Siege: July-December 1860

6th [July] Friday   To day soldiers and civilians were ordered off to commence making an intrenchment round the town. It is a very necessary thing to do and the wonder has been that Col. Gold should not have thought of it before as should the natives attack the town there would be no shelter or boundry for our men, and if at any time an alarm should be given all those living outside the intrenchment will come in.

Harriet Halse, journal

Tuesday 24 July   My day of grief. About 8.30 the gun fired, right this time, & after a while Blanche came here with her child & James brought Anneliz. I got up & went slowly down to the beach with Maria & Edie . . . then they went, & I came home.

Friday 27 Jul   Decidedly no better today. Crept about outside a little in the sunshine. Very fine till 2 p.m. when it rained a little and at 4 it snowed – distinct snow and for some time.

Arthur Atkinson, journal

Saturday 28th July 1860 – no signals.

William King Hulke, Hua Fort Diary.

Saturday, 28th July. — No news of interest from north or south.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Sunday 29th – July 1860 – no signals. Rev H Govett reports ‘Yesterday of settler Corbyn Harris, having gone out from the camp at Waitara for firewood, was surprised by a party of natives, who shot and tomahawked him.

William King Hulke, Hua Fort Diary.

Sunday 29th   It is a delightful day, clear cold wind. Hearing the steamers arrival and my letter not being finished I was unable to go to chapel and regretted it much as we are prevented so often now by unsettled weather and dreadful roads. Yesterday afternoon a most wonderful thing took place for Taranaki a shower of sleet with light flakes of snow. Everybody appeared to be watching it from their windows and I was wishing it to fall heavier. This afternoon we went for a walk on the beach and on Mount Elliot to see the trenches. Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence and all the children were there. The sailors have improved Mount Elliot every much and they have made a capital sort of suspension bridge which they have called the (Victoria bridge) leading from Mount Elliot across the road into the upper story of the Iron Store on the beach. As we were leaving the beach Mr. Woon told us Mr. Govett had brought up shocking news from Waitara Corbin Harris shot and tomahawked by the maories [sic] about a mile from the camp. This was terrible news indeed! I think it will kill poor Mr. & Mrs. Harris. Poor fellow there is not a civilian more respected in Taranaki and he has supported his family for years. How dreadful it is that our civilians should be cut off so, when an escort of soldiers going out with 50 or 60 bullock carts for firewood would prevent it. Boys from town are being daily sent to the bush for firewood I am afraid we shall have more of such shocking events yet.

Harriet Halse, journal

Sunday 29 July. — We have sad intelligence from Waitara to-day, brought up by Archdeacon Govett. Mr. Hugh Corbyn Harris, attached to the camp, while carting driftwood from the beach yesterday was shot dead by a party of rebels in ambush. We have received from Waitara the following particulars relating to this brutal murder. “You will be sorry to hear that a poor fellow named Harris, a carter, and most respectable young man, was shot dead from the bush near the beach about 1300 yards south of the blockhouse, only yesterday. He had gone for wood, accompanied by a private of the 40th, neither of them armed, and although the beach close to the Waitara point is one mass of timber, he wished, it appears, to find some which was better suited for culinary purposes, and as no Maoris, excepting the friendly ones had ever been seen in that direction he apprehended no danger. Five or six shots were fired — and one ball passed through poor Harris’ head, killing him instantaneously. No attempt to plunder his body was made, and his cart and bullocks remained uninjured. The man of the 40th states that he was under the impression that the Maoris were some belonging to the Waitara pa when first he saw them coming towards the beach, but on seeing them nearer he called to Harris, who was 70 or 80 yards from him, without Harris apparently hearing him.” Corbyn Harris is the only son of an old settler, and was a most exemplary young man, and the main support of a family of sisters. The writer of the above from, Waitara also informs us “that the Tasmanian Maid is repairing, having had her sponson beam Smashed while coaling from the Airedale, it is a heavy job and I am afraid she will be detained for two days more. The sentries at the Puketakauere pa made a great row last night and blew two cow horns on the strength of having killed poor Harris.” […] A boat left this evening to bring the corpse of Harris to town.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Sunday 29 Jul   Hoped for the steamer & as she did not come I was disgusted & lay in bed till 3. Decy came in & told us that poor Corban Harris had been murdered within a mile of the camp at Waitara. This is grievous news.

Arthur Atkinson, journal

Two men of the militia on going out to look for firewood about 150 yards from the Block house at Waitara were surprised by the natives and one named Corbin Harris was killed. The man who was with him [said] that they were looking for firewood a short distant from the Camp but not finding any sufficiently dry Harris walked on ahead about fifty paces. A man behind him called to him to come back as there was some good dry wood where he was. He said this because he did not wish to frighten Harris as there were some Maori a very short distance from him. His warning however came too late for the Maoris rushed out and before he had time to turn round one of the natives had put the muzzle of his gun to Harris temples and fired blowing the man’s brains out. Meantime the other man was fired on by 3 or 4 of the Maoris but he managed to escape to the camp where he got a party of men from Major Nelson and went to the place where they found the dead body of Harris. They then conveyed him to the camp.

Robert Clinton Hughes, Journal

New Plymouth, 28th July [1860].

My dear Christian Friend,

I am sure you will pardon the freedom of one who deeply sympathises with you in your present distress. My first impulse was to come and see you, but I thought perhaps a few lines from one who loved and respected poor Corbyn would be read by you with deeper interest than if I personally bore testimony to his character. I have great pleasure in stating that the conduct of your son was that of a sincere Christian.

I have never seen any man in New Plymouth conduct himself with so much regard to his future welfare. His Kindness was spoken of throughout the whole camp. It frequently during the evenings has given me much pleasure to hear him read some religious book to the men and this was done evidently with great profit and benefit to himself that I have reason to believe that his short stay at the Waitara has not been in vain. I have never heard him utter a vain word. Neither have I seen him indulge in passion or strong drink, in fact he was kind civil to all. And with these facts before us, may we not venture to believe that his soul is now at rest with that glorious company who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Now poor Corbyn is gone he’d remind you that God is your help and comforter. Weep not for the dear lost one, but trust in God and your son will not be lost for ever but you will meet him in that happy place where our present troubles cannot assail us. Could my tears of sympathy relieve your distress, you should be comforted by them, but I know you have a more precious comforter and to Him let me entreat you to pour out all your sorrows. With prayers for your health and Christian prosperity I remain

Yours sincerely, W. Marjouram

PS. Excuse this scribbling for I write in haste, W. M.

Sergeant William Marjouram, letter to Sarah Harris

Monday 30 July. — Weather fine. The boat from Waitara returned this morning, and brought up poor Harris’ body in a shell. It was carried up by several young men. personal friends, to the Chapel at the Kawau pa. We are told that Harris has also a bullet wound through the chest, near the heart, and that the shot fired at his head must have been from a distance of a few inches, as his hair was singed, and eyebrows blown off!

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Monday 30th   Wiremu and I are very busy finishing our English letters. The Airedale came in at 11 o’clock. A boat from Waitara came up this morning with the body of poor Corbin Harris. There was quite a crowd of old settlers following it into the dead house. It appears Corbin with 2 soldiers were getting firewood from the beach about a mile from the camp when they were fired at by a party of natives. Corbin fell immediately the ball having gone in his forehead. The 2 soldiers escaped. The hateful wretches of maories tomahawked poor Corbin Harris about the back of his head. He must have fallen on his face. I finished my letter to Father and Mother giving them an account also of this last shocking event. The Airedale does not leave till tomorrow.

Harriet Halse, journal

Arrived Airedale from Auckland. The body of Corborne Harris was brought up from Waitara this morning in a boat.

Robert Clinton Hughes, journal

The news from Waitara is sad enough. Mr. Corbyn Harris, whilst collecting firewood on the beach, on Saturday, the 28thinstant, was shot and tomahawked. Two soldiers were with him, and, observing natives approaching, they hailed Mr. Harris, but he either did not understand them, or they felt unable to escape. All three, strange to say, were without their arms. The soldiers escaped to the camp. The deceased was a most exemplary young man, and the only son of Mr. Edwin Harris, one of the New Zealand Company’s surveyors. For some years he has been the support of his parents and six sisters, five of whom are already refugees in your province. The body was brought up yesterday by boat. The only other intelligence is, that the red or fighting flag, after a long interval, is again flying at W. Kingi’s pah. Some movement may be looked for.

Nelson Examiner Taranaki correspondent

Tuesday 31 July. — Weather still beautiful. C. Harris was buried to-day, followed to the grave by a large number of his friends and Militia and Volunteers and some Military. A firing party of Volunteers and the Volunteer Band preceded the body.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Tuesday 31st   Poor Corbin Harris’s funeral took place to day. A great number of volunteers and militia followed and military. Wiremu was one of the firing party of volunteers. The volunteer band played the Dead March beautifully and [?] returning they played a beautiful melody of Moores (When sorrow thy young life shadeth). While the people attending the funeral were in church the volunteer assembly bugle sounded and an alarm was raised that an attack was expected on the town as the natives were in a great number at the Bell Block. Major Murray with the light company of 65th was sent immediately to the stockade at Bell Block and strong pickets were sent to their posts for the night. When the bugle sounded Wiremu fell in with the volunteers and I was very much afraid he would be volunteering to go on duty but the soldiers returned before dark as the natives had dispersed and he came home.

Harriet Halse, journal

July 31, 1860

The body of Corborne Harris was buried today. The Volunteer band played the funeral to the church. It was followed to the grave by a long train of mourners and the father of the unfortunate young man was led to the grave when the coffin was let down, he looked quite imbecile but his grief was too great to be alleviated by tears. Young Harris was a quiet industrious young man.

Robert Clinton Hughes, journal

Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded
Air: Sly Patrick – Irish Melodies by Thomas Moore

Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded
As clouds o’er the morning fleet?
Too fast have those young days faded,
That even in sorrow ere sweet.

Does time with its cold wing wither
Each feeling that once was dear?
Come, child of misfortune come hither,
I’ll weep with thee, tear for tear

Has Hope, like the bird in the story
That fitted from tree to tree
With the talisman’s glittering glory
Has Hope been that bird to thee?

On branch after branch a-lighting
The gem did she still display
And, when nearest and most inviting
Then waft the fair gem away

If thus the sweet hours have fleeted,
When sorrow herself look’d bright,
If thus the fond hope has cheated,
That led thee along so light;

If thus the unkind word wither
Each feeling that once was dear,
Come, child of misfortune come hither,
I’ll weep with thee, tear for tear

Thursday 2 Aug. — […] We have been requested to publish the following acknowledgments relating to Hugh Corbyn Harris :—: — . The afflicted Parents of the late Hugh Corbyn Harris desire to offer their warmest thanks to the Volunteer Rifles, Militia, and other numerous friends, who manifested their respect and esteem for their departed Son, by following his remains to their last resting place. As they are not able to make their acknowledgments in person, they take this opportunity of gratefully assuring them that their voluntary demonstration of kindness and sympathy has afforded much comfort and consolation to his surviving relatives, who mourn the loss of an only and affectionate Son and Brother, but who do NOT ” Sorrow as those who have no hope.” New Plymouth, 31st July, 1860.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

August 3rd. –Returned from New Plymouth per steamer. […] A melancholy event has taken place here since I left. A young man, a bullock-driver who came from Bell Block, has been brutally murdered by these savage rebels. He was a few hundred yards up the beach, collecting firewood, when suddenly four or five natives sprang upon him, and shot him through the head and heart. Not satisfied with this, they vented their rage upon him with the tomahawk. He was accompanied by a soldier, who was about fifty yards distant when the occurrence took place, and only saved his life by flight. The young bullock-driver bore an excellent character, in proof of which he had supported his father, mother, and five sisters for the last ten years* and I trust he is now enjoying that rest where the wicked cease from troubling. I believe he was a good Christian, and his conduct was such a source of pleasure to me, that I took him into my own mess. Poor fellow, his place is now empty. The rebels are getting very daring, and it is necessary to guard against a surprise outside the camp. The Victoria arrived this morning at New Plymouth from Melbourne, with General P—– on board; but the passengers had not landed when we left.

Sergeant William Marjouram, Memorials


Edwin Harris, Untitled [Marines disembarking HMVS Victoria] (August 1860), watercolour on paper (75.9 x 97 x 3cm framed), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth (A65.882).
Edwin Harris, New Plymouth from Marsland Hill 1860 (1860), pencil and ink on paper (62.3 x 101.5 x 3.2cm framed), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth (A66.213).
Edwin Harris, New Plymouth from Marsland Hill, New Zealand (1860), lithograph on paper by Fergusson & Mitchell Ltd. (46.2 x 79.2 x 3.3cm framed), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth (A66.600).
Edwin Harris, Untitled [New Plymouth from Marsland Hill] (3 August 1860), watercolour and pencil on paper (31 x 50.2cm), collection of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth  (A65.883).
Edwin Harris, New Plymouth Under Siege (1860), oil on canvas, collection of TSB Bank, New Plymouth.

Friday 3rd   The Victoria came in this morning with our long anxiously looked for General Pratt from Melbourne. It was said he would land at once and we all started off to the beach without having had our breakfasts. The 65 band was on the beach to play him up and nearly all the people in the town were there to see our great man but to the disappointment of all he preferred landing quietly and the escort, band and all of us returned to our breakfasts. At 10 the General landed and a salute of 13 guns was fired from Marsland Hill.

Harriet Halse, journal

Saturday 4 Aug, 1 p. m. — At 10 o’clock this morning the alarm guns from Marsland Hill and Mount Eliot -were fired, and the bugles called together the troops and militia, a messenger having arrived in town reporting that the natives were in force in rear of the Colonial Hospital in the Town belt, and that a combined movement was to be made on the town. Intelligence also in town that the troops were engaged on the Bell Block. The troops and militia under arms in readiness to move to any point. The women and children flocked to the barracks from all points. A reconnoitreing party of friendly natives report that the rebels have fallen back in the bush after pillaging several houses and stripping a large quantity of lead from the house of T. W. Richardson, Esq. at Waiwakaiho.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Saturday 4th   We were in the midst of dust clearing and cleaning this morning when suddenly the alarm guns from Marsland Hill and Mount Elliot fired and the bugles were clashing and schreeching together for the soldiers and civilians to assemble. On hearing the alarm we one and all rushed to the gates. Soldiers were called and yelling out The maories are in the town! Rush to the Barracks! Capt. Paul and Col. Gold were running like madmen driving screching woman and children before them & calling out To the Barracks! to the Barracks! My first impulse was to run with the children and on turning to go for them I saw Loeta running with Mrs. Lawrence & children and Ann caught up George and was off in a moment. I stopped to take a basket of buns and cloaks and hats for the children not knowing when we should be back. Wiremu locked the doors and fell in with the volunteers in town. I could scarcely climb the hill it was so crowded with women and children. I met Tomasine Street who was like one bereft of her senses, screaming where are my children? She had no bonnet on and she was holding her baby in her dress. I took the baby from her, the poor little thing had no clothes on as it had just come out of the tub and with my little charge in my mantle I reached the Barracks. What a scene it was, I shall never forget it! The rooms were crowded. The first room I went into I found the Crockers in an awful state of terror. The girls had hurried poor old Mr. Crocker up and with their exertion and fright were exhausted. I found Loeta and George with Mrs. Lawrence & children crowded with others in another room. Mrs. L. promised to see that they kept with her and I went out to get news. Seeing everything very quiet and soldiers in the trenches I came home and heard that when the alarm was raised maories were seen at Waiwokio [Waiwhakaiho] where they have plundered Mr. Richardsons house and taken lead from the roof. It was given out that women were to sleep in the Barracks in case of an alarm in the night. I did not go up again and Wiremu went for the children. All this was a most striking scene for the General. Notwithstanding all those who have been sent away there are 1600 women and children here. People are dreading the consequences of these constant alarms on the children and it is reported that the General will send everyone away.

Harriet Halse, journal

August 4, 1860

About 10am it was reported the Maoris were in great force 1⁄2 mile [sic] from town. Great consternation was felt. The women ran with their children in their arms to the barracks on Marsland Hill scolding them as they went. Others were there crying for their husbands and sons. Men carrying a child in one arm and gun in the other with wives following after were tearing along the street. The bugles were sounding the alarm and signal guns firing completed the scene of excitement which prevailed. The alarm proved to be unfounded so after having dinner in The barracks the families returned to their homes. The cause of the alarm arose from a foraging party of Maoris wandering near the town.

Robert Clinton Hughes, Journal

Saturday 4 Aug   About 9 a.m. exactly as I was beginning my breakfast (in bed) Bill came in – in all haste to tell us the Maories were expected in Town in a few minutes, so I had to tumble out without my breakfast, seize my rifle & revolver & rush into Town. The alarm guns were fired from Marsland Hill & all the women & children went up there. Of course it turned out to be nothing . . . Some Maoris went to old (T.W.) Richardson’s & pulled off and carried away a lot of lead there was there – a few may have crossed the Waiwakaiho for other plunder but not many . . .

Arthur Atkinson, journal

A Glimpse of Taranaki on the 4th of August, 1860

Loud warning notes of war throughout our streets were sounding,
Our signal  guns were fired – each soldier’s heart was bounding ;
Each Briton mann’d his post, – we heard the foe was near us,
We had vengeance to repay, and the hope of doing it cheered us.

Aged men forgot their years, – in the foremost ranks they mingled,
For high in patriots’ breasts, the warrior’s fire was kindled ;
Like lightning through the town our mounted couriers flew,
And eager for the fight our ardent soldiers grew !

I saw a timid child clasp’d by its trembling mother,
In agonizing fear they clung to one another.
Then anguish pierced my heart – quick from the scene I turned –
And warmer than before my thirst for vengeance burned.

But the foe did not appear, or he heard our war gun firing,
An ere he came too near, show’d wisdom by retiring ;
His lawless tribes must know they cannot catch us sleeping, –
While a soldier shuts his left, strict watch his right eye’s keeping.

We’d spread flower o’er the plains, but the rebel chose the sword,
And for his foolish pains, he’ll have his just reward ;
The Shamrock and the Rose will make bullets through him whistle,
If he’s not content with these, we’ll prick him with the Thistle.

Matthew Fitzpatrick,
Private, 65th Regiment.

Camp Waitara, 7th August [1860]

My dear Sir,

I have taken upon myself the melancholy duty of forwarding to you the effects of your lamented son Corbyn. I believe you will find every article correct. I cannot disguise from you my earnest desire to be in possession of some trifling article belonging to poor Corbyn, and which, should you gratify my wish would be prized by me as a relic of one who I felt deep affection for. And the loss of whom with yourselves I now deeply deplore.

It has been very gratifying to me, and I am sure it will be to you to hear the expressions of earnest sympathy from both officers and men, who deeply regret the loss of so good a son as they feel assured Corbyn must have been, judging of course from his exemplary conduct during his stay at this camp. Give my kind regards to Mrs H. and family. And believe me to remain yours sincerely, W. Marjouram, Sergeant R.A.

Mr Harris, New Plymouth.

P.S. If possible I should be glad to have a line from you to let me know if you received the things all correct.

Saturday 18 Aug). — H.M. colonial steam sloop Victoria arrived this morning from Nelson. On the return of the guard from the wreck this morning we learned that Mr. Coad reached there in safety, and shortly after left to return to town, since which nothing has been seen of him, but his dog has returned home wounded, thus confirming our worst fears. The rebels fired a volley into the brig during the night. Between 3 and 4 this morning, a blue light was hoisted on Fort Niger and the alarm bugles were sounded. The sentry at Fort Niger was fired upon by several natives at the distance of a few feet but who missed him. The guard, under Lieutenant Bent, R.M., turned out and gave them a volley, when they made a precipitate retreat.

11 a.m. — The body of Mr. Coad has been found in the Henui river about 200 yards from the wreck. He received 4 bullets, and is supposed to have been shot on the beach, and his body washed up by the surf into the river. His body has just been brought into town.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Saturday 18th   At 3 o’clock this morning we were awoke by the alarm bugles. I got up immediately and called Ann. On looking out I saw everybody was up and lights in all the windows. I then placed mine according to order for lighting the streets. I was anxious to know what was up and soon after Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Curtis came over and told me that blue lights had been hoisted at Fort Niger and one of the centries [sic] had been fired upon by several natives within a few feet of him but luckily never hit him. The guard turned out and fired a volley at the rebels who scampered away.

Harriet Halse, journal

On Sale, at the Examiner Office,  A Funeral Sermon, delivered at St Mary’s Church, New Plymouth, Taranaki, on the death of Hugh Corbyn Harris. By the Reverend H.N. Wollaston. The proceeds of the Sale to be given to the sisters of the deceased.

Nelson Examiner 8 Sept 1860.

Mr & Mrs Harris in offering their acknowledgements to the officers of the 65th Regiment for the kindness expressed to them in their great affliction, as shewn by the handsome contribution, presented through Mrs Wilson, desire to assure them that their testimony to the worth & upright conduct of their departed son has been most consoling and that their generous sympathy will ever be kept in grateful remembrance.

New Plymouth, Oct. 4th 1860.

Tuesday, Oct. 16.— […] The following Proclamation was issued this evening : — PROCLAMATION.

The Major-General hereby gives notice that it is imperatively necessary that all persons should come within the lines of entrenchment at night-fall, and that, in the event of alarm, all women and children repair at once to Marsland Hill. It is also requested that lights are then put in windows of all houses.

By Command,
Deputy Adjutant-General.

New Plymouth, Oct.

Taranaki Herald Journal of Events

Constant alarms and rumours were daily afloat of intended attacks on the town; and on more than one occasion, these alarms coming after dark, threw the town into the most dreadful confusion and distress, whole families rushing from their beds, half-dressed, to seek refuge in the places appointed as those of safety: a most imprudent arrangement, for had an attack really taken place, the very measures ordered to be resorted to would be the cause of destruction to most, for in place of remaining in their homes, fortified even in the simplest and most temporary manner, and thus checking the advance of a foe, they left their houses open, with lights in the windows, as by the orders published, and rushing wildly through the streets, would have given an opportunity quickly to be taken advantage of if an onslaught were ever made; for any one acquainted with the mode of savage warfare must know that the attack would be sudden and rapid, from several points; not delay to tear a house down if it were safely closed, but, dashing through the streets, they would only tomahawk those in their way, and force a passage, and retreat from the town.

It was not considered in this light until two or three of these alarms occurred, when the confusion was so great, and the folly of the orders so apparent, that it was determined to remain and barricade their homes.

Henry Butler Stoney, Taranaki: A Tale of the War

Dec 5th 1860

My dear Mamma

I have just returned from spending the evening at the Standishes with papa who has been paying a farewell visit, he expects the Airedale in tomorrow. I hope not, I should like to have him one day longer. I think I shall be very desolate when he has gone, the last link of the family chain so roughly severed


Mrs Standish has been very unwell she has been in bed for several days but she is better now. One day when I called to see her Mrs Leech was there so I took the opportunity of asking her for a few flowers for the grave, she said she was glad I asked and that as long as she had any I should have some once a week, she desired me to remember her to you.


When our baskets were full the rest of the party had returned from rambling with lots of flowers. Oh! I thought they will soon be going and I have not a single flower. I must have a few. So off I went straight for the dell, Capt Miller followed. I had often [been] warned [by] Mr Des Voeux not to go into the dell, for fifty natives might be in ambush there, but now all thought of danger had flown. I went on very quickly because I wanted to go all over it. Picking a flower here and there making a few remarks and lamenting the weeds that had grown so high, we came to one small open space, in the middle of which grew a pink hawthorn in full bloom. I had often seen the tree but not the flower, my exclamations of surprise and delight and efforts to reach the blossom made my companion smile, he got some of the flowers for me, we stayed a few minutes it was a lovely spot, beautiful ferns and native shrubs growing all round. You should have brought a pencil and paper and written some lines here, he said. Strange to have said that to me, I believe I was at that time the only girl in all Taranaki who ever wrote a line.

I did write some verses in the evening but never showed them to him.

Lines Written on Visiting Glenavon during the War 1860.

Oh! I could sit and gaze for hours,
Musing alone
Upon thy lovely blooming flowers
Dreaming that fairies in their bowers
First tinted them.

Or on that tiny winding stream
O’er grown with weeds
That erst would gaily flash and gleam
Like silver neath the golden beam
Of summer’s sun.

Or upward turn my wondering eye
Above the trees,
To watch the gauzy clouds float by
A snowy veil athwart a sky
Of deepest blue.

But now my stay so short so brief
I may not pause,
To linger o’er one bud or leaf
Or twine one fair or fragrant wreath
With thy sweet flowers.

One rapid glance around me cast
Noting the trace
Of River’s step I onward passed
With painful thought that t’were the last
For years perchance.

Sweet Peace we little knew how dear
Thou wert to us.
Until we mark’d the widow’s tear
And saw extended on his bier
One gone for ever.

Oh! we may learn to wear a smile
And heedless laugh
Twill but the careless eye beguile
For still we feel beneath the wile
A mournful heart

One hour can loosen War’s red hands
And set him free
But grey exiles in many lands,
Can tell how hard to clasp the bands
Strife once has severed.


Who proposed it I do not know but Mrs Des Voeux made up her mind to have a dance the next evening. Col W. was delighted at the idea, and promised to send his man to help move the furniture he also came & helped himself. The Des Voeux’s & Kings were living in a large store divided into rooms by curtains & rough boards. It was uncomfortably filled with handsome furniture from three houses. Two curtained rooms were thrown into one for the dance and the walls being lined with white calico it looked very nice. Mrs King and I spent some hours in making a very pretty thing out of a very primitive chandelier. For the Commissariat Department Mrs King got a first-rate confectioner to take command of the kitchen so that part was not likely to fail.

I came into the little drawing room very late in the evening. Living in the house I could not well stay away although everything connected with music or dancing recalled such painful feelings, however I thought I would not dance. Being in such deep mourning I had some difficulty in contriving an evening dress, none of my white dresses however much trimmed with black would do. I had a girl to come and make me a plain black barege skirt which, with a nicely fitting low silk body trimmed with crape & ribbon, full white sleeves and frill made I was told the most becoming dress I had ever worn.


The party went off delightfully, I danced with Major Stoney, Capt Miller, Colonel Wyatt and many others. The temptation to dance was too strong; for a few hours I felt happy and forgot our great sorrow and troubles.

Emily Harris, letters and notes

We have received a well-executed lithograph  of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. The point of view is Marsland Hill. We believe there can be no question of its accuracy, and in this its value-which, historically speaking, is considerable- consists, for it cannot be said there is anything striking or picturesque in the site or the town of New Plymouth. Soldiers and their tents dispersed over the scene give an additional interest to the print, affixed to which is a key, explaining the chief features and buildings of the  locality. The lithograph was drawn by Mr. Edwin Harris, and published by Messrs. Fergusson and Mitchell, Collins-street.

The Argus (Melbourne) Saturday 22nd Dec 1860

Mr Edwin Harris, Engineering Surveyor and Draughtsman (pupil of, and many years assistant to, the late celebrated James. M. Rendel, Esq. Civil Engineer, President of the Society of Engineers, F.R.S., &c., &c.), will be happy, during his stay in Nelson, to give lessons in Land surveying, Levelling, and Architectural, Mechanical, Landscape and other drawing.

Address, Mr. A. Moore’s, Waimea road, near the College, or the Examiner Office. December 1860.

Memorials: 1861-1922