CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION, (INC.)
Air Vice-Marshall A. H. Marsh C.B.E.
C. M. Clark
R. G. Lovegrove
G. MacLean, P. Ingram,
I. Bailey, W. Groenestein,
J. Caskey, R. Foubister (Co-opted)
Mr M. Butterton, Mr C. R. Taylor, Mr I. S. Kerr
Rule Three from the Constitution
Objects of the Association
The objects of the Association shall be:
(i) To create and foster goodwill and comraderie amongst expedition returnees and recruits.
(ii) To compile and retain a comprehensive history at both Islands.
(iii) To organise an Annual General Meeting and Reunions.
(iv) To publish and distribute a Newsletter at least annually.
Address :¬ G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON
Newsletter No.2 31 July 1968
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT
Greetings from your Association Committee here in Wellington. Since the last Newsletter much has happened. Perhaps the most important news is the decision to hold the first national Reunion former Raoul and Campbell Islanders here in Wellington on Saturday 14 September. We have appointed a Sub-committee to organise the Reunion. Its convener is Robin Foubister (OIC Campbell 1967) and the two members are Richard Lovegrove and Grahame MacLean. Details of the arrangements are to be found on another sheet. We hear already that chaps are coming from Auckland, Invercargill, Ohakea, Oamaru, and Christchurch. We look forward to a terrific weekend.
On Saturday 13 July the Association held a most successful film evening in the lecture theatre of the new Meteorological Office at Kelburn. Ninety people attended to see a most interesting collection of 16mm movie films taken either on Campbell or Raoul during the last 25 years. The idea for such a film evening originally came from Bruce Goffin (Campbell 1962). We were naturally very thrilled by the success of the function.
To coincide with the usual midwinter celebrations this year, the Antarctic Society sponsored an impressive display of Antarctic photographs and information in the New Zealand Display Centre Building in Wellington. Your Association was invited to contribute a Sub-antarc¬tic section to this display, in conjunction with the Department of Civil Aviation. This we were delighted to do, and many of the visitors passed favourable comment on the Campbell Island corner.
Your Committee has been holding regular meetings in the various members' homes. We have co-opted Robin Foubister on to the Committee to help with the increasing work, but we still seem to take many hours each night to get through the business. I guess this is a sure sign that the Association is flourishing! Incidentally, at the last meeting Richard Lovegrove announced that we now have 50 financial members, which is very heartening indeed. Peter Ingram has been continuing his research into the history of Campbell and Raoul. He has been coming up with some interesting tidbits, some of which appear in this Newsletter.
Our Secretary, Richard Lovegrove, has been appointed OIC Raoul Island for 1968-69. Richard has done a tremendous job in getting this Association going, and he will be sorely missed. Fortunately he will remain in the saddle until the Annual General Meeting. Congratulations Dick!
In the last Newsletter we sent special greetings to the old hands currently doing tours at Raoul and Campbell. I inadvertently omitted the "daddy" of them all – “Snow'' 'Todd, serving his fourth spell on Raoul. Our best wishes to you “Snow” and to all the boys on Raoul and Campbell.
ON THINGS HISTORICAL by 'Pierre'
In taking on the project of this column a few months ago in our first newsletter, I had a somewhat light hearted approach which was indicated in the title and my island nickname beneath. Not having one fluid ounce of the historian's blood in my veins, I visualized gossip laden articles of historical facts, to be made even more entertaining by their non-chronological sequence. This view was quite suddenly dampened when Mr I. S. Kerr, Assistance-Director, (forecasting), of the Meteorological Service, loaned me his complete and excellent history of Campbell Island to read. Here was a small volume of correctly researched facts laid down in an informative and concise manner, the very model from which I must work. It was therefore with some relief and pleasure, when I approached Mr Kerr, upon his recent return from overseas, that he agreed to become co¬writer in the series and make available his work, leaving me to concentrate on the Kermadec Islands.
Dr R. A. Falla, recently retired director of the Dominion Museum, put me to work with a list of references, in the Alexander Turnbull Library, but Newsletter 2's deadline was fast approaching and my start was defeatingly late. I had to do something rather quickly, so I turned to Mr. J. A. Henderson, the Surveyor-General of Lands, whom I had recently met at our film evening, and armed with tape recorder, extension lead, and maps, cluttered up his office and time for two hours one morning. The full work of the Raoul Island Survey Expedition 1937, in which Mr Henderson was employed as surveyor will be covered much later, but here is the scene and his experiences on this island 31 years ago.
Most Raoul Islanders are familiar with the Aeradio Committee which in 1937 recommended to Cabinet that Raoul be surveyed for the prospect of becoming a weather station, a site for directional radio services, a station reporting weather forecasting information to ships and aircraft and visual watch area in time of war With this task in mind, Government dispatched a survey party from Wellington, 6:13p.m. 12 July 1937, on the NZGMV 'Maui Pomare'" which under fair weather conditions, sailed to Raoul, anchoring off Oneraki (North Beach) 7:42 a.m. 16 July. The team consisted of:
Officer in Charge J. E. Anderson, PWD (now MOW)
Second in Command J. A. Henderson, Lands & Survey Dept
E. B. Davison, Internal Affairs Dept
V. J. Clinch, Radio Operator P & T
L. Stanaway, Chairman-Mechanic, PWD
A. H. Edmond, Labourer-Cook, FWD
With some 75 casks and 26 packages of equipment to unload, the first Government departmental servicing of Raoul Island commenced briskly. But difficulty was soon experienced with the surf. Rain and a force 4 wind the following day caused the master to raise anchor and steam for Niue, still with building materials and 17 casks aboard. On shore the party found a population of 7 to greet them. These were members of the 'Kermadec Development Society', a disgruntled group of men under the control of Alfred Bacon (then in his sixties) attempting to grow crops and fruit on a 275 acre freehold granted by government to Thomas Bell towards the end of the last century. The syndicate which owned and leased this ground was based in New Zealand and this subject will be covered in later articles.
The Aeradio Camp was erected on the present hostel site and was named Matatirohia. It consisted of a radio shed with canvas lean-to and a cluster of five tents around it. The 'Maui Pomare' returned on Wednesday 28 July and completed the unloading and took on five of the settlers to return them to New Zealand. Alfred Bacon and a young adventurer, Bruce Robertson, stayed behind to assist the survey team, living in Bacon's nikau whare, 'Baconsfalt', on the eastern side of Bells Ravine near the farm road now in existence.
Mr J. A. Henderson recalls the 'going' was rather tough during the survey and found it impossible to reach Hutchison Bluff and could not fully traverse the Smith Bluff area to the South. The contours that subsequently appeared on his map, KIE No: 15, are to be regarded as generally in line with the terrain but not necessarily accurate. Accidentally he renamed Bollons Peak, Mahoe after a large tree on its site, Mount Junction was written in as Prospect, and Mount Campbell was hidden beneath the more technical title of Trig 2. The original names did not appear on S. Percy Smith' s chart of 1887, (in fact Moumoukai was the only point named), but came to light on a rubber stamp map 3 ½” x 4 ½” found in 1939. This neat little duplicator must have dated from Oliver's scientific expedition of 1907-08. Dougall Rocks was named after a friend of Henderson's and the ridge Kopikopiko (to wander about) between Bollons Peak and Mount Junction and the point Pukekohu (covered in mist) were both named by the leader J. E . Anderson.
While traversing the coast just West of Darcy Point, he came upon the shattered remains of the American five masted schooner 'Columbia River' which ran aground on 8 September 1921. Besides a coastline strewn with good timber, he also found and sampled some of her cargo, a drop of rather good scotch. Sailing ships were known to take whiskey on for the two-fold purpose of keel ballast and ageing. Needless to say its presence must have been a continual headache to the skipper and also to the boys of the RNZNS “Achilles" who located a cache of it in a small cave during the Second World War. A mystery wreck was also spotted embedded in a lava flow sixty chains West from the last ravine on Bell’s Beach. Mr Henderson suspected two wrecks, one being 'built of teak, of which he obtained a sample. There is a faint possibility that it could be the remains of the barque “Malmen" , which was abandoned in a sinking condition off Raoul in December of 1902. The crew went ashore but finding no inhabitants, (the Bell’s were in residence at Denham Bay at this), sailed their longboat .to Tonga, which they reached twelve days later with no hardship.
Whales were happily breeding off the island during his stay and he frequently saw them rubbing on the rocks off Nash Point. Although Mr Henderson successfully bounced a rather large boulder off the back of one, he failed to create a supply of whale meat for the camp. A more violent battle took place in their boat when he was bent on retrieving a valuable hook and lure from a shark. A well aimed blow from a tomahawk brought out the shark's finest athletic characteristics and a vigorous dance ensued in the centre of the craft while Mr Henderson’s two companions disappeared fore and aft respectively. Their fine catch of Kahawai and kingfish was virtually destroyed and Mr Henderson's reputation as a fine fisher¬man was severely damaged.
Thermal activity was far greater in 1937-38 than I knew it 1961-62. While in camp on Mount Junction, Mr Henderson saw venting of steam on the northern side of Blue Lake after a small earthquake had been felt. The water in the area of this lake muddied and the resulting scum can be seen in photographs taken from Judith. Varying water temperatures could be experienced when swimming in Green Lake, and the Alum Cave then measuring 4 feet high by 6 feet deep, was used as an effective turkish bath. Steam rose from the cliffs at Denham Bay and the eastern end of North Beach could be dug out and hot baths rewarded their labours. Nash Point was in a very wobbly state and once threw Mr Henderson from his bunk in the thatched hut erected there. The dog in the team flatly refused to sleep out on the point and retired to the 'mainland' during the night. Goats were as thick as ever and Ted Davison shot 686 in his five months with something 1ike 1000 rounds of .22 ammunition. Admittedly the goats would not be gun shy then, but it is a remarkable tally with such a small calibre rifle. A total of 866 were shot with .22 and .303 in the nine months of residence. This brought about the blowfly curse at their camp but the use of two flytraps finally won the battle.
Mr Henderson’s photographic contribution to the Aeradio Committee report is a delight to any Raoulite and source of interest to those still to make the trip. In the foreground of a panoramic series of Hutchison Bluff, will be seen the well known Auckland yachtsman ,Johnny Wray. Johnny had the cutter Ngataki which he built during the depression of the 30’s and sailed to Raoul several times, once taking Bacon and Robertson up to settle. He almost carried out the first successful venture to ship oranges on a commercial to the Auckland markets, but a hungry crew ate the cargo while southbound. The Ngataki and her captain, however, did assist Mr Henderson for his off-shore photography, and these are the scenes that will enable past expedition members to get a more accurate profile of the island.
J. A. Henderson completed his work and the survey party was withdrawn on the 6 April 1938 ) by the ‘Maui Pomare’. Only once since, has he seen Raoul Island and this time only briefly in 1944 from the flight deck of a Catalina flying boat, of which he was its navigator.
SHIPWRECKS, New Zealand Disasters: By Ingram & Wheatley
This well known book is more for reference than straight reading entertainment. Published by Reed in 1936, it was brought to date in 1951 with the sinking of the launch ‘Ranui’ at Mount Maunganui. Within its pages will be found record of the Kermadec and Auckland Island wrecks as well as separate accounts of the 49 disasters that have taken place over the years around Chatham's rocky shores. 'Unfortunately fire destroyed a great number of the photographic blocks for this book, and later pressings are not as well illustrated. Well worth your perusal, it will be found in any reference library or larger bookshop. (Co-author W. N. Ingram is no relative.)
THE AUCKLAND ISLANDS, Their Eventful History : Fergus B. McLaren
A readily available book also from Reeds’ publishing house, McLaren's accurate account of Auckland Island's early history makes easy and informative reading. From Charles Enderby's abortive colonial whaling industry to the accounts of shipping disasters in the area, it can be regarded as an excellent book for reference, as the work was originally his M. A. thesis.
Pete Ingram 19/7/68
"NEWS FROM THE ISLANDS"
Another article on current news and events to stir up the nostalgic feelings of all ex-Islanders.
The following was received over the R/T from Campbell Island's Officer-in-Charge, whom we must forgive for opening the news using Met. Jargon. Synop. of events February-July 1968. After 944: The final stage of the "Beacon complex" was the addition of navigation lights, which was Warren's department. To assist landing the batteries at Boyack Point "Father" designed and constructed a standing derrick-crane plus two mooring bollards.
Vince, Bruce and John have put in some heavy work on the improvements to the 'bomb-shed' and environs. These include a second Shingle ' "runway" for easterly releases, new caustic drains and sludge trap, new cupboards, and extensive interior maintenance. The station survey is almost finished and recent chilly weather has set us timely about the interior painting programme, which naturally includes a spruce-up for 'Aurora', but you hackers know the rest of the story.
An intrepid event took place on March 25 when the "Eltanin" called of a rendezvous with 'Aurora' West of Shoal Point, on account of the high seas. John, Bruce, Ross and Self turned for home, but were soon obliged to seek shelter in the lee of the Point once more due to shipping green water. With night-fall approaching, Bruce on early morning shift and Ross soaking wet, were dispatched home over¬land; no mean feat as Ross had already hiked back from Bull Rock that afternoon.
John, Peggy and Self spent a cool night aboard Daddy's yacht and romped home against 'a fifty knot wind to breakfast on half a bottle of brandy at the new 0600 cocktail hour. Commander Thornton gallantly bounced around for twenty-four hours waiting for a break, but was eventually resigned to continue his voyage taking our stores mail and several thousand smokes for a joyride around the Southern Ocean. The next two months saw some ingenious uses for pipe-tobacco.
Another small drama occurred on May 25 when an easterly took half of the wharf store roof away, flattened one of the beacons, skittled the stack of empty diesel drums which dented the power-house and generally caused minor inconvenience. The blokes worked exception¬ally well in uncomfortable conditions to make the station secure by sunset.
The "Eltanin" got in on June 5 on her second cruise, delivering five bags of mail, fresh chomps, the much needed smokes and two charming ladies whom (despite our efforts), graciously declined to stay!
We, were surprised to find Bill Lucy (ex Antarctic Surveyor) aboard and were delighted to learn of his appointment as Leader of the Vanda wintering-over expedition.
A few welcome drinks for our "dry" visitors and all too soon they were on their way.
Throughout the summer a rather novel correspondence has been maintained with a newspaper "KRISTIANSUND NORWAY", which has adopted Campbell as their approximate antipodes. We hope that future expeditions will continue the exchange of light-hearted news and penmanship. Scheds. with 997 (Raoul Island), 998 (Macquarie Island) and Scott Base have kept us in touch with local rogues and vagabonds. Mid-winter was celebrated on June 21 with a long buffet-dinner lasting some nine hours, which was a masterpiece of Gordon's skill. Only Vince and Self took to water, with one using Government tape and the other Post Office string - (strategically placed!).
4ZA Invercargill gave us a grand programme and we were warmly remembered by a host of telegrams, for which we express our sincere thanks.
With the 1967/68 party "over the hump" the momentum gathers for the finale, but we do send our kindest regards to our predecessors and congratulations to the committee for a successful launching of the Association.
Signed Reg. Blezard ' (OIC)
On Tuesday 23 July we received a call from the boys on Raoul Island and their news leaves no doubt that the past few months have been most interesting for them.
On the 31 March a 'mini-servicing', took place when the' "Moana Roa" called with much needed stores and mail. It spent nearly all day at Raoul and almost 40 tons of cargo was unloaded. The morning paper was delivered by air on three occasions during the past three months, along with other mail.
Mr Ed. (Senior Met.) was favoured when on one occasion a Canberra was dispatched from Ohakea containing a parcel solely for him.
One of the highlights of the last few months occurred in early June when the Trimaran "Roulette" and its crew of 4, from the Bay of Islands Yacht Club, called in and stayed a week, after battling the storms for two weeks between New Zealand and Raoul Island. The "Roulette" is now at Rarotonga and is expected back in September.
Readers may recall that this Trimaran was reported missing, but this misconception was clarified after a call was put through to Rarotonga and the news of their safe arrival was passed back to New Zealand.
Another incident occurred when a message from ZLD (Auckland Radio) gave the alert that the yacht "Roiata" had overturned near Raoul Island. An all-night radio-watch was requested and this was maintained by Andy Simmons (radio-technician). You can imagine the great sense of relief when Andy managed to contact the "Roiata" at 4am and was advised that all was well on board once more.
All ex-Raoul Islanders will remember the bull-dozer (1937 model) and it is interesting to note that Terry Geraghty (mechanic), has been using it to full advantage. Now there is almost a four-lane highway through Low Flat.
July 6 was a night to remember, when a hangi was held to celebrate Owen Todd's and Charlie Grbic's birthdays. Parties have been few and far between, mostly for lack of the most important item. However, this festivity made up for them all as cooking began at 2pm with chicken, pork, beef, new potatoes etc, followed by the Daddy of all parties.
Fishing, goat-shooting, and even earthquakes have all been relatively quiet this year, with nothing outstanding.
Dick Browning, (handyman) and Mr Ed. recently spent the weekend at Boat Cove, during which time they renovated, cleaned and painted the hut. Advance-bookings are now required for the holiday season. Much work and renovation has been carried out on the farm by Charlie Grbic. The rewards for his effort are becoming obvious, and its good to know that Charlie is staying on for another year.
An addition to Raoul's community is Fred -a healthy, active, playful soul who has quickly adapted himself to civilised life. Fred , as a small wild kitten, was caught by Neville and Andy some six months ago.
Neville and Terry have been fully occupied with a type of yacht-cum-raft with all the trimmings, sails, rudder, mast, rigging and out-rigger etc. A most seaworthy craft.
The recent weather on this Sub-tropical Island is worthy of a brief note. Storms, rain, strong winds and even hail have all been recorded. The one and only blue-gum tree outside the Met. Office was one of the casualties, and with it came the power lines.
With only three months to go, work has commenced in preparation for the servicing and we all look forward to seeing New Zealand again.
Our thanks go to all on Campbell and Raoul Islands for supplying the news and views which are so necessary for our Newsletter.
Ian Bailey(collector and collator of "News" article)