Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Book Review: The Enderby settlement: Britain’s whaling venture on the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands 1849-52 / by Conon Fraser.

The Enderby Settlement : Auckland Islands

“Englishman Charles Enderby hoped to set up a whaling base and farming settlement on the Auckland Islands. In 1849 and 1850, 200 settlers arrived from Britain. They built a town, Hardwicke (named after the ship that brought them there, “Earl of Hardwicke”), but agriculture was difficult and they left in 1852”.
Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This book is about Charles Enderby and his failed attempt to set up his whaling station. In 1849 the whales were scarce and he discovered that the Maori were already there, they had understood the islands to be uninhabited. The HMS Fly had visited the islands some time previously but neglected to pass on the correct information, Maori had been living there for some 8 years by that time.  

Never the less they went ashore and attempted to set up their new colony but it was to be a disaster, it was too isolated and a very stormy climate, so together with the inexperienced settlers, this meant that by 1852 they had given up. They upped sticks and took everything, not even a trace of the grand Government House was left behind!
Government House was described as “A splendid wooden house – English built – 14 rooms” see pg. 61.

A fascinating story of New Zealand’s history on the Auckland Islands. The author sadly passed away before his work was published.
This map shows where the settlement was sited, from page 15 of this book.

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