Raoul-Island-1949FIT FOR A KING, should the Kermadecs ever need one. A 1949 photograph from George Bourne (Raoul Island, 1947/49) needs little modification for a 1974 setting. The lower grass growth in the foreground indicates Fleetwood Bluff was once part of the farm.



NEWSLETTER Vol 2 Number 11 JUNE 1974

Association Officers 1973 - 74

Air Vice-Marshall A. H. Marsh C.B.E.

Bernie Maguire

Secretary   Treasurer
Peter Ingram   Bill Hislop
Committee   Honorary Members
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

 Newletter Editor
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.



We had a fairly successful function to mark Mid Winter's Day last year at the Western Park Tavern in Tinakori Road. So we will have a repeat on Thursday night June 20th and hope to see you there again - anytime after work through to 10 pm. We will be booking the same lounge.

And the film evening will be on Saturday night, June 22nd at 8.00pm in the Lecture Hall of the Meteorological Head Office st Kelburn. Circular notice will be posted to Central members, but we hope we may see our more northern and southern mates should they b seasonally migrating. Some of the films from which the programme will be chosen:

ADMIRAL BYRD: (C.B.S. 1969) a record of 30 years polar work, including the North Pole flight of 1926 and that of the South Pole in 1928.

BLUE ICE: (A.N.A.R.E. 1954) we have been after this 30 minute colour documentary for some time and have at last secured it. See the sunny islets of Macquarie and Heard, and the (then) new base of Mawson.

WHITE ISLAND: (N.F.U. 1947) Raoul's more active cousin is visited in this well known film. Scenes of the devastated sulphur works and other warnings.

Full members - don 't forget we require your attendance at 7.30pm before the films, to vote on the proposed amendment to the constitution (see page 223 , Vol 2, No 10, March '74).

The Secretary


Editorial: The HO-HUM Department

The issue has been raised many times in the past and is hardly likely to be neglected in the future… " Why are females not acceptable as members on an expedition to either island?" I have yet to hear it as a plea from expedition members. It normally comes forward as an indignant comment from some young lass, or an isolated and lonely column in some feature newspaper whose articles are mainly directed at spinning Sunday morning cobwebs back into threads of simple thought.

Therefore, I was a little surprised to see a recent three column attack on the Ministry of Transport in a southern sports paper , from which I will quote further on.

There is no doubt this young lady was quite genuine. She had even made application to go to Raoul Island as officer in charge - well, handyman would hardly be fitting for a start. And her argument in theory was valid, for she quoted the part that Russian women play in their expeditions and went on to say that an all-male environment was an unnatural one. How simple - how sweet.

Perhaps I did dream of an all-girl crew some day disembarking at Fishing Rock from a ten women ocean going schooner. And we discussed it over the table in our lighter moments or nosily tossed it about during a Saturday night party in the lounge. Raoul's climate generated such thoughts and perhaps the island has one of the most romantic settings of any in the Pacific. But the thoughts and words of men in isolation would have turned away any feminine ear at the keyhole and it is to masculine credit that we control ourselves a little better back in civilisation.

So much so, that mixed flatting in our cities is very much in vogue and likely to remain that way. Here a girl will more than likely be treated as a sister and work domestically as a wife, drawing help from roster made up by the male inmates. She is invaluable in maintaining an air of harmony, clean household and full diet. She leads an unmolested and interesting life while the male is free to descend into the city whenever the natural urges of the roaring season beset him.

But such a domestic scene would only occur for one expedition in ten in the sunny Kermadecs. Perhaps it is the 'evil' in man that must let him have an outlet without obstacles in the face of such temptation whilst in isolation. If our Girl Friday ever permitted the Oneraki moon over the silver sea to light her way for any form of romantic interlude, she would be disturbed to find a full scale war on her hands within the week.

Let the undecided but dedicated adventurer reverse the case and become the successful male applicant in an otherwise all-female expedition. What would his thoughts if not his actions be within the first few months?

Forty years ago Alfred Bacon summarised the same issue. "(Raoul) is like the Garden of Eden without the temptation of Eve." Let it remain that way.


The 'Acheron’ Incident

I don't think many members would have missed the drama of the 'Acheron’ in the gale swept Southern Ocean last month. Wide newspaper and television coverage gave us excellent insight into what good professional seamanship is all about, when the research vessel left Campbell island on 8.5.'74 to encounter a most unfortunate incident on the high seas. I partly quote from the 'Evening Post’:

At approximately 4 am on Thursday morning, 9 May 1974, the 'Acheron’ was moving north in full gale south westerlies and rough seas when it was struck by a freak wave. The force was sufficient to stove in part of the deckhouse amidships on the port side and for the water to flood the engine room to a depth of three feet. One of the two 200 hp diesels was rendered unserviceable.

The 'Acheron's' Mayday signal was answered by the 3100 ton Vladivostock trawler, 'Amursk' under the command of Captain Misunov, which arrived during the morning and stood up to windward to shelter the 'Acheron'. An Orion search aircraft had been overhead since 9:45 am, piloted by USN exchange officer, Lieutenant Larry Labo.

The 'Acheron’s’ life raft removed five passengers and crew at ll am, leaving Messrs Black, Middleton, Gendall and Wilkie to bring the 'Acheron’ northwards under the shelter of the 'Amursk.' The remaining 350 miles to Port Chalmers was completed in 48 hours, the second diesel being finally brought back into operation so that the 'Acheron’ was able to proceed at 9 knots.

Those on board were:

A J Black Owner & Mate Dunedin
S K Middleton Master Mosgiel
P A Gendall Engineer Dunedin
D W Wisnesky Crew Dunedin
A B Wilkie SCR&C Wellington
L A Amon DSIR Dunedin
Patrick Senior Geophysics Christchurch
Ian Thomas Auroral Research Lauder
Paul Johnston Auroral Research Lauder

The 'Acheron’ is a 76 foot wooden motor launch which was built and launched at Port Chalmers on 16.12.'71 for Captain Black. Prior to the commencement of this charter to the Ministry, Tony Veitch was dispatched to the wharf to ask what the charter fees would be for a group (10 maximum) wanting to visit the distant shores of Campbell / Auckland or Raoul Island. As you may have guessed, it is an expensive venture. But when one considers the many things that must be done to get you there and back, $500 a head for a fortnight is not unreasonable. And as Captain Black has just proved, he and his crew are capable of handling most situations.


That Naughty Forty Again: It would hardly be a year in the life and times for the Association if those elusive forty odd lads didn't have to be chased the length of the financial year to extract their subscriptions. Once again subscription notice will be posted out to them in the hopes that the 30% non payment margin can be narrowed. $120 is just too much for our treasurer to pass over as a bad debt when printing costs are so high. I notice an editor friend of mine who pumps out a similar publication to ours has been having the same trouble for the last nine years, but the larger circulation has saved him. Don't let us become a bi-annual production.


YESTERYEAR: A few expeditions have passed through since E.J. Harris (Razz) sailed with the first team to Raoul Island on the 'Maui Pomare' during August, 1939. But he can easily recall his mates and has sent their names in for the record:

Doc Haskell Officer in Charge
Ben Robertson Second in Command
Harold Godfrey Surveyor
Carl Panther Assistant Surveyor
Bobbie Robertson Cook
Charlie Carlson Rigger
Bert Way Blacksmith
Mac MacFarlane Bulldozer Operator
Wattie Troon Head Carpenter
Harold Skudder Carpenter
Bob Miller Carpenter & Medical
Razz Harris Rigger & Handyman

How about a few more 'old timers' giving it a go and perhaps telling a tale or two about those earlier years.


NIUEAN BLUEGRASS group dates back to 1949 in this photograph by George Bourne (Raoul 1947-49). The ship is most likely the frigate 'Rotoiti'. How about putting some names to them, you 49s ?



STAR Sports & Magazine,
"Christchurch Star" for April 20th.

Rhonnie Seager is prepared to take any job she is qualified for if her application to join the all-male staff on Raoul is successful. "I have worked as a second cook in a hospital for three months so I should be able to carry out the cooking job on the island. I'd have no objection to cooking for 10 people living on an isolated island in the tropics."

Why, she asks, should healthy, qualified New Zealand women be discriminated against for well-paid jobs on New Zealand islands? Raoul or Sunday Island, is an 11 square mile paradise in the Kermadec Group. The island has a superb climate and abounds with tropical fruits. The male staff, says Miss Seager, live in a sinecure paradise where females have been told to keep out. She has heard the staff has a magnificent library, billiards table, table tennis facilities, refrigerators and deep freezes loaded with fancy food; accommodation as good as any modern motel, and a complete electrical power supply from a diesel generator.

Miss Seager applied for a job after reading a newspaper advertisement for one of the male positions on the island. A salary of $6078 was offered plus a $1445 allowance for married men and $1325 for single men. Miss Seager can see no reason why any New Zealanders with the necessary qualifications, should be banned from applying for jobs on Raoul Island. She says, there would be far healthier atmosphere and environment on the island if there were both men and women posted there.

"Apart from female goats and seals, I'm told there are no females on Raoul," she said. Miss Seager says it would probably do harm to the ten males to be "shut off" on an island for 12 months. Miss Seager says the Russians do not hesitate to employ women on research stations, ships or in Antarctica. Dozens of other countries do not show the prejudice against women for challenging jobs that New Zealand does, she contends.

"The different life-style offered on such an island appeals to me. I see no reason why adventure and challenging jobs should be regarded as purely a male domain. It would be a more balanced environment if they had several women at Raoul Island. I hope other women will apply. An all-male environment is an unnatural one; a mixed environment is normal."

Miss Seager says the island's fishing makes it most appealing to her. "Why should it continue to be an all-male territory, just as it has been for 36 years?" she asks. "The upper echelons of the Ministry of Transport have obviously not heard about sex equality in New Zealand's outer islands. I'd like to see lots of women, besides myself, apply for stimulating adventure-career jobs."

A member of the staff on Raoul Island from 1964 to 1967, Mr Vincent Sussmilch this week said the station on the island had every modern amenity. "There were nine men there to run the weather station. There are no women there at all. They're not recruited for the job. It's geared for a man-station and whether that will change I'd not like to say. Women have visited the island on yachts, and things like that. But they don't call often because it is not a good anchorage. It is fairly exposed."

Mr Bart Wilkie, of the Ministry of Transport in Wellington, visited Raoul Island some years ago. He said the island had its own farm with milk, sheep and plenty of fruit….. "They have to be pretty well self sufficient up there," he said. "Sometimes we get 20 to 30 applicants for the one job. Some take it up to save money, but others want to go for the adventure."

Are wives or women allowed to go? "No show," said Mr Wilkie, "No 'birds' are allowed. That is one stipulation." (Aw, c'mon, Bart- Give over. Ed.)


An aerial photo of Denham Bay looking WNW as the aircraft leaves the
central crater area of Raoul Island.

Macauley and Haszard Islet being approached from NNW. Mount Haszard
at 781 feet is the highest point on the 756 acre main island.

Aerial-Cheeseman-Curtis-1939Cheeseman (foreground) and Curtis Islands on approach from the NW. Curtis crater is still very much on the active list. All three photos are per courtesy of Whites Aviation, Auckland, via Dick Lovegrove. The clear dural finish and shape of the starboard wing float, indicates a Short Empire Class flying boat of TEAL.


Historical: Campbell Island
CHAPTER 9: Sheep, Whales and Seals
By Ian Kerr

The largest of New Zealand's subantarctic Islands was quite early in men's minds as a possible site for a settlement. Charles Enderby in 1846, proposed the establishment of a whaling station and a colony at Auckland Islands, and his opinion of their suitability for the purpose was endorsed by Sir James Clark Ross. The small colony came into being late in 1849 and struggled along for a few years, but the enterprise came to an end in 1852. Another attempt to exploit the Auckland Islands was made by Dr. F. A. Monckton of Invercargill. He obtained a lease from the New Zealand Government, stocked the main island and installed Mr and Mrs Nelson as caretakers. This venture also had a short life and the lease was forfeited in 1878.

In spite of Monckton's failure, men who thought they could do better were not wanting and many applications for a lease were received in the next few years. One of the first of these was from Mr James Gordon of Lansdowne, Christchurch, in 1880. Most, at first were interested only in the Auckland Islands, but William Elder of Invercargill who had maintained sealing gangs on Macquarie Island for some years, applied in 1881 for the lease of both the Auckland and Campbell Islands. The official reply to all applicants was non-committal; the Government was considering the matter. Later on, in the eighties it was indicated that leases of the islands would be auctioned if it was decided to grant leases at all.

In 1888, J. Macpherson, mainstay of the Invercargill Wreck Fund, sailed in the 'Stella' on her inspection trip and reported on the suitability of the islands for pastoral purposes. He thought the prospects on Auckland Islands reasonably good but, "Campbell Island I did not think so much of for stock." Captain Fairchild, of the Marine Department, also recommended leasing the islands and plans to do so were approved by the Government in 1889, only to be cancelled at the last minute. The Government still doubted the wisdom of leasing these remote lands again; the failures of Enderby and Monckton were not forgotten. Moreover, hopes for re-establishment of the seal colonies were still high and it was feared that the lessees might not take the same long-term view of this matter as the Government.

The plans were shelved only temporarily, however. In 1891, the journalist Carrick visited the islands and his report was published in 1892 under the title, New Zealand's Lone Lands. He was quite enthusiastic even envisaging a future naval station, but John Hay, Southland District Surveyor and a Mr Knight, an Akaroa settler, whose brief reports were published in the same volume, were disparaging. Finally, when the 'Hinemoa' was sent in 1894 to intercept the 'Antarctic', Mr J. Joyce, M.P. for Lyttleton was sent to make another report. Also on board were Mr McBeath, manager of Williamson Bros Poverty Bay station and Mr Gordon, "practical pastoralist of the same district." The latter had apparently not been discouraged by fourteen years of waiting.

Joyce's report was favourable but he warned that for successful development, a considerable amount of capital might be necessary. Most of his report dealt with the Auckland Islands, but of Campbell Island he said there was less timber but the pasturage was better. Some rye grass sown by Captain Fairchild six months before has come up and taken good hold of the soil. Gordon also wrote his opinions: "I like this island (Campbell) much better than the Aucklands … less rain, less scrub, good soil." Accompanying his report was a definite proposal. He asked for a 21 year lease of both the Auckland and Campbell Islands, the first five years to be rent-free, then at a varying rate depending on the number of head of stock carried. He intended to form a company, offering one pound shares to small farmers. At first he would manage the concern himself but when it was well established, share holders could work separate holdings.

Although Gordon's plan did not have a favourable reception, it was again decided to offer leases of the islands at public auction. Accordingly, following notification in the Gazette, four pastoral 1 aees were submitted to auction in the Land Office, Invercargill on Wednesday, 21 November, 1894. The Auckland Islands were split into three runs: 501, the northern part of Auckland Island; 502, the southern part; and 510 Adams Island. Run 511 was Campbell Island, described as 28,000 acres of high, broken country, and was offered at an upset annual rental of £2. G.W. Williams, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Southland, conducted the sale and before putting up the runs, he explained that the supply depots, boats and boatsheds placed on the islands to succour shipwrecked persons must be carefully protected from fire or other injury and that the lease gave no right to use them. Each lease was to be for a term of 21 years from l March, 1895. Run 501 was knocked down to W.J. Moffett for £10; 502 to H. Martin at £7.10 and 510 to F.J. Hatch at £2. There was more competition among four bidders for Campbell Island; J. Gordon was successful at £15 per year.

In March 1895, Gordon sought permission to form a syndicate to finance his operations. The Southland Land Board had no wish to place any obstacles in his way but pointed out that responsibility for carrying out the terms of the lease would be his, not the syndicate's. Before this, however, there had been a slight hitch. In February, the Premier, Seddon, had stepped in and issued instructions that the agreements were not to be signed, if it was not too late. He had learned that one of the lessees was F.J. Hatch whose interest in sealing was well known. The Captain and Mate of his vessel, 'Awarua’, had not long before, been tried and convicted of poaching at the Auckland Islands. Although the seals were protected by the Fisheries Conservation Act of 1884, it was decided to make doubly sure by inserting a clause in the conditions of the leases prohibiting the taking of seals. With this addition, the leases were finally signed in October 1895.

In the meantime Gordon, apparently assured that the delay over the leases was temporary, went ahead with his plans. He and three others chartered Hatch's ketch 'Gratitude’ and sailed for Campbell Island on 26 April 1895. They had on board between 300 and 400 sheep, 6000 feet of timber and 12 month's stores. Lack of space prevented them from taking some cattle and horses. The trip was rough one and took ten days, but very few sheep were lost. The party of four stayed on the island through the winter and returned to Lyttleton in the 'Hinemoa’ on 19 October. Captain Fairchild was impressed by what Gordon and his assistants had achieved in a few months - 40 acres of land had been enclosed by a sod fence; a 3 roomed house, a wool shed and a store had been built on the shores of Perseverance Harbour. The winter had not proved as severe as expected; there had been only one or two frosts.

Gordon planned to go back very soon with more sheep but apparently received little support for it and it was not until April 1897 that he with Alexander McRae and Edward Burt (or Bent), went down with the 'Hinemoa’, without sheep. They returned in December well satisfied, with 10 bales of wool. During their seven months stay the party enjoyed good health, although the weather was very unsettled in the last few months. Their isolation had been relieved at the end of August by a brief visit by H.M.S. 'Pylades’ whose crew supplied them with newspapers and other articles they needed. In return "the Jacks were delighted with a supply of first rate mutton and lamb."

A few days after his return from this trip Gordon applied for and was granted a licence to search for gold and other minerals. He was not to return to the island, however, for over three years. Irregular and expensive communication between the run and the mainland, finding shepherds who would isolate themselves year after year in this inclement place and, above all, obtaining the money to buy more sheep to stock the island were difficulties that proved too much for Gordon. His small asset was wasting away; the few hundred sheep untended, would not survive long; the house he had built was reported by H.M.S. 'Ringdove' in November 1899, to be in a bad state of repair. In the end he had to transfer his lease to Captain W.H. Tucker, also of Gisborne, but Gordon was to go back to the island as manager.

Captain Tucker was prominent citizen of Gisborne. Born in Auckland in 1844 he served his farming apprenticeship as a cadet at Woodlands in Hawke's Bay. In 1865, G. S. Cooper appointed him manager of the Pouawa run. He saw active service in the Te Kooti revolt and was, for some years, secretary to Captain Read. Later he took over the management of Riporata Kahutia's properties and acquired considerable property on his own account. He served the community well being, Mayor of Gisborne twice and at different times Chairman of the Cook County Council, Harbour Board and Hospital Board, and 1907 he was appointed to the Legislative Council. He died in 1919.

In March 1900, Tucker advised the Southland Land Board that he had acquired Gordon's interest in the run. The transfer of the lease was approved by the Board on 10 January, 1901, and the 143 ton steamer 'Rimu' sailed for Campbell Island on 3 January 1901 with Tucker, Gordon and several others and 1000 sheep. A second draft of 1000 sheep left Bluff in the 'Rimu' at the end of January. Tucker expressed himself as well pleased with his island; good open country and a fair amount of ploughable land. The sheep had been landed successfully, only 13 being lost in the two trips. They were mainly two tooth ewes purchased in Southland through the firm of Henderson and Batger, and were reported to be Leicester-Merino and Lincoln-Merino crosses. The first return from this flock was 44 bales of wool brought out by the 'Tutanekai' in January 1902.

The next major consignment of stock, also supplied by Henderson & Batger, consisted of 1000 sheep, 8 head of cattle and 2 horses and was landed safely on 27 March 1902. The shipment by the 'Rimu' was supervised by H.G. Tucker, son of Captain Tucker, and two other Gisborne associates of Gordon.

Campbell-Island-1910Servicing 1910 style, was conducted with a three piece orchestra in this historic shot at Tucker Cove, when the farm on Campbell Island was in full swing. Captain Tucker stands white bearded at the rear of the group, with the captain of the 'Rimu', Sandstrum, on his right. The four Shetlanders who responded to Captain Tucker's 1903 request for shepherds all appear in the front row - Andrew Nicholson (1st from left), Adam Adamson (5th left), Peter Williamson (7th left) and the violinist, Bill Manson (9th left). This information came from Mrs Nancy Donne, daughter of Anfre Nicholson and possibly a visitor on this trip, in a letter to Ian Kerr in 1960. Ian also obtained this photograph through the widow of the late Captain Tucker.


The next year Tucker had a stroke of bad luck. He had chartered the 54 ton auxiliary schooner 'Brothers' and intended sailing in her to Campbell Island. She arrived at Bluff on 30 April but the next night was totally destroyed by an unexplained fire. The relief had had to wait for the 'Hinemoa' to go down in July. She brought back 64 bales of wool and James Gordon who had been continuously on the island since early in 1901.

With Gordon's withdrawal from the venture, Tucker was hard put to it to find men for the island but at this point a Gisborne friend, a Shetlander, suggested that some of his compatriots might be willing to take on the job. Such was Tucker's faith in the possibilities of his project, that he followed the idea up, with the result that five Shetlanders, Messrs Nicholson, Adamson , Manson, Munro and Williamson, arrived in New Zealand in April 1904. Tucker's troubles were not over, however. He had chartered the 'Rimu' to take the men to Campbell Island, but the little steamer had to give up after two unsuccessful attempts, and it was not until November that they went down in H.M.S. 'Psyche'. A few months later Tucker himself went down in the 'Rimu' and brought out 107 bales of wool. He reported that the Shetlanders, under Andrew Nicholson's leadership, had settled down well and had built a jetty out into ten feet of water. They continued to work the run for Tucker until 1908, but by then, the isolation had become too much for even these hardy men, and Tucker had to try again. His solution this time was aimed not only at having the sheep looked after and shorn, but at increasing the scope and the profits of the venture.

For many years shore whaling at Tory Channel had been profitable but the annual catch was dropping. The number of whales seen round Campbell Island prompted Tucker to approach some of the men at Te Awaiti. His suggestion was that they should look after the sheep and shear them, and, in the winter hunt whales. There were about 7000 sheep on the island by this time and the amount of wool brought out by the 'Rimu' in 1907 was 100 bales. The prospect was good enough to attract a group of men from Tory Channel. Their leader was Harry Norton and with him went several brothers; among the others were men who bore names well known in an earlier period of Cook Strait history, Heberley and Toms. They sailed for Campbell Island in the 'Hinemoa' early in 1909, taking with them a launch and whaleboat. It was decided to conduct the whaling from North West Bay. They had no gear for trying out, the intention being to hunt right whales for the whalebone. The experiment was successful, at least in the first three or four years. In the first season Norton's men caught 13 whales and, as whalebone was worth £1000 or more a ton, the catch was worth at least £2000.

In 1910, New Zealand farmers were alarmed by a report that the Campbell Island sheep were afflicted by scab. To investigate the rumour, a Southland stock inspector went down in the 'Amokura' in December. His report draws a clear picture of the farm as it was then. There were no fences except for a few miles round about the homestead enclosing paddocks for holding the sheep when brought in to be shorn. Consequently, the sheep, rams, ewes and lambs had to run mixed up together all the year round and the ewes were lambing for six months. The shepherds mustered only once a year, when the sheep were shorn and dipped, and the lambs marked and docked. "No doubt there are some fine big robust sheep, but taking them generally, they are an ill bred looking lot," reported the inspector. They were in a very dirty condition with lice and ticks and, as a result of the biting and rubbing on rocks induced by the parasites, many of the sheep had broken, ragged fleeces. In the shed were, "really some very nice lustrous fleeces with fairly long staple, but there was also a good deal of matted, dingy and broken wool." The average weight of the fleeces was only about 5 pounds. No trace of scab was found.

Shortly after the Te Awaiti whalers want to Campbell Island, Messrs Jagger and Cook of another New Zealand shore whaling establishment at Whangamumu became interested in the southern grounds. They had a specially designed chaser built by Smith's Dock Co. of Madlesborough, the 'Hananui ll'. She was 93 feet long, 20 feet beam and drew 11 feet. She had a gun mounted in the bow and the crow's nest for whale spotting was on a very heavy foremast. An unusual feature, for those days, was that very little woodwork was visible. Top speed was 11 1/2 knots. They had also built at Auckland, a tender, a 59 ton schooner, called the 'Huanui'. The two vessels reached Campbell Island in January 1911, and the 'Huanui' returned to Bluff in February with 116 bales of wool for Captain Tucker. Co-operation between the two parties was good because they were not in competition. Norton' s gang was interested in right whales for the whalebone and the other party in sperm whales for oil. The trying out depot was established in NorthEast Harbour. The 'Hananui ll' caught 13 whales in the 1911 season and went home for the northern season. She returned to Campbell Island for 3 or 4 months in the early winter of each of the next three years and took 17 whales in 1912, but did not repeat the early successes in the next two seasons. The Whangamumu party did not return after 1914.

Meanwhile, Norton and his men continued to do reasonably well. In addition to wool clip of about 120 bales a year from the flock of 7000 to 8000 sheep, the whale catch was satisfactory, ten, including three small ones in 1910 and eight large ones in 1911. About this time a Norwegian company began shore-whaling in the Foveaux Strait area and Tucker and Norton reached an agreement with them. The Norwegians would send down one of their ships in January 1913 to transport wool and whalebone to the mainland and they would also try out the carcasses of the whales taken by Norton's gang. Unfortunately, the Norwegians changed their plans and had all left New Zealand before the end of 1912, although one of the fleet visited the island in July and another, the 'Campbell' called in December, probably on the way to Australia. Norton later put this down to legislation aimed at protecting the New Zealand industry. Whatever the reason for the departure of the Norwegians, the result was that Norton could not try out the whale blubber as planned, and the party took only one or two whales during the season. The activities of the party as whalers were brought to an end in May 1913, after catching one whale, when their 28 foot launch 'Whaler’ was pounded to pieces in a big storm in North West Bay. The 12 hp engine was salvaged.

The party's inab1lity to chase whales was offset to some extent by the issue of a licence in 1913 to kill seals. Norton complained that he did not receive the licence until the 1913 open season was ended but in 1914 he shipped 63 sacks of seal skins by the 'Amokura’, and 41 sacks in 1915. In 1916, it was proclaimed that there would be no open season for the next three years.

In earlier years of the decade, however, it seems that the lack of a licence did not prevent some trade in seal skins. A number of Nova Scotian vessels were in the habit of visiting the southern seas, and one at least, the 'Hilda R' called at Campbell Island in 1910. She left a whale boat and some other gear, and arranged to return the following year, but one of the crew told the New Zealand Government of what was going on. As a result of this warning, a Captain Highman and his son were sworn in as special constables and sent down to the island in the 'Amokura.’ Ostensibly they were botanists and camped under canvas. The shepherds may have been suspicious but they were hospitable and invited the two campers to Christmas dinner. This, incidentally, consisted of lamb, ham, pork, goose and a big plum pudding containing two shillings worth of coins and the Bachelor's Button. A few days later the 'Hilda R' was sighted, the attention of Captain and his son was successfully distracted and the seal skins were got away at night. One embellishment of the story is that the Highman's tent was blown away in a storm and that they were given shelter in a hut under which some of the skins were stowed.

The ‘Hilda R' was to return in 1912 but, once again, the Government was warned. The author has been told that the schooner was arrested in Halifax but has been unable to confirm this. At any rate she does not appear to have come back again. Another Nova Scotian vessel that is known to have called at Macquarie and Campbell Islands in 1910 was the 'Ida M. Clarke.’

The wool clip continued to rise; 124 bales in 1914 which sold at one shilling a pound, 123 bales in 1915 and 131 in 1916. Communication and supplies were assured as the 'Amokura' continued to make regular trips, but she was too small to take off the wool. In 1913 and 1914, the Union Steamship Company's 'Kowhai' was chartered, then arrangements were made with F.J. Hatch whereby his 120 ton auxiliary brigantine 'Rachel Cohen' was to service both Macquarie and Campbell Islands. The latter's first attempt to reach Campbell Island in 1915 was, however, abortive and she had to return to Dunedin and tranship supplies to the 'Amokura'.

Captain Tucker's lease was due to expire in 1916 and he was offered a renewal but at the increased rental of £50 per annum. He accepted the offer but now felt that he was too old and too far away to manage the run effectively, although his conviction that it was a worthwhile proposition for younger, more active men was strong. The lease was therfore transferred, early in 1916, to two Dunedin men, D. Murray and J.A. Mathewson who purchased the stock and improvements from Tucker. Murray's interest was later taken over by J. Patrick of Outram and T. Steele and R. Robertson of Dunedin joined the lessees to form the Campbell Island Syndicate. Within weeks of the transfer Norton and his men decided to enlist in the Army and two of Tucker's Shetlanders, Nicholson and Manson stepped into the breach.

One of the first thoughts of Murray and Mathewson was to engage again in winter whaling and to this end they purchased the Dunedin 10 ton launch 'Komuri.' Although she was the biggest of her kind on the Dunedin harbour, with a 24 hp engine, she was really only a harbour, pleasure craft and too lightly built for an ocean voyage. The Marine Department would not permit her to be sailed down to Campbell Island under her own power, but after some negotiation, the Chatham Islands Fishing Company's 'Himitangi' was permitted to tow the 'Komuri' down provided no one travelled in her. Fortune smiled and the tow was completed in three days in March 1917 without any anxious moments. But the whaler's luck did not hold for long. Only a little over a month later, while cruising off the southeast of the island the 'Komuri's' engine broke down. Attempts to get it going again were unsuccessful and the crew had to take to the surfboat they had in tow. By this time they had drifted almost out of sight of land, it was late in the afternoon and a heavy sea was running. Then ensued a desperate battle for their lives but, thanks to the good seamanship of the leader, they regained the shore, safe but exhausted. The loss of the 'Komuri' was a severe blow, particularly as the owners had been unable to obtain insurance cover.

This appears to have been the last whaling attempt at Campbell Island and the syndicate now tried to persuade the Government to grant a sealing licence. A three-year close season had been declared in 1916 and this was extended for a further three years in 1919 and again in 1922, but in this year, the regulations were changed to permit the lessees to take up to 400 seals. Before this, in 1919, one of the shepherds was caught smuggling into Dunedin thirteen skins of fur seals that he had shot at Campbell Island. The State did well out of this episode for, in addition to the £20 fine, the confiscated skins sold at auction realised an average of £14 each.

The syndicate headed by J. Mathewson continued to graze sheep on the island until about 1925 or 1926. During these eight years the size of the flock seems to have dropped from a peak of over 8000 to about 4000 or 5000, due in part to the export of 1300 sheep in 1917-18. The Government steamers 'Amokura' and 'Tutanekai' continued to make inspection trips but with lessening frequency as the need disappeared. Chartered ships in this period were the 'Himitangi', 'Stella' and the Union Steamship Company's 'Karamu.' The 'Stella' was the old Government steamer, then owned by the Iron and Steel Company of New Zealand and returning to her old haunts after nearly thirty years.

In March 1924, the whaler 'Sir James Clark Ross' and her fleet of chasers steamed into Perseverance Harbour somewhat startling the four sheperds ( according to A.J. Villiers). If surprise, even some alarm, was their first reaction, it was soon replaced by joy for no ship had paid them a visit for over a year. The factory ship took on board the four shepherds, their dogs and the season's wool clip of 80 bales and returned them to New Zealand. This season's wool production compared with the 1916 peak of 131 bales reflects, of course, the decline in the size of the flock. Increasing difficulties over shipping and staffing determined Mathewson and his partners to quit their interest. Accordingly, Wright Stephenson & Company, on behalf of the lessees, auctioned the stock and improvements in 1926. The successful bidder was John C. Warren a small farmer of Waitati. The price was based on 5000 head of stock but only a small amount of money changed hands. To leave the purchaser enough capital to replenish the run, the vendor took a mortgage over the property for the greater part of the price.

John Warren, his nephew Arthur Warren and three companions went down in the 'Tutanekai' in December, 1926, taking with them more sheep, farming goods and general supplies. The run had been unoccupied for nine months and, in this time, the launch had been blown off the skids and damaged; and rats had made havoc of the stores. The red and white six-roomed dwelling was in a bad state of repair, leaky and with rotting timbers. In the next few months before the 'Tutanekai ' called again, in March 1927, Warren was able to shear only 34 bales of wool. To add to the difficulties he was told that his was the last inspection trip that would be made by the Goverment steamers. In spite of this, three more men including another Warren , Harry, joined the party in November 1927. They travelled in the whale chaser 'Star Vll' on her way to the Antarctic whaling grounds with the 'Sir James Clark Ross.'

In 1928 and 1929, Wright Stephenson's chartered the Bluff steamer 'Awarua' to take down supplies and bring out the wool. On the first of these trips in June 1928, she brought back four very disgruntled members of the party. They were full of complaints about the state of the accommodation, the lack of medical supplies, the Government's decision to abandon the inspection trips and the lack of radio communications. In connection with communication it is interesting to note that Warren had taken down two carrier pigeons. One refused to leave and, in the end, drowned itself in the sheep dip; the other left but was not seen again. Captain Tucker was also reported to have taken carrier pigeons down in the early days but what happened to them is not known.

In 1930 came the depression and no ship went down. The return from the likely production of wool at reduced prices could not possibly pay for the charter.

In May 1931, friends of the Warrens were becoming increasingly anxious about their well-being and the Press urged the Government to send assistance. The Government disclaimed responsibility which, it was stated, was Warren's agents'. Finally the 'Tamatea' (formerly 'Awarua') was sent down in July, to find the four men, not starving, but living on a very restricted diet of meat and tea and occasionally fish. They had no bread or vegetables for eight months. Clothing and footwear were worn out and the supply of kerosene for lamps had long been exhausted. Some of their ample spare time was occupied with attempts to manufacture buttons from rams' horns and candles from mutton fat. John and Arthur Warren had not been off the island for four and a half years. The 'Tamatea' brought them back to New Zealand on 3 August 1931 along with their dogs, 124 bales of wool and over 100 seal skins, which Warren had been granted a licence to take. The best off Warren received for the skins was five shillings each but the duty was one pound per skin so naturally they remained with the Customs. Depression price for the wool barely covered the cost of chartering the 'Tamatea'. In spite of these blows and their experiences on Campbell Island the Warrens were anxious to go back and try again. In deed, it was the only chance John Warren had to recover something from the wreck of his fortunes. But he had to have an assurance of regular communications and also further financial assistance, both of which he sought from the Government. Obviously, in the circumstances, nothing could be done to help.

So thirty-six years of optimism and disappointment, hard living, striving and contriving came to an end. Warren had lost everything, Mathewson's mortgage was valueless, Gordon's persistence and enthusiasm were not rewarded; only Tucker and the Nortons possibly did not lose.

Soon after the Warren's return, enquiries began to come in again, but the Government had had enough. All were told that the lease would not be renewed when it expired in 1937. In fact, the lease was declared forfeit in November 1934 for non-payment of rent. About the same time Mathewson came into the picture again in an attempt to make good some of his loss. He had interested Messrs Tapley and Company who were purchasing a ship, but the reply was the same. The next move by Mathewson and by others was to try to obtain permission to shear the sheep and bring away the wool. Permission was given provided the sheep were afterwards destroyed, but nothing came of it.

Another old-timer's interest was re-awakened in 1937. This was A. Jackson who had been on the island with the Nortons and who gave an interesting account of their activities. He was "engaged in whaling and sheep-farming and fishing with a band of kindred spirits." Old fashioned open-boat methods of whaling were used and in a short season they killed 23 right whales (actually the work of two seasons). He related that they surprised some seal poachers one morning and pretended to be a Government official. When the captain of the sealer (probably the ‘Hilda R') learnt the truth he offered the shepherds one pound for each seal skin they obtained for him. Jackson did not say whether or not they accepted the offer. The vessel may have been the 'Ida M. Clark’ of Nova Scotia. Now, 25 years later Jackson was looking around for a suitable ship to make another expedition to the island, but nothing more was heard of the project.

The last chapter in the story of sheep on Campbell Island before Hitler's war was the serving of notice on Warren and Mathewson that if the sheep were not removed in six months' time, they would be forfeit to the Crown. They were not removed and were declared Crown property in January 1938.


The reader's interest and attention is now drawn to Alex Spence's account of the Warren's period of occupation in Newsletter No8, page 3, for August 1970. A very full account is made of those latter years through the courtesy of the "Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Institute." The reader is also reminded that the bulletin location list of Ian Kerr's earlier chapters on Campbell Island appears in Vol 2, number 9, page 202 for December 1973, and that most of the relevant bulletins are still available at the prices quoted on that page. Of the few missing, the file copies may be borrowed for photo copying.

As a footnote to this chapter, Ian has forwarded a copy of Captain Tucker's request to Shetlanders to come forward as shepherds for the Campbell Island run. The clipping is from a local paper at that time and is reproduced here through the courtesy of the Turnbull Library.


Shepherds for New Zealand

It is well known that Shetlanders, as a rule, manifest a deep interest in their native isles when they are in distant lands. Mr William Sievwright is no exception to the rule. Recently, he was discussing Shetlanders with a friend of his in New Zealand, when that friend, Captain Tucker, informed Mr Sievwright of his having secured a lease of an island for a sheep run, and his anxiety to have Shetlanders to look after the stock. Mr Sievwright at once wrote home to Mr Arthur Sandison, Town Clerk, enclosing Captain Tucker's letter. As the best means of bringing this to the notice of the public, Mr Sandison has handed the letters to us for publication. Anyone wishing to make enquiry regarding this should communicate with Mr Sandison, Town Clerk, Lerwick.

Gisborne, N.Z., 28th January, l903.
Dear Sir, I enclose a letter I have received from my friend, Capt. Tucker, a pretty large sheep farmer in this district, who recently added to his business the Campbell Island, situated in lat. 52 south - a sheep run leased from the Crown. The island contains some 45,000 acres, and Capt. Tucker proposes to develop that station, which has great capabilities. He has made a beginning by placing 4000 sheep there. Knowing I came from Shetland, and believing that Shetlanders would be likely to suit the kind of work he needs, he spoke to me as to whether I thought his requirements could be satisfied there. I told him that if he would state his terms I would communicate with Shetland, and see whether it could be arranged. His terms are good, and if a family, having the requisite number of hands, could be found, I think that the opening would be very good, and what is more, it might lead to something better, as if such family conducted the work satisfactorily, I can see how they might do well by-and-bye as possibly profit sharers. There is a good six-roomed house on the Island, and you will note that besides the pay of £52 per man per annum, he finds house and keep. Four of five men (father and sons or otherwise related so as to live together), and the mother (or sister) would have a substantial income among them; and if they can do a certain amount of sailoring, so as to help working Capt. Tucker 's proposed steamer, or oil-engined schooner, they might soon make themselves so useful that Capt. Tucker would be glad to reward them well.

The climate, I am told, is not at all bad, and there is always abundance of feed for stock. There is an excellent harbour, and I am informed there is plenty of what in this country we call "scrub" to be cut for firewood - wood as thick as one's arm; also peat moss to some extent, but the wood will be best for fires.

I should say that the best way would be to begin on the salary arrangement till they have some experience of the business. I am confident Capt. Tucker will treat any employees well.

Of course, it must be taken into account that the Island will be, perhaps, a bit lonely for the winter season, but in summer, when shearing and shipping stock, things will be more lively.

Now, I do not think I can say much more, and I shall be glad to know whether you can find any of my countrymen willing to accept an engagement.

Yours sincerely, W. Sievwright.

P.S. - I understand Capt. Tucker has the right under his Crown Licence to convert his holding into what is known in N.Z. as the "Eternal Lease," or as the land Act defines it "Lease in Perpetuity," or 999 years. In that case it would be easy enough to carry out the plan of farming, and doing Capt. Tucker's work by the day. But that I think, should be left for consideration later, when they know the place, etc. W.S.

Gisborne, N.Z., January 27th, 1903.
Dear Sir, Referring to our conversation about Campbell Island, I want a few men or a family to reside there and shepherd the sheep there. I would be prepared to pay £52 per annum to each man, and £26 per annum to one woman to act as housekeeper and cook for the men. I am willing to set apart 100 acres per man to be held by them under my lease rent free, which they could occupy and cultivate for themselves, or to pay them piece work or day's wages for anything they did for me; but in this latter case I should not pay the £52 per annum to each man; that I would do only if they gave me the whole of their time without lease free. Though I am willing to employ five men, yet I would take one or more up to five, and I would arrange with Government to provide a free passage to Dunedin on a hiring for two years certain, the passage to be deducted from the first year ' s pay. If I could get men who were good sailors and would be inclined to serve a term on a small steamer so much the better.
Yours faithfully, W.H. Tucker.

There are now 4000 sheep, 2 horses, and 20 or 30 head of cattle, and four men and one boy on the Island. £52 per annum per man is with keep also; that is, I would find the house to live in and food free. (A facsimile of four witnessed signatures appears beneath. They are: Andrew Nicolson, Peter Williamson, Adam Adamson and William Manson, Ed)


The 1973-74 Campbell Expedition Group
Back Left to Right - Dick Roberts (DSIR Tech repat and replaced by Terry Henshaw), Neil Arnold (Met), Les Thom (Telecom), Rex Firman (OIC), Rodger Jones (DSIR Ionospher), John Walden (Summer Met), Bob Taylor (Snr Met), Jim Barnes (Cook), Rob McVinnie (Mechanic), Allan Yule (Met), Peter Wood (Summer Met), was already on Campbell from previous 1972-3 team. (Official MOT Photo)

The Islands Report In - CAMPBELL ISLAND

Deep Freeze finished earlier this year and the ‘Glacier' arrived on the 9th of February to take the summer Met staff off. Our first visitor after this was RNZAF 'Bristol' on the 3rd of April for our airdrop, but just before it arrived late in the afternoon, the Harbour clouded over and it had to return to Invercargill. However, the next day could not have been better and the 11 parachutes all landed safely on the end of Homestead Plateau within a fairly tight circle, an excellent performance by the crew. The mail, fresh films and fruit were all received in excellent order, but a bottle of hair tonic made a bit of a mess in one of the mail bags.

About this time also, we were advised of the departure from Admin of dear old Uncle Les, who had decided that the gripes of the Islands were getting him down, and he has left us for more Statistical pastures, we wish him well, and a welcome to Bart Wilkie who has taken over listening to our troubles.

The next visitor was the R.V. 'Acheron,' on the lst of May which arrived with our replacement DSIR Tech, plus four others, who came along to give our gear a good going over and a tune up. Our new tech, Terry Henshaw, promptly fell in the harbour to announce his arrival, together with a box containing, a typewriter, Avometer, AND a pile of PLAYBOYs, the meter being the only real casualty though. 'Acheron' was forced by weather to stay until the 8th May, and during the enforced stay here, some of us were lucky to have the skipper Ken Middleton, give us some lessons in small boat handling, and these proved to be excellent value. After departure from here, Ken had to use all his knowledge to get the boat back to N.Z., as a freak wave stove in some superstructure and nearly flooded the ship in the early hours of the morning of the 9th May. The struggle to get back and the transfer of five men to the Russian trawler were well reported in the Press and news items, so it was with much anxiety that we followed their progress from down here to be relieved once they were safely in Dunedin waters.

Another item of note occurred on the 22nd April when that old man of the Islands, Rodney 'Tiny' Taylor announced his engagement to Miss Dianne Popham of Invercargill, and much advice from the rest of us, on the pitfalls and benefits, strife and pleasures for the future was given to him. Around the camp we have replaced the concrete to the entrance of the hostel, hung the new bomb shed door on the west side, installed new curtains in all the rooms of the hostel, and put the diesel fired range in. This latter item has given us quite a bit of trouble which we hope has now been reduced by the addition of another 10 feet of chimney. Our new tractor had to be split in half to fix the clutch which had become inoperative due to rust, but this has now been remedied. The annual presentation plaque is causing much head-scratching so we can come up with a new idea. At present several ideas have been passed around, but a decision will have to be made soon as we are only four weeks away from Midwinter's Day, and time is starting to run down for us.

Rex Firman.


The 1973-74 Raoul Expedition Group
Back Left to Right - Ian Gall (Met), Bob Peckham (Cook), Geoff Charlton (OIC), Paul Stewart (Farmer), Front Left to Right - Gavin Robertson (Maintenance), Marcel Den Haan (Mechanic), Andy Weir (Met), John Stevens (Met), Alan Leys (Met) missed he photograph and Mark Crompton (Snr Met) and Nev McLeod (Technician) had gone on ahead with the new Plessey WF-3 wind finding radar.


"When I get back to N.Z." The words which seem to crop up quite frequently in conversation round the table in the evenings now. This is not surprising really when one considers that at the time of writing we have nearly completed two thirds of our stay. As Swampy says, "The time simply whisks by." Some of the recent highlights: It was decided to do away with the old sow as Paul (farmer) said that she reminded him too much of one of his relations. Problem, what to do with about 300 lbs of old relations, sorry, I mean sow. Answer, a hangi. A pit was duly dug and filled with hot stones and filled with baskets laden with pork, a side of lamb, plus what vegetables were handy. An outstanding success though we did not seem to make much of a hole in the sow. '

'Patsy' is at present 'hors de combat' having come off second best in an encounter with some rocks over at Meyer Island. In fact the boat is a write off, as it was pretty rotten underneath the layers of accumulated paint. Unfortunately ‘Dutchy' Den Hann (mech) lost his top teeth in the incident, consequently when steak appears on the menu now there is always a spare piece. It's good job that he is such a sweet natured chap and is able to bear his cross with grace and dignity. With the loss of 'Patsy', our fishing activities ground to a halt until Paul the farmer insisted that ground bait was the answer. Some of the old sow had to be done away with and he had the idea of suspending the remains in an old cargo net from the Fishing Rock crane. The result, several fish and a new record groper of 63 lbs.

The old Ford truck has ground to a halt. I know that past Islanders will mourn the passing of Old Faithful, but will take heart in the fact that we have been promised a new truck and a new boat. Our visitors this year have been sparse. Three yachts only. One was the 'Marire' with Mr & Mrs Gray Lee who visited Raoul last year and wish to remembered to the 1972/3 party. One other was Don and Nicole Nealey accompanied by a delightful 2 year moppet, Sabrina, who spoke a wonderful mixture of French and American. Don and Nicole enjoyed their stay with us and donated a set of flippers, snorkel and mask, and a spear gun to the island.

A couple more birthday parties have come and gone followed by the usual rather plaintive and anguished cries of 'Never again', and the old lawn mower eventually gave up the ghost entirely much to the dismay of the cloud watchers, whose one delight is cutting lawns. However, their sorrow was short lived by the arrival of a brand spanking new mower by air. Not before time either, as we had lost our tech (Lofty McLeod) in the long grass several times, As usual the airdrop was quite a highlight. We do not know which was better - the potatoes and cabbage or the mail.

We still receive the usual load of offical bumph, i.e., the Post Office require returns, showing the number of television licenses issued and instructions from Head Office on how to fill in traffic violation tickets. It has been suggested that SNAFU H.Q. has perhaps been moved from Raoul to Kelburn, after we had a special air drop by an 'Orion' of pilot balloon lights. We now have about 3 years supply of lights but still not enough radiosondes to see us through the year.

A mysterious metal ball appeared one morning in the paddock adjacent to the shearing shed. Around it were marks in the grass which were obviously made by a spaceship landing. Bob Peckham (cook) is a great believer in UFOs and felt that this should be reported to Head Office. A telegram was received from Naval Intelligence to say that a frigate was being dispatched to investigate. Great excitement in the kitchen until he was reminded what the date was - April the lst.

To end this newsletter we would like to thank the Association for the gift of the latest Guinness Book of Records. It's certainly settled a lot of arguments.

Geoff Charlton.

(Thanks chaps for your reports and thankyou to Adrienne for putting up with all the QRM and QRN to get the news through to us- Regards, Ed.)




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