Hybrid workshop “Maritime labour practices in colonial contexts” – 19/20 May 2023

I am glad to invite you to a workshop entitled “Maritime labour practices in colonial contexts”. In a small audience in person, but hopefully joined by a wider digital audience, a number of historians and scholars will come and share their research together.

Starting with Marcus Rediker’s and Peter Linebaugh’s Many headed Hydra (2000), the past decades have brought a number of scholarships and disciplines to analyze the diverse maritime working conditions across Time, Oceans, and Globe. The emerging field of Global and Maritime History demonstrated the mobility and importance of those, who crucially filled the ships. Depending on the purpose of the voyage, working and living circumstances at sea changed and differed dramatically.

The diverse purposes of voyages influenced the socialization and consistency of the crew, as they were isolated from mainland systems of society, government, work, and leisure. For several years, a pelagic-whaling ship, which required frequent stopovers, had different necessities as a trade ship. Both the composition of a crew and the hierarchies of a Convict ship might have been different, compared to a Royal Navy Ship.

These different circumstances mirrored in the wage-system too. Facing a several-year absence from home and family, whalers needed a payment in advance to sustain their families. Ships on the American continent became places of hope for slaves who were escaping.

The purpose of this workshop is to highlight and reveal these different conditions and to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines and areas to engage in a dialogue about the results of their research.

You can find the full program here. If you are interested in participating in person or online, please contact me at hussein@uni-trier.de

He literally “killed himself by excessive drunkenness and his wife is very much addicted to the same vice” – The fate of William Puckey (1776-1827)

In November 2022, I wrote an article for the German Historical Institute London, where I summarized one specific archive finding during my research fellowship, which I kindly received from them between September and November 2021. The interaction between Missionaries and Whalers at the Bay of Islands is considerably well recorded at the Bay of Islands’ history throughout the 1820s and 1830s – thanks to the CMS records but also local newspapers such as those in Sydney talking about local developments and incidences in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On the example of William Puckey Senior (1776-1827), I would like to demonstrate how fruitful, promising and eye-opening the consideration and inclusion of different types of sources and “layers” can turn out in historical research. As I have shown in the mentioned GHIL blogpost, it was a very common practice for Missionaries to visit anchoring whaling ships occasionally in order to communicate with them, exchange goods, knowledge and newspapers but also to give Divine Service to the seamen.

Probably for similar reasons, CMS member William Puckey visited the whaling ship “EMILY” under Captain William Brind, who remained at the Bay of Islands on Christmas evening in December 1825. I do not know what exactly happened onboard of the ship during these days, but it surely shaped the first CMS quarterly meeting only some days later in January 1826.

Henry Williams and the rest of the missionaries on land, however, seem not to have been happy at all with Puckey’s behaviour and his amusement with the whalers. On the 2nd of January 1826, it was recorded in the minutes that:

H. Williams begged to call the attention of the Committee to the late conduct of W. Puckey, who on Christmas Eve [1825] took his family onboard the ship Emily, and remained until Tuesday following, when he and his wife come [back] in a most disgusting state of intoxication. On Thursday, he returned by himself to the ship to renew his shocking conduct and remained until Saturday morning last, when his son obliged him to return home.

W. Williams suspended him from further work […] until the opinion of the committee should be given.

The committee is of opinion that from the repeated disgusting conduct of W. Puckey, he should not be permitted to work longer for the Society and that his suspension should remain in force.

CMS Quarterly Local Meeting Minute, 2nd Jan. 1826, in: Series C N 4/ (a), p. 138, AJCP: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2668474019/view, [12.01.2023].

Therefore, in January 1826, the Quarterly Meeting decided then to sent William Puckey (1776-1827), his wife Susanne Puckey, and daughter Elizabeth Puckey to Sydney. The son William Puckey (1805-1878) however, seem to have remained at the Bay of Islands.

In the following months and years in Sydney, while waiting to be sent back to London, the Puckey parents however did not show any remorse. In contrast, they continued consuming even higher amounts of alcohol, which eventually culminated in the father’s death in 1827. Samuel Marsden, witnessing Puckeys’ behaviour in Sydney, did not show any mercy too and would later simply tell the CMS-Secretary that William Puckey literally “killed himself by excessive drunkenness and his wife is very much addicted to the same vice”, yet Marsden adds at the same time, that “the children were notably different from their parents.”1.

The fate of the Puckey parents is recorded in detail in an article of the Sydney Newspaper “The Monitor” of 12th November 1827.

Mr. Puckey has a daughter who some six weeks back was married; at which period the scene of intoxication commenced which eventually put a period to his existence.

Deaf to the calls of prudence and religion, he indulged in the debasing propensity, his wife being a willing partner in his excesses, – pledging and selling all that she could come at to uphold his debauchery until a few days ago when they became so exhausted as to be compelled to seek that relief from their neighbours, which with proper management they had been well able to have afforded themselves.

On Sunday the old man ventured to walk out; he was then much emaciated from a want of proper nutriment, and his wife had also so far recovered her strength as to be enabled to comply with the advice of a friend, to go home and look after her husband.

This she did until Monday afternoon, when the deceased, in attempting to lie down on the bed, fell on the floor, having complained of giddiness in the head. She ran out to obtain assistance to lift him, and to her dismay found upon her return that the vital spark had become extinct.

The man had been placed in the coffin before it occurred to those acquainted with the circumstances of his case, that it was necessary to summons an inquest, which was convened on Wednesday morning, when the Jury found that “the deceased died by the visitation of God.”

Domestic Intelligence, in: The Monitor, 12.11.1827, p. 7, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/ 31759112/4230039, [12.01.2023].

At the end of the text, the newspaper editor justified the length of the text: “We have entered thus at length into the details of this case, in order to point out to others, the ill consequences directly proceeding from an intemperate use of ardent liquors.”2 During the time in Port Jackson, daughter Elizabeth Puckey married Captain Gilbert Mair, and together with her new husband, she moved back to her Brother William Puckey to the CMS station at the Bay of Islands, where Gilbert Mair opened a local store in order to trade with Māori, Missionaries, Settlers and Whalers.

How ironic!

  1. Gunson, Niel (1966): On the incidence of alcoholism and intemperance in early pacific missions, in: The Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 1, 1, pp. 43-62, p. 50, DOI: 10.1080/00223346608572078 []
  2. Domestic Intelligence, in: The Monitor, 12.11.1827, p. 7, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/ 31759112/4230039, [12.01.2023]. []

“Marine World of the long 18th Century” Conference

This new blog article reaches you form Germany. On the 21st of December, I arrived back from my over three-month research stay and took a second christmas break (after the one week summer break in Sydney). After spending almost three months in Aotearoa/New Zealand between 16th September and 2nd December, I flew to Melbourne to Australia in order to visit the “Marine World of the Long 18th century” Conference at the FitzRoy Campus of the Catholic University of Melbourne.

Three keynotes from Prof. Dr. Lynette Russell (Monash University), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kevin Dawson (University of California, Merced) as well as of Dr. Miranda Staynton (University of Melbourne) accompanied the various panels throughout the three days. You can read the full conference programm here:

On the following PDF, you can read a compilation of the other panels, presentation titles as well as their submitted abstracts:

Together in a panel with another PhD researcher Shameer T.A. from the University of Hyderabad in India, I also contributed a paper to the Conference in the Panel “Whaling and Fishing in the Global South”. I titled my presenation as “The whaling industry and the Tasman World” and provide you hereby with my abstract:

———-

“When the Englishman James Cook and the Polynesian Tupaia left the Australian continent and the Aborigines in 1770, they, unintentionally, revealed the differential and diametric temporalities of the Tasman Sea (Alison Bashford 2021). While Cook and Tupaia only ‘perceived’ the door (1770), Lit-Gov. King and Tuki/Huru ‘opened’ the door (1793); this paper demonstrates that it was the whaling industry which eventually ‘passed’ through the door, and so enabled the alleged connecting factor of the Tasman World.


Between 1790 and 1840, Port Jackson, Norfolk Island, Hobart, and the Bay of Islands emerged as important stopover places for the transoceanic whaling industry. Rangatira of the Ngāpuhi Iwi actively fostered the interactions with whaling ships by providing supplies and young men’s labour. Many of these whaling ships were either captained or financed by Quakers in the Atlantic world. This industry enabled a new form of mobility, which crucially connected the Tasman World as an interaction space.


This paper builds on Alison Bashford’s thoughts (2021) and argues that it was the transoceanic scale of the whaling industry which contributed to the formation of the Tasman Sea. With its manifold maritime interaction spaces, the whaling industry played a crucial role in shaping the Tasman Sea.”

———-

In my presentation, I adopted on a recent journal article of Prof. Dr. Alison Bashford (University of NSW Sydney).1 and highlight the connecting and disconnecting contributions of the whaling industry to the notions of a “Tasman World”. For this, I used a case study of one whaling family.

  1. Bashford, Alison (2021): World History and the Tasman Sea,
    in: The American Historical Review, vol. 123 (3), pp. 922-948. https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article-abstract/126/3/922/6424130?redirectedFrom=fulltext []

GHI London Blogpost

 

Thanks to a scholarship of the German Historical Institute London, I have spent several months of last year (September 2021 to November 2021) in several english cities (Birmingham, London) and welsh cities (Aberystwyth, Pembrokeshire, Milford Haven) in order to undertake archival research in a number of Archives, Museums and Libraries.

In the Cadbury Research Library of the University of Birmingham I was able to read (and to copy) extensive amounts of manuscripts of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Stations and its actors at the Bay of Islands (roughly from the period between 1814 until 1840). Adopting on one particular meeting minute of the CMS in London, I summarized my PhD research project for the blog of the German Historical Institute. I remain very grateful for this wonderful opportunity of the GHIL and thank Dr. Marcus Meer for the lectoring process.

You can read the blogpost on the GHIL Blog here.1

  1. Hussein, Haureh: Māori Iwi, Quaker Whalers, and Missionaries at the Bay of Islands in Aotearoa/New Zealand (1790–1840), in: GHIL Blog, https://ghil.hypotheses.org/1227 [Last Access: 24.11.2022]. []

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

During the Conference days of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology (see the blogpost of 26. Sept. 2022), I met Bill Edwards, manager of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and Dr. James Robinson, Archaeologist of the same Institution.

Dr. James Robinson delivered a paper entitled “Land and Sea,the archaeological and historical evidence of European interaction with tangata whenua on Moturua Island in the Bay of Islands: 1769–1940s”. Bill Edwards talked about the “Seascapes of encounter, the archaeological and historical evidence of European voyagers early contact with tangata whenua in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.”

Throughout the Conference, I used many occasionaries and moments to have chat with them by a cup of tea, for lunch, or during the boat trip, and even after the Conference, I visited them twice in the Office of the “Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga” in Keri Keri, where we not only continued our conversations but also “fall” into “rabbitholes” of both their Library and their mapping programms in the office.

Apart from Bill and James, John O’Hare, a journalist, also worked in the Council and invited me very spontaneously to talk about my research. I readily used the opportunity to introduce my topic to a local audience. The article can be found in the “Northern Advocate” Newspaper (behind a paywall)1 , but is also free accessible on the blog of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.2

  1. Whaling heritage brings researcher to New Zealand, in: The Northern Advocate, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/bay-news-fleet-celebrates-40-years-okaihau-bowls-on-a-roll/X52EX7N4GOR4EUUGE56LIVJCIE/, [Last Access: 2.11.2022]. []
  2. Whaling Heritage draws researcher to New Zealand, in: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, https://www.heritage.org.nz/news-and-events/blog/whaling-heritage-draws-researcher-to-new-zealand, [Last Access: 2.11.2022]. []
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