Newsletter No 1 (1968)



I am delighted to have this chance to extend my warmest greetings to all former Campbell and Raoul Islanders. It was a great honour to be chosen as first President of the Campbell – Raoul Association.

It is quite obvious from the numerous letters Richard Lovegrove has received that there is considerable enthusiasm and support for our Association. Unfortunately, only about 20 blokes have actually joined up so far, perhaps because the subscription was set a little high. This cannot be changed until another General Meeting is held, and in the meantime we arc continuing to send newsletters etc to all who are on the address list. This is expensive, so I would urge all who can find the cash to send a subscription to the Secretary.

The big decision for the Committee to make at its next meeting in April is whether or not to organise a Reunion for later this year. It would be of great help to us to hear what some of you think about this. We want suggestions on date, venue, type of function, etc. Please drop us a line on this one if you have any ideas.

It is intended that this Newsletter be brought out at least twice a year. We would be delighted to receive articles of historical or general interest about Raoul or Campbell Islands from some of you old doggies who have hacked it. Also, don't hesitate to make suggestions on the layout or content. We are keen to learn.

It is appropriate at this point to comment on the terrific job Richard Lovegrove is doing as Secretary. Richard, for those of you who don't know him, did two consecutive years as Handyman on Raoul then spent several months in the United States to get rid of the money he earned! He has devoted a tremendous amount of time to the Association and more than anyone else, is responsible for getting it off the ground.

To the chaps who are at present "sweating it out" on Raoul and Campbell, I extend the Committee's very best wishes for the rest of your year. To Gordon Surrey, doing his third year as cook on Campbell, to Ed de Ste Croix, doing his first year on Raoul after two tours on Campbell, and to Vince Sussmilch, doing his first year on Campbell after two on Raoul, we send our very special greetings.

Colin Clark


by 'Pierre'

Most members of our newly formed Association, will have heard from time to time, sketchy details of past happenings and developments in both the Kermadec Group of islands and Campbell Island. Their respective histories are as old as the European settlement of New Zealand, full of the usual heart¬breaks and hardships and isolated triumphs that our country had to go through in its formative years. Both Raoul and Campbell are easy to picture during this period, as little has altered in their outward appearance over recent centuries.

I returned from both islands with the usual souvenirs. Drift-wood ashtrays, pumice fishing floats, bits of rusty but valuable knick-knacks from temporary hobbies. All these items in my case, were carefully stored, and after a two or three year period, reclassified as junk, and dispatched to the local tip. One thing that did remain behind was a slim folio of notes and newspaper clippings on the past and recent histories of both islands. Looking through these now, I can see them as a basis to run a regular column in our Newsletter, broadening their scope by information from readers and references to previously published works either by Government or private author. There would be no necessity for chronological sequence in the articles, but each Newsletter would deal with a specific period or occasion, researched from contributions and whatever I can locate from records around Wellington. The theme for each article will be notified in the previous published column, allowing members plenty of time to write to me, care of the Secretary, if they so wished. It is easy to see the appreciation I would feel from such support.

I have some excellent notes from past Expedition members which fill some good gaps. John Squibb wrote a concise and informative history on Campbell Island for a Christchurch newspaper, and Lew Sharman was responsible for an amusing Q30 in 1963 which set the scene at Tucker Cove during his residence, all told with the diligent tapping of a morse key. Bob Rae of Hastings knows I will be frequently after him for information, due to a length of service on Campbell Island that I somewhat envy. No piece of information will be too small to assist in these articles. Did you know that the Kermadecs once had their own postage stamp, that a convict on parole, Elizabeth Farr, was the first known woman to step ashore on Campbell Island as far back as November of 1810? Raoul Island had its first crude Post Office soon after the turn of the nineteenth century, the German raider ‘Wolf' was responsible for the sinking of the steamer ‘Wairuna' and the schooner 'Winslow’ in the Kermadecs on June 2nd 1917 and that Thomas Bell formed a company in April of 1885 in the hope of laying full claim to Raoul Island. It is obvious that readers ideas will conflict from time to time to what is written in the column and that their criticisms are certainly invited and will be published and discussed in the following Newsletter. With this type of help the history will only prosper in its size and accuracy. Eventually I hope to be able to present the Department of Civil Aviation with a conclusive history with which, if they so desire, to print and distribute to future expedition members as an added interest to the unusual privilege of serving on the islands.

In concluding this introductory article, here is a small account of the meetings I had with Roy Bell in 1963 and 1965, the youngest son of Thomas Bell (Raoul Islander 1878-1914), who had been living on Norfolk Island since prior to World War 2. In September of 1963, Dave Leslie (Raoul 1962 and 1965) and myself were drawn to Norfolk Island by the lure of duty free goods and spent a week in this pleasant spot, which enjoys an identical climate to that of the Kermadecs. We visited Roy Bell at his bach, which is now pulled down and the garage opposite Prentices has been extended over the site. Roy was in his 82 year and in pretty good nick; somewhat thin as he always had been, but erect and with a clear memory of the past, as is often noticed with elderly people of good health. He was naturally happy to be recalling the Kermadecs once again and we spoke with him for two hours. Little was added to the historical outline of their settlement on Raoul that I didn't already know, but the lucid detail of a good conversationalist was there and trusting to my own memory and not visualising this column at the time those vital little details have now floated out on the ether beyond my grasp. I told Roy if I ever had the chance to pass through Norfolk again, I would bring my collection of photographic slides on Raoul so that once again he might see this island and recall the cliffs and ridges whose complexities were as familiar to him as the arrangements of our own backyards are to us.

In April of 1965, a long standing desire to visit the central areas of Australia took me back through Norfolk Island. Roy Bell was perched up in a bed of the local hospital this time, a little more tired but his interest far from dulled. The nurses moved all the patients down to the lounge that evening and Roy, fiddling in the new fangled luxury of a dressing gown, sat alongside the projector in the place of honour. I commenced the commentary with the slides of the trip northwards in the MV 'Holmburn', but as soon as Roy spotted Fishing Rock, he took over and the island he had not seen for fifty four years burst into life. Not one angle of the camera had him bluffed and he held his audience enthralled during the two hour show. A long time after the doctor's curfew Roy was assisted off to bed in a pretty bright state that must have kept the night nurse on her feet for a while.

Roy passed on in early '67 and must have been in his 86th year when laid to rest in an island that must have many times reminded him of his birthplace. You know, Roy was only his nickname; he was christened Raoul Sunday Bell in 1881.

The settlement of Raoul Island is an interesting one and in the next newsletter I will try and trace it up to the ash eruption of 1872. Any contributions, please?

Pete Ingram
Raoul Island 1962
Campbell Island 1964


Readers will appreciate that this, our first newsletter, cannot contain all that we would desire to include. Consequently we can only include excerpts from a wealth of interesting information received from both islands. The rest will follow in subsequent newsletters, thus forming a regular feature of current news from both islands.

A recent letter from Campbell Island's Officer-in-Charge, (Mr Reg. Blezard) indicates that apart from their routine duties, their first major effort was to install the Beacon Complex, a navigation aid for the harbour entrance approach. This work was started by the previous expedition members , has had the advice of the Captains of the 'Picket-Ships' and Captain Boyack, (Nautical Adviser to Marine Department), and the spadework by this year's expedition. It comprised a set of beacons erected on various parts of the harbour, which, when lined up enables ships to drop their pick in eleven fathoms, or just 350 yards from the wharf". Some interesting figures worthy of note were discovered by the research ship 'Eltham' during her position check on CampbellIsland. The O.I.C. had this to say ¬“It appears that the island is spinning at a rate of one ante-clock¬wise revolution every 45,886 years, and is heading on a collision course for Guatemuka at a speed of 0.00001 142 knots - quite frightening, but we promise to wave at Raoul on the way past”.

Other work projects on the island include the surfacing of the new wharf extension with a reinforced concrete apron, and we under¬stand the Met. boys are preparing a shingle 'runway' for a balloon release area outside their ‘bomb hut'.

In the way of sundry station equipment, Father (Bob Adkin) has built a new shed and a trailer for the Oliver and also pensioned off 'Perseverance II', by building the ' African Queen’ a 9 x12.5 gallon drum raft "suitable for man hauling”.

The first five months on Campbell Island must always be their busiest and this year seems no exception, as Reg had this to say about their numerous visitors -

“The wildlife programme had a particularly marvelous boost with the arrival of Mr F. C. Kinsky, D. Speikman and Dave Paull. Along with Gordon, Tony and Morris, the team covered all the major breeding areas and brought to a climax the past four years intensive study of the Royal Albatross. Thirty-eight specimens of fourteen species were collected and work on the general banding programme will be documented on an official basis. One particular trip to Bull Rock saw 1,700 birds handles (i.e. banding and recoveries), and a new two man banding record was sat at 864 birds in one day by Gordon Surrey and Dave Paull.

The second focus on wildlife came with the arrival of Peter 'Piet the Crab' Roberts from Victoria University to continue his plankton and crab studies. With new gear and a converted carpenter's shop he soon had his aquarium filled with crabs, fish, limpets and the odd octopus. All in all, a fascinating study which aroused much interest.

A courtesy visit from the Dunedin Harbour-Master, Captain Murray Church, ended with the delightful presentation of a four ring Captain’s tunic. The result - The Perseverence Harbourmaster is now running around with great delusions of grandeur.

Bad weather cancelled the "Burton Islandsil chopper landing, but this was compensated for by an unexpected call by the ' Endeavour' and two visits from the 'Magga Dan'. A typical Campbell Island reception was laid on, including the hoisting of the Danish flag, and a field trip over the island. There are stories of parties, barbeques and such goings on that only ex-islanders can believe, but also we have not the space to tell you of them.

From Raoul Island we seem to have a shorter article, but only because of the lack of mail at this time. Like their counterparts down South, they also have been busy. The new darkroom which was erected last year is now a working concern and in great demand, but their greatest effort must surely have been in establishing an entirely new vegetable garden.

A distinct decline in the quality of the produce has been noticed, so consequently the massive vegetable garden previously located in front of the hostel is now situated in a paddock nearer the orchard. However, garden or no garden, with Owen (alias 'Snow') Todd back on the island as 'Chef', we can readily believe the numerous stories of fantastic cooking.

Yachts seem to be having trouble locating Raoul this year, but already one visit from the “Moana Roa” and rumours of almost certain visits in the near future, will compensate for this.

Having 'Patsy' out of water for repairs for a greater part of this year, has certainly handicapped the fishing. However, still we hear stories of Neville's (Met) and Charlie's (Farmer) 67 ½ lb groper. The two-day fishing contest that many of us heard mentioned over 2ZB's Sunday Request session was eventually won by Bob Kennedy with his 39lb shark. Alas, too much of this talk brings back too many nostalgic memories. However, it is obvious to all that, like Campbell Island, the boys on Raoul are also having an exceptional year.

We take this opportunity to welcome and thank the seven new financial members on Raoul for their interest and support and those on both islands for helping prepare this article for our first newsletter.

By Ian Bailey


The staff recently moved into their imposing new 4 storey building in Salamanca Road, adjacent to the old 'Headquarters'. With the Cossar Radar Unit mounted on the roof, and all the records and climatological data in one building, there may be a marked improve¬ment in our local weather! To our members at Scott Base we send our best wishes for the dark months. Last flight out was 24 February, and the first flight in is scheduled for 6 October, with the probability of a Mid-Winter Flight in July. Annual Servicing for Campbell is scheduled for late September, and Raoul early October. No more inward mail to Campbell before the Servicing.

Heard that the M.V. 'Taranui', (Oceanographic Survey Ship under charter to D.S.I.R. ), called in at Raoul on 29 February. Guess they don't often have visitors on Leap-Year Day!

H.M.N.Z.S. 'Otago' leaves NZ on 18 March, arriving at Raoul two days later. I feel sure that any magazines or surplus books would be welcomed by the boys on Raoul. The closing-date for mail will probably be about 12 March.

Our congratulations to Rob Foubister on being appointed Leader, 1968-69 Antarctic Expedition. Rob was Leader of Campbell Island 1966-67.

Ken MacBryde was transferred from Auckland down to Wellington Public Hospital, and is now up and moving about. Our best wishes Ken for a speedy recovery.

It is with deep regret that we record the accidental death of Gleanor Pamela, wife of Brian Rear, (ex Raoul 1961-62), on 5 March, at Southland. A floral tribute will be sent by the Association, on behalf of all who would wish to be present.

Our thanks to 2ZB and Bas Tubert for the Sunday Request Session call to "The Boys on Raoul". Much appreciated by us all.

Richard Lovegrove

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