Author Topic: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries  (Read 3283 times)

Offline spades

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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).

file:///C:/Users/House/Downloads/BLONDELLMAThesis.pdf


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’;
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Brogdens%27_Navvies#_note-1

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

Spades
ELLERKER - Beverley ERY ENG
HEALEY - IRL?
MURDOCH - Wigtownshire SCT, Otago and Westland NZ
PALING - Nottinghamshire ENG
RILEY - Flamborough; Cottingham; South Dalton ERY, Manitoba CAN, & London ENG
STURTON - Arnold, Nottinghamshire ENG
SUTTRON - All, NRY & DUR ENG
TAYLOR - London ENG
TYLER - London ENG
TERNAN/TIERNAN - Dublin IRL

Offline Lucy2

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 03 July 21 01:40 BST (UK) »
Many thanks for posting, Spades.    :)       Most interesting and helpful.

     ~  Lu

Offline shanreagh

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #2 on: Monday 05 July 21 02:15 BST (UK) »
This is fascinating!. Thanks for posting.

Offline spades

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #3 on: Monday 05 July 21 05:38 BST (UK) »
It is, isn't it!

This is an excellent example of a valuable new resource for family researchers - research theses providing new insights and original research.

I hope the author reads this topic as I'd like to thank them: their thesis has not only broken down my brick wall but allowed a complete reappraisal of my subject's' motive for emigration and their personality type. The biography I'm writing will be a lot more complete.

Spades
ELLERKER - Beverley ERY ENG
HEALEY - IRL?
MURDOCH - Wigtownshire SCT, Otago and Westland NZ
PALING - Nottinghamshire ENG
RILEY - Flamborough; Cottingham; South Dalton ERY, Manitoba CAN, & London ENG
STURTON - Arnold, Nottinghamshire ENG
SUTTRON - All, NRY & DUR ENG
TAYLOR - London ENG
TYLER - London ENG
TERNAN/TIERNAN - Dublin IRL


Offline Delwyn B

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 15 March 22 01:24 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

I'm the author, and thrilled that my work has helped someone (which was a secret hope of mine, and the reason for the appendix with all the known migrants).

It was a really interesting topic, and has led on to a journal article (published last month) in the Journal of Family History about the unaccepted marriage practices among the group.

Spades, what family were you looking for?

Happy hunting,
Delwyn

Offline spades

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 15 March 22 06:07 GMT (UK) »
Hi Delwyn,

I had been hunting for the arrival of John PERNELL for several years and had deduced by elimination and two Missing Friends documents held by Archives New Zealand that he was a Brogdenite and might have arrived per the Zealandia, except that I could only find the Christchurch arrivals of the vessel.

Your thesis listed a 'Wm PURNALL' and a 'Hy PURNELL' (pages 17 and 18 respectively of Dr YORUTH's 'DC-0857 Medical journal; 'Zealandia', 1872-73'; I purchased a copy!). Right age and the first evidence of his somewhat loose attachment to his own fortunately unusual name. I'm satisfied its the correct individual.

Your thesis also permitted a far deeper appraisal of John's life than otherwise possible, so thank you.

I hope passenger lists for the remaining two vessels might be discovered one day.

You are welcome to a copy of my unpublished biography of John PERNELL.

I (and I suspect many others researching individuals in this group) would be very interested in your journal article. Is there any chance of a copy or a link to it?

Regards,

Spades





ELLERKER - Beverley ERY ENG
HEALEY - IRL?
MURDOCH - Wigtownshire SCT, Otago and Westland NZ
PALING - Nottinghamshire ENG
RILEY - Flamborough; Cottingham; South Dalton ERY, Manitoba CAN, & London ENG
STURTON - Arnold, Nottinghamshire ENG
SUTTRON - All, NRY & DUR ENG
TAYLOR - London ENG
TYLER - London ENG
TERNAN/TIERNAN - Dublin IRL

Offline Delwyn B

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Re: Who were ‘Brogden’s Navvies’? – New discoveries
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 15 March 22 08:15 GMT (UK) »
The journal article is called -

Till Death Do Us Part: Laborers’ Marriage Practices in Late Victorian New Zealand

First Published 14 Feb 2022.
https://doi.org/10.1177/03631990221078588

or you could try https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/jfha/0/0 and search for it.

Regarding passenger lists, I looked very hard to find what I did, but kept hoping for those last few  listings. I'd still like to find them... and still have a white board with the names of the ships and numbers of those on board versus those found - I can't bring myself to wipe it off.

 How do I get a copy of your work, Spades?

Happy hunting,
Delwyn