Campbell Island A HistoryCampbell Island A History by I. S. Kerr

A 182 page hard cover book published by Reed in 1976.

Probably the best general book on Campbell Island that has been printed. Covers everything from discovery, sealers, scientific expeditions, depots for the shipwrecked, sheep, farming period, whaling, Cape Expedition (Coastwatchers), to the meteorological station as it was at time of publication.

From dust jacket:

"Campbell Island, some 600km south of Stewart Island, is approximately 70 sq km in area. It is buffeted by howling gales, drenched in driving rain, sees little sunshine even in summer, and its forests consist of one single, cwering spruce tree.
Its existence was unknown to Maori. It was discovered in 1810 and  thereafterserved occasionally as a base for sealing and whaling. British and French scientific expeditions camped there briefly, in 1840 and 1874 respectively; sheep farming was attempted more or less sucessfully in the 1890s - early 1900s.

Continuity of habitation did not begin until 1941, when the island became of strategic importance as a coastwatching station. The war years proved its value as a meteorological observation post and it has been used  and developed in this capacity ever since; it has also a unique value in ecological studies.

Campbell Island is today as comfortable an out station as its climate and topography will allow, and its management under the Department of Lands and Survey and the Ministry of Transport is a credit to those administrations.
This bald outline cando no justice to this lonely island's human history. In one of the world's most disagreeable climates men have had to struggle to keep alive - yet some have volunteered to return, again and again, to pit their endurance and humour against this environment.

Ian Kerr twlls their story, and for good measure, investigates the astonishing legend that it was on Campbell Island that an illegitimate daughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie was marooned for political reasons, and ended her days.

Ian Kerr is Assistant Director in charge of the Forecasting Division of the New Zealand Meteorological Service. He was educated at Wellington College, Waitaki Boys' High School, and Canterbury University, where he graduated Master of Arts in 1937. He joined the Meteorological Service in 1939 and served as meteorologist in the RNZAF during the Second World War.

Campbell Island, deserted since the sheep farm there was abandoned in 1931, was reoccupied by a coastwatching party in 1941 and has since become probably the most important weather syation maintained by the New Zealand Government. The author has therefore a strong professional interest in the island, but he is also a book collector and a student of New Zealand history. His curiosity was aroused by inconsistencies in accounts of the island's discovery and later history, and by a general dearth of published material, particularly on the farm era. Who was the member of the French expedition of 1874 who died on the island, and how did he die ? Was there any grain of truth in the legend of The Lady of the Heather ? And so on. Mr Kerr set to work to answer these questions and many others, and this book is the result.
He regrets that he is not a Campbell Islander by virtue of "residential" qualification but hopes he is one by adoption. He savoured some of the island's peculiar attractions during one short visit on the Holmburn's servicing voyage in 1960."

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