Porter had an exciting early life. Accompanying his parents, brother
and sister in their family owned brig, he was a pioneer settler at both
Port Lincoln and Auckland, arriving in the latter in the town’s first
year and before the main immigrant ships. Their emigration, a single
family version of Wakefield’s vision of transporting British society
to new worlds, has been described by one observer as a sort of Swiss
Family Robinson adventure. William or his captain father met and knew
some leading citizens of their age including George Grey and Eyre, both
Australian explorers and New Zealand governors, Franklin of Arctic
exploration fame and many other leading citizens of the new colony of
New Zealand. He visited Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong, Wellington, New
Plymouth and Nelson within a few years of their founding. At Nelson he
witnessed the departure of the armed settler party to Wairau which
culminated in the famous massacre. He was an ammunition boy at a redoubt
built there in the aftermath to defend the settlers. He also observed
many of the prominent citizens of the new colonies at play and
here are brief biographies of both the father Captain Porter and his
son, the author of these recollections, William Porter.
account written in old age, gives a child’s memory of the events of
his early life, complete with explorers, pirates, whaling, exotic
animals and the to him strange indigenous inhabitants of his new home.
It is not artless, as much of the material is clearly with the input of
an adult perspective.
recollections were specifically written for his young descendants. They,
young and old, have treasured it ever since not just as a document of
historical value but as an insight to his character.
reminiscences said little about two periods in his life in the 1840s.
These had been covered in two other reminiscences published in the New
of Auckland in 1841 and 1842.
St. Johns College in the Forties.
the links to read the transcriptions.