CRAIG, DEAN AND WRIGHT FAMILY REUNION – POKENO 1964.
HELENSLEE CENTENNIAL 1864-1964
The sailing ship Helenslee arrived in Auckland on Thursday December 22nd 1864. To celebrate the anniversary of 100 years since its arrival the descendants of the following passengers held a reunion at Pokeno on the 6th February 1965
|KING||John||16 years||Printer||Brother of Mary CRAIG|
|WELSH||Isabella||Sister to Catherine DEAN|
|DEAN||Mary||61 years approx||Housekeeper|
|WRIGHT||Alexander*||18 years||Miner||*Robert WRIGHT came as substitute|
|WRIGHT||David||25 years||Farm Servant|
It is interesting to note that Mary DEAN who emigrated with her four children William, John, Matthew and Margaret was by far the oldest passenger, the next oldest being George PITKETHLEY aged 46 years.
An account of the arrival of the ship and of the voyage appeared in the New Zealand Herald on December 23rd 1864 as follows;
“The clipper ship Helenslee, Capt. BROWN, arrived in harbour yesterday morning after a good passage of 101 days from Clyde. The following is a report of her passage, which has been kindly, furnished us;
She left Clyde on the 10th September with 334 passengers, all selected by the agent for the Auckland Government in Glasgow. Cleared Channel on the 14th, shortly after which experienced a heavy gale from the Westward, with high sea and much thunder and lightning. Light variable winds followed till the line was crossed on the 19th October, and the same light wind continuing till the Cape of Good Hope was passed on the 9th November, in latitude 46 ° 25’s, longitude 41° 30’ East. Saw a large iceberg, supposed about 90 feet high, and 2 miles long. The wind then shifted to the westward, with very cold weather and frequent showers of sleet and snow, which continued till Tasmania was reached, on 7th December, then light Northerly winds prevailed, until sighting the Three Kings on the 19th inst., the time occupied from land to land being 97 days. During the passage the greatest harmony and good feeling prevailed and amusements were entered into with spirit.
Day schools for children between 5 and 16 years of age were conducted by Mr Thomas WILSON, teacher, assisted by Mr Samuel CRICKET, who in addition to secular knowledge, imparted to them a considerable amount of religious instruction, the fruits of which it is trusted, will be seen and felt in this colony for many days after. Sabbath day services in the forenoon were conducted by Mr CRICKET to a apparently earnest and anxious congregation. Sabbath evenings and Thursday evening prayer meetings were also conducted by Mr CRICKET, assisted by Messrs. WILSON and PATERSON.
Lastly there was a sacred music class of 12 persons, named respectively and the practiced 3 times weekly. This did much to enhance the psalmody of the Sabbath services and week night prayer meetings. The following were the members; William DEAN, conductor, Samuel CRICKET, John CRICKET, George PITKETHLEY, Neil MCPHEE, W SIMPSON, Thomas WILSON, Joseph GOVAN, Stewart McGREGOR, Mary PITKETHLEY, Mary CRICKET, Agnes PITKETHLEY, John FERGUSON and Mary MAXWELL.
The Helenslee is a fine clipper ship of 798 tons, and has, considering the weather experienced, made a very good run; and to show if she has experienced anything like winds she would have made a rapid passage, we may only state that the run from 40° E to within 100 miles of Tasmania was made in 17 days, thus averaging 320 miles a day. Her last voyage was to Otago, which was made in 74 days from Glasgow. The ship, which has arrived in port in a clean and creditable condition, has bought a total of 334 passengers, all in good health, and under the medical superintendence of Dr. John WILMSHURST. There were 9 births and 14 deaths during the passage, one a Mr PITKETHLEY, aged 21 years from continued seasickness and debility; and the other Mrs. Mary LATTA, aged 23 years from diarrhoea; the remainder were all infants. Mr Walter GRAHAM is agent for the vessel.”
A testimonial and purse of sovereigns were presented to Mr CRICKET for his voluntary good work during the voyage and also a testimonial and token were presented to Captain Wm. BROWN in appreciation of his care and watchfulness over his passengers during what they considered to be a comfortable voyage.
The following extracts from the ship’s regulations are interesting and give some idea of the general conditions under which these pioneers traveled;
Provisions, Medical Attendance, Cooking and Cooking Utensils are supplied on board without charge to emigrants.
The following is the Dietary Scale for each adult person per week. Women receive the same rations as men; children between one year and twelve years, one half, infants under one year, no rations.
|Carrots, Turnips, Onions, Celery||3-5oz||3-5oz||3-5oz||3-5oz||3-5oz|
|West India Molasses||2oz||2oz||2oz||2oz|
|Lime juice (in tropics)||3oz||3oz|
Emigrants are supplied with the following bedding for which they pay the sums indicated:
|SINGLE MAN||MARRIED COUPLE||SINGLE FEMALE|
|Wool Mattress 6' x 1'8" 4/9||Wool Mattress 6' x 3' 7/5||Wool Mattress 5'9" x 1'6" 2/5|
|Bolster 1'8" 1/1 1/2||Bolster 3" 1/9||Bolster 1/1 1/2|
|3 sheets 4/4 1/2||4 sheets 8/7||1pr blankets 6/5 1/2|
|Bed cover 2/9||Bed cover 2/9|
|1 pr blankets 7/-||1pr extra quality blankets 9/6|
Additional bedding for single females and children, as well as the following articles for each passenger, had to be provided by the emigrants; canvas bag, comb, brush, knife and fork, table and tea-spoon, 2 metal-plates, hook pot, slop pail, drinking mug, tin quart, pint pot and one gallon can or keg to hold the allowance of water.
No one was allowed to embark with less clothing than:
|FOR MALES||FOR FEMALES||FOR CHILDREN|
|6 shirts||6 shifts||7 shirts or shifts|
|6pr stockings||2 warm & strong flannel petticoats||4 warm flannel waistcoats|
|2 warm flannel shirts||6 pair stockings||1 warm cloak or outside coat|
|2pr new shoes||2pr strong shoes||6pr stockings|
|2 complete sets of strong exterior clothing||2 strong gowns one of which must be warm||2 complete suits exterior clothing|
Also 4 towels and 2lbs of marine soap per person. Emigrants had to have not less than the above outfit but were advised that the larger the stock of clothing, the better for healthy and comfort during the voyage.
The following information on the early days of the settlers has been taken from various newspaper reports.
Although the anchor was dropped on Thursday 22nd December it was not until the 27th that the passengers were permitted to leave their floating home. On the 28th December it was reported that: “the passengers who arrived last week by the ship Helenslee from Glasgow were safely landed on the Queen Street wharf by means of cargo boats”.
On January 22nd 1865 it was reported from Queens Redoubt (Pokeno); On Thursday evening the first 10 or 12 families, mostly Scots arrived in carts provided by the government. They were passengers by the ship Helenslee and were for some time located at or near Mangere.”
On January 25th the immigrants commenced to make a road from the redoubt to the native village of Pokeno and by February 13th a road was cleared from the Great South Road to continue on to Paparata later.
At Pokeno valley a track was cleared and bush burned to make a road to Surrey Redoubt at Maramarua shortening this distance from 17 miles to 9 miles. On February 13th it was reported that: "it is to be hoped that the men will soon be able to get their several allotments so as to get themselves settled before the winter months come on."
During the first 10 months, they lived in tents, often using umbrellas as protection against rain while they cleared the land.
Our ancestors traveled on the second of seven voyages made by the Helenslee to New Zealand, 3 were made to Auckland and 4 to Dunedin, and this was her fastest passage. On her last voyage in 1872 she encountered a series of gales and the passage took 145 days.
For further genealogical information on these families please go to
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