First proposed in 1846 as a colonial settlement, the Southern
Whale Fishery Company was granted a Royal Charter with its founder, Charles
Enderby, as the resident Chief Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor of the new
colony. Charles Enderby was the son of Samuel Enderby, founder of the London
whaling company Samuel Enderby & Sons.
Originally known as the Enderby
Settlement, it was intended to be the ship provisioning and whaling station in
Erebus Cove, Port Ross, a natural harbour at the north-eastern end of Auckland
Island and close to Enderby Island. Enderby Island is part of the Auckland
Settlement began in December 1849 with the arrival of three ships from
Britain, the Samuel Enderby, Fancy and Brisk. In January 1850 the settlement was
officially named "Hardwicke", after the Earl of Hardwicke, who was the governor
of the company. However, because of the poor soils and harsh climate, with even
whaling being unproductive, it was decided to close the settlement as too
expensive to maintain. It was abandoned in August 1852, barely three years after
A cemetery with graves of shipwreck survivors and a three month-old baby
(1850) and signs of the main road are all that remain.
The Auckland Islands group is part of the New Zealand and Australian
Subantarctic Islands. The island has the southern most forest, comprised of
dense stands of trees known as 'Rata' - Southern Rata (Metrodsideros
Umbellata). These trees have bright crimson flowers, that drop to form a
thick carpet underneath. The Hardwicke settlement is a good place to see the
Australian Government -
Australian Antarctic Division website lists
Australian tour operators for the Antarctic. For those planning to include
Macquarie Island World Heritage Area, information is available from the
Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service.
Many thanks to Jennifer Cooke for sharing the story and images of
the wonderful tour she went on with Aurora Expeditions to Antarctica.
Source: Images courtesy of Jennifer Cooke