Horeke History

On 14 November 1826 the the barque Faith sailed into the Hokianga Harbour under Captain William Salmon Deloitte. Deloitte, along with Captain William Stewart, had been charged with purchasing land on behalf of Sydney merchants Raine, Ramsay and Browne in order to setup a shipbuilding and timber milling station in the Hokianga. Finding a suitable location at what is now Horeke, land was purchased from the local Māori Chiefs Muriwai, Te Taonui and Matangi for ‘two soldiers muskets, one case of powder, four hoes, four boat axes and ten pounds of powder – for the Tabu [sic]’ (OLC 27/27).

Under the direction of David Clarke, the superintendent of the yard, trees were felled and by June 1827 the newspaper the Australian (1 June 1827 p. 3) reported that ‘about fifty Englishmen from this port are at work there in sawing deals, and instructing the natives in ship building’.

Matt Carter 2
View of the shipbuilding yard in 1827, painted by Augustus Earle. (Rex nan Kivell Collection, National Library Australia. pic-an2838528 NK12/137)

Over the next three years Clarke oversaw the building of three ships for the partnership of Raine, Ramsay and Browne. The first of these ships was a two-masted schooner of approximately 40 tons, named the Enterprise (1827), which was followed by the 142 ton brigantine New Zealander (1828) and the 400 ton three-masted ship, the Sir George Murray (1830). Unfortunately for Raine, Ramsay and Browne, this speculative enterprise (along with their other dealings in New South Wales) proved too much and the partnership was declared bankrupt in 1830, bringing an end to ship-building at New Zealand’s ‘Deptford Dockyard’.