CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION (INC.)
NEWSLETTER Vol 2 Number 9 DECEMBER 1973
Association Officers 1972 - 73
Air Vice-Marshall A. H. Marsh C.B.E.
|Peter Ingram||Bill Hislop|
|Richard Lovegrove||M. Butterton|
|Peter Shone||H. Carter|
|Tom Taylor||Capt. J. F. Holm|
|David Leslie||I. Kerr|
|Noel Caine||C. Taylor|
|H. W. Hill|
Peter (Pierre) Ingram
"The Islander" is the official quarterly bulletin of the Campbell-Raoul Islands' Association (Inc.) and is registered at the Post Office Head quarters, WELLINGTON, for transmission through the Postal Services as a magazine. All enquiries should be addressed to: The Secretary, CRIA (Inc.), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON. Contributions to the bulletin should be forwarded to the Editor, CRIA (inc), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON, and subscriptions to the Treasurer. Current membership rates are $3 per annum.
A MESSAGE FROM THE NEW PRESIDENT
Since Tony Bromley has departed for yet another year into the frozen wastes of Antarctica, it became necessary to 'elect' another President for the Association, and by fair means or foul, the lot has fallen upon me. However, it is an honour and I trust that I will be able to serve the Association in the time honoured way.
With a new committee and many new faces appearing on the scene, it looks like a bigger and better year ahead than ever before.
Remember, this year there will be a reunion somewhere, sometime, so just in case its not in your town start saving those dollars and cents now. We would like action to be the motto this year so lets get to it. Don't forget this is your Association formed by you, for you, so lets keep it going. Any ideas you may have, we want to know about them.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the previous committee for its work over the year and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, whoever you are and where ever you may be.
THE INEVITABLE QUESTION
One answers questions from members of the interested public from time to time, pertaining to our island outposts. Some want to know what motivated us to go into voluntary isolation, others are interested from a geographical point of view. And then a few inquire after historical facts when they learn that both the Kermadec Group and the Sub-antarctic Islands played a real part in New Zealand's nineteenth century pioneering history.
Run-of-the-mill stuff which we have answered with reasonable accuracy over the years. But in this past, one inevitable question will present itself with awkward frequency, by the inquirers who know you have knocked about, been both north and south and was temporarily devoted to hermit life.
"Which island did you prefer - Raoul or Campbell?"
For myself, it defies a lucid answer. The balance of preference is weighed and the needle swings neither north or south. Of the many areas I have lived in within New Zealand, I have no difficulty of selection and would gas up and go tomorrow if it would only fit the family pattern and economics. How now, with two small islands climatically poles apart and set to two entirely different ways of life? The versatility shown by an orange-peeler turned bird bander is a characteristic of our earlier years. Now mellowed by domestic stability and comfort, thoughts are biased by sun and fish-filled surf, rather than damp tussock and ridge accelerated westerlies. But with all fairness to the enquirer, I am at a lose about those former years.
Was the thrill of the storm lashing St Col as great as the streaking Kingy straining and tiring your arms? What of the homebuilt sledge on the snow-covered Marsden matting or the scorching volcanic sand under bare feet? Honey's black peak against the auroral glow and the sweet peace of a fern glen under the pohutukawas. Somehow they balance. The answer will forever be a potpourri of delights from 29 and 52 South.
What I find to be one of the most exciting exhibitions mounted by the National Museum in recent years, is a quiet alcove of photographs and articles from Sub-antarctic Auckland Island. Recently introduced by the 'Post’ in a surprisingly large article, the show goes on until February, and is well worth the attention of members. When I visited it on Sunday, Wellingtonians were responding to it well with a quiet attentiveness directed by an information tape by Sir Robert Falla. When Sir Robert takes a breather, the sub-antarctic ocean takes over with a background of well known sea-bird calls and the familiar clacking and chortling of mating Albatross.
Not permitted sufficient time to fully view the exhibition on my first visit and wanting to get into print to advise members in this issue, I had to skip the flora and fauna section. But not before I had a quick check on the high standard of colour photography and the method of display. There is no doubt that I will be back several times before February.
And needless to say, I got bogged down in the historical section and found it hard to move on. A reprint of Bristow's 1806 map by the Hydrological Office rubber-balls the coastline with the HMS 'Blanche' outline of July 1870, and finally comes to rest with the 'pastoral runs for license' map. A fascinating discovery was two paintings of the town of Hardwicke, one a browning oil of good size views the eastern-most buildings and the other a dimutive water colour shows the general spread in this ill-fated settlement.
There is photographic proof that Albert Roberts (Levin) had a much finer head of hair in his thirteenth year rather than his eightieth (as shown in our last issue) and the 'Dundonald' huts on Disappointment Island are true to Escott-Inman's 1910 description. The 'Dundonald' boys' jetty and flagpole are shown to advantage and almost every hut or building site over those dark years is recorded. I would have liked to have seen Musgrave's masterly piece of architecture , 'Epigwaitt', portrayed , but there is proof of its past existence in several photos. Part of his 'Grafton' is sitting alongside the Museum's well-handled sea lion.
There is only one intruder to the Auckland Island scene that I noticed. Ron Balham's diploma from the Campbell Island School of Dancing and signed by principal Laurie Pollack has somehow got itself on display. Whether or not evidence that Laurie could be classified as a wreck after pushing young Ronny through to be an acceptable social dancer, the years have fortunately healed. But poor marks in tango and rhumba possibly point to a period of hardship that might have equaled that of the stranded history-makers of Auckland Island.
The March '74 bulletin is to carry a 7000 word short story, a true tale of happenings on Raoul Island. Author Len Chambers (R 49) of Wellington recently competed with 195 other budding writers in an attempt on the 1974 Katherine Mansfield Award and although pipped at the post, he has generated a tale of Caldwellian earthiness that will delight those who have lived on Raoul.
In thirteen years, Len has written three novels, twenty short stories and some thirty pieces of verse. All depict his deep interest in his fellow creatures and come from observations made during a knock-about life that has involved everything from coastal shipping to bulldozing.
To show his versatility with subject matter, I know he recently did an article on horse racing for a sports paper and at the moment is penning a memorial essay on James K. Baxter. His Kermadec tale will make a pleasant evening this coming March.
His rank is now pedestrian, he sweats then makes his leap
Across the crazy Quay to the wharves' deep daily sleep
What yardstick to adventure that made his do this thing?
First view of new horizons, a crane's slow solitary swing.
Where is all the action to make him earn his crust?
Surely not on this 'Holmburn' with its bent plates and gathering rust.
The gatekeeper says everything is normal, nothing is ever new,
The wharfies left at lunchtime to meet their Waterloo.
A thousand eggs wait on the wharf, pigs' grunts come from a crate,
Nothing moves but a MOT official busily looking for the mate.
This air of peace must certainly breed, later confidence when on the deep,
The 'Holmburn’ sighs and rubs her sides and goes back sound asleep.
The novice throws his bags on the companionway's chaotic pile,
Checks his wallet, remounts the steps, strides off with a certain smile.
Acros s the Quay against the lights, the squealling brakes salute,
A new born individual, in town for last-minute loot.
Toothpaste and Penthouse, and writing paper for Mum,
Then to the pub to find the boys, of lunch not a solitary crumb.
And there is the Met and also the Tech about to sing a song
And sits the Mech as sick as heck, ‘cause he's been out of bed so long.
Carmen's was a great bloody laugh, god, wish she was coming too,
Remember Samantha's look when she tripped over your outstretched shoe.
And the Carlton girls were a lot of fun, if a little dull by day,
And the boss was good about the bed for which we didn't pay.
I'd stay here forever, if the latrine wasn't up two floors,
I think I can make the steps OK, it’s those wretched swinging doors,
And Jock's missed on the horses and Bob can't keep the pace,
When's the 'Holmburn' leaving, can't stand this evil place.
The Southerly is at Kaikoura - Force Seven when it went through,
And the jug is tilted again, to provide a taste not entirely new,
Thirteen hundred hours they said and now it’s well past four,
Someone still has small change, so back to the bar for more.
At last here is the SCR&C with tolerant smile and grace,
Beckoning to the street above - it's the fresh air we can not face.
Back to dear old 'Holmburn' gently straining on the rope,
Up the crazy gangplank, I swear its greased with soap.
Heaven knows which bunk is mine, or where I'll sleep tonight,
With all this noise and chaos - chief steward's taken off in fright.
But aren't we going backwards, I'm sure those piles moved,
Everyone to the deck above, by music the choir's grooved.
'Now is the Hour' and 'Brittania’ Rules the Waves,'
Half an hour from now, we'll see how her sons behave.
So-long dear old Wellington, we love your smoke and grime,
Why we signed up for this, we'll discuss some other time.
2 - The Farm on Raoul. by C. R. Taylor.
In the last issue, Charlie Taylor, former farm advisory officer to the Department of Agriculture described the setting up of the farm on Raoul Island and then went on to supply the necessary technical details of the venture. He rounds off the series now in a general descriptive essay. Later he will be back (June ' 74 issue) with some shipboard reminiscences.
It would be futile to pretend that in my 18 years experience of Raoul Island farming that everything always went according to plan, and never did problems arise to cause worry to various farm managers and others. At the commencement of this article I referred to the fact that I checked weather reports for about ten years back and decided that raiinfall was adequate and bad drought periods were not likely to be a problem. How wrong I was in my forecast. For many subsequent years, prolonged dry periods resulting in badly burnt up pastures, destruction of many economic species like clovers and ryegrass, proliferation of weeds, intense shortage of feed for all stock, low milk production and poor quality meat.
Not that this kind of situation happened every year, but when it did , it certainly resulted in much anxiety. Moreover, it often created a considerable amount of work not only for the current farm manager but also for his successor, by way of renovating pastures, spraying weeds with chemicals (2,4-D) to eradicate them and restoring condition and productivity to livestock as quickly as possible with all the means at hand.
Another problem frequently met with was internal parasites in young sheep and calves up to the yearly stage. Often these animals refused to thrive in these circumstances and unless suitably treated by regular drenching and changes to fresh, clean pastures they would just pine away and die. Adequate care, which was often quite arduous mainly resulted in good results and compensated for all the trouble taken. Mature animals were seldom a problem of any magnitude, but could at times fall victims of common complaints like foot-rot in sheep and mastitis in cows.
Farming on Raoul Island should never be confused with a normal farming operation, say in New Zealand or anywhere else. The farm was established NOT for profit in any shape or form, but entirely to meet the needs of current and future expedition members. Thus there is no sale for any products produced apart from a very small amount of wool and here transport and handling charges often took most of the profits in a normal season. Such wool as is grown, was in my time at least, of good average quality, largely due to the practise of buying good quality rams with sufficient vigour to stand up to their new environment, being somewhat difficult in summer.
Since I have had no contact with Raoul Island or its farm for something like seven years now, I'm obviously in no position to indicate its current condition or numbers of stock carried. However, from 1951, when C.A.A. took over from M.O.W. and the Niue Islanders were dispensed with, the area of farm has been progressively reduced to half its original size and the stock numbers reduced accordingly. I would suggest a staff of nine men would, under the circumstances, have little difficulty in disposing of 3000 pounds or more in a year. (Figures for the 1963/4 party were supplied last issue- Ed.)
In the main most sheep were transported via the 'New Golden Hind' as deck cargo of approximately 40 ewes at a time. Thus several trips (none specially) were invalued before the final 200-300 were accounted for. Rams, 2 to 3 at once were taken up at various times in crates as replacements for the half dozen or so. Dairy stock, such as yearling heifers, were likewise handled as deck cargo, though each was crated separately and unloaded accordingly. Yearling bulls, like rams, were purchased as required over the years but no further female stock was acquired. Some slight degree of inbreeding resulted from our management methods, mainly with sheep and pigs, but not being a commercial farming venture, this caused no worry and no harm was ever observed - and it saved considerable money.
Whilst the 'New Golden Hind' was the main and original vehicle of livestock transport, it befell the lot of several other vessels to provide facilities for replenishing the few male animals needed. Being in crates, all were easily handled. But the Navy, I recall, never really appreciated this unusual duty - obviously the Senior Service was never brought up an animal lover.
Unloading the original ewes from the deck of the 'New Golden Hind' was accomplished by first tying all four feet together and then lowering them into a small boat alongside. Some ten or so were then ferried to Fishing Rock, and duly unloaded via the traditional basket and winch - the latter hand-powered in those days by Niue Islanders. Crated stock were, of course, retained in their crates until safely landed and handed to the top of the cliff by the flying fox. From there they were uncrated and driven to the farm.
In conclusion, may I say that I regarded the decision to establish a farm unit at Raoul Island as wise one indeed for not only did it completely remove the fear of ever being without sufficient food (no air drops in those days), but it provided an abundance of nourishing fresh food which is a morale booster in itself. Moreover, the farm provided various forms of recreation for the staff when off duty and indeed, when on duty - for often would an expedition member be detailed to assist the farm manager erect a fence, attend to a water supply, kill a sheep, milk cows, paint or repair a shed, help with shearing and so on. Vegetable growing, for which the farm manager was also responsible, seemed to be one of the main hobbies of the met boys when off duty, although many of them also liked helping on the farm when suitable arrangements could be made.
Whilst the farm may seemingly have cost a lot to establish and maintain, I'm sure it was much more an asset than a liability. This was shown clearly some years ago by some figures prepared by C.A.A. at a time when serious thought was then being given to closing it down. But apart from the question of pure economics, which must always be considered, just what value can be placed on an asset that gives inestimable pleasure and relaxation to a handful of men who find difficulty in escaping from one another for periods of up to twelve months? The farm area with its variety of animals - sheep, lambs, cows, calves, pigs, fowls, green pastures and gardens, provided just the opportunity for individual escape, even for a short time. Thus it added an additional nearby, healthy 'playground' that the men would not have otherwise had to enjoy.
Charlie Taylor, August 1973.
VOICE OF THE KERMADECS: Raoul, Sunday Jan 2 , 1938. "Clinch working Samoan Clipper ( P.A.A. - Ed) 7.35 to 8.41 this morning till Clipper no longer needed attention. All communication on 600 metres and without any difficulty. Weather information supplied and signals for D.F .. No difficulty whatever this end and hope to be even greater assistance on future service. Henderson."
Dr John Cumpston,
Govt. Printing Office, Canberra, 1968.
The book is a massive piece of research on a solitary island, modestly put together by a professional historian attached to the Department of External Affairs in Canberra. Spanning its 380 pages is a history of Macquarie Island from the time of Frederick Hasselburgh's 1810 discovery to Sir Douglas Mawson's 1929-31 BANZARE residence.
Unavoidably repetitive when dealing with the sealing gangs (as quotes fill half the book), it all adds up to give the reader a most accurate impression of the life and times at 55 South over the past century. Lacking Campbell's harbours, Macquarie sealing was a most hazardous business, not only to shipping but also to the oceanic washout of shore stations. Company directors wisely stayed at home directing their mutinous employees from afar and settling in court with the survivors. The business affairs of Joseph Hatch from 1887 to 1919 are given in detail and most will be surprised to see the extent of development of his factory and methods. One time chemist, fireman, postmaster, councilor, member of parliament, ship owner and factory operator by turn, Hatch mainly exploited the royal penguins for their oil from 1890 until such time as public and scientific outcry forced his withdrawal from the island. The monumental digesters still stand today in rusty ugliness as a tribute to his business tenacity - nothing else.
Interesting mention of Sir Robert Falla and Dr Ritchie Simmers is made whilst they were working ashore from Mawson's ship 'Discovery' during the BANZARE expedition and a spine tingling photograph of a sealing gang descending a cliff on the south side of Campbell will draw comment from those who know this section of coastline.
Cumpston initially set out to cover all the Australasian subantarctic islands, but unearthed so much material that he had to confine his writing to Macquarie alone. His painstaking work is too mind-splitting for the two week loan provided by public libraries, but is more a manual for those who wish to sink into a periodic sub-antarctic coma of an hour's duration.
Some in a hurry might care to scan only his bibliography and index, an intriguing 73 page roundup which actually is quite readable. Top marks also to the 70 illustrations that he chose to include in a book which has been handled by the Australian G.P.O. with the equivalent skill we expect from our own Mr. Shearer. The only mistake is that the Wellingon Public Library ironically chose to catalogue it in the children's section, so that it is unlikely to be discovered by the lunchtime browser.
|Part 2||Sealers of the Early Years||Vol1No5|
|Part 3||Balleny and Biscoe||Vol1No7|
|part 4||Legend of the Lady of the Heather||Vol1No10|
|Part 5||Scientific Expeditions from England and France||Vol1No11|
|Chap-6||Commerce again - Revival of Sealing||Vol2No4|
|Chap-7||Depots for the Shipwrecked and the Protection of Seals||Vol2No5 & No6|
Chapter 8: NEW ZEALAND SCIENTISTS, 1879-1927
The first of many New Zealand scientists to visit the southern islands in the 50 years following the French expedition was Mr E. Jennings, taxidermist to the Otago Museum. He travelled as a guest of the Royal Navy in HMS 'Nymphe' in June 1878 but had only one and a half hours ashore at Campbell Island.
Shortly after this the regular visits of inspection by the Government steamers began and among those who were, from time to time, given passage to the islands were such well known men as J. Buchanan, A. Reischek, F.R. (later Judge) Chapman, T. Kirk, F.W. Hutton, Sir James Hector and L. Cockayne. Preparations for these excursions were necessarily simple. For example, Buchanan provided himself with "abundance of paper for plant-drying purposes carefully packed in a tin box, and other necessaries for plant collecting." The collectors often met with misfortune of one kind or another. The botanist just quoted made a "very excellent collection" of living plants, but "through some inadvertence they went astray during the return voyage." Reischek approached a young nellie which walked to meet him, opened its bill and disgorged a mass of oily matter over him, as if poured from a spout. The smell was so bad he had to throw away his clothes. Cockayne found that, owing to the density of the scrub, it was quite impossible to make any headway burdened with a heavy bag of plants. Night was coming on, and to his intense regret he had to throw away nearly the whole of the plants collected on Lyall's Pyramid.
The attraction, the absorbing interest of the island for these men is revealed in their writings: Buchanan wrote " ... the great beauty of the Antarctic flora is seen to best advantage when contrasted with the dark coloured peaty soil. Plants such as Celmisia vernicosa Hook. F., witt its beautiful purple flowers, may be considered the gems of the southern flora ." From Chapman' s description "In the part of the island where we now were the plants, though not as numerous as at Adam's Island, were even more beautiful. Here the Pleurophyllum speciosum was in better season, and the flowers were of a much deeper purple than those we had seen before." From Hutton: "No systematic attempt was made to collect Coleoptera and only five specimens were obtained. These were all new to science and belong to four new species and one new genus. This is a very good proof that a great deal remains to be done in collecting insects in these islands."
One of the most noteworthy visits in this period was that of the distinguished botanist, Dr Leonard Cockayne, in 1903. It was important for two reasons. All previous studies of the flora of the island had been made in summer; this one was in mid-winter. Moreover, Cockayne had a unique opportunity to observe the effects of the introduction of animals who live off the land into a country where none had been before. Hooker, Buchanan, Kirk and others had made extensive collections and records of the island's vegetation before extensive grazing of sheep began. Cockayne was, therefore, able to compare the vegetation after sheep had occupied the island for some years with what it had been before. As usual, his stay was not long, just two days, but in that time the botanist accomplished much. On the first day he climbed Mount Honey, the highest point of the island, and the next day he crossed Lyall's Pyramid travelling from Perseverance Harbour to North East Harbour.
His report, published in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute (1903), dealt at length with the floral species seen and the plant formations of the island. He also devoted several pages to the effects of the introduction of sheep and sheep farming methods into a virgin vegetation. Prior to 1895, small numbers of pigs, sheep and goats had been landed on the island from time to time but most of these had died. From 1895 to 1900, there were several hundred sheep grazing and in 1901 the number was substantially increased by two drafts of 1000. In 1903, the sheep population was estimated to be 4500. Cockayne considered that the sheep had roamed over less than half the surface of the island and he was able, therefore, to compare the grazed areas with undisturbed areas. In the tussock meadows the large tussock, Danthonia flavescens and Pleurophyllum speciosum were special favourites of the sheep and had been eaten right down to their stumps and killed. On and between the stumps were already springing up various lichens, mosses, ferns, grasses, Coprosma pumila, Chrysobactron rossii and other plants. The usual accompaniment of the introduction of sheep farming in virgin country, burning-off scrub, was also practised on Campbell Island and again Cockayne was able to compare adjoining burned and unburned areas. The floor below stands of Dracophyllum and Coprosma scrub was bare but among the dead skeletons in the burned areas, Acaena (bidi-bidi) and Stellaria decipiens (a chickweed) were becoming abundant. Thus, in areas grazed or burned, the plants that formerly characterized the formation were no longer present and other plants present in no great quantity before were now dominant. Cockayne supposed many plants previously common on the island would become rare and others become abundant that were formerly rare and confined to quite different stations, and concluded: "Such facts as these seem to me to have a distinct bearing on plant distribution in the civilized countries of the Old World."
From 1879 to 1906, geological, botanical and Zoological explorations of the southern islands had been left to the enthusiasm of individuals. As we have seen, enthusiasm was not lacking, but seldom had any man be en able to spend more than a few hours exploring and collecting and it was felt to be high time for a more comprehensive attack by a well-equipped expedition. The initiative was taken by the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, which, late in 1906, sent a deputation to wait on the Minister of Lands, the Hon. R. McNab, to urge the desirability of extending the magnetic survey of New Zealand to the various groups of islands lying to the south of the mainland. It was suggested that, in the event of this being done, advantage should be taken of the opportunity to further investigate the geology, zoology and botany of the islands. There could hardly have been a man more likely to give the deputation a sympathetic hearing than McNab. The proposals were warmly supported by the Otago Institute, endorsed by the New Zealand Institute and finally agreed to by the Government which provided transport, contributed substantially towards the expenses of the expedition and the cost of publishing the results, and lent tents and other equipment.
The party of 22 scientists left Bluff in the 'Hinemoa' on 14 November 1907. On arrival at Port Ross in the Auckland Islands on 16 November, survivors from the wreck of the ship 'Dundonald' were found. One of these, C. Eyre, joined the expedition as cook to the Campbell Island party. The latter party of 10 scientists among whom were E. Kidson, Professor H.B. Kirk and Dr P. Marshall, reached Campbell Island on 17 November and was taken off again the twenty-fifth on the return of the 'Hinemoa' from the Antipodes and Bounty Islands. Two "unofficial" members of the party, Messr's Chambers and Des Barres, also camped on the island and assisted in the work of the collection.
The expedition's results were published, under the editorship of Professor Charles Chilton (a member of the Campbell Island party) in two large volumes in 1909. Chilton in his summary of the results devoted much space to the discussion of species which are common to the islands and New Zealand and also to those common to the islands and other subantarctic regions, notably Tierra del Fuego. At this time there were current two possible explanations of the existence of the same species of terrestrial fauna and flora in subantarctic lands separated by vast stretches of water. One, the "relict theory" supposed that the common fauna were remnants of species that had developed in the great land areas further north but had subsequently been driven south by later forms and now survive only in the subantarctic islands and the extreme south of the continents. It was not presumed that the islands were joined to the continents when this happened but, rather, that the islands have always been widely separated from the land-masses and that their inhabitants must have reached them by crossing the oceans. The other explanation, the "Antarctic Continent theory" overcomes this difficulty. It was supposed that the Antarctic continent was once of much greater extent and was joined at times to South America , New Zealand and Australia and possibly South Africa. This theory, in contrast to the other, accounts for the existence of forms in the southern parts of the continents similar to those in the islands by assuming that they have been driven northwards in cold periods. It is not too difficult to imagine that spores and seeds of plants have been wind-borne or carried by birds over great distances but that worms, insects, spiders and other small animals have been distributed in this way is less easy to credit. Chilton appeared to lean to the "continent" theory as did Cockayne. Cheeseman, on the other hand, in his contribution to the 1909 publication contended that the wind and the pelagic birds were the carriers of the Fuegian species to Kerguelen Islands and other southern lands including the islands south of New Zealand, and that the islands were never joined to the continents.
Some sidelights on the personal experiences of one member of the party were given by Edward Kidson, later Director of the New Zealand Meteorological Service, in his diary parts of which have been published in his biography:
"17/11/'07 - Landed on Campbell's at 9 a.m. Taken ashore in 'Hinemoa's' launch and landed in bay behind Tucker's Cove. Five shepherds came aboard. All of us landed and got tents pitched and came back to the boat for lunch. Wind was then increasing from N.W. and rain began. Came back after lunch with howling gale and heavy rain, and finished pitching tents in the rain. Straw mattresses, etc., for beds, with coprosma underneath. Water the colour of tea. All land covered with peat to a good depth. Hard to fix in pegs. Have three bell tents for sleeping, one cooking tent, one dining tent, one tent for magnetic apparatus and one for stores. The castaway Charles Eyre is cook to our party.
18/11/'07 - In the morning put a wall of sods round provision tent, cleared place for magnetic tent and started work at station. It had rained and blown like blazes during the night and the provision tent had torn and blown down. Rained and hailed and snowed, and we got frozen in the afternoon. Had some cocoa, biscuits and chocolate and were revived.
19/11/'07 - Another gale during the night.
20/11/'07 - Got up at 5.30 and left camp at 7 a.m. with all gear and three men as swaggers. It was very cold and blowing very hard. Travelling fairly good. Later it rained hard and blew a hurricane. We saw a small waterspout passing over the cliff in a long whirling streamer. The highest points of the mountains go sheer down to the sea. Pitched tent on slope about half a mile from cliffs in view of Mount Honey and Azimuth. Had to tie tents to tussocks. Could scarcely stand up in the wet; cold and windy during observations.
21/11/'07 - I went on down to the beach; got down fairly well through scrub, where I first appreciated what Dr Cockayne had told us about it. Had to walk on lumps of fern or tussock, liable at any time to fall into a small creek or bog ... up to the shoulders. Had the worst time of all for about half a mile through scrub and burnt scrub until three-quarters up Menhir. Finally struck the track and got back before 7, at which time I had put myself down for return. Had expected a blowing up for going alone but did not get it."
The Government steamers continued to give passage to enthusiasts on their regular inspection trips until they ceased in the late nineteen-twenties. Among the later visitors were Dr W.R.B. Oliver and Mr H. S. Guthrie-Smith. Guthrie-Smith, who had long looked forward to it , sailed in the 'Tutenekai' for the Subantarctic in March 1927. Other passengers on this trip were Russell Duncan of Napier, Dr Du Rietz of the University of Uppsala and Dr Oliver. In his book, Sorrows and Joys of a New Zealand Naturalist, Guthrie-Smith devotes a delightful chapter to Campbell Island. He opened with a typical broadside: "As at present operated the administration of this island is an offence to God and man; in every subantarctic prayer uttered on board the 'Tutanekai' was embodied the morose petition that fire might descend from Heaven and consume owners of sheep, shepherds and the sheep. What has been done - the defilement by stock of this splendid natural sanctuary for the pitiful sum of £40 is truly an example of what not to do - forty pounds to enable every man who has touched it in the business way not to gain but to lose money - forty pounds for the right to burn, graze and destroy."
His first sight of the island impressed Guthrie-Smith greatly but his anxiety was to be ashore and use his all too short time in making the closer acquaintance of its inhabitants. He was particularly interested in the cormorants and, of course, in the Royal Albatross. In connection with the latter he had another tilt at the Government's policy. "In Campbell Island, Albatross are, not very incomprehensibly, diminishing in numbers; upon Captain Bollen's suggestion to one of the shepherds - whom the Almighty bye the bye has so far spared - that we should be conducted to a certain tarn there to photograph the birds, the reply was that not a single individual now bred in that vicinity. We consoled ourselves as best we might with the thought of our New Zealand treasury enriched by £40 and of how every little helps in an efficient public service where no waste what so ever is allowed to occur, where overlapping of staffing and redundancy of labour is unknown and where no farthing falls unnoted to the ground ."
He did, however, " after a long tramp over soppy moor" find a small colony of the birds incubating eggs or chicks. Again, he was concerned at "the absence of the dense tussock that should have sheltered their nests, the desolation of the grazed moorland." Shortly after this, the inspection trips to the islands ceased and the period of intermittent and usually hurried scientific exploration came to an end. Chilton in his historical introduction to The Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand (1909) said:
"Some day doubtless ... and, let us hope, some day not far in the future ... there will be a permanent meteorological station on one of the fine harbours of the Auckland Islands, with another on Campbell Island, and perhaps still another on Cape Adare, connected with the first and with New Zealand by wireless telegraphy; and if to these stations there be added suitable accommodation and appliances for the collection, preservation and observation of geological, zoological and botanical material, there will be a ready means afforded for gathering in that rich harvest of results that lies ready for the worker."
Thirty-two years were to pass before the fulfillment of part of this vision, and then it took a war to bring it about . The remaining part Chilton's programme, the establishment of a permanent station at Cape Adare had to wait nearly fifty years.
WORTH WAITING FOR
What I regard to be the highlight of Ian Kerr's History of Campbell Island, is the coming chapter, "Sheep, Whales & Seals," which we will publish in either the June or September bulletin. It will occupy some eight pages and contains the full story of the sheep farming era on Campbell Island, from first thoughts in 1888 until property forfeiture to the Crown in 1938, truly 50 amazing years.
Brotherhood on Raoul 1970/71
|Bob Adkin - Mechanic||Bob Taylor - Senior Met|
|Fred Knewstubb - Tech||John Weir - Farmer|
The Islands Report In: RAOUL ISLAND
We were all up fairly early the morning after the dearly loved M.V. 'Holmburn' had dropped anchor the previous night just off Fishing Rock. So this was Raoul. After the months spent in talking, wondering, looking at films and photos, it was difficult to believe that at last we were really here.
Previous islanders will remember the struggle to get all suit cases, bags, cameras, parcels and bits and pieces from the cabins up those steep stairs but at last we assembled on the hatch covers. The old party were expecting us off the boat at half past six, but due regard must be made to requirements of crew, consequently it was 8 o 'clock before we disembarked. Our arrival was made quite interesting by the old party entertaining us with what appeared to be a welcoming Haka on the rocks. We couldn't quite make out what they were shouting but they obviously didn't understand what the hold-up was.
Eventually, without mishap but with one or two narrow squeaks, we clambered over the side into the jolly basket and away we went. It wasn't fully realised just how full that basket was until Les Collins, John Thompson and myself got into it and were spilled out onto the rocks.
The servicing went extremely well with both parties glad to see the hostel at night. In the evening the usual ceremony of handing over the plaque and getting out the kegs of beer that were brought up from Wellington. I must say that the old party did a fantastic job on their plaque. The competition of one up manship is getting a bit fierce and we will certainly have to go some now.
Three days later it was all over and the old party was climbing into the basket, some I think with mixed feelings. All the ex's will know that same feeling when the last boat pulls away and at last you have the place to yourselves.
Bob Ferguson and his merry band left the station in immaculate condition and we're gradually getting into our routine. Mark Crompton, Snr Met and Neville McLeod, Tech, had three months on the Island before we arrived which makes getting to know our way a round a lot easier.
We have at the time of writing, 5 captives, lesser balded Islanders, a very rare species of homo sapiens which only appears after annual servicing, but never before. We have had our first visitor, Gerry Clark in the yacht 'Ketiga'. He was known to last year's Campbell Island party when he called in there. He was accompanied by his very charming daughter Anna Lea, and for the occasion of this visit the boys excelled themselves in sprucing up. The tone of the station is definitely lifted with the introduction of some feminine company.
After several false starts we finally departed Wellington at 7:30pm Tuesday 2nd October, and after what can be described as an extremely wild ride, with the 'Holmburn' rolling at times up to 45 degrees, we arrived in Perserverance Harbour on the following Sunday morning. We were met by the OIC and staff, and personal luggage was then carried ashore, while we were still trying to stop that rolling feeling as we walked up the Marsden matting.
After a briefing and dinner, unloading got underway, but during this day and those that followed, we were constantly hampered by strong winds and rain, and on the second day, by the failure of the ship's surf boat. After several attempts to repair this, it was finally abandoned, and when weather permitted, the 'Aurora’ was used to tow this boat in an effort to speed up unloading.
One of the most dangerous jobs seen at servicing was the new bomb shed door being slung over the side of the ship, and being caught by the wind, and it started to rotate violently for several minutes until it could be brought under control.
Our Electrician brought down at servicing started almost immediately on relaying some of the main power cable feeds, and upon testing it was found that the line to the hostel, was in poor condition also and as enough cable was carried a new line was laid here also which no doubt saved us a job later on. John Rowe, architect, gave the area a going over for future expansion, and G. Toomer, Plumber, once he was on his feet after a bad dose of the flu, checked on our water supplies, and installation condition of the new range to go in.
The new diesel fired range, will replace the old coal one, which no doubt brings fond memories to all who have had to deal with it. We hope to install this early in the New Year, once certain fittings come down from N.Z.. Bill Craig did the general checks and building inspections, and our thanks to these gentlemen for helping around the hostel with unloading.
The ship finally departed around 7:30 pm on Friday 12 October and we watched it go down the harbour, but only for a few minutes and I don't think anyone actually saw it go through the Heads. Our mechanic misjudged his approach back from the last leg out to 'Holmburn' and in the dark greeted the wharf in a most affectionate manner. Luckily without doing any real damage. Back with us for this year is another of the Island's 'old salts’, one Bob (Tiny) Taylor, who has already done his fair share of revisiting old haunts. The usual big general unpacking session has started, with the most often muttered remark being, 'I'm sure I've seen that somewhere,' and one of the biggest problems is to find somewhere to put all this stuff plus trying to find somewhere to put all this stuff plus trying to find out what some of it has been ordered for.
There is now a new tractor on the island, a West German made 'Holder' -and we believe it is the first time a tyred vehicle has been used on Campbell. It is ideal on the roads but the peat is another matter, however, a dual set of rear wheels may fix ...
that and hauling the generator up the hill to the power house on wet sleepers proved to be a little much for it also but for general camp haulage it is ideal, and its turning circle and maneuverability has to be seen to be believed.
Another job which has been completed, is all the remaining galvanised iron water tanks have been replaced with copper ones, so rusting tanks should now be a thing of the past. Also the water tanks for the toilets have been replaced after looking as if they were going to collapse for the last ten years, so I've been told.
A few walks have been undertaken with Northwest Bay being the most popular at present, but as we have had eleven days of snow and hail since servicing the weather conditions have not been the best for getting away from it all.
WHO IS OUT ON THE ISLANDS ? 1973/4
|Office in Charge||G H (Geoff) Charlton|
|Meteorological Officers||M B (Mark) Crompton|
|A G (Alan) Leys|
|A W (Andy) Weir|
|I J (Ian) Gall|
|J J (John) Stevens|
|Cook||R W (Bob) Peckham|
|Maintenance Officer||G S (Gavin) Robertson|
|Mechanic||N H (Dutchy) drn Haan|
|Technician||N W (Nev) Mcleod|
|Farmer||P B (Paul) Stewart|
|Office in Charge||R K (Rex) Firman|
|Meteorological Officers||R J (Bob) Taylor|
|N C (Neil) Arnold|
|A G (Alan) Yule|
|J N (John) Walden|
|P R (Peter) Woods|
|Cook||E J (Jim) Barnes|
|Mechanic||R A (Rob) McVinnie|
|Electronics Technician||R (Dick) Roberts|
|Telecommunication Technician||L G (Les) Thom|
|Ionosphere Observer||E J (Rodger) Jones|
Because of their non-availability at the time when the Association's president was out doing his recruitment thing, only four of the above lads have not been signed up as members - a new record for a group so early in their islandic careers. Note the meteorological staff extension at Raoul brought about by the installation of the new Plessey WF-3 wind finding radar. Campbell's John Walden and Peter Wood are in for the Deep Freeze season only and will be out in early March of ' 74.
CONSTITUTION OF THE
"CAMPBELL-RAOUL ISLANDS' ASSOCIATION, INC."
l. NAME The name of the Association shall be "Campbell-Raoul Islands' Association, Inc."
2. PATRON The Patron shall be elected at the first General Meeting and shall be elected annually.
3. OBJECTS 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 of both islands.
iii) to organise an Annual General Meeting and reunions.
iv) to publish and distribute a Newsletter at least annually.
4. MEMBERSHIP Any Expedition Returnee, or any selected Expedition Member shall be eligible for membership. Each application for membership shall be in writing and shall take effect upon election by a majority of the committee present and voting. Such members who are financial shall be deemed full members.
5. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP Associate Membership will be available to persons who are, or have been associated with either island, on being proposed by full members and elected by a majority of the committee present and voting. Associate members shall have no voting rights but will be liable for Annual Subscription.
5a. HONORARY MEMBERSHIP Honorary Membership will be available to persons who are, or have been associated with either island, on being proposed and seconded by full members and elected by a majority of the committee present and voting. Honorary Membership shall not exceed one-fifth of the full members. Honorary Members shall have no voting rights.
6 RESIGNATION Any financial member may terminate membership by resignation in writing delivered to the Secretary.
7. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP The Committee may, at their discretion terminate membership if the continued presence of the said member will bring discredit and ill repute to the Association. The committee may, at their discretion, strike members from the Roll who have been unfinancial for a period of two years.
8. SUBSCRIPTION The Annual Subscription shall be determined by the Association at its Annual General Meeting.
9. FINANCIAL YEAR The Financial Year shall commence on the 1st September and terminate on the 31st August.
10. GENERAL AND SPECIAL MEETINGS
(a) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Annual General Meeting shall take place at the most convenient time prior to the 'Annual Servicing.'
(b) SPECIAL MEETINGS On receipt of a petition signed by at least 15 full members, the committee shall convene a Special General Meeting.
(c) NOTICE OF MEETING At least two months' notice, in writing, of the holding of any General Meeting, specifying place, day and time of commencement of the meeting and the nature of the business to transacted be given to members.
(d) CHAIRMAN The Chairman at any Annual General Meeting shall be the President. In his absence the members present shall appoint one of their number to preside as Chairman.
(e) THE BUSINESS OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING i) to receive the Annual Report; ii) to receive the Treasurer's Report; iii) to elect the Committee; iv) to consider any business relating to the affairs of the Association.
(f) ATTENDANCE AND VOTING Any member may attend and take part in the discussion at any General Meeting. Voting on any matter at such meetings, shall be confined to full members only. Voting shall be by verbal assent - in case of doubt, by show of hands. If there be an equality of votes, the Chairman shall have a casting vote.
(g) PROXY A financial member may appoint in writing a representative from any other financial member to vote on his behalf at any General Meeting.
(h) QUORUM No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless at least 15 full members are present at that meeting.
(a) Members: The Committee shall be composed of President, Secretary, Treasurer, and not fewer than four full members. The offices of Secretary and Treasurer may be combined.
(b) Election: All members of the Committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting, but the Committee has the right to co-opt in the event of a vacancy occurring during the active year.
(c) Committee Meetings: Committee Meetings shall be called by the Secretary on instruction from the President and at least seven days notice shall be given by the Secretary of the holding of such a Meeting. A majority of Committee Members shall form a quorum.
(d) Committee Chairman: Same as for General Meetings. The Chairman shall have the casting vote.
(e) Duties of Committee: The duties of the Committee shall be to implement the aims and the objects of the Association.
12. COMMON SEAL The seal shall consist of the name of the Association described in a circle and shall be kept in the custody of the Secretary. The seal of the Association shall not be affixed to any instrument except in pursuance of a resolution of the Committee of the Association and in the presence of two members of the Committee.
13. ALTERATION OF RULES No rule of the Association may be amended or deleted and no new rule added except at a General Meeting.
14. ASSETS All moneys shall be deposited in a current account at a Savings Bank. The treasurer plus one other signatory shall be necessary for all cheques.
15. POWERS OF BORROWING MONEY The Association has no borrowing powers.
16. ASSETS - WINDING UP In the event of the Association ceasing to function, any assets shall be disposed of at the discretion of a Special General Meeting called to wind up the Association.
Technical writers for these pages are urgently required. Because the destination of 'The Islander' is so varied, technical subjects on our work will be of great interest to many. All expedition members are requested to review their particular job spectrum and see how it goes in print.
Leaders: work programmes and maintenance problems - administrative duties - medical work and requirements.
Cooks: work environment - supply problems taste - catering for celebrations. staff preferences intaste.
Farmers: differences required in technique on Raoul- stock problems - extensions to programme - maintenance requirements.
Meteorological Staff: explanation of upper air programme - surface observations - hydrogen generation - climatological requirements.
Telecommunication: equipment description - auroral upsets - frequencies in use - aerial design.
Ionospheric Observers: stations in network - theory of soundings - equipment description - use of film - frequency characteristics.
Electronic's Tech: satelite usage - equipment description - work comparison with other stations - aerial types - nature of data presentation.
Mechanics: diesel-electric power generation - annual requirements - servicing cycles - diesel and petrol station equipment - maintenance problems.
Maintenance Officers: scope of work on Raoul - common maintenance problems - daily programme.
Although the Editor in conjunction with the SCR&C retain the right to alter entries should the necessity arise, this work will be kept to an absolute minimum, and we hope will not deter contributors. Co-authors are welcome, but coupling of articles on a common subject will not be carried out by the Editor until the respective authors are notified of his intent.
Please give this serious thought now and see what you can do. Contributors should try to aim for 1000 to 1500 words (2 to 3 pages) and if somewhat at a loss, study Charlie Taylor's article in the last bulletin for ideas on format. Technical phraseology is encouraged to keep subject matter accurate. Remember that these articles will have historical significance and considerable value after a very short period in these changing times.
Down on the Farm:
Monday, August 22, 1938.
"With regard to visit of 'Maui (Pomare) next month would it be possible to arrange for shipment of iron and timber to be used in erection of cowshed and making of gates. This material would need to rafted through the surf at Oneraki …."
December 22, 1938. "As you are going to charter boat would like to suggest that some of the following items be sent presuming of course that vessel would be able to wait off island for suitable landing conditions … l2 pkts Rinso washing powder and perhaps one cow and a couple of sheep."
October 2, 1939. "Don't send livestock until farm manager here …. " (Evidently more to this farming jazz than meets the eye - Ed .)
April 7, 1938. "Personal items required by Ries next trip …. 1 set guitar strings, 1 guitar tutor, 1 mouthorgan B or G Boomerang Brand about 6 shillings.'
August 25, 1938. "For Ries add to previous list …. pieces of music as follows …. Roll A1ong Prairie Moon and Moonlight on the Colorado."
Greater Things to Come:
December 5, 1938. "Archilles arrived yesterday but unable to land anything owing to bad conditions …. "
December 11, 1938. "Leander arrived this morning but did not effect landing (as) said conditions too risky .... " (Both ships were to meet the 'Graf Spee' at the River Plate exactly one year 1ater- Ed.)
SEASONAL GREETINGS: The Committee extends to all the Association's members and bulletin readers, best wishes for the coming festive season, a happy holiday and safe return.