Story: Subantarctic islands

‘Victoria’ tree, Auckland Island (1st of 3)

‘Victoria’ tree, Auckland Island

The story of the Grafton survivors, who spent 19 months on the Auckland Islands, led to considerable public interest in the possibility of castaways. In 1865 the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland initiated a voyage by HMCS Victoria to search for shipwreck victims. In Erebus Cove the trunk of a rātā tree was chiselled flat and the following inscription carved into the wood: ‘H.M.C.S. VICTORIA NORMAN IN SEARCH OF SHIPWRECKED PEOPLE OCT 13TH 1865’. Remains of the message could still be seen in 2010, when this photo was taken. The voyage also released goats and rabbits on Enderby Island to provide food for castaways.

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Subantarctic islands - Castaways and farmers, 1860–1940', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 January 2020)

Story by Jock Phillips