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Sealers at Dusky Sound

Arrived; 1792 on
Country of origin; Australia
Areas in New Zealand; Dusky Sound (Tamatea)
Source; Between Worlds- Anne Salmond

The first foreigners to live for any length of time in New Zealand were the sealers, beginning in 1792.
"Sealing was hard work, carried out by hard men. Gangs of 'sea-rats' (escaped or emancipated convicts, deserters or sailors) were landed on rocky beaches and islands, hunting for seals, sea-lions and elephant seals.When they found them, they killed them, extracting oil from their blubber and salting the skins in casks or pegging them out for the China market."
"Where there was no timber or fresh water nearby, they lived in caves, rock shelters, tents or under their upturned boats, drinking rainwater and eating seal meat, fish, mutton birds, and the supplies (usually skimpy) that had been landed with them."

On 1 December 1792 the ship Britannia, under Captain Raven, dropped off a party of men at Dusky Sound, under the command of William Leith, the second mate of the Britannia II. When the Britannia returned, on 12 October 1795, this group of twelve men, including Thomas Wilson, had collected almost 4,500 sealskins, and had almost finished building a vessel 53 feet long from local timber. This partially built vessel was abandoned in Dusky Sound, and the sealing party joined the Britannia on the remainder of her voyage to Norfolk island.

In September, 1795, the ships Endeavour, Captain Bampton, and Fancy, Captain Dell, departed from Port Jackson, NSW, enroute to India. It was planned that they would call in at Dusky Sound, do some sealing, finish off the half-built ship there, and collect timber for the Bengal Marine, then proceed to Hauraki for more timber. As soon as they were out to sea, 40 male convicts and 1 female convict- Ann Carey, were found to have stowed away on board the two ships. There were already about 50 freed convicts aboard as passengers, including a Mr Alms,Mr Thomas Beadles a couple James and Elizabeth Heatherly and their child James, aged about six. Casey was a soldier who had deserted. Robert Murry, previously on Raven's Britannia, was the 4th officer on Endeavour, and kept a diary of the voyage.

The two ships arrived at Dusky Sound on 12 October 1795, with the Endeavour in very poor condition. Between them they carried approximately 244 people, including 2 women, 1 child, Lascar seamen, Sepoys (Indian marines), escaped convicts, freed convicts, crew and officers. William Bowell, the first officer of the Endeavour, resigned his post, and was replaced by Mr Waine. Mr Weatherall was the 2nd officer and Robert Murry became the 3rd Officer.Dennison and Free were the officers of the Fancy

It was decided to strip the good timber off the Endeavour and use it to finish both the half- built vessel, later named Providence and convert the Endeavour's longboat into another vessel, later named Assistance. Everyone would have to leave on the Providence, Assistance and Fancy, or stay at Dusky Sound.

Eventually, in January 1796, the Fancy and Providence left for Norfolk Island, leaving behind about 90 people, including Ann Carey, in Dusky Sound. They continued working on the Assistance, and 2 months later set sail for Norfolk Island.

35 of the original passengers and crew remained in Dusky Sound until 1797, when they were rescued by the American ship Mercury. They had lived for more than 18 months in Dusky Sound.

The number who lived in Dusky Sound for long periods; 12 plus 35 = 47
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