Edward Blackmore flees Nelson, NZ, leaving two Abel Tasman Islands.

Edward Hugh Enes Blackmore – brother of Edwin Gordon Blackmore

Great, grandfather, Edwin’s older brother, Edward, gained some notoriety in New Zealand.

Edward married Jessie Mary MacDonald (daughter of Captain Alexander and      Mary MacDonald of Howick) in a double wedding with Jessie’s sister Agnes (m Bacot) at the Howick Roman Catholic Church on the 13th September 1851.

Captain MacDonald was with the 30th Regt and had come to NZ with his wife Mary and six children on the Sir Robert Sale. He had several plots of land in Howick.

The following notices appeared in the paper:-

On the 13th inst., at the Roman Catholic Church, Howick, by the Rev L Raynaud RCP, John Thomas Watson Bacot Esq., Staff Assistant Surgeon, to Anne Agnes, eldest daughter of Capt Alexander Macdonald, Staff Officer of Pensioners (and formerly of the 30th Regt). [NZ’er 17 Sept 1851] Double wedding.

On the 13th inst. At the Roman Catholic Church, Howick, by the Rev L Raynaud, RCP, Edward Hugh Eanes Blackmore Esq., to Jessie Macdonald, 2nd daughter of Capt Alexander Macdonald, Staff Officer of Pensioners (and formerly of the 30th Regt) Double wedding. [NZ/er 17 Sept 1851]

Edward had moved on to Nelson on 22 October 1853 with his wife Jessie and son to take up the post of Collector of Customs. When he applied for the post he is said to have claimed to have a BA from Oxford University, when, in fact he did not. He bought a section in Russell Street from Nelson’s first magistrate, John Poynter and proceeded to build a 4 room hip roof single storey cottage that still exists today.

Adele and Fisherman Islands, on the other side of the Bay, near today’s Abel Tasman National Park and the tourist town of Kaiteriteri, were auctioned in 1855 and Edward Hugh Enes Blackmore, Collector of Customs, paid £210 for Adele Island and £3/8/9 for Fisherman Island.

Things seem to have gone wrong for Edward quite quickly as in early 1856 he was “suspended” from office and eventually asked to leave Nelson after failing to account for almost £2000 of customs duties collected during his tenure. The family was dispatched to Australia with only 10 shillings for their fare, relinquishing to the Crown ownership of the cottage, livestock, household possessions and other properties.

The two islands were also to become Crown property, however, at that time, Mathew Richmond of “The Cliffs,” Nelson, was Commissioner of Crown Lands and John Poynter, a pioneer solicitor, was Resident Magistrate. These two men, after conferring with Blackmore, drew up a Deed which stated that, as Blackmore owed the Government of N.Z. a “considerable sum of money,” he wished to sell all his properties to Richmond and Poynter for the total sum of 10/-. Proceeds for the later sale of these properties by Richmond and Poynter were to assist in liquidating his debt to the Crown.

Richmond and Poynter apparently forgot about the islands and forty years later when both were dead, it was realised that the islands had not been registered as Crown property. When this was done the forgotten islands were declared a scenic reserve. Stone from Adele Island was used as fill for the sea-wall at Port Nelson.

There was no record of the scandal in the press of the time but a letter to the governor from local landowner, John Tinline, records his dismay that Edward was allowed to leave the country with a large rent debt to Tinline. Perhaps the story was kept under wraps to avoid embarrassing the Customs Office.

Edward went on to teach in Sydney, setting up his own private school and taught Australia’s first two Prime Ministers. The school later went bankrupt. They had 8 children. His wife died in 1866 and he died in 1905 with less than £200 to his name.

(Blackmore Cottage at 8 Russell St, Nelson may now be rented as a holiday cottage.)


Blackmore Cottage
Blackmore Cottage, 8 Russell St, Nelson, NZ

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