokitika, early.
Queen and Margaret from Onehunga.
For Hokitika. Dove, Willing Lass, Barwon, Tasmania, Isabella, Mary Ann, Anne Moore, Victory, Mary Cumming, Omeo, Sarah Ann, Margaret Chessell, Flying Back, and I.O., early.
For the Grey River - Sarah Ann, Clardon, Dove, Lady Darling.
sailed Nov. 3 - Claud Hamilton, for Hokitika.
The Walapara, s.s., which has for several months
past been lying on the beach, some six miles to the southward, where she was
cast by the heavy gale of the 14th may, was successfully launched on Thursday.
The Lioness tug towed her up into the river and yesterday she made a tail trip
to the lagoon and back again.
The ketch Lady Franklin left Dunedin on the 22nd September bound to this port. Gale off Banks Peninsula. Another gale sheltered at Gravel Cove, in Blind Bay. Arriving on 8th Nov. in the river.
The Lloyds Herald sailed for Dunedin on the 8th October. Sheltered at Blind Bay arrived on the 6th with a full cargo.
The brigantine Clara left Dunedin on the 1sts Nov. Made Cook Strait on the 4th. Reached Hokitika on the 11th.
The schooner Wild Wave left Dunedin on the 4th October bound for this port. Ran for shelter at Port Underwood. Arrived in Hokitika river on the 11th.
The schooner Jane left Dunedin on the 4th October. On the 15th ran back to Croselle's Harbor, in Blind Bay, for shelter, in company with the schooner Lady Franklin. Reached Hokitika on the 11th.
The clipper schooner Elizabeth Curle left Port Chalmers on the 15th Oct. , bore for Kaikoura Peninsula. Arrived off Hokitika and towed into the river on the 11th Nov. by the steam tug Lioness.
The Panama, New Zealand and Australian Royal Mail Company's steamship, Rangitoto, Henry Harris, commander, left Nelson for Melbourne, calling at Hokitika for passengers on the 10th. The company's steamship Airedale, was advertised to leave Nelson for Sydney, calling off Hokitika for passengers and specie on the 13th. The Rangitoto has on board a few passengers for Hokitika and some for Melbourne with a quantity of gold.
The new clipper schooner J.B. Russell arrived on Friday from Lyttelton.. She was recently built at Auckland. She was purchased by Captain Buston, to be added to the Golden Age Line of regular traders to Hokitika. The line now numbers four vessels, viz, the Russell, the Wild Wave, the Dancing Wave, and the Crest of the Wave; the last three have been running to and from Hokitika, discharging their cargos in the river, and with one exception, have not met with the slightest mishap. The Dancing Wave, got ashore on the north spit, but discharged her cargo without damaging a single package, and soon set afloat again without sustaining the slightest injury.
The Jane Lockhart arrived at Hokitika with a full cargo, consisting of pine spars, steamboat machinery and hides. We are happy to say that she has not suffered the slightest damage from getting on the spit, and with the exception of the loss of the jibboom which was carried away on the passage up, is in first rate order. her passengers who has shipped previous to the accident, all lent a willing hand in getting her off, to whom Captain Willing is anxious to return his sincere thanks. S.M. Herald.
West Coast Times Saturday 18 November 1865
Nov. 17 - Auckland, 530 tons, Ponsonby, master, from Auckland, via Nelson. Brings 40 passengers. She will take away 7,500 ozs of gold.
Sailed Nov. 13 - Kennedy, Whiterll, master for Nelson. Case of gold containing 2000 sovereigns, L250 ozs gold, Union Bank
Passengers - Barnes Mr Bryant Mr Chesterman Mr Davis Mr Goldsmith Mr Jacobs Mr Labowitzey Mr Levisen Mr Levy Mr Lewis Mr Luke Mr Lusk Mr McLean Mr and Mrs Rogersen Mr Schluter Mr and Mrs Smith Mr Taylor Mr
The Lady of the Lake still ornaments the north
spit. The Mount Alexander has got off into the river, and is now safely afloat
alongside the bank. She is being rapidly rigged and rendered fit for sea.
Article travelling along the Beach from Hokitika to the Grey.
The dull everlasting roar of the surf, varied only by the scream of the seagull, giving rise to anything but a cheerful train of thought, and causing the first view of a human habitation to be a positive relief. There was no lack of company, the beach lined with pedestrians, heavily laden with digger's paraphernalia, nearly all of whom had their faces turned Grey-wards. The forest is smooth and unbroken in appearance. This could be caused only by a wonderful uniformity in the length of the timber, from the top of which spreads that dense mass of foliage.... Five miles from town, and the Arahura River is reached. There being plenty of boats plying to convey travellers across. The ordinary charge is 6d, but when the river is swollen by a freshet, double fare is demanded as compensation for the extra trouble and risk. Here there are three public-houses and a store. The establishment wherein I obtained my noonday meal was presided over by a bustling landlady, a good-tempered and communicative, who confessed to more years of colonial than the generality of ladies care about acknowledging. She showed herself perfectly conversant with the wants of the hungrey souls who chose to patronise her establishment, serving us a good substantial meal, which she seasoned with some of her past experiences in Victoria and elsewhere. There is no mistaking the thorough colonial women when you meet them. Hardened by rough usage, they at first sight appear obtrusive, which, however, is more than made up by heartiness of demeanor, sterling hospitality, and a desire to oblige.
West Coast Times 21 Nov. 1865 pg
From the Australian Maritime Register, Nov. 1
The wreck intelligence from the West Coast of the past fortnight is of so serious a character that it is impossible that we can pass it over in silence. No less than three steamers have gone ashore, and of these one is a hopeless wreck. We say nothing of the wreck of a valuable schooner on Hokitika spit, unfortunately, deplorable as such an accident may be, it is of too common an occurrence to need any special comment. The p.s. Nelson, Captain Walker, on her very first trip, after launching her from the spit at Hokitika and rendering her fit for sea again, is driven on shore at the Grey when leaving the river, and having nothing on board but her coals. The steamer Samson went ashore two days after the Nelson went on shore at the Grey. A maximum draught of five feet and a half is the greatest a steamer should have, intended to enter such rivers as Hokitika and the Grey.
West Coast Times Nov. 23 1865 pg2
The s.s. Wallaby, Captain Palmer, leaving the Grey. The first roller that struck her caused her to lose all the way and pay off before the breeze and the sea. For the moment there seemed a strong probability of her joining the Uno and Nelson at the Flagstaff Hotel. The Nelson lies high and dry at low water.
Otago Witness Nov. 24. 1865
West Coast Times 25 Nov. 1865
The steamer Keera, Captain Joyce, left Port Chalmers on Friday 10th Nov. and it is understood she was to come South about. As she has now been at sea 15 days some anxiety is beginning to be felt about her.
Passengers for Hokitika: Anderson Mr J.H. Baron Mrs and two children Crochrane Mrs and five children McKay Mr Ryan Mrs and two children Thompson Mr W. and 20 in the steerage.
West Coast Times Nov. 28 1865
The Keera shipped a heavy sea and put into the Bluff for supplies.
Nov. 26 - South Australian, s.s., Payne, from Dunedin, via Lyttelton and intermediate ports. Passengers saloon:
Bain Mr Brown Mr Burt Miss Burt Mrs Cuff Mr Everd Mrs Gough Mr Keogh Mr Lazarus Mr Macnamara Mr McNeil Mr Mufnall Mrs Quadrie Mr Phillip Mrs Potts Mrs Shorthound Mr Waters Mr Steerage: 57
We have much please in reporting a very favorabie bar yesterday for the entrance and exit of vessels, the sea being very smooth and a moderate current in the river. The steam tug Yarra took old Time by the forelock, and made hay during the sunshine, towing out four and bringing in two vessels. The Susannah Booth from Sydney, is at anchor in the roadstead; she will in all probability be towed in by the Lioness to-day.
West Coast Times Thursday 30th November 1865
Arrivals - Nov. 28 - Susannah Booth, schooner from Sydney (15th). Towed into the harbor by the Lioness.
Passengers - Blake Mr McLean Mr Neil Mr Roberts Mr and two in the steerage.
William Lass, schooner, Nicholson, from
John McDouall Stuart, schooner, Love, from Melbourne, towed safely to the wharf by the Lioness steam tug.
Ballarat, p.s. from the Grey.
Lapwing, cutter, Edwards, from Auckland
Nov. 29 - Star of the South, s.s., Hodge from Dunedin (22nd) thence to Wellington. Brings 100 sheep and passengers: Saloon -
Adams Mr Austin Mr Gray Mr Horgan Mr and Mrs Martin Miss Mullin Mr O'Donnel Mr and Mrs and servant Rosenburg Miss Scherinkoff Mrs
Kennedy, s.s., Whitwell, from Nelson (23rd). Weather drove her into Mutton Bay for shelter. Passengers: Saloon -
Burnell Mr Cou_lone Mrs Derry Mrs Drake Mr Nash The Misses (2) Througton Mr and Mrs and two children and five in the steerage
Wonga Wonga s.s., Mundle, from Wellington (18th) via Nelson. Seeked shelter , obliged to bear up for Crosselle's Harbor and not under way two hours a gale driving her into Totarnui for shelter in company with the s.s. Star of the Evening. Brings a full general cargo, 6 calves and 8 lambs and a number of pigs. Passenegrs: Saloon -
Beamish Mr Brookes Mr Car_kiet Mr Max Mr Mellish Mr and two in the steerage
Maid of Yarra s.s., Hughes from Picton. Brings
23 head of cattle and 240 sheep.
The schooner Storm Bird left Otago heads on the 14th Oct., ran into Port William, Stewart Island to procure a new boom. An anchorage once more at Mason's Bay. Towed in by the Lioness.
The s.s. James Patterson arrived at Sydney on the 14th with 20 passengers from Hokitika.
Otago Witness Saturday January 6 1866 pg10
From the Lyttelton Times.
Bealey, Jan. 1. 5.30 p.m.
The news from Hokitika to the 29th. The William Misken reports the steamer Star of the South, Captain Hodge, a total wreck at Chalky Inlet, off West Cape, on Dec. 15. The crew, passengers, and a portion of the cargo were saved. Bruce Bay is said to be deserted; the diggers have gone to Okarita. The Star of the South sailed from Dunedin about three weeks ago. Passengers transhipped the the William Misken on the 21st. The s.s. Keera has been charted to bring on the passengers and cargo. Otago Witness Jan. 12. 1866 pg 16 - full report. Mr Gaunon, the purser, Mr Skinner.
Otago Witness 24 Jan. pg12 Star of the South at Port Chalmers on slip.
Otago Witness Saturday 20 January 1866 - From the
West Coast Times 10th inst.
Wreck of the schooner William and Mary. Total loss. She left our port on Monday in tow of the Lioness, bound for the Grey. She went to far northward while in tow and got in the surf at the Grey bar close to where the paddle steamer Nelson is lying. The Lioness cast off to save herself. The whole of the cargo belongs to Mr Throckmorton and is uninsured.
Captain Turnbull, of Port Chalmers, who is a brother of Captain Turnbull, lately in command of the Geelong steamer, has received the appointment of Harbor Master of Hokitika, and arrived in town on Saturday to enter upon the discharge of his duties.
Port of Grey River
The Moyne, a fine large schooner, of 92 tons, was last week towed here from Hokitika by the Lioness.
Otago Witness, 16 June 1866, Page 14
NARROW ESCAPE OF THE STEAMER YARRA, WHEN CROSSING HOKITIKA. BAR, AND LOSS OF LIFE.
(From the West Coast Times, 9th June ) A frighful surf lashed the coast yesterday, so heavy, in fact, that the usual signal, "bar passable," was not displayed at tide-time. The Rangitoto, however, having arrived from Melbourne, with nearly 100 passengers on board for this port and Greymouth, it was considered advisable to attempt communicating with her by steamer : and at noon, accordingly, the p.s. Persevere, bound to the Grey, crossed the bar, and ran alongside for any " stray wails" whose destination was that port. She effected the passage safely, and after shipping some twenty passengers, departed on her way northwards. In the meantime, the surf had much increased, and it was considered doubtful by those on board the Rangitoto, whether the Yarra, which was to follow the Persevere for the Hokitika passengers, would leave the river. Leave, however, she did... In the midst of the confusion that prevailed, the fearful cry of "a man overboard' was raised. The Yarra having taken the ground sea after sea poured over her...
On arriving at the wharf it was discovered that the missing party was a Mr Dalton, who under the alias of Graham, had taken a cabin passage in Sydney, per City of Melbourne, to join the Rangitoto in Melbourne which was advertised to sail for Hokitika on the first instant. The unfortunate gentleman was enroute for England, purposing after transacting certain, business in this town, to join the Kaikora in Wellington, and proceed homewards by the Panama route. His plans, however, have been thwarted in the above lamentable manner. This is the first catastrophe of the kind which has ever occurred in the annals of Hokitika, for, although our harbor steamers have crossed the bar at various times under the most disadvantageous circumstances, the attempts have never resulted in loss of life.
Otago Witness, 2 August 1867, Page 13
By the arrival of the Keera and other steamers from the West Coast, we learn that all the vessels of the fleet which had been compelled for weeks to lie off Hokitika, had got into that port, and that the wharf was lined with a double row of vessels waiting to be discharged. The schooner Banshee, from Dunedin, was among the number. There are two vessels ashore the schooner Gratitude, from Hobart Town, once a coal hulk at Christchurch, and the barque Frederick, from Melbourne and neither of them are likely to be saved. The schooner Alice was capsized in the surf, and the crew had a narrow escape. At Greymouth, the brigantine Harriet had become a total wreck.
Timaru Herald Tuesday May 30 1876 pg 7 col. e
Greymouth, Tuesday - The schooner T.B. Taylor has arrived with the crew of the schooner Kate, of Wellington, from Lyttelton to Charleston, and thence to Hokitika. The Kate, Commander Kleen, foundered on Sunday night, between Grey and Hokitika. She had previously lost her rudder head, and was half full of water. The T.B. Taylor stood by the crew of the Kate when they took to the boats. The crew only saved what they stood in.
Timaru Herald Saturday 28 September 1889
Wellington, Sept. 27 Total wreck of the steamer Koranui. Passengers and crew safe.
Foundered in French Pass. There were two parcels of gold on board; one from Hokitika of the value of £9450 and the other from Greymouth of the value of £11,520. The gold is insured for the full value with the New Zealand Company. The vessel had onboard 380 tons coal, 10 tons coke, 1450 fire bricks and 30 tons general cargo. The Rotorua arrived in Nelson with the passengers and took the crew on to Wellington. The weather was thick and the steamer had been going dead slow, she had got to far before altering her course. She did not strike on the Beef Barrels, but on a patch of sunken rocks fringing the barrels, which covers about 5 acres. She lies in 6 feet of water, with only the tops of her masts showing. The gold is contained in six boxes, which are in the captain's cabin on deck. Captain Hill thinks it can be recovered. The vessel left Nelson about 11 p.m. At about 2 am heard a terrible crash. The six ladies were put in a boat in charge of the chief mate, A heavy sea was running at the time. The next boat was filled with men in charge of the second mate. The third boat contained the remainder of the crew. The captain was the last to leave the ship. We fired a blue light. Kept pulling until we sighted the Rotorua. Captain knew the Rotorua would be coming through the Pass and he was determined to stay by the Koranui. She brought us to Nelson. The Koranui was valued at £10,000 and was insured. The Koranui was a sister boat to the Mawhera - 487 gross register, 460 hp nominal - used to be a regular caller at Timaru till some months ago, when she was put on the Wellington and Westport trade. The Beef Barrels are three or four rounded rocks which stand a few feet out of the water in a line off the south end of D'Urville Island, about four miles from the Nelson end of French Pass. They are about a mile from the mainland, and the steamers proper course would be inside them. The steamer probably went up outside the reef and was wrecked in crossing it. Captain Hill was formerly master of the Grafton and Mawhera.
Fraser, Lyndon Irish Migration to the West Coast, 1864-1900, NZ Journal of History 1994 Volume 28 No.1 p 41-59
Inhabitants of Westport - 1873-1973
Westport Harbour, March 2008.
I stood one day upon the beach,
And listened to the ocean's roar,
And watched the foaming billows break
Upon the bleak and lonely shore.
As each successive wave rolled in,
I watched it break and then subside;
And far above the sea-birds' call
Its angry murmur rose and died.
Gillespies Beach, Nov. 2009- a beautiful spot.
Remember to look back to see Mt. Cook.