Southern Sea Elephants at Campbell IslandA Southern Seal Elephant bull rears head and tail in defence of his harem hauled out in Garden Cove. Bulls were occasionally 'walked' up the beach by the lads to enable envious bachelor bulls to come ashore and meet the girls. Photograph Colin Clark, 1962.


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


"The Islander" has been the official bulletin of the Campbell - Raoul Islands' Association (Inc) since December 1971. It was preceded by a number of newsletters which commenced in March 1968. With the closure of the Association due to decreasing membership, the committee advises that the Post Office Box 3557, WELLINGTON, address will terminate on 3lst March 1979.

Readers seeking additional information on Raoul or Campbell Island should contact:

Peter Ingram George Poppleton
N.Z. Meteorological Service 17 Avon Street
PO Box 722 Island Bay
Wellington Wellington
  Ph 836-316

Current details may be available from the section Clerk, Raoul & Campbell Islands, Ministry of Transport, Aurora House, The Terrace, WELLINGTON.


Cash donations for printing the final 'Islander' came from:

Anthony Marsh Prin Medical Officer (Rtd) Patron
Max Butterton Supt Reporting NZMS (Rtd) Hon Member
Bill Hislop Training Sect NZMS Assoc Treasurer
Tony Bromley Campbell 1966-68 Met Obs
Trevor Buck Raoul 1944-45 Telegraphist
Colin Capper C 1954 Met Obs
Colin Clark R 1959 & 62, C 1961 & 64 Leader
Harlan Dazely C 1969 Mechanic
Tom Earl R 1971 technician
Doug Farmer C 1956-59 ion Obs
Rex Firman C 1973 Leader
Peter Goodman C 1972 Met Obs
Norm Hill C 1976 Mechanic
Pete Ingram R 1961, C 1963 Met Obs
Ian Johnson C 1959 & 61, R 1962 Technician
Jim Judd C 1963 Leader
Fred Knewstubb R 1968 & 70 Technician
Bryan Leeves R 1960's (frequent) Met Obs
Richard Lovegrove R 1960's (frequent) Hman & Leader
Ian Lynn R 1962, C 1968 Ion Obs
George Poppleton C 1955 Leader
Lex Rapson R 1949 Met Obs
Bob Rae R 1960's (frequent) Cook

15th January 1979


 Editorial - A JOB ALMOST DONE

The Association in its eleventh year has been compelled to close due to declining membership. Closure of this type of organisation is not unusual today. Both committee and members suffer far more from social, recreational and work pressures than they did a decade ago. Life today is very full and if a club or group can't benefit the member on a fairly frequent basis, then he will fill the slot with something that can.

The newsletter blossomed into an illustrated quarterly bulletin for a surprising period of time. Almost time enough to completely record both historical and contemporary information on Raoul and Campbell Islands. Fortunately the late Ian Kerr loaned us his complete history on Campbell Island for serialising. Rather more scattered comes Raoul's history through our pages. It is basically all there - except for the early whaling and shipping movements and by some strange ommission - tales from the Second World War period. Contemporary news on departmental ills has always been vetoed, except for one little splash during September 1977 which was never pursued. Perhaps we should have kept our ear to the ground and reported a little more fearlessly. However, the glow that was promoted, was intended to revive happy memories and bring members up to date on developments.

The circulation list reached an all time high of 225 some years back now. Main libraries throughout the country hold our issues - even two overseas (Macquarie, New South Wales and Denver Museum, Colorado.) So perhaps we have contributed in a small way to put two small islands into focus. The main feature however, has been a decade of friendship with those that have continued to support the Association. To you, the eleven past committees are truly grateful and hope to see you around from time to time.



A simple historical supplement will be posted out to the closing subscription list addresses late in the year. Called 'Milestones’, dates and events over the past 160 years for both Raoul and Campbell Island, will appear in chronological form with adequate reference. It is just part of sweeping out the workshop.


Raoul Island Map by Haigh
Raoul Island map as it appears in Haigh's 1968 account.


"In February 1889, a proclamation (N.Z. Gazette 1889, No 13, page 239) set apart four Small Grazing Runs on Raoul Island and these were offered for lease by Public Auction at the Lands and Survey Office Auckland, on 26 March 1889. They comprised

Run 2  1710 acres    Run 4     930 acres

Run 6  1410 acres    Run  7   1570 acres

Run 2 was not selected and the lessee of Runs 6 and 7 underlet their leases and arranged for a number of people - about 45 - to go to the Island to cultivate portions of these Runs. In September 1889 a party led by Mr & Mrs H.K. Hovell left Napier in the schooners Dunedin and Three Cheers, being followed in December 1889 by an Auckland party led by the Bacon family, in the S.S. Wainui. Known members of the Hovell's party were the Carver family (including 3 sons, 3 daughters and 2 sons-in-law), Lord, Taylor, Stratford (the only surname not recorded in the Petition of 1894 - Ed) and Russmussen, and in Bacon's party the Wells family and Cotter. A plague of thousands of native rats (a small hibernating animal) which fed on fruit and vegetable "getables" was the principal cause of the failure of the settlement and most returned to Auckland in the S.S. Hinemoa on 26 April 1890, leaving the Bell family - who had not taken kindly to the invasion - in solitary possession again. Subsequently, these Runs were forfeited for non-compliance with the lease conditions. The Bell family broke up from this time onwards as various children left to live in New Zealand. In the mid 1890s, Tom Bell and his remaining family shifted back to Denham Bay.”

- J.B. Haigh, 1968, 'A Brief History.’


There is little doubt that this gallant little settlement to be left New Zealand with high hopes of success. Harry Kinnaird Hovell, licensed surveyor of Devonport wrote dutifully to Assistant Surveyor General Smith in August 1889 - Hovellhurst, Raoul lsland. 22-8-'89.


Surveyor General,

Dear Sir, 
If there are any letters or parcels you wish sending to Sunday Island, I shall be very happy to take them as I intend proceeding there at the end of the month. I had wished to have seen you before leaving to show you my designs, but an afraid cannot, although have long looked forward to doing so. I am giving my farmers each about one acre close to Lake Destiny (which name have given to the lake in Denham Bay) where to build so that they may all obtain water and be near each other for in the event of anyone meeting with an accident among the hills, his absence would more easily be noticed also in case of danger, they would be better able to assist one another.

The matter that weighs heavily on me is that the Government does not seem to see the necessity of providing for the maintenance of law and order. Captain Preece our Resident Magistrate wrote I believe about the matter after we had come to the conclusion that it was essential in this distant part of the Colony. I also represented the matter to the Colonial Secretary as the farmers have asked me to provide protection for their families which I endeavoured to do.

But now I intend forming a vigilance committe(e) among my farmers and where we see that stern necessity requires it for the welfare of the people and for the protection of their lives we shall administer stern and prompt justice. I am hoping we shall have a fair wind to the Islands. There are 40 souls going by first trip. Our Captain is a most reliable man and steady. Again wishing to be of any service to you I can -

Believe me to be Sir
Yours respectfully
H. Kinnaird Hovell.

The settlers' association that he had been responsible for forming was to be involved in fruit and vegetable growing. The main seeds to be taken were potatoes, maize, pumpkin, melons, kumera, Tahitian oranges, loquat and tobacco. Their inventory went well beyond the kitchen sink, including a Collard & Collard piano and a small spring trap - but without the horse. According to Mrs A.M. Robson in 1937, the payment of £50 per head would see them there, where they would receive "a 5 acre section on the hills and (one) acre on the flat for residential purposes." All this was to be contained on Lease No 7, although No 6 was evidently available also.

The initial move was made in Hovell's schooner Dunedin, from Napier to Auckland on 8 September 1889. The vessel took on a deep water captain at this latter port proceeding to Raoul in company with the schooner Three Cheers, arriving on the 12 October. Mention is made of mooring too close to Wolverine Rock." The last of some 45 settlers followed in the SS Wainui during December.

The 7th November was marked by the return of the "wideawake" terns to Denham Bay, a sight which probably greatly surprised them. However, they made good use of the eggs, collecting some 150 dozen of them during early December. By burning sea shells and ‘coral' (a term used by both Bell and the settlers), they made a lime preservative for the stored eggs, which was evidently highly successful.

On the 21st November, they had their only major argument with resident Thomas Bell (Vol3, No 6, page 137). After-that, things seemed to settle down and the Carver and Bacon families later became great friends of the Bells. During early December, a settler threatened the shooting of another, jealousy evidently being the theme. But Hovell seemed to put it down quickly and effectively and there are no other recorded disagreements.

Two cyclones of tropical origin evidently struck during January of 1890 and New Year's Day was announced with an earthquake of considerable intensity. Conditions were now really getting tough. Crops failed, fish were hard to catch and the rat menace was difficult to handle. Obviously surveyor Smith's 1887 claims were seriously in error. He had possibly been misled by the success that Bell was having on the north coast at the time of the Annexation.

It is interesting to note that in 1898 Bell laid a claim on the Government for 820 sheep consumed by the settlers when their provisions were down in early 1890 (Aeradio Report 1937). This incredible number was denied by Ind. Carver in a letter to the Surveyor General. Carver was of the opinion that Bell only had 100 sheep remaining at that time of 600 head that had been brought from Napier and that the Carver family had no need to solicit any help from him.

By March - the settlers' fifth month of residence - they were becoming rather desperate. A German warship was signaled in passing but no boat was put to the shore to determine their plight. However, the news did get through to New Zealand and the Hinemoa under Fairchild was dispatched prematurely in April to withdraw the settlers.

The Carver and Bacon families elected to stay on at least until the next visit of the Government steamer. So did the Hovell couple as Mrs Hovell was very ill and it was evidently inadvisable to move her. On the 29th April, she gave birth to a crippled girl, Dorothy Eva Denham Hovell and on the 25th November, they were returned to New Zealand. With them travelled Misses Henrietta and Mary Bell and their island tutor, John Avent (Morton 1957) and possibly the Bacons. The last of the settlers, the family of Joshua Nanthenial Carver left as late as December 1892. (Alan Henderson, K.I.E. surveyor, remembers seeing the interlinking initials JNC carved into the trunk of a tree above D'Arcy Point in 1938).

In late June of 1890, a petition for compensation on losses arising from surveyor Smith's misleading claims was received by Sir George Grey and heard before Parliament's Petition Committee in 1891. A later petition (1894) is an interesting document, for it lists all the head-of-families and bachelor names -

HOVELL, Harry Kinnaird £4049
CARVER, R.W. Ind. £500
BACON, Septimus £400
ROBSON, Edward H. £200
McNAUGHT, Thomas £130
WELLS, John £100
ROBSON, John B. £65
COTTER, Edmund £60
LORD, Henry H. £60
CARVER, John P. £50
CARVER, Henry Tweedy £50
RASMUSSEN, Andrew £50
TAYLER, Arthur Reginald £40

Note that the longest serving settler, Joshua Nanthenial Carver, does not appear. Nor does Stratford, a surname mentioned by historian Haigh in 1968. Additional claim was laid by H.K. Hovell for -

BECKET Arthur (Carpenter) 33 weeks @ 48/- week
JACKSON Thomas B. (Hand) 33 weeks @ 36/- week
McCULLOCH Robert (Hand) 33 weeks @ 36/- week
Permanent injury to wife and child in birth £1000
Timber purchased from Thomas Bell £8"13"10

The results of this petition are not known, but it is a well presented little volume and can be viewed in the Turnbull Library today (q 919.31 HOV). The claiming of £8"13"10 paid out to Bell for timber, may well indicate the dismantling of Bell's old woolshed at Denham Bay. Although this is mentioned briefly in 'Crusoes of Sunday Island', Roy Bell disclaimed any building of theirs ever being in the area (1962, Norfolk Island). But, that amount of money in the late nineteenth century would certainly have purchased a large amount of second-hand timber - far too much to be carried over the Denham Bay track in the few brief months that the ill fated settlement existed in the bay.


46 Shalimar Street,
Samabula 2 1/2 miles,
Suva. 28th July, 1978.

Kermadec Island Copra Produce & Marketing Board, Kermadec Island.

Dear Sir,
I am a sack merchant and have all types of Juted and Poliproplyene Bags. I have available sacks which I would like to market. These are all 224lbs 26" x 44i" Jute and Poliproplyene.

Jute Bags F.O.B. 40 cents each
Poliproplyene Bags F.O.B. 30 cents each

Should you or the Planters be interested in purchasing the above mention bags I shall be delighted to supply your orders. Thanking you in anticipation for a favourable reply.

Yours faithfully,
Hari Prasad.



During Oct-Nov 1937, Bacon's dog Taipo, was absent from camp for nearly a fortnight but returned. He appeared to have palled up with somebody. Later on, while I was surveying south end of the island, I found recent ashes of camp fire, signs of camping by a number of people and a line cut in bush towards Denham Bay north. Obviously someone had been secretly on the island during Oct-Nov '37 while our party was there. From indications, I would judge them to be Japanese who appeared to have landed between Smith Bluff and Denham Bay.

Margin note by Alan Henderson, KIE surveyor 1937-8.



Raoul Max Min Mean *Nml Rain Days *Nml Sun(hrs)
Jan 1978 24.4 20.0 22.2 +0.6 25 7 -66 175
Feb 24.6 19.8 22.2 -0.2 162 20 +7 127
Mar 24.7 19.3 22.0 +0.1 98 17 -34 191
Apr 23.5 18.3 20.9 +0.2 90 23 -34 174
May 22.3 16.7 19.5 +0.7 218 23 +73 132
Jun 20.8 14.6 17.7 +0.4 240 28 +90 103
Half Year Total   833 118 +36 902
Jan 1978 17.3 11.6 14.5 +0.1 33 14 -20 141
Feb 18.7 12.3 15.5 +0.7 28 10 -36 125
Mar 17.3 11.9 14.6 +0.4 119 12 +35 135
Apr 15.8 10.9 13.4 +1.0 86 13 -3 82
May 13.6 8.7 11.2 +0.8 118 25 +1 92
Jun 11.2 6.6 8.9 +0.2 150 27 +56 42
Half Year Total   534 101 +33 617
Jan 1978 12.5 7.4 10.0 +0.7 109 24 -15 111
Feb 12.4 7.8 10.1 +0.9 89 22 -25 74
Mar 10.7 5.7 8.2 -0.3 146 29 +16 66
Apr 10.1 6.4 8.3 +1.2 141 24 +19 27
May 8.6 4.9 6.8 +0.7 156 29 +16 8
Jun 6.4 2.3 4.4 -0.4 74 30 -56 7
Half Year Total   715 158 -45 293

 *Nml: Departue from normal, where the term 'normal' refers to the 30 year period, 1941 to 1970 inclusive. Max and Min are mean maximum and minimum air temperature in degrees Celcius. All figures are from the monthly publication, N.Z, Gazette - Ed.



Most Islanders will know that after a while station life can become quite routine. A break from this routine is always welcome and with a host of places to see and photograph, it seems that most of the crew can find a day or two to spare for their own enjoyment. A few of the boys spend their days chasing smellies and have a fair number of tails and skins to show for their efforts, approximately 140 goats to date. Others however, prefer a more peaceful life around the hostel. A visit from a passing ship is always special and this year we have had a few. The frigates Waikato and Otago arrived in February bound for places tropical. The Waikato carried with her a prefabricated hut for Mahoe and six Lands & survey visitors. These included specialised personnel to assess the possibility of fencing a portion of the Island for goat control. One look at the Island, a shaking of the heads and that was all off. However, the team was very active and covered most parts of the Island, observing and noting. In most cases, while John Ombler (familiar to those of the '76/77 crew) was to act as guide, it seemed that the party was lead by that familiar figure, Bill Sykes, a Raoul Island regular and it was commented that on more than occasion, they were thankful that he stopped so often to collect copious quantities of botanical specimens affording a breather for the rest. Their visit was climaxed with a cricket match which was won by the visitors but whose after match function was lead by those hearty Islanders.

The met station 'Bomb' came in for its fair share of attention and a D.S.I.R. scientist also visited it to try to track down the cause. He left with the L. & S. team after advancing several theories which, with the help of our fine Met team were shot down in the months to come. (The low pressure hydrogen generator has been playing up - with loud bangs, Ed.) Another two months passed uneventfully but for a small venture at Boat Cove. Orders from Wellington meant that the foxway was to be dismantled. And so after a brief visit and several hacksaw blades, the main cable was cut from the bottom anchor block and the D7, 'Hercules' retrieved the same. The winch shed and motor were dismantled and returned to the hostel area and all that is left is the much used hut and a new bog which is sited in a position which affords a scenic view second to none.

A yacht, called Incognito, called briefly at the end of April and the sight of the crew, a well formed female, brightened the activity of the team. A couple of fine evenings and a fishing trip to Meyer and they were on their way. A second yacht, Boomerang arrived about the same time. A crew of five, one Norseman, three Swedes and an American were sailing the partly completed yacht from Australia to Sweden. April 27 marked the halfway point of our term and so the visitors were invited ashore to join in the celebration. That evening, fourteen people sat down to dinner and the hostel seemed to be stretched to the limit, or so we thought. Tiare II, our last yacht for the season called briefly in May. Amongst the visits, work goes on as usual and the works program lessens.

One of the sadder tasks of the program is the removal of fences from paddocks 7 & 8. We are lead to believe that the farm west of the airdrop paddock is to be handed back to the reserve and it seems a shame that so much hard work from the past is terminated by the stroke of a pen from one who remains ignorant, or at least has his hands tied so as not to be able to control the situation.

In June the Otago called again with three L & S blokes dedicated to the eradication of the dreaded Mysore. Bad weather, misunderstandings and decisions from some who felt they know better meant that the personnel and their gear were offloaded at Boat Cove. This of course meant that three months food, etc, had to be packed up to the hut and it is commendable for those who pitched in and helped. Of course, it meant that the three missed their initiation baptism but one who has since become known as 'China' managed to slip on the rope ladder of the 'Otago' and was dutifully let go by a boy in blue and so came ashore looking a little the worse for wear. His assignment was basically to renovate the woolshed for future use by L & S and it now sports two bunk rooms, sleeping 10, a storeroom and a kitchen dining area. Quite a credit to the same bloke.

In late July, the Picton arrived with an installation crew of five who were to install the three new diesel generators. John Thompson, Met man from Kelburn was along also, to sort out the continuing exciting drama, 'The Cause of the Bomb Explosions'. The Picton had been standing off for about 5 days awaiting the installation of the generators when inclement weather and engine malfunctions caused her to run aground near the entrance to Sunshine Valley, Boat Cove. We knew nothing of the wreck until the crew were found by a wide-eyed, and no doubt wide-mouthed mechanic who was picking up diesel from the fuel dump. The sudden swelling of the numbers did not prove too much although with 26 for meals the cook had a mammoth task at hand. It was encouraging to see all pitching in and credit goes to our team who managed to stay calm during the entire period. The Picton crew (six) slept in the woolshed and ate with us. They joined in all tasks and were soon busy helping the installation crew who were now trying to meet a deadline with the expected arrival of the Tui.

A couple of weeks after the Picton came ashore, the Tui arrived with the Forestry 'Smellie' Destruction Squad. When these and their gear were ashore, time was spent retrieving one or two things from the Picton wreck and then time to get the installation team and their gear aboard. During a sudden squall, the motor boat ferrying gear and personnel to the Tui was caught at the rock and and overturned so that we lost two cargo nets of personal gear, including the mail. Fortunately no one was hurt, but due to the worsening weather it was decided that only personnel were to be taken aboard. The Tui sailed and we still had John Thompson and one of the installation crew ashore and all their gear. However, the Grey Funnel Line came to the rescue and a couple of weeks later the Waikato, returning to New Zealand after 5 months in American waters was diverted to cope with the situation. This one had a helicopter, so the Rock was not needed and after a day's work with the chopper freighting gear around the island, they loaded gear and personnel - and we were on our own again.

The Acheron paid a brief visit on her way to the Gilbert Islands and we were able to exchange greetings and fruit. It seems as though we have had our fair share of visitors and excitement this year and no doubt it all helped to pass the time as quickly as it had done. Time is rushing on and soon all we will have of our stay here are the memories and photos. Some, of course will probably return as they have in the past, but most will be content to have had the one trip. All of the team are looking forward with eager anticipation, some more than others, for the day of departure. All too soon we will have left Raoul in the hands of the new crew and we will be sailing the high seas on our way home.

“The great Pacific's shores reach far and wide,
But there is an isle 'tween either side,
Which offers a year of heartfelt pleasure,
Amongst the glories of nature's treasure.
Far from the city's noise and howl,
A man can relax and live on Raoul,
And then at the end of a year of fun,
He can look forward in days to come,
When often sitting in the summer haze,
He will remember his happy Raoulonian days."

Bruce Anderson.



Last March while I was having a ramble through Turnbull Library's photographic records, I came across two reproductions of pen and wash sketches by Tyler Wilson. He was evidently a crew member on HMS Herald which ship, under the command of Captain H.M. Denham, was used in the 1854 oceanographic survey around the Kermadec group of islands.

I wrote to the estate of Captain H.M. Denham in Chelsea, London, for permission to use the reproductions in this issue of 'The Islander'. It was a bit of a jolt when I received a letter back from Captain H.M. Denham (Retired) advising me to go ahead. However, it appears that this is the original captain's great - grandson and he notes our interest in his great-grandfather's work with some pleasure.

He holds the original paintings with him in London, together with a map of the island painted by Wilson in a similar fashion. The survey records are held in Admiralty Archives at Taunton.

Raoul Island Watercolour 1854


The homestead scene in Denham Bay is of American settler Halstead's property in happier days. He was to survive an eruption in Denham Bay a few years later but to die in 1863 when the Peruvian slaver schooner introduced cholera to the island. Of interest is the covered water cask in the foreground and the sight of the fresh water lagoon through the trees at the back. His children possibly lived in the small raupo thatched huts as it would have been in line with their Polynesian origins. The two raised box-like structures are probably small food stores, although they have been penned to look like dove cots, a luxury allowed (if this is what they are) when one considers the amount of mutton bird used in the daily diet.

Raoul Island Blue Lake 1854

The central crater area contains two interesting points. Firstly the two small islets in the lower left hand corner of Blue Lake are now gone. The second is the definite crater form in the raised arm of land separating Blue from Green Lake. It may be intended to represent the Green Lake crater, but it seems too close to the artist. Is this an additional crater which was filled in by the 1872 eruption ash ? (The reproductions appear through the courtesy of the Turnbull Library in Wellington.)



We see two frequently used means of communication between New Zealand and Raoul and Campbell Island. The Lockeed P3B 'Orion' of RNZAF's No 5 Squadron can be relied on to bring the mail when on oceanic patrol close to the islands. They were delivered to New Zealand in late 1966 to replace the aging Short MR5 'Sunderlands’. (Photograph by courtesy of the Photographic Section at RNZAF Base Auckland)

P3B Orion RNZAF No5 Squadron

An aerial view of the Leander Class frigate Canterbury F421. She is an improved version of her Rothesay Class cousins Otago F111 and Taranaki F148, and was commissioned in October 1971. Capable of 30 knots, her 372' length displaces 2800 tons. (Photo by courtesy of the Naval Photographic Section, Philomel)

HMNZS Canterbury F421



The exact number and positions of the graves on Campbell Island will never be known. A pity, as well marked sites and well inscribed headstones are amongst the better signposts in history. The following notes are based on an article written by Norm Judd, now a ranger with the Tongariro National Park staff and who has his Campbell Island links from the time he was leader of the 1975-6 Scientific Expedition (Vol 3, No 3, pages 53 to 55).


The deaths of Captain Frederick Hasselburg, Elizabeth Farr and the boy George Allwright on Sunday 4th November 1810 in Perseverance Harbour are well recorded by Ian Kerr. The boating accident occurred while beating westwards up Perseverance Harbour from the Davis Point area. Although Hasselburg and and Allwright were lost without trace, Parr was brought ashore dead and presumably buried in the region of the accident, as the Reverend J. Wilkinson in 1838 states, " …. traces of Elizabeth Parr's (Parr) burial plot are still extant on the southwest arm of Perseverance Harbour". Considering the strong westerly at the time and the lie of that end of the harbour, my guess is that the grave is low down on the Moubray slopes. Sir James Clark Ross (1840) reports that the graves of several seamen and "that of a French woman drowned in a boating accident" were to be found north of the Erebus anchorage. This brings the Tucker Cove area into focus, as the Erebus and Terror rounded the Shoal Point to enter the inner harbour to anchor (Kerr). The recording of graves at that early time in that area is interesting, but Wilkinson's statement indicates that none of these graves would be Parr's.

In 1829, Hasselburg's old ship, the brig Perseverance was wrecked at Campbell Island with the loss of two seamen. This possibly occurred in North West Bay as evidence of an old shipwreck is recorded in 1868 and 1874 and splinters of a teak-like timber in the same area in 1975. However, the two graves if they exist have never been found.

In 1874, members of the French expedition to observe the transit of Venus, buried a colleague named Duris above Garden Cove in a clearing which was later used by the Canterbury Philosophical Institute in 1907. The members of this latter scientific group photographed the grave site which was boarded with white stone and bore an intricately made iron cross. The French leader's report in 1874 stated, "… he (Duris) will be buried on the promontory chosen last year for our observations. It is situated opposite Kervenus, separated from us by the entire width of the bay. The spot is the most beautiful part of the roadsteads, if this term is at all applicable at Campbell Island …. Thank God, the remains of Duris will not require a Geologist to distinguish them from those of a seal. A large gravestone with an inscription will cover him, and a wrought-iron cross, a keepsake from his engine room comrades, will bear witness that Christians have been here.”

A better known grave is the one which used to be covered by a heather bush near the sod hut at Camp Cove. This was always understood to be the grave of our Lady of the Heather - by all those who wanted to support the legend. However, once again the veil of mystery cannot be penetrated and even the exact site has been lost in recent years.

The cairn of rocks on the eastern edge of Tucker Cove is a1so well known to all Campbellians. It is the popular belief that this sturdy monument was erected over the body of a favourite sheepdog from the Tucker farm days. The Canterbury Philosophical Institute also photographed this site in 1907 and a large wooden cross is evident with the inscription "Remember Thy Sleeping Brother.” However, Mr J. Timms of Havelock who was a resident whaler there in 1912 recalls that he had been told that three human skeletons had been found and reburied there and the cairn was their headstone. This may well be so, if the assumption that Sir James Clark Ross's remarks refer to the Tucker Cove area.

Finally, it is interesting to learn that in 1929, Alex Spence who was farming Campbell Island at the time, found a large wooden cross above the water's edge, on the harbour's south side opposite the Beeman Point. It had been exposed by burning off the dracophyllum scrub and the charring was sufficient to render the inscription indecipherable. Being up in the scrub would make it independent to the wooden cross that was once, on the cairn.

And this is about as far as we will ever get with this aspect of the record. Should anyone want an extension to the subject, then I recommend the reading of 'Marie Levant' by Carlyle Ferguson (Vol 2 No 5, page 114), and see if you can pinpoint where everyone was buried after that little shootout.

Pierre, with thanks to Norm Judd.



At 1100 hours on Wednesday 26th July 1978, the fishing trawler Picton collided with coastal rocks at a point almost one kilometre NNE from D'Arcy Point, Raoul Island. Within an hour and a half, she had entirely broken up under the persistent persuasion of a slight NE swell. No loss of life or injury was sustained by any of the six crew members.

The 85 foot kauri planked trawler terminated its 65 year career while on a Ministry of Transport charter to Raoul Island. The project in mind was for a team of six electricians to replace the three Lister diesel-electric generators and carry out extensive rewiring at the hostel over a three week period. Picton was to enjoy a local fishing spree to fill its empty hold and then repatriate the electricians to New Zealand when all work was done. Skipper Bob Sands (Napier harbour's tug master) had off-loaded his cargo on the previous Monday so nothing on the departmental level was lost and the new installation has been presumably completed.

The trip northwards had not been a comfortable one. Setting out bravely from Napier at 1900 hours on 19th July, the small craft was soon toiling into a near gale northerly associated with a depression (980 mb) 150 kilometres north of Cape Reinga. It took a full day for the weather system to move southwards to Kaipara Harbour, so conditions were certainly not moderating on the second day. The passengers were in the for’castle where they could better appreciate the vertical movement, probably being extended by the knifing action of the vessel's non-flared bows. Things were not well below decks.

By Friday, the depression had filled to 990 mb and was 150 kilometres southeast of Cape Palliser, so the boys started to make better progress under a moderate westerly, reaching Fishing Rock on Sunday at 1800 hours. The cause of the ship's collision with the shore has not been made public at this time, but by the photographs, she would have appeared to have struck port side. Peering out of the wreckage is the still intact CRT of the ship's radar. Needless to say, vertical climb out to bush level was impossible at this point, so the crew worked their way around the rocks, ascending at Boat Cove and arriving at the hostel on the morning of Friday 28th.


Further Notes on 

Ian Chruch of Patea recently sent me his Kermadec historical research notes for perusal. In our past pages (Vol 3, No 4, p 94) we have look on the 1872 eruption as being the next big volcanic disturbance after the 1814 event, but by Mr Church's notes we now have a further two.

The first arises out of Frank Bullen's "The Cruise of the Cachalot.” As the account involves the American settler Halstead (Halsted) who temporarily left the island in 1857, we may be able to peg the eruption to that year if Bullen's second-hand account is to be believed.

" …. But it came to pass one night they felt the sure and firm set earth trembling beneath their feet. Rushing out of their house, they saw the heavens bespread with an awful pall of smoke, the under side of which was glowing with the reflected fires of some vast furnace. Their terror was increases by a smart shower of falling ashes and the reverberations of subterranean thunders. At first they thought of flight in their boat, not reckoning the wide stretch of sea which rolled between them and the nearest land, but the height and frequency of the breakers then prevailing made that impossible"

"Their situation was pitiable in the extreme. During the years of peace and serenity they had spent here, no thought of insecurity of their tenure had troubled them. Though they had but been dwellers on the threshold of the mountain, as it were, and any extension of their territory impossible by reason of the insurmountable barrier around them, they had led an untroubled life, all unknowing of the fearful forces beneath their feet. But now they found the foundations of the rocks beneath breaking up; that withering, incessant shower of ashes and scoria destroyed all their crops; the mild and delicate air changed into a heavy, sulphurous miasma; while overhead the beneficent face of the bright blue sky had become a horrible canopy of deadly black, about which played lurid corusations of infernal fires."

"What they endured throughout those days and nights of woe, could never be told. They fled from the home they had reared with such abundance of loving care, taking refuge in a cave; for not even the knowledge that the mountain itself seemed in the throes of dissolution could entirely destroy their trust in those apparently eternal fastnesses. Here their eldest son died, worried to death by incessant terror. At last, a passing whaler, remembering them and seeing the condition of things, had the humanity and courage to stand in near enough to see their agonised signals of distress. All of them except the son buried but a day or two before, were safely received and carried away, leaving the terrible mountain to its solitude." (Halstead, on his return to the island, and a second son were to die of cholera in 1863 at Denham Bay along with one hundred Tokelau Islander slaves who had brought the disease with them on a Peruvian slaving schooner.)

The second is highly factual and contains possibly the second known sighting of Denham Bay's jack-in-the-box Wolverine Rock. The barque Crowninshield arrived at Raoul on 2nd October 1870 to find two islands "hove up by an earthquake" and "about 300 feet high." On going ashore at Denham Bay, Captain Praro found a notice stating that settler William Covert (Covat), his wife and two children had "been driven to the mountain on account of the sulphur and gas." This had happened on 24th June 1870. They were located and evacuated to the Milton, which had arrived the following day after the Crowninshield, and was bound for Norfolk Island. The Coverts may well have returned later as Captain Sterndale reports the evacuation of the "Covat" family in 1872 when the massive eruption of that year took place in the Green Lake area. (Referring again to the cholera epidemic of 1863, Covert was known to have been there at that time, having arrived soon after Halstead returned from Norfolk Island. Historian James Cowan in his "Suwarrow Gold" (1936) states that Covert lost his wife and three children to the disease. Obviously there is a bit of a mystery surrounding Mrs Covert as Praro states above that Covert's wife and two children had witnessed this latter eruption in 1870.)


The Passing of

The Editor regrets to record the recent death in Wellington of Honorary Member Ian Kerr on 30th July 1978.

Ian was elected an Honorary Member to the Association in 1968 when he offered his entire volume of Campbell Island historical notes to the fledging committee for their use in compiling articles. Subsequently, a complete history on Campbell Island is now contained in our issues. At the time of his death, he had completed the first three chapters of a history on the Kermadec Group of islands.

Ian joined the New Zealand Meteorological Service in March 1939 and remained in the forecasting branch throughout his 38 year career, finally directing this division. Ironically, for all his great interest in Campbell Island, he only made one brief trip there - during the 1960 servicing by the M.V. Holmburn.

His retirement in March 1977 led him fully into the avenues of historical research. He had the compelling need to write a full account on the life and times of the Meteorological Service. He spiced this duty by researching the Kermadecs on the side and I received a number of enthusiastic notes from him in the brief year that was his retirement. Ian is survived by his daughter, Janet, who lives in Wellington.



“Santa's sleigh is on its way -
From out the sky it comes,
With Christmas cheer for all the boys,
From their dear grey-headed Mums.

"Now Santa is a magic man
Who has nearly lived forever,
But just to make sure things go OK -
What's your present wevva ?"

So boomed out Orion 02 on 4600 kHz some 150 miles to the west of Raoul at 1430 hours on Tuesday 19th December last. Odeist Moff was resting on his laurels that day, so Novice Nigel was trying his hand at the airborne art of aerial recitation.

"280/04 knots, visibility 20 km, 4/8 500 and 7/8 1200 feet, temperature 24 C, QNH 1017 mb," came the confident reply as we came on down from our 16,000 foot perch - well within Santa's requirements we reckoned. However, when the aircraft was down to rock bottom, it was more like 5,000 metres in the thickest lump of haze not belonging to an industrial complex, and you could divide that by five every time it rained from a 300 foot base. Seemed as though the Kermadecs were running their own little South Pacific convergence zone thing and radar had confirmed this before descent.

We tried from the east for a kick-off but found Tom Bell's Norfolk pines were hiding the DZ marker on approach, so we dumb belled and came in from the west getting messed up in a rain puddle on the way in. Sure the lucky lads below had us on visual from way out but it’s a different thing when you are getting clobbered on the windscreen. So we stuck to it and 40 minutes later were able to turn away to sea after a six bundle drop.

Well, there were plenty of opportunities to examine the Hutchinson Bluff and Bell Beach areas, but we had to turn northwards rather urgently after the DZ - so got no real idea of the current state of decay on the farm. But assorted tractor tracks indicated that the grass must be around waist-level. The hostel area looks very neat and a lot more simple now the village has been pulled down. The fishermen amongst us noted several areas of activity on the sea surface where large fish were operating and there were disturbances which probably represented the odd humpback sounding. However we had to go. Pity it had not been fine so that we could have had a look around, but we will be back.

(The boys were back again during January. They are sure they spotted a large Manta ray about two miles out from the centre point of Bell's beach.)


Early in the morning of 12th June last year, we hitched a mailbag to Orion 05 and set out for the Southern Ocean. Things looked good, meteorologically, for visiting the Auckland Islands, but Campbell, Antipodes and the Bounty Islands were rather doubtful. A cold front was arched through Fiordland, the smaller subantarctic islands and tucked back into Campbell lsland where the where the parent low pressure system appeared to reside.

The early morning sun had turned the Southern Alps into a delicate edible orange ice-block. I have never seen mountains contain such beauty as on that winter morning. Below us in the frosty valley shadows, the high country sheep stations slept on.

To the southwest we could see a rather battered collection of cumulonimbus clouds slowly crossing Fiordland and then we plunged into the stratiform clouds preceding them over Southland. We broke clear south of the Snares and headed on down for the Aucklands. Without reference to radar, I took an area of cumulus cloud ahead to be the normal frustrating cloud cover for the islands - but no, we passed over it and once again all was blue as we commenced descent.

The approach to the Auckland Islands was made from the east and to the north of Enderby Island, turning southwest over the Hooker Hills and then south to peer down into Laurie Harbour. It did not seem possible that there was once a busy little town and port down there. We flew over the ridges looking eastwards at the valleys and harbours and pinpointing them with their well known names -Haskell Bay, Chambers and Musgrave Inlets, South Harbour, Falla Peninsular, Norman Inlet. Passing to the west of Mt Raynall, the aircraft was then turned southeastwards down the North Arm of Carnley Harbour. Now could be seen the coastal indentation of 'Epigwaitt' where the Grafton's crew had resided for some 20 months after the schooner had been wrecked here in 1864. Victoria Passage to our right could have been navigated in the smallest dinghy on this peaceful morning. Then Adams Island, forestless but incredibly beautiful in its hilly rush to reach beyond 2000 feet. And there were those famous reverse flow waterfalls between Logan and Astrolabe Points, somewhere finding a breeze to spread their watery veils.

I went aft as the aircraft climbed away to Campbell, and sat alongside the bulbous rear observation window to watch the Aucklands disappear in the distance. After all these years of films, slides and books on the area, it was hard to come to terms with the fact that I had just visited the island. It was an incredible feeling.

Ahead lay a great wall of cloud. Thirty miles into that muck lay Campbell Island in a full gale easterly with 50 knot gusts rocking the buildings. At 500 feet we broke clear of cloud and moved in on the island visually. The sunny slopes of the Aucklands were a year away in this world of grey rain and white waves. We circled the island and then turned in immediately south of Dent Island when we got a good sighting on the western end of Perseverance Harbour. The aircraft rose nobely on the updraught from the St Col Ridge then descended at a fast clip in Mount Honey's lee wave. That certainly got us back to altitude for a drop, but there was no method of working our way accurately on to the DZ. So we went on by, peering quickly at the station and then examining the vegetation on Honey's flank. Then another good old shakeup as we came out of the lee - how clear DMS's predicament was on that October morning in 1951 as the underpowered 'Catalina' followed a similar route. So the mail had to be restowed and we set off northeast to the Antipodes.

The cloud base now rose and the visibility improved so that we had good views of this miniature Campbell Island when we arrived at 1300 hours. And then that splatter of rocks - the Bounties. How could sealers have ever survived on those sea-lashed shores? Soon after, we broke out again into the sunlight and set our heading for Dunedin. An aerial tour of Campbell in conditions similar to those at Auckland lsland would have made a most satisfactory outing. Campbell did clear about two hours after our departure. Never mind - next time perhaps.




As part of the work in maintaining the survival of the Chatham Islands Black Robin the Wildlife Service has been planting seedling Chatham 'Ake Ake' (olearia traversii). These have usually been air freighted to Hapupu Airfield by Bristol Freighter, transported by truck to Owenga, then by boat to Mangere Island to be unloaded through the surf.

This year it was expected that we would have approximately 40,000 trees to transport for planting, so an approach was made to the Air Force regarding the possibility of having the trees dropped on to Mangere Island. During February a trial drop was done at Hobsonville, following which approval was given for the Mangere Island project to go ahead. The date set was the 18 May 1978, but for the week 15 to 19 May the Chatham Islands were covered in cloud and the Air Force flying to Mangere Island did not make the drop. The Wildlife Party who were to be on Mangere Island at the time arrived on Chatham Island on the 19th but were then held up by strong winds and did not reach Mangere Island until the 23 May.

On the 21 May, once again a 'Hercules’ aircraft, the Air Force dropped the trees on the ridge south of the hut on Mangere Island. The 90 packages were spread over an area of approximately 2 ha. with one package approximately 200 metres from the nearest of those in the main group. Each package was made up with 50 trees the roots packed with moss were placed into a plastic bag which was then put into a sandbag. Then up to six of these sandbags were then put into a 10 cm deep sided corrugated cardboard container. Each of these packages weighed approximately 20 kg and were free dropped from the aircraft.

The major regret the wildlife party had was that they were not present on the island at the time of the drop. I am sure it would have been most impressive. Some twigs and branchlets were broken on some of the trees but damage was no worse than if the trees had been handled on to trucks and boats. In all this year there were only 28,000 trees available from nurseries. However with cuttings taken, we are anticipating having to transport and plant a further 80,000 trees next year:

Peter Fisher,
Wildlife Service.

(See also: "Chatham Island Black Robin”, Vol 3, No 2, page 32- Ed)


“Chatham lsland's Flight With Umpteen Thousand Seedlings.”

Another Peter, this one a Syms from N.W.F.C. at Kelburn, went along on the flight of the 18th and recorded it thus ….

"With a tail wind of 35 to 40 knots it took about 2 hours to reach the Chatham Islands. They were lying partly hidden under an almost continuous layer of cloud with a few of the highest peaks just visible through the cloud top. There are many tall narrow stacks in the sea around Mangere Island, including one aptly named 'The Castle.’ This appeared to be well over a hundred feet high. Its sheer, spray-wet sides were just the sort of obstacle you don't want to meet when flying at 150 knots through cloud. The wind was a light northeasterly, with a few small areas clear of cloud downwind of the main islands.

"Mangere lsland consists of a rounded hump about one kilometre in diameter and rising to 287m with a narrow spit extending for about a kilometre to the WSW. Little Mangere Island is a continuation of the spit, separated from it by a narrow wave-swept channel. The two possible drop zones were on the flat but eloping top of the hump and on the middle section of the spit. The upper one was in cloud and likely to remain so, but the lower zone was in the clear, with a cloud-free lane leading up to it. There were five pallets of seedlings to drop, plus a small load of beer and skittles for for the wildlife lads who would be doing the planting - so six or seven runs would be needed to complete our mission. We did a dummy run from SE to NW over the spit, which lay grassy-green in the weak sunshine. We flashed over it in a few seconds glimpsing a small red hut on one side.

“The 'Hercules' circled around for another run, over the shallow but dense layer of cloud. In places, scraps of cloud reached down to the sea surface and streaks of rain obscured the the rugged coastlines. On reaching the DZ again, we saw only an undulating white blanket of cloud, with the occasional short stretch of rocky shore showing dimly through. Where there had been grass and blue sea was now only whiteness. “We stooged around for over an hour, but the cloud we had stirred up stayed put and we did not see either DZ again. The weak sunshine filtering through the high cirrus overcast made on impression on the cloud, so at last we turned regretfully for home.”


April 1863

Although the Peruvian government abolished slavery in 1855; a decree of January 1861 provided for the introduction of “natives of the South Western Islands of the Pacific” for agriculture work and domestic service. Natives of both sexes were to be engaged for 5 years and then to be returned if they so desired, to their home islands. By the end of 1862, eighteen to twenty vessels bad been fitted for this purpose of 'recruiting'. Natives lured or driven aboard these ships fared in much the same way as the West Africans in the North American trade had in the previous century.

Such a ship visited Raoul Island during April of 1863, putting in to Denham Bay to "try and restore the health" of some 200 natives suffering possibly from cholera. “They were so emaciated and feeble that they could not stand, and some were unable even to crawl. The first launch-load consisted of fifty-three men, only three of whom could stand, three were found dead on the launch reaching the beach and the residue were hauled out of the launch and thrown on the sand, some beyond the surf, and others in it. Several were drowned where they were thrown and eighty died immediately after being landed.

"As soon as some of the others gained a little strength, and were able to move about, they ate almost anything that came in their reach and very soon diarrheas and cramps developed and carried the hapless wretches off in numbers. The dead were buried on the beach in the sand, where the incoming tide and rising surf disinterred the bodies and strewed then all over the beach, where they remained when the tide fell. On April 19th, a considerable number of the people had partially recovered and ware able to walk about.

"The slaver was a beautiful-looking vessel of about 400 tons and was remarkably fast. She had various names, flew a variety of flags and was heavily armed. The captain and the greater part of the crew were Spaniards, there being twenty men of various nationalities before the mast. When lying at Sunday Island the officers were continually on the alert and if a sail hove in sight, as was sometimes the case - whalers had for years obtained supplies at Sunday Island - all hands were recalled on board and the barque got under way. When the captain landed he carried a gun, revolvers, and bowie-knife. The island was stripped of all cattle, pigs, fowls, vegetables and anything else in the shape of food or stores.”
(Pageant of the Pacific -Spanish slavers, F. Rhodes.)

The schooner Emily, which had departed Bay of Islands on the 3rd February happened to call into Denham Bay soon after the disaster to find that of 22 people resident on Raoul, 8 had died by the disease brought ashore. The Emily repatriated the fourteen survivors from the families of Halstead (Halsted), Covert (Covat) and Johnstone, landing them in Apia on 23rd May.

The arrival of this ragged band of survivors prompted a letter from a resident in Apia on 28th Kay. “We had an arrival yesterday of a small schooner from New Zealand by way of Sunday Island; she brought the remnants of three families - motherless and fatherless children, widows and widowers. It seems that Mr Paddy Cooney (hardly Spanish as quoted above. Another source quotes him as American - Ed) was at Sunday Island with his cargo of human beings, and landed them for recruiting.* They brought with them a fearful scourge which resembles the cholera, taking off its victims in two or three hours. When the schooner sailed, Mr Cooney was still there (his) vessel lying off and on; he was on shore, his ‘cargo’ dying off at a terrible rate, over one hundred in a short time from landing. One man that came in the schooner states that he saw, when the launch would bring a load ashore, they would drag them as pigs from the boat, some dead, some nearly so, and expire where they were thrown down. The dead were buried on the beach at low water, and when the surf would come, it would uncover their bodies; in fact the beach was strewn with dead bodies exibiting such a sight as he never before saw and hopes never to see again. Poor fellows, they ware from Niue or Savage Island, (Tokelau) and Danger Island (Pukapuka, Northern Cooks).

"The captain of the schooner tells me he saw a Roman Catholic teacher who knew him and cried out as he was passing, “Tell the priest how we suffer and ask them if they can do (something) for us.” The Emily wasn't the only ship to witness this disaster during April. Captain Nicholls of the New Bedford whaler Rainbow, saw the slaver and stated 130 natives had died so that only 70 remained alive at the time of his visit. The slaver evidently departed with the survivors for Callao on May 1st. Fit men that were to be worked in the Peruvian mines evidently fetched between 50 and 60 dollars a head - a considerable sum for those times.

(* 'Recruiting' used in the nautical sense meant the reprovisioning of the ship. The article has been compiled on notes researched by the late Ian Kerr and loaned by Ian Church of Patea Pierre.)


Campbell Island crew 1961/62Campbell faces of 1961/62: Rear left to right - Bruce Goffin (Met), Leo Rush (Ion), Kelly Rennell (Met), Colin Clark (Leader), Laurie Cooper (Met). Front left to right - (Cook?), Ian Fisher (Ion), (Tech?), Dog 'Flash', Dean Polson (Met), Bob Lamb (Met) (Mech?), Note the 180 degree disorientation of the signpost for the photo.


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