The ARRIVAL of LOCAL GOVERNMENT - WELLINGTON 1840
the following was orignally taken from:
The ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST SURVEY SHIP - Lower Hutt Past and Present written in 1941
- the names in capitals are mine for easier searching -
THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST SURVEY SHIP
THE ARRIVAL OF THE SECOND SURVEY SHIP
THE ARRIVAL OF THE SETTLERS
ARRIVAL OF LOCAL GEOVERNMENT & the MOVE TO THORNDON
LOCAL GOVERNMENT APPEARS
The gradual appearance of grog-shops on the beach and the brawling of the more rowdy elements, made it evident that some governing body must be put into power. The first meeting was held on the 2nd March, 1840 and thus the first Government in New Zealand came into being.
The next vessels, the "Adelaide," of 640 tons, from London, brought 186 passengers, and arrived on the 7th March 1840. The list of passengers contains the names of many families who settled in the Hutt Valley, and whose descendants still live in the district. This ship, which was accompanied by the "Glenbervie," a store ship, brought out the personnel of a branch of the Union Bank of Australia, together with a well-lined safe.
On the following day the flag of the New Zealand Company was hoisted and a grand salute was fired by all ships, of which there were nine, anchored in an extensive line between the beach and Somes Island.
The natives shared in the excitement and raced their canoes around the fleet.
THE SITE FOR THE CITY
Charmed by the expanse of level land, with river and beach sites for shipping facilities, Captain MEIN SMITH, who arrived in the "Tory," had begun enthusiastically to lay out "Britannia," as the town in the Valley was to be called and was busily at work when Captain WAKEFIELD returned from his expedition to Taranaki. WAKEFIELD, in his turn, vigorously pushed the claims of the site charted by Captain CHAFFERS at the southern end of the harbour.
Work was interrupted at the Hutt owing to one of the periodical overflows of the river and this gave the principals a good opportunity to push the rival claims. It was just when the argument reached the highest pitch that the "Adelaide" arrived, whose passengers backed up the Colonel, as he was looked upon as the highest authority and matters were at a deadlock. Representatives from the "Adelaide" went to Thorndon Flat to look over its advantages as compared with the Hutt.
The change to Thorndon was decided upon and those who remained settled down to the development of farming lands to feed the city that was to be.
The "Bolton," 540 tons, arrived on the 21st April, 1840, with another 259 settlers.
THE REMOVAL TO THORNDON
On the 25th May fire destroyed 14 cottages in Cornish Row. Relief for the unfortunate settlers was immediately forthcoming, but they had hardly settled down for the night when they were further disturbed by a severe earthquake. This caused much consternation, as no one had previously had a similar experience.
At the end of May there was a severe flood and these events decided those most favourably inclined towards the Hutt as a suitable site for the chief City to move elsewhere.
By September many of the settlers had established themselves at Thorndon and taken the name of Britannia with them, though some had moved further up the western bank of the River, where the villages of Aglionby and Richmond were established.
By the end of December the embryo city of the Valley on the banks of the Hutt River was deserted, there being only six families south of White's Line at that time, though there were between sixty and a hundred families north of this point.
On the 30th May all men between the ages of 18 and 60 were required to perform military training with a view to providing an adequate force for the preservation of law and order.
This came to the ears of Lieutenant SHORTLAND at the Bay of Islands, who arrived in Wellington with 30 soldiers to "quell the rebellion."
The "Martha Ridgway," 620 tons, arrived on the 8th July 1840 with a further 199 passengers.
Early in August the "Coromandel," of 780 tons, from Gravesend, arrived with further passengers. This vessel had called at Sydney on the way out and brought 200 sheep, 20 bullocks, and 4 horses from Australia.
The only means of transport between the settlement in the Hutt Valley and Thorndon Flat was by boat and on the 25th August 1840, several persons were drowned in a distressing boat accident off the Pito-one beach.
On the 28th November 1840, the settlement of Britannia, which had been transferred to Thorndon, was re-named Wellington, after the famous Duke, whose image adorned the prow of the "Tory" as figurehead.
The Christmas and New Year festivities were carried out in the traditional manner but under summer skies and on the 22nd January, the anniversary of the day of the arrival of the "Aurora," was celebrated by a race meeting, athletic sports of many kinds, and a ball in the evening.
Thus ended the first year of organised settlement in New Zealand.
The story of the subsequent development of the Hutt Valley, though presented under various headings, is one of overcoming difficulties and dangers which then, as now, bring forth the best in the British race.