Categories: George Fyfe, sailed 16 June 1842.
THE VOYAGE from GRAVESEND ENGLAND to PORT NICHOLSON NEW ZEALAND
David HARRIS and his wife Caroline (nee COX), with their small son William sailed as steerage passengers from Gravesend on 16th June 1842 on the barque George Fyfe. Also on board were David's sister Emma LEWER, (nee HARRIS), and her husband Charles LEWER.
The N.Z. Company's Register of Emigrant Labourers applying for a free passage to New Zealand lists:
Application number 5670 - David HARRIS aged 28, agricultural labourer, and his wife Caroline aged 21, with one boy aged 2. Residence - Hurtwood, (near Albury in the County of Surrey).
Application number 5844 - Charles LEWER aged 20, agricultural labourer and his wife Emma aged 17, Residence - Brook Albury, (in the County of Surrey).
The N.Z. Company's Embarkation Register, vol.111, page 167, No's 2392 & 2396, Alexander Turnbull Library), also lists both the HARRIS and LEWER families with the additional information of arrival dates - arrived Wellington 7th November 1842; arrived Nelson 12th December 1842. The register unfortunately did not distinguish between Wellington and Nelson bound passengers.
Commanded by Captain George PYKE, the George Fyfe, of 460 tons,experienced hot weather after leaving England and by 9th July 1842 had become becalmed off Madeira. It was a number of days before a stiff breeze took the barque to the Canary Islands where passengers had a good view of the island Parma - like a mountain rising from the sea.
Just two days later a sailor fell from the mainyard after being struck by a sail and fortunately was rescued. The victim of another accident on 18th August 1842, was not so fortunate `a poor sailor fell overboard and was lost.'
Passengers on the George Fyfe were witness to the historic sighting of numerous other vessels during the voyage - `at one stage seven ships were in sight of each other and on another occasion mail was able to be dispatched back to England by a passing ship, the Mary of Dundee. Mr Clifford and a sailor managed to throw the letters a long distance and they landed safely on the deck of the other vessel.'
Joseph Ward's diary records on the 28th July 1842 that it was `very fine day five or six vessels in sight some said more. One came very near us indeed. Captain spoke to Captain. Twas a beautiful sight like two immense swans swelling past each other. Bound for Calcutta.'
Joseph Ward wrote of - `Bad living bad health - very bad tempers. I shall never forget Geo Fyfe. Talk of suffering. New Zealand must be a fine land to repay us for the difficulties independent of leaving friends and that is a thousand times more hard than I imagined.'
The George Fyfe left the Cape of Good Hope on 14th September 1842 and arrived at Port Nicholson in Wellington on 7th November 1842. Those passengers who waited until the 7th December to sail on to Nelson witnessed a terrible fire on the waterfront when a great number of buildings and 57 houses were destroyed.
Arriving in New Zealand were 42 adult cabin passengers and 11 children with 43 steerage passengers and 23 children. Only about a third of the passengers actually went on to Nelson.
The Nelson Examiner of 17th December 1842, recorded that 6 chief cabin and 5 intermediate cabin passengers together with 13 adults and 17 children in the steerage - disembarked at Nelson.
There had been one death and three births on board.
Diary of Joseph WARD, cabin passenger on board the George Fyfe. (Alexander Turnbull Library)
Pioneer Passengers by June E. NEALE, 1982.
Supplement to the N.Z. Spectator & Cook Strait Guardian Wellington Saturday Morning Feb 8th 1845 List of persons qualified to serve as Jurors for the district of Wellington year 1845.
HARRIS David Porirua Road, Labourer.
The same details were reported for the following years:- 1847; 1848; 1849; 1852; 1856; 1857; 1858.
Electoral Roll - Country Districts - Wellington 1858.
HARRIS David Horokiwi Valley, Farmer, household, Horokiwi Valley. __________________________________________________________________________
Bett Collection: Journal of Joseph WARD, cabin passenger on board the George Fyfe. (Alexander Turnbull Library)
Pioneer Passengers by June E. NEALE, 1982.
David & Caroline Harris, 150 years, 1842-1992, Pg's 6-7, ISBN 0-473-01524-2, published by Lesley Keil, 1992 for the Harris & Lewer Family Reunion organised by Wendy Bovey and Bobbie Mawkes.
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