Around 12 days after departing Sydney, New South Wales on May 11th, 1841, the brig Porter, and Porter family and passengers, arrived at Nagles Cove, staying four or five days, it seems, until the afternoon of the 28th. Enough time to unload passengers and cargo, meet and greet, have a look about, and, weather-permitting, carry on to an Auckland just eight months old.
The brig Porter
The Porter family had stayed while in Sydney with the Abercrombies, whom Captain William Field Porter already knew from Liverpool. Aboard for the voyage across the Tasman sea were Captain Porter’s wife Alice (nee Roper), daughter Alice (16yrs old) and youngest son William Field Porter Jr., (11 years old). In 1907 William Field Porter Junior recorded his ‘Recollections of a Voyage to South Australia and New Zealand Commenced in 1838.’ from which this information is taken.
For more information about this 92-page book click here.
William Porter had an exciting early life. Accompanying his parents, brother and sister in their family owned brig, he was a pioneer settler at both Port Lincoln and Auckland, arriving in the latter in the town’s first year and before the main immigrant ships. Their emigration, a single family version of Wakefield’s vision of transporting British society to new worlds, has been described by one observer as a sort of Swiss Family Robinson adventure. William or his captain father met and knew some leading citizens of their age including George Grey and Eyre, both Australian explorers and New Zealand governors, Franklin of Arctic exploration fame and many other leading citizens of the new colony of New Zealand. He visited Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong, Wellington, New Plymouth and Nelson within a few years of their founding. At Nelson he witnessed the departure of the armed settler party to Wairau which culminated in the famous massacre. He was an ammunition boy at a redoubt built there in the aftermath to defend the settlers. He also observed many of the prominent citizens of the new colonies at play and work.
This account written in old age, gives a child’s memory of the events of his early life, complete with explorers, pirates, whaling, exotic animals and the to him strange indigenous inhabitants of his new home. It is not artless, as much of the material is clearly with the input of an adult perspective.
The recollections were specifically written for his young descendants. They, young and old, have treasured it ever since not just as a document of historical value but as an insight to his character.
or read the book online here
Captain William Field Porter (1784-1869) Alice (nee Roper) Porter (1790-1862)
Miniatures painted at the time of their marriage in 1810)
Alice Porter (1824-1857) William Field Porter Jr. (1830-1910)
The images of the brig Porter, and the Porter Family are from the Porter Family holdings, and are copyright,
I am very appreciative of the assistance of Garry Law, and permission to use the images here.
Last updated 14th October, 2008.
There is a lot more material to add to this page yet.
The Porter and the Dorset departed Liverpool on Friday, 24th August, 1838
Fri August 24
Porter, Porter, Adelaide, (SA)
Dorset, Bishop, Australia.
Source: Liverpool Mercury, Fri August 31, 1838 Issue 1425.