Story: Subantarctic islands

Woolshed and sheep yards, Campbell Island, 1907

Woolshed and sheep yards, Campbell Island, 1907

William Tucker took over the Campbell Island lease in 1900 and was determined to make sheep farming work. He increased the number of stock, built yards and a woolshed, and realised the challenge was to attract people who could stand the isolation and climate. His first idea was to employ some Shetlanders, accustomed to wild and windswept places. They lasted until 1908. His next idea was to combine whaling in winter with sheep work in summer. He sent down some Tory Channel whalers under Jack Norton, who set up a station in Northwest Bay in 1909, and some Bay of Islands whalers led by H. F. Cook, who arrived in North East Harbour in 1911. Both did kill some whales – but Cook left in 1914 and the Norton brothers went north in 1916 to enlist in the First World War. By then there were 6,800 sheep on the island and about 100 bales of wool being produced each year, but Tucker had had enough. He transferred the lease to some Dunedin men. Farming eventually ended in 1931.

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Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: AWNS-19070411-10-1

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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, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/38560/woolshed-and-sheep-yards-campbell-island-1907 (accessed 16 December 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips