Monday, 29 November 2021

36458 Corporal Gordon Ernest Brown, 28/8/1895-25/6/1918.


Corporal Gordon Ernest Brown, whose death took place on July 28 in France, was the voungest son of Mr and Mrs R. Brown, of Neidpath read, Mornington. He was educated at High Street School and the High Schoolm, was for a few years in the Dunedin office of the Standard Insurance Company, but before enrolling was engaged in farming in the North Island. He left with the 21st Reinforcements, and had last year been twice wounded. His genial disposition made him well liked, and he made many friends. He was a prominent member of St. Andrew's Bible Class.   -Evening Star, 10/8/1918.


The regular meeting of the High Schools Board of Governors was held yesterday afternoon. Mr T. K. Sidey, M.P., occupied the chair.

It was resolved to send a letter of sympathy to the next-of-kin of Corporal Gordon E. Brown, who had lost his life in the war.  -Otago Daily Times, 23/8/1918.

Corp. Gordon Ernest Brown (Dunedin), killed in action.  -Otago Witness, 30/10/1918.

Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

61279 Private Maurice Cumming Hayden, 1/5/1897-24/11/1918.

Maurice Hayden joined the New Zealand Army in May, 1917, and was hospitalised in April the next year, having been diagnosed with gonorrhea.  It is possible that he was transferred from the camp at Featherston to Quarantine Island in the Otago Harbour on account of his disease and was there when the Spanish flu epidemic arrived.






QUARANTINE ISLAND. Regimental Sergeant-major Robert Randall, who served on Gallipoli and was invalided on account of an injury to an arm, died this morning from influenza at Quarantine Island, where he had been stationed on duty. Two other men on the island are ill.  -Evening Star, 25/11/1918.





PORT CHALMERS. A mass meeting will be held on the waterfront to-morrow morning to consider matters in connection with the epidemic and its relation to waterfront operations. The epidemic is now regarded as having reached its maximum at the Port, and a rapid improvement is anticipated. On Quarantine Island there have been about 50 cases of influenza, of which 16 developed pneumonia, three of these being medical orderlies. A strenuous time has been experienced, but the worst is now past.  -Evening Star, 27/11/1918.

The following deaths occurred at Quarantine Island, Trentham and Miramar Convalescent Hospitals:— 80737 J. H. M. Burnard (Mrs R. Burnard, Greytown); November 23rd. 

61279 M. B. Hayden; November 24th. 

RSM. R. Randal, November 25th. 

55671 A. W. Avery (Mrs E.M. Avery, Trentham); November 25th. 

3/2782 J. J. Maher, (M. Maher, Blenheim); November 26th.  -NZ Times, 27/11/1918.


HAYDEN. — On November 24, 61279 Private Morris (Weenie) Cumming Hayden, youngest son of George Hayden, Opoho; aged 20 years. Deeply regretted.   -Otago Witness, 27/11/1918.

The remains of Private Maurice Cumming Hayden, aged 20 years, whose parents reside at Opoho, were accorded military burial at the Northern Cemetery on the 26th.  -Otago Witness, 4/12/1918.


HAYDEN. — In loving memory of our dear son, Private Maurice C. (Weenie) Hayden, who died at Dunedin, November 24, 1918; aged 20 years. 

Just when his life was brightest. Just when his hopes were best,

His country called, and he answered, And now in God’s hands he rests. 

— Inserted by his loving father and mother.   -Otago Witness, 25/11/1919.



HAYDEN. — In loving memory of our dear brother Maurice, who died at Dunedin on November 24, 1918. 

The world may change from year to year, Our friends from day to day; 

But never will the one we love, From memory fade away.

— Inserted by her loving sister and brother-in-law, niece and nephew, 12 John street, Caversham. 

HAYDEN. — In loving memory of our dear son, Private Maurice (Weenie) C. Hayden, who died at Dunedin, 24th November, 1918; aged 20. 

Just when his life was brightest, Just when his hopes were best, 

His country called, and he answered, And now in God's hands he rests.

— Inserted by his loving father and mother.   -Evening Star, 24/11/1921.

Northern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Captain John Robertson, 1827-25/11/1880.

For Melbourne, Port Phillip, direct. 

THE fine first class schooner WILL-O'-THE WISP, Captain, John Robertson; has superior accommodations for Cabin and Steerage Passengers.

This Vessel is expected daily from Port Cooper, and will sail as above three days after arrival. For Freight or Passage, apply to 

Bethune & Hunter, Exchange Buildings.  -Wellington Independent, 21/4/1852.

A final and successful attempt to raise the illfated Henbury was made on Tuesday, the 17th. Her stern was boxed in and caulked, and, by the aid of seven Californian pumps, she was gradually emptied and hauled alongside the Wm. Hyde, hulk, where she now is. Her cargo is being rapidly discharged, and rumour says that she will be repaired aud made a hulk of. Captain John Robertson, who so successfully managed the wreck of the William Hyde and brought her here from the Bluff Harbor, has superintended the arrangements which have proved so successful.  -Lyttelton Times, 1/2/1860.

The remains of John Craig, the late engineer of the s.s. Queen were interred at the instance of Messrs A. L. Thomson and Co. yesterday, in the Church of England Burial-ground at the Cemetery. The funeral was attended by several gentlemen to whom the deceased had been known. On the arrival of the melancholy cortege at the Cemetery, it was found that the clergyman who had arranged to attend had not made his appearance; after waiting some time messengers were dispatched in search of the reverend gentleman, but without success, and ultimately the burial service had to be read by Captain John Robertson, of the Marine Board.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/2/1864.

Captain John Robertson has been appointed to the charge of the signal-station at Port Chalmers.  -Otago Daily Times, 2/3/1864.

The following reply has been received from the Provincial Secretary by the shipmasters and others whose signatures were attached to a memorial relative to the signal station at Port Chalmers: — "Gentlemen — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication addressed to his Honor the Superintendent, on the subject of the removal of Captain John Robertson from the office which he held as Signal Master at Port Chalmers. In reply I have to acquaint you, that on the reduction of Captain Robertson and other persons in the Harbor Department, the Government were only actuated by a desire to reduce the expenditure of that Department to the lowest possible limit consistent with efficiency, and not with the intention of altogether abandoning, as you appear to apprehend, the Signal Station at the Port; indeed before any steps were taken, arrangements were made by which the service will continue to be performed, I trust, quite as satitfaatoriry as it has been hitherto." Though, by the assurance conveyed in this manner, the object of the memorialists has been pnrtially achieved, there is still a strong feeling among them that the Government has been hoodwinked into an unfair and unnecessary act by the removal of Captain John Robertson from the situation. If there is any saving, it must be so trifling and inconsiderable that it can form no reasonable excuse for the change. It is felt to be quite irreconcileable with economy that, where one man did the work, two thould now be employed; and that, while a trifling source of expenditure should thus be selected without any actual saving being made, other and larger sources of outlay, in and about Port Chalmers, should remain unheeded. As the memoralists are more intimately acquainted with the minutiae of the matter than the Government, they are not disposed to allow it to rest without a little further representation.  -Otago Daily Times, 4/2/1865.

The steamer Samson is now at Dunedin completing alterations and receiving cargo for Hokitika and the Grey River. She is expected to take only a limited number of passengers — the majority preferring to proceed by the Alhambra, which sails early, and space has consequently been made for more cargo than it was originally intended to carry. Under the new ownership, Captain John Robertson succeeds Captain McGill, who has for the last four years commanded the Samson tug-steamer, not only to the benefit of its joint owners, but to the complete satisfaction of shipmasters and of the shipping and mercantile community generally.  -Otago Daily Times, 11/9/1865.


A shipping disaster, unequalled for a lengthened period on our shores, occurred on Friday, 4th May. The schooner Maria, of Melbourne, 160 tons register, Captain John Robertson, sailed on the 15th of the previous month for this port, with a valuable and general cargo on board. In consequence of this vessel having on a former voyage stranded at the entrance to the river, causing her to be taken over the spit on ways, considerable fears were entertained that her extreme length and draught of water would again result in accident. Immediately on her coming in sight of the road stead, on the morning of the 4th, communication was effected with her owners, who belong to this port. Every precaution seems to have been taken to ensure her safe entrance. The most powerful tug-boat was employed. Soundings were taken of the depth of water off the bar at various hours during the forenoon, up to flood-tide. At noon the p.s. Lioness left the wharf to take in tow the Maria; again soundings were taken, and water sufficient found on the bar. Arriving alongside the Maria she put her warp on board, and with her tow in charge made for the bar. The tide at this time was on the ebb, still she got her charge safely through the outer break. On crossing, however, to the narrow part of the channel, the Maria took the ground with her heel, and would no longer answer her helm, although the Lioness remained towing for a considerable time after the Maria grounded. Every effort was used to get her off, but without success, and the Lioness then returned to the wharf. The owners of the Maria, Messrs. Hall, Finlay, and Co., at once made arrangements for despatching the cutter Lloyd's Herald to lighter her. Although this latter vessel was partially loaded for Okarita, she landed her cargo on the wharf again, and at low tide was taken in tow by twe whale boats to where the Maria lay aground. Unfortunately, however, in dropping down alongside the schooner, the set of the sea drove hoe across the Maria's bows, where she received considerable damage in her stern. At midnight, as the tide turned, it became apparent that both the Maria and Lloyd's Herald were drifting towards the shore. The larger vessel was being lifted by the breakers and heavily striking the ground, the roll of the surf gradually wearing her nearer towards the beach. Her companion in misfortune, the cutter, being empty, was dragging her anchors, and fast driving with the set of the current to the north of the Maria. Although the sea during the night was unusually calm, an hour afterwards both vessels were driven upon the beach, just on the edge of the surf. As it now became evident nothing further could be done to save the unfortunate crafts, a rope was connected with the shore, by means of which the lumpers engaged to tranship portion of the Maria's cargo into the Lloyd's Herald, as also the crew, gained the shore. The surf continued at intervals to break completely over the starboard side of the Maria, and by the sand boing washed away from under the side exposed to the sea, she heeled outwards in a manner to cause apprehension that the force of the waves breaking unchecked on her deck might get access to the hold and wash out the cargo, as happened with the Sir Francis Drake, a vessel similarly circumstanced about nine months ago. On the fall of the tide next morning, which left the Maria high and dry, the hatches were opened, and a gang of laborers commenced the work of discharging, which was proceeded with during the two following days at low water. From the damaged condition in which the cargo was landed, it was evident the ship was in a totally wrecked condition. The vessel herself was twisted and strained in all directions, and leaky in every seam. The whole of the cargo having been got ashore by Monday evening, 7th inst., the work of dismantling was commenced the next day. Before evening nothing was left standing but the lower masts, the whole of the running rigging, sails, spars, boats, anchors, &c, being placed above high water mark on the beach preparatory to being sold by public auction, on account of whom it might concern. The hull was sold for L3l. The rigging, sails, blocks, boats, ship's stores, &c., being put up in separate lots and disposed of at fair prices. We learn that both owners of the ship and cargo are but partially insured, and likely to prove heavy losers by the misfortune. The cutter after being driven ashore on the morning of the 5th, in a greatly damaged condition, was next morning placed on blocks, with the object of carrying her over the Spit. To tho owner of this handy craft, Mr O. L. Throckmorton, the loss must prove severe, as besides the damage to the Lloyd's Herald, together with the cost of taking her along the ways, he lost his freight from the Maria. The Maria is expected in a few tides to break up, and the Lloyd's Herald to be alongside the wharf for repairs.  -West Coast Times, 12/5/1866.

The Hokitika shore after a previous storm, 1865.  Seven vessels high and dry.  Hocken Library photo.

The apparatus connected with the timeball at Port Chalmers is now complete; and Captain John Robertson, who is to have charge of the same, only awaits the execution of some slight repairs to the transit instrument. The use of the ball will be of the utmost value to shipping; and as its position is very prominent, visible at the Heads, and from nearly every part of the harbour, it will be useful also to many residing on shore.   -Otago Daily Times, 20/4/1867.


The barque Isabella Ridley, Captain John Robertson, late of the Sea Gull, left the Bluff on Thursday, Oct. 19, with a South-west breeze, which held until the Peninsula was sighted on Saturday morning; thence had North-east winds and calms until arrival in harbonr at 10 a.m. yesterday. The barque brings a large cargo of timber consigned to order.   -Lyttelton Times, 25/10/1876.


MUIR-ROBERTSON. - On the 31st ult., at the residence of the bride’s father, Port Chalmers, by the Rev. James Maxwell, Captain John Muir, ship Invercargill, to Annie Isbister, eldest daughter of Captain John Robertson.   -Evening Star, 10/1/1871.

Otago Harbour Board

The Chief Harbor-Master's memo., intimating that the Government had appointed Captain John Robertson signal-master, Port Chalmers, to be an examiner of masters' and mates' certificates of competency during Captain Orkney's leave of absence, having been taken into consideration, it was found that the Board had not been consulted with reference to the appointment; and secondly, that it would necessitate Captain Robertson leaving his station to attend in Dunedin when the examinations take place. Your Committee under these circumstances requested the Chief Harbor-master to report upon the necessity of keeping up the signal station, seeing that the Heads is connected both with Dunedin and Port Chalmers by telegraph, and his report is attached for the Board's Information. Your Committee recommends that the signal station at Port Chalmers be abolished, and that Captain Robertson receive three months' notice.   -Evening Star, 11/11/1880.


THE Friends of the late Captain John Robertson are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which leaves the Port Chalmers Hotel at 8 p.m. To-morrow (Saturday), 27th inst, for the place of interment there. 


Port Chalmers Marine Lodge, No. 943, EC. 

Brethren are requested to meet at the Masonic Hall, Port Chalmers, at 8.80 p.m. To-morrow (Saturday) 27th Inst., to attend the Funeral of the late Brother Captain John Robertson. 

White Ties and Gloves, By order W.M. 


THE MEMBERS of Court Robin Hood, No. 3,991, A.O.F. are requested to attend the Funeral of the late Brother, Captain John Robertson, meeting at the Hall at 2.80 p.m. To-morrow (Saturday), 27th inst. 

Regalia: Neck-ribbon and white gloves. G. L. ASHER, Secretary.   -Evening Star, 26/11/1880.

Local and general

The late Captain Robertson: — The following particulars of the melancholy accident by which Captain John Robertson, the signalmaster at Port Chalmers, lost his life will be read with interest. Our information is derived from the Dunedin Morning Herald of the 27th ultimo: — "It would appear that he had visited the ship Dunedin, and was returning to the wharf, when, in the act of stepping, from the rail to the stage, his foot slipped and he fell sideways into the water. The night was intensely dark, so that his position under the wharf was not at once perceived, and it was only when our shipping reporter was returning from the brigantine Sea Gull that the body was taken out of the water and brought ashore. Drs Hasard, Drysdale, and Hosking were soon in attendance, but their efforts to restore animation were unfortunately of no avail. Captain Robertson bore the reputation of being an excellent seaman and a most able navigator. His connection with the colonies extended over more than a quarter of a century, and in that time he was master of several traders to this port, the last Home trader he commanded, being, we believe, the ship Melbourne. His untimely death is much regretted."  -Wanganui Chronicle,4/12/1880.

Port Chalmers old cemetery.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Apollos Dale, 1841-21/4/1892.



Mr Apollos Dale, well known in Port Chalmers as having been for many years railway station master there, died in the hospital last night from the shock consequent upon a terrible accident which happened to him as he was proceeding from Dunedin to Port Chalmers by the 6.15 p.m. train. As we are informed, he was somewhat late in arriving on the platform at Dunedin, and he had just time to jump on the guard's van as the train was leaving the etation. It is supposed that when he got to Ravensbourne he was desirous of shifting into a carriage, in which he would have more room, but the train started before he actually did change, and as it moved off he caught hold with both hands of the iron stanchions at the platform of the carriage he wished to enter. His feet seemed to have slipped from under him, however, and losing his grip of the stanchions he fell down between the railway platform and the train. The eight wheels of the carriage must have passed over both his legs, for when he was picked up, the train being immediately stopped, his limbs were fearfully crushed; but, notwithstanding his injuries, he himself directed the persons who attended to him as to the measures they should take. When the train reached Burkes it met a special, by which Mr Dale was brought on to Dunedin, where the ambulance waggon, which had been telephoned for, was waiting to remove him to the hospital. He was admitted to that institution about 7.35 p.m., and was there attended by Dr Coughtrey, who was assisted by Drs Barnnett, G. Macdonald, and Griffen, and Mr Burns, the house steward. It was found that Mr Dale's legs were completely smashed, and that they were bleeding copiously, and the amputation of both was decided upon and performed. The sufferer, however, sank rapidly, and expired about 9.40 p.m. He was a most efficient officer of the railway service, and was greatly respected in Port Chalmers. He was a widower of about 51 years of age, and he leaves a family of seven children.   -Otago Daily Times, 22/4/1892.


Friends of the late Mr Apollos Dale are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave his late residence, Magnetic street, Port Chalmers, for the old Cemetery, TO-MORROW (Sunday), the 24th Inst., at 3 p.m. 

HUGH GOURLEY, Undertaker, Clarke and Maclaggan streets.   -Evening Star, 23/4/1874.


Flags were hoisted half-mast high on board the shipping at the Port, also at the flagstaff, Observation Point, and other buildings yesterday in respect to the memory of Mr Apollos Dale, late stationmaster at Port Chalmers, who was accidentally killed on Wednesday evening.  -Otago Daily Times, 23/4/1874.

Port Chalmers old cemetery.

William Gibbs, 1828-10/12/1874.

An accident occurred this morning at the quarry, situated at Kilgour’s Point, near Sawyers Bay, by which a man named William Gibbs lost his life. It appears that the deceased and two other men, named Griffith Jones and William Hoskins, were enaged quarrying the face of the quarry. The deceased was at the time holding the drill, and Hoskins striking. Without any warning, a mass of stones came down, and Jones, who was working just below the other mem noticed the fall and sung out, Hoskins being fortunate enough to get clear; but the mass of weight, about two tons, came down all about the deceased, who was struck by some of the stones, and frightfully mutilated. Jones and Hopkins got him out, carried him to a boat, and brought him to Mussel Bay for medical assistance. Dr Drysdale was immediately sent for, but life was extinct on his arrival. Deceased was a married man, about fortyeight years of age, and lived at Carey Bay.   -Evening Star, 3/12/1874.

An inquest upon the body of William Gibbs, who was killed in the morning at Kilgour's Point, was held last night at the Port, before Dr O' Donoghue, Coroner. The evidence disclosed nothing more than appears in our report of the accident, and a verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.  -Otago Daily Times, 4/12/1874.

 A fatal accident occurred in the vicinity of Port Chalmers yesterday morning, about 9 o'clock, adding one more to the already long list of like melancholy cases in the district. The deceased, whose name is William Gibbs, was working at a ballast quarry at Kilgour's Point, on the Dunedin side of Sawyers' Bay, with his mate, William Hoskins, the two being at the time engaged in driving a drill for blasting. They were standing on a ledge about 4ft from the floor of the quarry, and above them was a perpendicular face about 6ft high. This appeared to them to be perfectly secure, no sign of liability to give way being noticed. While engaged as above stated, about three tons of stone directly above them suddenly gave way. Hoskins, who was using the hammer, sprang off the ledge and escaped untouched, but Gibbs was forced down beneath the heap. Griffith Jones was the only other man present. He was at the time loading a lighter at the quarry, and he and Hoskins immediately extricated Gibbs, who was then alive, and having a small boat handy they put him into it and brought him over to the head of Mussel Bay. Gibbs lived until the boat was about 200 yards off the head of the bay. On their arrival medical aid was sent for, but was of course unavailing, as life was extinct before the shore was reached. The body was then given over to the police, who removed it to the morgue. The deceased, it is said, is a native of Portland, England, and 45 years of age; he is unmarried, but has a cousin in the colony. He leaves property in Carey's Bay and money in the Bank, and a will providing for its disposal. His mother is still living in England.   -Star, 7/12/1874.

Port Chalmers old cemetery.

Captain John Edwards, 1819-22/12/1873, and Family.

The s.s. Omeo, now commanded by Captain Edwards, who has for some months past been chief officer of the vessel, arrived in port at an early hour in the morning. She left Port Philip on Sunday week, pasting Swan Island on the night of Tuesday, the 8th instant. Had light southerly winds until reaching the Bluff on Sunday last. Remained there until Monday evening, discharging about two-thirds of her cargo. The portion which she brings to this port includes a few horses and upwards of 1500 sheep. She had also on deck some heavy cargo, consisting of trucks and other railway plant, which were landed at the Bluff, and a portable steam-engine and thrashing machine, to be landed at Port Chalmers. Captain McLachlan, her former commander, is now duly installed as manager at Melbourne for the Otago Steam Navigation Company. His successor, Capt. Edwards, has been long and very favorably known as a shipmaster in the intercolonial trade, and is the best man that could be selected to sustain the reputation as a passenger vessel, which was earned for the Omeo by the courtesy and attention of Capt. McLachlan. Should sufficient inducement offer, there is a possibility that the Omeo will proceed from this port to Auckland, and thence to Newcastle and Melbourne, where she is soon to undergo some fresh improvements, including the reception of a new boiler, for which the orders have been given.  -Otago Daily Times, 16/3/1864.


The following testimonial has been presented to Captain Edwards by the passengers; — S.S Omeo, March 25, 1864. 

Captain Edwards. Dear Sir, — As we approach the completion of a remarkably pleasant and agreeable passage from Dunedin to Auckland, we desire, before leaving the good steamship Omeo, to express the pleasure we have felt in sailing in a vessel under your able command, and at the name time to tender you our best thanks for the kindly attention that all of us have experienced at your hands. 

The good fortune that has attended you, in this your first voyage aa commander of the Omeo, augurs well for your future success; and we have no doubt that, while under your skilful management, the Omeo will continue to maintain that high position which she so deservedly holds in pubic estimation. 

The accompanying purse of sovereigns we present to you as a trifling mark of our esteem; and with every wish for your future happiness and prosperity, we remain, &c

(Here follow the signatures.)  -Daily Southern Cross, 30/3/1864.





Yesterday afternoon the large screw steamer Omeo, Captain Edwards, arrived from Melbourne and the Hokitika. She sailed from Melbourne on the 11th, and reached the Hokitika on the 19th instant. There she landed 70 passengers, diggers, from Melbourne, and 380 tons of general cargo. She left Hokitika again on Saturday night at ten o'clock.

The Omeo brings 225 passengers from Hokitika, and 9850 ounces of gold on freight. It is understood that there are 300 or 400 ounces more in the hands of passengers, which will make the arrival exceed 10,000 ounces. We have been informed that there is a large quantity of gold still to come up; indeed it is said that an amount nearly equal to that brought by the Omeo will be shipped by next steamers. Such is the report; for its verification or correction we wait the arrival of the Wallaby and immediately succeeding steamers. 

The Omeo spoke the Gothenburg from Dunedin for the Hokitika, with 70 passengers, and sighted a large number of sailing vessels making their way towards Hokitika. 

We have various accounts from the diggings: Some, indeed many — for there must be many disappointed ones in a population so suddenly placed on a district admittedly over "rushed," — declare that it is "no good," and that there will be serious work if the men do not find employment, or discover some new ground that will pay. Others affirm that the district will prove a permanent goldfield; but that it has to be weeded of many who are doing nothing; and that for a reasonable and moderate population there will be a good payable goldfield. But the natural difficulties of the dense bush and the troubles of the coming winter offer serious obstacles to that prompt and immediate action which is demanded by the necessities of a crowded population, depending on successful gold-finding for their daily bread. 

The captain of the Omeo reports that he made land near to the Wanganui river, which is by the map 40 miles to the south of Hokitika, and all along the coast he observed tents pitched at various places, and the smoke of diggers' encampments, showing that prospecting parties have reached that distance southward. One of bur correspondents, whose narrative we quote below, shows that on the north side of the Hokitika, townships have sprung up as far north as the Teremakau; and thence to the Grey river, 26 miles north of Hokitika, the gold diggings extend. There is thus a coast line of 65 miles along which in greater or less numbers diggers are scattered. 

Good coarse gold has been obtained on the Grey river, some 25 miles up; and we noticed a week ago that the Government of Nelson province is about to construct a road up the Grey until it joins the overland main road which will connect the West Coast with the gold-bearing rivers and districts of the Maruia and the Matakitaki. The following accounts are from correspondents: — 

22nd April. The township of Hokitika is still increasing in size. Its main street is now a mile and a half long; and at present there about 4000 inhabitants. A great many are doing nothing at all, not a few are very hard up and can hardly get food to keep them from starving, while many are paying their way and no more. Some are making splendid wages; and there are claims which are turning out £50 per man per week of very fine gold; but these successes are kept as quiet as possible, as there are a great many desperate characters about, which makes diggers more chary than ever of telling of their gains. 

A good deal of talk is taking place about the Wanganui river, which is said to be deserving of a visit, and that it is a better river than the Hokitika; but Mr. Rochfort, the Government Surveyor and Magistrate, does not think that the river is superior to our own, whatever may be the gold prospects from it. Men can walk with swags along the coast all the way from Hokitika to within five miles of Wanganui river, and many have gone in that direction. 

Provisions are still plentiful here, all kinds being well supplied except butcher meat and horse feed. Flour is £35 per ton at the township, and falling, and packing to Waimea (Six-mile Creek) is £3 10s. per l00lbs. Of tea, sugar, spirits, and all other articles of the kind the place is full. Fresh beef is 2s. and 2s. 6d. per lb.; and as a contrast to the price of flour, bran for horses is retailed at the price of 6d. per lb. Even at the high figure for fresh beef the price is what is termed "nominal," for it is not often to be had, but salt meat, bacon, ham, and salt fish are staple articles in the meat line, and are plentiful in the market. When horse feed is so dear, of course the poor horses suffer in their provender, and it is melancholy to see long strings of wretched lean Rosinantes, rendered as tame as dogs by hunger, pass along the streets, and look wistfully into the tent doors, hunger staring out of their hollow eyes and large protruding bones. Horse flesh is a drug in the market, and any one can buy a horse for £4 or £5, saddle and all; but then with feed at such a figure, he would speedily "eat his own head off," unless indeed he could as speedily be converted into "beef" and sold at half-a-crown a pound. 

The charge for taking goods from a steamer lying outside, whether by lighter or by small steamer, is £3 10s. per ton; and 10s. a head for landing or embarking passengers. 

From another correspondent we have what follows: — 

Hokitika, 21st April. The Storm Bird, stranded several weeks ago, has got off at last, and not nearly so much injured as people expected she would be. She lay just on the edge of the river, and the bank being partly washed away she partly slid and was partly towed in. The Nelson remains high and dry, with a bank between her and the sea. At high tides the breakers still reach her, but at present we can walk round and round her dry shod. She is more than a couple of hundred yards from the deep water, and if ever she is got off, which is more than doubtful, it will be by cutting a channel through the bank, which will be a costly operation. 

There is a large number of people here doing nothing, and glad to get a job of any kind to keep life in them. Some are carrying water and selling it in the township at 1s. for three bucketfuls, some are picking up driftwood from the beach and selling that, and others are foraging far and wide for rushes and other apologies for grass to feed the starved horses which will eat almost anything.

Many are doing very well, but vast numbers are doing very badly: which is easily acounted for when it is known that the population scattered over the diggings is at least from 13,000 to 15,000 souls, and half these would in the present state of affairs, and in view of the approaching winter, be a sufficient population. For a moderate population the diggings may last for years, for the gold is fine and generally well spread about; but the greater part of the accessible ground is well worked out, and some of the best claims have seen their best days. If in the course of three weeks something better than has yet been discovered do not turn up, there will be a frightful amount of distress. As it is, robberies are of frequent occurrence and the Magistrate is kept in work. Lots of fellows get a fortnight's woodchopping under the eye of the police for petty larceny, and other offences. 

A considerable amount of excitement was raised about an intended rush to Wanganui river, away to the south, and some storekeepers have gone there in a couple of open boats, and I daresay there will be a rush to that quarter. It is no easy matter to work the Wanganui, or any other river, at this season. They can't get up to the head waters of these rivers, except by crossing the low main ranges, where it is the belief of experienced gold miners that the matrix of the gold will be found. And it is scarcely possible to reach the upper part of the rivers, as the bush is almost impenetrable; and would almost kill men swagging. The rivers properly can only be prospected by means of canoes, as swagging through the bush cannot be done; and canoes can be worked only by Maoris and by old West Coast hands, who know how to manage such ticklish craft. 

Everything is overdone; population, storekeeping, horses, and everything else. Where one store would suffice for the wants of the people there are five or six to do the work. There are several respectable and well-conducted houses, like Schluter's, which is doing a good trade, but many of the "hotels" are little else than establishments deserving a much more naughty name. These are mainly from Otago. Billiard rooms are as plentiful as can be.

Several little rushes have occured, and are every now and then occurring, and many are trying the worked ground, to try to get enough for bare "tucker;" but nearly everyone complains that go where he will he finds either occupied ground, or exhausted claims, and no rest for the sole of his foot. Still, gold is being got for there are many thousands of ounces in the hands of the bankers.

There are several townships, all up the coast. To give you an idea of this I mention the following: — 

1. There is one at Arahura, a good sized river, about five miles north from Hokitika; and here the town is pretty large. 

2. From Arahura to the mouth of the Waimea (Six-mile Creek) is a distance of four miles, and here also there is a large township, with numerous tents, stores, butchers, bakers, shoemakers, &c. 

3. From Six-mile Creek to the Three-mile Creek, or Kapiti, is a distance of three miles, and and there is a township here. 

4. From Kapiti to Teremakau river is another three miles, and here there is a small township on the south side of the Teremakau, and a small one on the north side of that river. 

All these townships are of course supported by the diggers in the neighboring districts. The trade from Teremakau is pretty good, and consists principally of goods canoed to the Greenstone river, which is eight miles up the Teremakau. Many are going back to the Greenstone, where provisions are cheaper than at the other places, as they can be conveyed with less labor by canoes. Flour at Greenstone is 1s. a pound; sugar, 1s. 6d., tea, about 6s. and 7s. 

A great many deaths occur, and dead bodies are frequently found on the road and along the river side. They are generally put in a sack if one is to be got, a hole is dug, and there they rest. That is all men can do. Some poor fellows have been dreadfully frostbitten in attempting the journey overland. Two men were brought in from the Greenstone, one of them with his feet and part of a leg taken off by the frost, and the other with the loss of his toes. Men attempt the overland route, which is now closed by the snow, leaving without having any proper supply of food. They get to perhaps the Greenstone or further, and have not enough food left to subsist on either for going on or returning. They lose strength, and many fall victims to cold and exposure. Some, half starving, attempt to cross the rivers, and are swept away. One of two men who were recently drowned here was named Myers, a Nelson man. He was a Jew, and had been well known on Collingwood diggings, where he kept a store at one time. A police sergeant goes up from here with the Omeo, having in charge, I think, three men, one for stealing a large quantity of gold, and either one or two for stealing watches.

The following is an extract from a letter dated Hokitika, 18th April:—

"I arrived here from Dunedin about two weeks ago. The diggings here I am afraid are not what they were represented to be; however, I intend giving them a trial. We have been up the Canary river for the last ten days but have done no good yet, cannot get a prospect that would give tucker. I am down to the township to-day for provisions. The place is crowded with men. There will be some queer work here soon I am afraid unless some new diggings are opened, or some public works set going so that people can live, for there are hundreds of men here without means. I believe there would be more gold got if it was not for the wretched weather and the dense bush with which the country is covered, and which makes prospecting so difficult. But from all I can learn, none of the diggings can be called rich, the best of them only paying good wages. The weather for the last seven or eight days has been miserable."

Some time since we mentioned that Mr. Blundell, of the Picton Bank had received a wound in the neck by the accidental discharge of a pistol. The exact nature of the injury could not be ascertained at the time, the medical men at Picton being doubtful as to whether the bullet had lodged or fallen out, while Dr. Cusack, whom he consulted at Nelson, said that he felt it beneath the tonsil, and that it would probably make its exit into the throat. We are glad to hear that this event has taken place, and that after a few days' cough and irritation in the throat he has been relieved from further anxiety by spitting up the bullet.  -Colonist, 25/4/1865.

The Omeo in Port Chalmers, 1872.  Hocken Library photo.

Shipping Intelligence

Storm at Hokitika. — There have been several accidents to the shipping during the past few days. On Saturday quite a strong gale was blowing, during which we learn that the Lady Darling and Omeo steamships lost an anchor and cable each, and the former a lifeboat in addition. The Favorite broke away from the Omeo, leaving on board the captains of the Yara, Ruby, and Favorite, and with great difficulty reached the river, shipping several seas as she did so. The Ruby rode out the gale manfully, but lost an anchor and cable, and got inside the bar on Monday, her funnel, which had inadvertently dropped overboard, being carried out to her by the steamship New Zealand. The Wakool, engaged in lightering the steamship Omeo, yesterday had a signal of distress flying all day, but before high water she was steaming on to the beach, where she now lies, high and dry — another offering to the sea gods who particularly patronise the West Coast. It appears that she was found to be making so much water that this was the only course left open to the captain to prerent her from sinking. The Wakool endeavored to get in on Monday night, but, itseems, without avail. She now lies on the beach about a mile to the north of the township. Crowds rushed off to render assistance, and one enterprising drayman ran his horses into the surf, quite close to the ship, to bring ashore the passengers, who, however declined this mode of conveyance; and a heavy sea coming in upset the dray and nearly drowned the horses. A subscription was immediately started by Mr. R. Reeves, auctioneer, of Hokitika, and Captain Edwards, to reward the plucky fellow — each of those gentlemen at once subscribing a note — and which we believe, was duly followed. The Wakool had on board, as passengers, the absent skippers above named, and Thatcher, who certainly can have bat a poor opinion of Hokitika as yet, having made his debut under rather disagreeable circumstances. The "Unfortunate Man" has been fortunate enough to escape this mishap, at all events, having been ashore some days. The passengers were all safely landed last night, though not without some difficulty and much danger, for the surf was very heavy.— West Coast Times, May 24. 

The following casualties to the shipping at Hokitika were reported to the Otago Daily Times by Mr. Watson, purser of the s.s. Lady Darling, which vessel left Hokitika on the 25th ult: — 

Inside the bar: — Paddle steamboat Nelson, still high on the beach, and not likely at present to be got off. The s.s. Wakool, steam lighter, driven on the beach, and now broken up; wreck sold. The steamer Bruce, driven on the beach, but uncertain as to when she will be got off. The brjgantine Oak, still high and dry on the beach. 

Outside the bar: — The s.s. Waipara, driven ashore seven miles from Hokitika, since condemned and sold. The sloop Gannet and the schooner Glasgow, both driven ashore and both condemned. The schooner Caroline, ashore high and dry, four miles from Hokitika.  -NZ Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, 3/6/1865.

Sydney Shipping News

The steamer Omeo, which came in on Friday night from Valparaiso, is bound to Melbourne, but ran for this port in consequeuce of meeting with the heavy gale, and having lost all her sails and a considerable portion of her bulwarks. Captain Edwards reports tbe Atrevida, and Mary Miller loading in Valparaiso for Sydney.   -Daily Southern Cross, 24/7/1866.

The old favorite steamship Omeo, after an absence of upwards of twelve months, has again visited the Port, in charge of her old commander, Captain Edwards. She brings from Melbourne, in addition to passengers, a large general cargo, and a number of fine draught horses. She left Port Phillip Heads at 6 pm. on the 30th ult., and encountered a continuance of heavy N.W. and westerly gales, with heavy cross seas throughout the passage; and for the safety of her horses, of which she lost a couple, she was for some time hove to. On discharging her inward cargo, she proceeds back to Melbourne, via Bluff Harbor.  -Otago Daily Times, 8/11/1866.

In 1867, after a bout of illness, Captain Edwards seems to have retired from the sea, but his experience as a Master Mariner serves him well on shore as a marine surveyor and shipping agent.  His life at that time is a little confused by the existence of another Captain Edwards in the North Island.  Advertisments for the Port Chalmers regatta of 1871 announce him as Starter.


THE Friends of Captain Edwards, Port Chalmers, are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his late Son, JOHN SPENCER, TO-MORROW (SUNDAY), At 2 p.m., to the Port Chalmers Cemetery.   -Otago Daily Times, 1/6/1872.

Almost a year after the death of his son, John Edwards also lost his wife.  At this po9int, I have to wonder at what was killing the family.  My admittedly less than educated guess is tuberculosis - communicable and slow.

All the ships in Port Chalmers had their flags at half-mast to-day, in respect to Captain Edwards, who has sustained a very heavy bereavement.   -Evening Star, 10/5/1873.

The Dunedin papers announce the death on 9th May, at Port Chalmers, of the wife of Captain J. S. Edwards, late of the s.s. Omeo. The numerous friends of Captain Edwards on the West Coast will sympathise with him in his bereavement.   -Grey River Argus, 20/5/1873.

The mortal remains of the late Captain Edwards, whose familiar face will long be remembered by Port Chaimers residents were committed to the earth yesterday afternoon, the place of sepulture being the Port Cemetery, by the side of his wife, who preceded him to "the bourne from whence no traveller returns" some ten months ago. The funeral was not largely attended, but it would have been otherwise if it had taken place on any other day than the festive one of Christmas, for the deceased gentleman was widely known and endeared to many by his good qualities. The service was conducted according to the Episcopalian ritual, and the Rev Mr Leeson officiated. In commemoration of the occasion, and out of respect to the memory of' the deceased the greater number of the vessels in port hoisted their colours half-mast high during the greater part of yesterday. Captain Edwards was for many years commander of it the steamer Omeo, of McMeekan and Blackwood's line, and afterwards took up his abode in Port Chalmers, where he acted as McMeekan and Blackwood's agent, and was the official Marine Surveyor as well.   -Otago Daily Times, 26/12/1873.


Tuesday, December 30. (Before Capt, Thompson, Drs. Drysdale and O'Donoghue, J.P.’s ) 

Assault. — George Dodson was charged by John Harland with unlawfully assaulting him by throwing him down on the railway platform on the 25th inst. — John Harland: I was standing on the platform at the railway on the afternoon of the 25th, when, without any provocation, the accused came behind me and knocked me down. I had been in the refreshment room speaking to Captain Clark, of the s.s. Tararua, about not having the colors half-mast for the funeral of Captain Edwards, but had not made use of any bad language. — William Whittock was on the platform on the afternoon of the 25th. He saw Harland come out of the refreshment room. The accused then came out, spoke to, and threw Harland down. He could not say whether Harland was the worse for liquor. — Fred, Smith stated he was close to the waiting room on the afternoon of the 25th. Harland came out of the refreshment room. Shortly afterwards the accused came out and spoke to and caught hold of Harland and threw him down. The accused then walked away. — James Richmond gave similar evidence. — Defendant stated he was going past when he heard Harland making use of bad language, he told him he would not have that there, when Harland stated, “It is the likes of him that keeps you _____;" likewise making use of bad language. Harland had been insulting Captain Clark in the refreshment room. He then put his foot behind him and pushed him down. — The Bench inflicted a fine of 1s., and 14s. costs.  -Evening Star, 30/12/1873.


Captain Edwards, who had for years command of the Omeo and other steamers trading in the colonies, died lately at Dunedin. In the very early days of this colony he was engaged in whaling. He had many friends, and was a great favorite, but of late he had been in bad health, and heavy domestic afflictions shattered him sadly.   -Wellington Independent, 17/1/1874.

Port Chalmers old cemetery.