Edward Lucette visit to Nagle Cove November 1840

Visit of Edward Lucett on the brig Curlew, master, Dunning, to Nagle Cove 0n 28-29th November, 1840


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…circumstances, I engaged another in his place: and, on November 27th, we left Waitematta [sic] for the Great Barrier, to allow the new master[1] to collect his traps which he had left on that island. As we neared the land, a thick mist enshrouded it; and not thinking it safe to make the harbour till it cleared away, we stood off and on till four o’clock A.M. November 28th, when we came to our anchor in Port Abercrombie, at the west end of the island. The harbour is completely land-locked, circular as a basin; no winds can effect it, as it is shut in, and surrounded by Alpine cliffs. On entering the harbour, we got the south-east end of Little Barrier, to bear W. half N., and run in E. half S. The Western-most headland, as you enter, is called Wellington Head [2], from the semblance, real or imaginary, it bears to that hero’s profile. A captain Nayle [3] [sic] has fixed his solitary abode in this secluded bay, and contemplates opening a copper-mine in the island, veritable specimens of valuable ore having been detected. As he was not present, I did not hear the particulars; but from the superficial glance I had at the rugged character of the island, I should think the operations of mining and transporting the ores for shipment would be found an expensive undertaking.

            November 29th. - Again purchased our anchor, and are now on our way for Tahiti.



Title: ‘Rovings in the Pacific, from 1837 to 1849’

Publisher: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans

Author Edward Lucett

Publication Date1851



“In June 1841 Edward Lucett, part-owner of the Curlew, a brigantine of 96 tons, decided to search for the wreck. [of Arthur Devlin’s brig Rapid]….. He seems to have developed a taste for life at sea, however, for in December 1840 he bought a quarter- share in the Curlew and in June the following year set off to find the wreck of the Rapid.” [on Conway Reef].

Source ‘The Fate of the Rapid’ John Healey

The story of Captain Arthur Devlin’s survival, with his crew, following the wreck of the Rapid is an epic of stamina and resourcefulness in the face of thirst, hunger and fear.

Captain Dunning was not only the new master of the Curlew, but was later employed by Robert Barstow in 1844. In fact Dunning has a lot to do with Great Barrier Island.
The master of the Curlew being Dunning, and the part-owner, Edward Lucette being associated with the Curlew, is indicated in 'The NewZealand Gazette & Wellington Spectator' newspaper of 20/3/1841 Shipping Intelligence p2, ‘Sailed Mar 19 schooner Curlew, Dunning, for the Thames, passenger Mr. Lucette.'
The master of the Curlew and the man employed by Barstow, Dunning, is not to be confused with the William Dunning that became master of the brig Terror. 

-Don Armitage



[1] Captain William Dunning

[2] The western-most headland of Motuhaku Island.

[3] Captain Jeremiah William Nagle