The ‘Charlotte Jane’ Dropped Anchor at Lyttelton – 16th December 1850

On the 16th December 1850, the Canterbury Association’s first ship, Charlotte Jane, sailed into Lyttelton Harbour and dropped anchor at 10.00am. She had been at sea for 99 days and carried 154 souls.

There had been 1 birth, 1 marriage, 3 deaths and a disagreement between two passengers where one ended up being ‘socked’ square in the mouth by the other!

This wonderful drawing of the deck of the Charlotte Jane was made by one of Canterbury’s future Superintendents, James Edward Fitzgerald. What an amazing window this man has given us. Fitzgerald also was the first off the Charlotte Jane, scrambling over the back of Dr. A.C. Barker to be the first to step foot on the new land, leaving his new wife behind in their cabin suffering a headache. There on the jetty he met his old friend, Christchurch’s founder, John Robert Godley (who at first didn’t recognise Fitzgerald due to huge weight loss and a ferocious beard). The two were lost for words in happy tears.

The first view of New Zealand came to the settlers in the shape of Stewart Island on the 11th December. Those on board also had a view of Otago, Foveaux Strait and of course, the southern view of Banks Peninsula as they sailed along the east coast.

I have been unable to find out the fate of this amazing ship; I have read that ships were known to change names so maybe she slipped away into history that way.

For a closer look at the personal on board diaries, please check out the following links:

Some noted Canterbury Settlers aboard:

Dr. A.C. Barker – Colonial doctor and photographer.
Charles Christopher Bowen – Politician.
Stephen Fisher – His farm is now the suburb of Beckenham. Was once known as Fisher Town.
Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort – Architect (Canterbury Museum, Art Centre etc)
Hamilton Ward – Bought a Brewery that would become known CD Draught.

*image courtesy of Heritage New Zealand – *

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