WHO WERE THE FENCIBLES ?
During 1845 – 1846 there had been
some unrest between the Maoris and European settlers in
The men so recruited had to be of good character and industrious habits, under 48 years of age (later reduced to 41 years) and with a minimum of 15 years service. Physically, they had to be over 5 ft 5 inches in height, of robust frame and medically fit as required by military duties.
They were to receive 1/3d per day
in addition to their pension. They would receive free passage to
They were to receive a cottage of two rooms with one acre of land. The men were required to attend military exercise on twelve days in each year, and on every Sunday attend muster under arms at church parade. They were also required to keep their cottages in good repair.
After seven years service the cottage and allotment of land became the absolute property of the pensioner, providing he had fulfilled his conditions of service, and no further military duty was required.
The officers were subject to
separate conditions, some of which included a house consisting of at least
four rooms, more acreage of land, cabins on the voyage out to
All of these conditions would
have been very appealing especially to the older soldiers. Economic
conditions were very harsh at this time in
The pensioners embarked
at various ports including Gravesend,
In all 721 pensioners, 632 women and 1228 children were listed by the War Office as embarking on the ten ships. Many of the children were in fact teenagers and young adults and were later employed as servants, shop assistants, schoolteachers, and cooks etc. Each ship had a medical officer. As well as this a schoolmaster was appointed by the passengers to entertain and school the children.
G C SMITH
FENCIBLE SHIPS TO
Michael was born in 1793 in Rathfriland,
He served in the East Indies from 1814-1824 and was discharged with chronic liver and
asthma contracted from service in the
In 1859 Michael, a farmer, died of pleurisy and enteritis aged 62 years at Otahuhu. Ellen died in 1864 aged 57 years also at Otahuhu.
~ John McPIKE ~
John was born in 1798 at the town of
He served his time around
He made a donation to the Catholic Schoolhouse in 1848.
He held 42 acres in Onehunga as well as one acre in the centre of Onehunga
during the 1850's. He obtained a De-pasturing Licence for Onehunga in 1853.
During the 1860's he farmed 40 freehold acres at Little Muddy Creek (Wiri,
John died in 1874 aged 76 years and the following year his wife Mary died aged 77 years.
~ Henry MITCHELL ~
Henry was born in Putney,
He was discharged in
Henry died on 25 August 1901 aged 88 years at his son's residence in Otahuhu. It was claimed he was the last of the Otahuhu Fencibles to have lived there continuously.
~ Charles MOORE ~
Charles was born in Oughteragh,
Charles married Isabella (
Charles died at Onehunga on 16 February 1873 of cancer.
Isabella lived until 1885 and died at her son’s residence in
~ William MURPHY ~
William was born in 1805 in
He married Jane MURPHY on 6 June 1844 and they had
4 children. They came to Otahuhu with two children from
William died in hospital in 1865 aged 60 years. His son, James, born in 1844, grew up on his father's grant of land at Otahuhu, and later donated a section for a park in 1932.
~ Andrew SCALLON ~
Andrew was born around 1790 and was the second husband
of MARGARET BROWN. He served with the
57th Regiment of Foot. Andrew
and Margaret together with Margaret & Roberts three sons came to New
Zealand on the ship “Ann” arriving 16 May 1848. Margaret had earlier married ROBERT McLARNON in
~ George SMITH ~
George was born in Theberton,
VILLAGES SETTLED BY THE FENCIBLES
~ ONEHUNGA ~
This village was the first to be designed and established for the
first detachment of Fencibles and their families. They had arrived in
When the Fencibles moved to their new settlement on 17 November 1847 there were still no cottages were ready for them and instead two 100 foot long buildings housed the men and their families. Shortly after this in December 1847 a ballot was held for the allotment of the first ten cottages. The cottages were all detached and erected on 10 acre allotments. Thirty-four allotments were originally planned. The remaining families were able to move into their new homes by April 1848. The Fencibles were soon growing wheat and vegetables, erecting fences and assisting with the many building projects. Some were employed on neighbouring farms and others helped to build roads.
By June 1849 life was settling into a regular pattern and the 7th Detachment of Fencibles arrived on board the "Berhampore". Terms of service were different from the first group in that these men could be relocated. Their land was to be occupied for seven years and then given up to the Government for land elsewhere. The Government was not bound to erect housing, but in lieu of this the men were entitled to the sum of fifteen pounds which allowed them to obtain a "raupoo" house and leave a small amount for fencing and improvements. The 8th Dettachment, the final group of Fencibles to be settled in Onehunga, arrived on the "Oriental Queen" on 18th September 1849.
By 1850 Onehunga had a population of 867. Three Wardens were elected annually to administer the Crown lands. This included the management of stock grazing. Owners of cattle paid de-pasturing licenses of 10/6 per annum, together with a fee of 8d for each head of "great" cattle which included horses, oxen, bulls, dairy cows, heifers and asses. A fee of 1d per head was payable for "small cattle" (sheep and goats). The first list of licensees included about one third of the men who had arrived on the "Ramillies" which indicated that they had earned sufficient money to improve their homes as well as buying livestock which provided fresh milk and meat, as well as income if the animals were sold.
During this time transport was mainly by foot, horse and cart, or boat. Early roads were sometimes mere tracks or ruts and they became very muddy during winter months. A ferry service was started between Onehunga and Mangere in the early part of 1848. The first school opened in July 1848. There were 31 male children and 23 female children attending. During the winter of 1851 St Mary's Catholic Church was built with contributions from the congregation. Around 1854 a small wooden school was established next to St Peter's Anglican Church.
1854 onward the Wardens had a wider range of responsibilities including the
development of roads, bridges and community projects. The construction of a
wharf was begun in 1857. Road improvements were on-going and those who could
not contribute with a cash donation often volunteered their labour. The first
bus service from
now remains of the Fencibles and their families in Onehunga except for a few
headstones in the cemetery, the old churches of St Mary's and St Peter's, and
a few street names eg. Princes Street,
~ HOWICK ~
This was the largest of
the Fencible settlements. The village was called Howick after the third Earl
Grey (1802-1894) who was formerly Viscount and Lord Howick. He had been
largely responsible for the formation of the Fencible Corps. The settlers
mainly arrived on the "Minerva", "Sir George
Seymour", "Inchinnan" and the "
As with the Onehunga settlement, cottages were not ready for the settlers and two temporary sheds were built. They were 100 foot long, with earthen floors and leaked in heavy rain. Some moved into temporary native houses (raupoos) until their wooden cottages were built. By 22 December 1849 fifty-one cottages were completed and the remaining cottages for the 2nd and 3rd detachments were ready by May 1851.
The first European building in Howick was All Saints Church of England church and the first service was held on Sunday 21 November 1847. The Sunday School started on 21 November 1847. The Roman Catholic Church was completed in 1848 and by 1851 there were 154 children enrolled at the two church schools.
The first shops where provisions
could be bought were in the village hotels. Some pensioners also sold provisions
from their cottages. There were also bake houses and a shoemaker. A General
Store was opened in
Most of the men were employed building roads, clearing the acre allotments, and helping with fencing, drainage and building bridges. Many took up the option of obtaining extra land. In 1849 thirty-one Fencibles held De-pasturing Licences and two years later that number had increased to forty-one. Holding a De-pasturing Licence allowed the men to vote for members of their first local government, who could then make decisions how the funds would be spent. Wardens were elected as in Onehunga.
In 1867 an anniversary dinner was held to commemorate the landing 20 years earlier. In 1897 a reunion was held which included a luncheon, a sports day, and a dinner and ball. At this time there were only 2 original Fencible settlers living in Howick.
there are many reminders of the Fencible influence in Howick including
~ PANMURE ~
Two months after arriving the lieutenant governor was shown the proposed site. The soil was volcanic and the area was free of trees but with much fern and brush. Water was in abundant supply from streams. The immigrants originally sheltered in huts which they built themselves from tea-tree and raupo. The first wooden cottages were not built until April 1848 and the government paid the local Maori to supply raupo cottages in the meantime. These were not waterproof and were highly flammable.
By November 1850 seventy of the seventy-five allotments had been allocated. The volcanic soil was more easily cultivated than that around Onehunga and Howick and that land was soon cleared of fern and brush. The Fencibles were encouraged to bring their tools of trade with them and in 1853 their occupations included farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, shoemaker, tailor, postmaster, basket-maker and labourer. Many found employment in public works.
Churches were quickly established
along with schools. As most of the children were from Irish descent the first
school was the Roman Catholic School which was opened in 1849. The Church of
In 1848 the cutters "Alert"
and "Thetis" provided
a boat service to
By 1860 Fencibles in
Today five private cottages
previously owned by Panmure Fencibles survive. A single cottage and a double
cottage can be seen at MOTAT (
~ OTAHUHU ~
This was a last village
to be settled and probably the most planned. The northern border was sited by
the Otahuhu Creek and the southern border was by the Tamaki Inlet which was a
good means of transport by boat to
Most of the men onboard
the "Ann" were labourers and they
were quickly employed on public works building roads and bridges. The first
of these bridges was built over the Otahuhu Creek. Many years later in 1866 a
toll gate was operated on the bridge which raised funds for the maintenance
of the main road to
The population figures of 1849 show an equal division of membership to the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church as well as a small number of the Presbyterian faith. The Church of England's first church was a wooden structure. The cemetery was beside the church and is all that now remains. The first church on the Roman Catholic site was a "whare". A wooden church was built in 1856.
By 1851 the first church school had been established. The first public school was opened in January 1873. During this time the Roman Catholic Church also opened schools.
expensive to buy as all goods had to be carted out from
there is little evidence of the Fencibles in Otahuhu and although most of the
road were built by them, there are few with a Fencible name. However there is
Source of information from “The Royal
“ gather ye the fragments that remain that nothing be lost ”