PATRICK TOMUT WEE WEE, MAORI FISHERMAN AT ROSEBUD (VIC., AUST.) DROWNED 1869 WITH FOUR QUARRYMEN EN ROUTE TO QUARANTINE STATION.
PATRICK TOMUT WEE WEE. ( Is this name fair dinkum?)
Patrick's grave in the Rye Cemetery has been restored by the Rye Historical Society which also supplied an informative plaque.
The first time I wrote about the tragedy, I couldn't resist using the title of Wee Wee in the Bay, but it could have been even smuttier if I'd realised that all four quarrymen were named Richard.
I thought that Isobel Moresby's claim in ROSEBUD FLOWER OF THE PENINSULA about Maoris living at Rosebud was wrong until I read about the tragedy. Nelson Rudduck arrived in Dromana in 1871 when the incident would have been fresh in everyone's mind and he mentioned the Maoris at Rosebud in great detail three decades later.
In response to the enquiries of "New Zealander" in last issue, Mr N. Rudduck, of Dromana, has kindly supplied the following re the Maoris who at one time were living here: "There were nearly 20 Maoris fishing at Rosebud about 1865. They afterward moved to what became known as the Maori farm beyond Rye.Some of them (Patrick and Timmo) got drowned by the capsizing of a boat taking a passenger to Queenscliff, and are buried in the Rye cemetery.One named Paul died in Geelong hospital. Peter Kanaks died in the Melbourne hospital, where I think Paul's three children (Napper, Minnie and George) also died. Paul's wife and another woman named Mary Ann eventually were taken from here to New Zealand by a deputation who came over for them, as one of them was of royal blood." (P.2, Mornington Standard, 26-7-1902.)
SOME BACKGROUND TO NELSON'S LETTER AND THE FOLLOWING.
Timmo, not mentioned below, must have been Patrick's fishing partner.His body may have been found later. His name, like that of Napper, seems to be a nickname. A napper broke up limestone in preparation for burning. Timmo may have had an early kiln just west of Timm's Corner (cnr. Hiscock and Boneo) as shown in LIME LAND LEISURE. The Tootgarook hotel mentioned would have been William Cottier's hotel of that name (on land now occupied by Ray White and the shop on the east side of Shark Shack) established in 1867 and renamed the Rye Hotel by his former partner, John Campbell in about 1872. The original Tootgarook Hotel on the pre-emptive right near today's Leonard St was not mentioned after 1857 when Peter Purves applied for a licence.
FATAL ACCIDENT IN THE BAY.
SUPPOSED LOSS OF FIVE LIVES.
Last Sunday evening, about five o'clock, a Maori fisherman, named Patrick Tomut Wee Wee, living at Rosebud, near Dromana, was drinking in the bar of the Tootgarook hotel, at Tootgarook, and conversing with four young men named respectively Richard Knott, Richard Barry, Richard Abbott, and Richard Bellinger, who wanted him to take them to the Quarantine ground, where they were employed by Mr Muir, a contractor, as stonemasons.
The party left the hotel, and went in the direction of the pier, but it appears no one saw them go into Wee Wee's boat. Later in the evening, Christian Miller, a seaman employed on board of the fore-and-aft schooner Result, anchored off the pier at Tootgarook, was on board his craft, when she was suddenly struck by a heavy squall, which came from the westward, with a heavy sea, which was running mountains high.
Whilst he was engaged in attending to the vessel he heard a voice calling out in the water, and on looking out saw a man, clinging to a boat that was capsized. He was about 150 yards from the Result, and Miller could not give him any assistance. The boat drifted away in the direction of Rosebud, and was very soon out of sight. Miller could not tell whether the man was a Maori or not.
Michael Cain, a labourer, residing at Point Nepean, was riding along the beach from Rye to Dromana, and he and his brother saw the body of the Maori fisherman, Wee Wee, which they brought on shore. There were no marks of ill usage on the body, and there were no other bodies about. An inquest was held on the deceased, on Wednesday, by Mr.Candler, and it was elicited that the young men had not been heard of, though diligent inquiries had been made for them. The jury returned a verdict of "found drowned" off Rosebud, and expressed an opinion that he was accidentally drowned in a squall whilst conveying some passengers from Tootgarook to the Quarantine station. (P.3, Williamstown Chronicle, 1-1-1870.)
DOES WEE WEE MEAN TRIBE, ACCEPTING OF FRENCH SQUATTERS OR VERY SMALL?
How would Patrick have obtained such a name as Wee Wee? I have found three possibilities, Maori, French and Scottish. The Maori word for tribe is iwi or wiwi; the French, generally disliked by the Maoris, were called wee wee because of their word for yes; and because of heavy Scottish migration to N.Z. the word wee for little was commonly used there and still is.
on 2016-01-24 18:14:27
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.