Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kaipara Ship Wrecks - 1839 Tory Grounding Update

I previously wrote of the grounding of Tory in an earlier post. Having learned a very good habit from my very very dear and very close friend Lisa aka Timespanner the information I did have somehow just didn't seem to be quite enough. So I went digging even further looking for Colonel Wakefield's own personal account of the incident. Searching the Australian National Library site (thank you Lisa for putting me onto it) I found a letter Wakefield had sent to the Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser published in the 15th December 1840 edition: -

After remaining in great peril during twenty four hours on the bank, the Tory rolled out of the bed she had formed in the sand, and forged into deep water.

I am happy to state, that although in seeking assistance from the Navarino, a large vessel lying up the Kaipara harbour, and in place my deeds in safety, a boat in which the cabin passengers were rowing me, was nearly swamped in the breakers, and was swept by the ebb tide out to sea - no life has been lost, and only a small portion of the cargo,such as bricks and pavement flags, was sacrificed. Five of the guns, a quantity of spars, three anchors, and a cable chain were also thrown overboard to lighten the vessel.

A copy of the ship's log will be sent to you by the first opportunity, in order that the necessary protest be made, in order to recover a part of the loss from the underwriters.

Finding that the Tory had received some serious injury, and was making water so fast as to keep all Hands employed in pumping, and that she must wait until the next spring tide to get high and dry, to be looked at and partially repaired, I walked over to this place and have chartered a small brig, to go to Kaipara, to take the cargo and passengers, and to proceed to the Sugar Loaf Islands, under the charge of Mr Dorset, to complete the purchase, and bring off the party I left in Taranaki, whilst I am to go to Port Hardy in a schooner of 40 tons to meet the emigrants.

The time of rendezvous being so near, has obliged me to take these decisive steps, after the best deliberation for the interests of the Company and of the settlers. My knowledge by means of the Sydney public papers of the fact of a large territory having being sold to the public by the company, has rendered it , in my opinion, imperative on me, as its representative, to incur the increased temporary expense of these small vessels to Insure the location of the first colony without delay, and to secure the agricultural districts of Taranaki. I have however, kept the additional expense as much under as possible, consistently with the vigorous execution of my views.

I shall by these means be at Port Hardy by the 10th instant, and shall proceed to plant the first settlement at Port Nicholson.

I have been confirmed in my intention in placing the first colony at Port Nicholson, and confining my operation as to the land I have acquired for the company in the neighbourhood of the Cook's Straits.

All further communications, therefore, and drafts of emigrants, should be directed to Port Nicholson.

I will forward a more detailed account of the late transactions, and of the accident to the Tory by the first opportunity.

I am. Sir, your most obedient servant
Bay of Islands 1st of January 1840


Jayne said...

So exhausting, just reading it!
I can imagine how everything would have been water-logged, stained with dried salt, smelling of seaweed, sand in their shoes, capes, skirts, and elsewhere!

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Yeah glad we weren't there Jayne!!! It's a great insight into what really went on that day.