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New Zealand Completed Requests / Wellington Archives advisory
« on: Monday 21 February 22 06:11 GMT (UK)  »
Just a note to those awaiting files from Wellington Archives.

The Wellington office remains closed until further notice. ::)

I have ordered the requested files which I hope will still be waiting for me when I eventually get there.


New Zealand Completed Requests / Merry Christmas everyone!
« on: Thursday 23 December 21 06:35 GMT (UK)  »
Best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year, and a big thank you to all those that posted their queries on RootsChat and all those that worked to solve their (sometimes very complex) mysteries. 8) 8)


New Zealand / Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« on: Saturday 03 July 21 00:50 BST (UK)  »
‘Brogden’s Navvies’, was the common name given to men recruited in England as navvies (sing.  navvy) and employed by an English firm named Brogden & Sons contracted to the New Zealand Government to build New Zealand’s railway infrastructure. In 1872 a total of 2,172 men including families were dispatched in a total of fifteen ships to Auckland, Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton, Port Chalmers and Bluff.

Researching an ancestor in this commercial-venture emigration group presents considerable challenges to genealogists in the past, with little cohesive documentary evidence and that dealing more with the scheme itself rather than those who took part. A recently-completed MA thesis by D. Blondell advances our knowledge of this group via a detailed appraisal of the Brogden scheme and the navvy culture. It also provides a list of over one thousand of these men and their families, some discussed in detail:

'A bright eye to the main chance': Brogdens' Navvies - British labourers building New Zealand's railways. Massey University (2020).


To quote in part from the abstract:

“Historians have generally regarded the group known as Brogdens' Navvies as part of a special settlement scheme, induced to migrate to provide essential labour. In 1872 British labourers were recruited to construct New Zealand's railway network. The contracting firm John Brogden and Sons became reluctant immigration agents so they could fulfil their agreement with the New Zealand Government for the massive and costly public works undertaking. Rollo Arnold, when studying English immigrants of the 1870s, argued that the navvies were largely from rural backgrounds thus desirable potential settlers. However, history has largely ignored their contribution to settlement as it was engulfed by the government assisted immigrants. Additionally, as their immigration was privately funded, there has been an information deficit about these men and their backgrounds.”

The value of this thesis was revealed when I found not only the individual I was looking for, confirming that he did arrive per Zealandia as I suspected, but also listed a family group connected to him and on the same voyage.

If anyone can contribute information about any of the individuals listed in the thesis, or provide the names of other Brogden’s Navvies, please reply to this topic.

The vessels carrying ‘Brogden’s Navvies’;

1. Schiehallion
Departed London, England, 13 April 1872
Arrived Wellington, 9 July 1872
Brogdens' people were transferred to the Rangatira which arrived at Picton on 13th July 1872
98 men, 14 women and 26 children;
Objective: To build the first railway in the Marlborough Province.

2. Halcione
Departed London, England, 20 April 1872
Arrived Wellington, 27 July 1872
Immigrants: Included 50 'Brogdens' Navvies'

3. City of Auckland
Departed London, England, 31 May 1872
Arrived: Auckland, 4 September 1872
Immigrants: 299 passengers including 147 ‘Brogdens' Navvies' and their families.

4. Ballarat
Departed London, England, 13 June 1872
Arrived Napier, 15 September 1872

5. Bebington
Departed London, Gravesend, England, 28 June 1872
Arrived Wellington, 25 October 1872

6. Lady Jocelyn
Departed: London, England, 31 July 1872
Arrived: Lyttelton, 11 November 1872

7. Christian McAusland
Departed Glasgow, Scotland, 5 September 1872
Arrived Port Chalmers, 5 December 1872

8. Chile
Departed London, England, 12 September 1872
Arrived Napier, 28 December 1872

9. Jessie Readman
Departed London, England, 22 September 1872
Arrived Wellington, 15 December 1872

10. Zealandia
Departed London, England, 5th October 1872
Arrived Bluff, 28 December 1872; Port Chalmers, 4 January 1873
Immigrants: Amongst the 232 passengers, 197 landed at the Bluff of which 184 were for 'Brogdens'.
(NOTE: Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office holds a passenger list for this voyage however it only lists passengers who landed at Otago)

11. Crusader
Departed Glasgow, Scotland, 10th October 1872
Arrived Lyttelton, 5th January 1873

12. Charlotte Gladstone
Departed London, England, 4 November 1872
Arrived Port Chalmers, 16 February 1873

13. Forfarshire
Departed: London, England, 12 November 1872
Arrived: Wellington, 2 March 1873
Immigrants: Amongst the passengers 6 wives and 20 children of 'Brogdens' Navvies'.

14. Durham
Departed London, England, 29th November 1872
Arrived Auckland, 4th April 1873

15. Lutterworth
Departed Gravesend, London, England, 23 December 1872
Arrived Port Chalmers, 5 April 1873


Hi everyone,

Richard HINGSTON was born circa 1833 in France and arrived in New Zealand in December 1868 per Alhambra from Melbourne as an Armed Constabulary recruit. He was discharged in October 1869.

He subsequently featured in New Zealand Police Gazettes with convictions and gaol time for larceny.

He doesn't appear to have married.

No mentions on Archway.

He died on 14 October 1906, however I cannot find any record of his place of death or burial.

Can anyone find where he died or was buried, please?


New Zealand Resources & Offers / Layers of London
« on: Saturday 13 February 21 23:07 GMT (UK)  »
Layers of London
Navigate historical London as far back as Roman times using this interactive map-based website which also features pictures, recordings and stories. You can add your own photos, stories etc.

New Zealand Resources & Offers / Military Archives of Ireland
« on: Saturday 13 February 21 22:51 GMT (UK)  »
Military Archives of Ireland.
This website is a goldmine for anyone with ancestors who served in the Irish Military forces.

New Zealand Resources & Offers / The Genealogy Guys podcast
« on: Saturday 13 February 21 22:44 GMT (UK)  »
The Genealogy Guys podcast.
This is a subscription podcast featuring American-themed topics.

New Zealand Resources & Offers / Retrolens - Local Government historical images
« on: Saturday 13 February 21 22:41 GMT (UK)  »

New Zealand Resources & Offers / Podcast - The Aotearoa History Show
« on: Saturday 13 February 21 22:37 GMT (UK)  »
The Aotearoa History Show is a series of animated podcasts of New Zealand and its people from its geological origins to the modern day.


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