Ship: 557 Tons
Captain: Harford Arnold
Surgeon Superintendent: William Spence
Sailed London 17th September 1841 & Downs 2nd October 1841 - arrived Nelson February 1st 1842

Fifeshire was one of the first four ships to Nelson and on her maiden voyage when bringing out settlers of the New Zealand Company to Nelson. Lord Auckland, Mary Ann, Lloyds all set out on the same day, the Fifeshire being the first to arrive. These four ships brought out 764 people to Nelson. The Fifeshire was an unlucky boat from the start. During the voyage fever broke out and 17 passengers died, their bodies being buried at sea. Until the scourge began to abate the passengers were in a most melancholy state, as they did not know where it was going to end. When navigating Cook Strait the ship nearly came to grief. The pilot took her between Stephen's Island and the mainland and, the wind failing at a critical moment, it looked as though she would go ashore, but Captain Arnold sent away a boat with a kedge, which dropped in the nick of time and the ship hauled of into safety.
Referring to the Fifeshire's arrival the Nelson "Examiner" said that as the ladies (cabin passenger) dressed in the London fashions of the 1841, were carried ashore from the ship's boats the Maori broke into loud   exclamations of wonder and delight. "Kapai!" "Kapai te wahine!" Kapai te piccaninny!"said the natives, who though familiar enough with white men, had never before seen the prevailing European fashions for women and children..


Fifeshire on Arrow Reef

After disembarking passengers and discharging cargo the ship was cleared for China but unfortunately never made it out of Nelson Harbour. On the morning of 27th February, in charge of an acting Pilot (Captain F. G. Moore-the regular Pilot was unwell), she got under way. She had nearly passed through the narrow channel entrance when the wind failed, and the tide carried her on Arrow Reef. 
Strenuous efforts were made to get her off, but it was useless and at low water she was lying nearly high and dry. Her hull could not stand the strain and her back was badly broken. She was condemned and sold for breaking up.
Source: White wings. Sir Henry Brett


Our thanks to Peter Dillon of Christchurch for providing the births and deaths on boad Fifeshire
Name Age Occupation
Cabin Passengers
Cotterill J. Sylvanus 22 Surveyor
Cullen William 23 Farmer
Durley Clara Mrs 22
Daughter 2
Drake 21 Surveyor
Duffey Mrs 22 Wife of T. Duffy
Doulter Cyrus 17 Printer
Jollie Francis 25 Gentleman
Kerr Alexander 14
Poynter John 40 Barrister
Mrs 27
Saunders Alfred 21 Miller
Slater 20 Gentleman
Spence William 36 Surgeon
Stephens Sarah 30 Wife of S. Stephens
Trower 22 Gentleman
Wallace Mrs 60
Wallace Miss 19
White Mr 28 Gentleman
Mrs 21
Emmigrant Passengers
Allen Edward William 35 Carpenter - Acted as School Teacher & Surgeon's Assistant during the voyage.
Betsy 37
John 15 Carpenter
Joseph 11
Elizabeth (Betsy) 9
Eliza 7
Berry Thomas Richard 25 Farm Labourer
Rebecca Keysley 19
Bird Reuben 28 Carpenter
Ann 25
Anne 1
Female Infant Born on board 26/11/1841
Burton John 28 Agricultural Labourer
Maria 28
Carter Robert 30 Agricultural Labourer
Lucy 30
Robert 2
Emma 10 weeks Died on board 06/10/1841
Clemens Edward 30
Cleverly Thomas 34 Smith and Farrier
Hannah 29 Died on board 03/01/1842
Thomas James 4
Theresa 3
Louiza Infant
Male Infant Born on board 31/12/1841
Died in 6 hours
Dillon Thomas 25 Carpenter
Eleanor 22
Ellen Jane 1
Thomas Harford Born on board 21/12/1841(12:30pm)
Dodson George 19 Agricultural Labourer
Draper James 28 Servant Died on board 26/11/1841
Inflammation of brain
Drummond David 27 Agricultural Labourer
Jane 24
Robert 3 Died on board 29/11/1841
Disease of Mesentine gland
George 1
Duncan Joseph 28 Mason
Rachell 28
John 7
James 4
Ellen 10 months
Gardiner Robert 34 Tailor
Jane 35
John 5
Eliza 4
Mary Jane 8 months
Gibson John 37 Agricultural Labourer
Elizabeth 31
John 12
Agnes 9
Giles 7
Elizabeth 5
Amelia 2
Male Infant Born on board 13/11/1841
Gillard George 21 Servant
Harper James Titcomb 38 Shoemaker & Agricultural Labourer
Mary Ann 35 Died on board 16/10/1841
Abdominal inflammation
Sarah 13
Lebulan 12
Haynes Elizabeth 58 Nurse
Hayter Hannah 24 Servant
Hill Isaac 25 Machine Fitter
James Edward 37 Stone Mason Died on board 04/01/1842
Abdominal inflammation caused by a worm perforating small intestine.
Sarah 45
John 12
Ellen 10
Frances 8
Edward 6
Emma 3
Francis 1 Died on board 25/12/1841
James John 35 Agricultural Labourer
Elizabeth 45
Edward 8
Arnie ? 4
Jones William 30 Brickmaker
Mary Ann 32
Mary Ellen 8 Died on board 16/01/1842
Putrid sore throat
Ellen 1 Died on board 22/10/1841
Water on the head
Female Infant Born on board 13/01/1842
Died in 28 hours
Kerr John 41 Agricultural Labourer
Janet 42
James 20 Agricultural Labourer
David 18 Agricultural Labourer
Peter 16 Agricultural Labourer
John 12
Walter 9
William 7
King John 27 Millwright and Engineer
Betsy 21
McGregor Robertson 27 Tin and Coppersmith
Jesse 26
Mary 8
John 3
Margary James 22 Agricultural Labourer
Thomas 17 Agricultural Labourer
Mary 21
Elizabeth 2
William 1
Male Infant Born on board 18/11/1841
Meredith Mary 14 Servant
Middleton James 38 Blacksmith
Elizabeth 36
Alexander 16 Blacksmith
Moore William 30 Agricultural Labourer
Isabel 32
Peter 12
Mary 3
Female Infant Born on board 05/12/1841
Nicol Charles 25 Millwright
Ann 27
Margaret 11 months
Nowell Maria 16 Sempstress (Sister to Mrs Dillon)
Painter Richard 31 Agricultural Labourer
Sarah 21
Palmer Robert 21 Bricklayer
Mary Ann 18
Parfit Isaac 31 Sawyer
Elizabeth 32
Jane 8
Hannah 2
Henry John 10 weeks
Paton John 28 Gardener
Jane 28
Paton Joseph 28 Agricultural Labourer
Margaret 27
John 3
Elizabeth 2
Jemima Infant
Pennells Richard 22 Agricultural Labourer
Elizabeth 22
Sarah 1 Died on board 10/11/1841
Water on the head
Female Infant Born on board 18/01/1842
Pennells William 27 Agricultural Labourer
Ann 27
Mary 7
Sarah 5
Thomas 3
George 1 Died on board 14/10/1841
Piggot Susannah 21 Sempstress
Richardson William 36 Agricultural Labourer
Nancy 33
Female 7
Male 5
Female 1 Died on board 09/10/1841
Mesenteric Disease
Male Infant Born on board 14/01/1842
Simmonds Joseph 23 Carpenter
Frances Livinia 22
Fanny Infant
Staple John 28 Agricultural Labourer
Fanny 23
John 3
Betsy Infant
Sutton Thomas 22 Agricultural Labourer
Jargini 25
Thomlinson Ann 17 Sempstress
Willings Josiah 27 Tailor Died on board 17/12/1841
Mary Ann 22 Died on board 22/12/1841
Wootton David 28 Carpenter
Ann 29
Charles 10


Francis JOLLIE  1815 - 1870
Francis the eldest of the family (Edward, hisa brother, arrived in 1842 by the Brougham), had settled in Nelson before the Wairau affray, and well remembered the dismay cast upon the province by that event. For a short period he acted as resident agent for the NZ  Company.  He took a leading part in the demand for constitution and when the provinces were established (in 1853) he stood for superintendency of  Nelson against Stafford but was defeated;  Stafford 251 Saxton 206, Jollie 130. In 1853 Jollie moved to Canterbury and took up land at Peel Forest.  In 1855 he paid a visit to the Old Country and returning in 1858, he married and lived for a short period in Christchurch.  His interests being in South Canterbury, Jollie took up the cudgels on behalf of the out districts, demanding for the settlers the right to spend their own revenue on their own works.  From 1861 -1866 he represented Timaru in Parliament, and from 1866 - 1870 he represented Gladstone.  For a short while in 1866 he was Colonial Treasurer in the Stafford Ministry, but he retired on a  reconstruction forced by Moorhouse, who declined office for himself.  He was a quiet unassuming member of Parliament, always assertive for the rights of his district, and his efforts had much to do with serving for South Canterbury, The Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works, which controlled the expenditure of local revenues.  In Nelson and in Timaru he did useful work as a leader writer for the "Nelson Examiner" and the "Timaru Herald"  he had intended retiring from politics  when his death occurred on 30th November 1870
Source : The Christchurch Press Saturday August 2nd 1930 (Our thanks to Beverly Evans)
GIBSON family:
The GIBSON family went to New Zealand from Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland, though whether Giles was born there, I don't know. She was born in 1834, and came to New Zealand with her parents, John and Elizabeth, and her four siblings (five by the time they reached Nelson!) on board the "Fifeshire" in 1842. Also on board were Thomas and Rebecca BERRY, half-brother and half-sister in law of the man Giles was later to marry, John Thomas BERRY. The GIBSONs seem to have been very influential - the town where they eventual settled, now know as Kaituna, was called Gibsontown for many years. If you have a connection with this family or would like to learn more please contact David Lamb.


Thomas Richard BERRY:
Thomas Richard BERRY was the only known child of his father's (Thomas BERRY) first marriage, to Sarah PALMER. He was born in Shoreditch, Middlesex, UK on 20 August 1815. Like his father, he was a brushmaker. He married Rebecca Keysley CARSTAIRS at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch on 22 August 1841. Rebecca Keysley CARSTAIRS, was born on 14 May 1822 at Holborn, Middlesex, UK. She was the daughter of one J. CARSTAIRS, who was a writing master, and had a book published in 1828 called "The Pen Man's Delight", which is said to include details of a system which appears to have been a forerunner of shorthand. They emigrated to New Zealand on board the "Fifeshire", which left London on 26 September 1841, arriving in New Zealand on 01 February 1842, giving his occupation as "farmer". (The "Fifeshire" was wrecked on Arrow Reef, leaving Nelson Harbour for the onward trip China.) On 06 February 1846 Thomas, obviously not put off matters maritime by the fate of the "Fifeshire", bought a vessel of his own, a 12-ton cutter, which he named "Sarah Berry", presumably in honour of either his mother or his eldest daughter. The idea was to use her (the ship, not the daughter!) for trade between the West Coast and North Island, but this did not last long, as she met with heavy weather on 27 June 1846, and went aground. No lives were lost, but the vessel was a write-off. Thomas later became a goldminer. He and Rebecca had ten children. Thomas died on 02 June 1868 at Nelson. Rebecca died on 22 May 1872. If you have a connection with this family or would like to learn more please contact David Lamb.


ALLEN family:
Edward William ALLEN was born in Sheerness, Kent, England in July 1805. In 1841, with his wife Betsy and their four children, he emigrated to nelson, New Zealand on board the Fifeshire one of the initial emigrant ships to Nelson. During the voyage Edward, a humble carpenter, doubled as a School Teacher and Assistant to the Surgeon, William Spence One of the ALLEN family was responsible for the construction of St Matthews Church in Auckland in 1862 and it was here that Edward died in February 1885.   If you have a connection with this family please e-mail Ian Rawnsley


DILLON family:
Thomas DILLON was born on June 5th 1816 at Bath, Somersetshire, England. In 1838 he married Eleanor NOWELL at St Michaels in Bath. Eleanor, the daighter of Joseph and Maria NOWELL (nee CARNICK) was born c 1817, also at Bath. In September 1841 Thomas and Eleanor along with young daughter Ellen Jane and Eleanor's younger sister Maria NOWELL (born c 1825) emigrated to New Zealand on board the Fifeshire. During the voyage a son Thomas Harford DILLON was born on December 21st 1841, halfway across the Indian Ocean. He had been named after the ships Captain, Harford ARNOLD. In New Zealand Thomas and Eleanor were to have two more sons: Frederick Nelson DILLON born in Nelson in 1844 and Alfred Wellington DILLON born in Wellington in 11th August 1847. Thomas and Eleanor and the family returned to England and later again sailed for New Zealand on board the ship Cornwall, settling at Christchurch where their youngest child, Clara, was born. Thomas died in 1857 at the age of 41 years and in 1863 Eleanor re-married George ARBER. Thanks for the above to Peter Dillon the great, great grandson of Thomas and Eleanor DILLON. Peter has a large amount of research material on the DILLON family on board this ship.


Copyright Denise & Peter 1999 - 2004

Archives New Zealand NZC 34/2 page 136