1971 - Lush, Vicesimus. The Auckland Journals of Vicesimus Lush, 1850-63 - [Front matter] p 1-14

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  1971 - Lush, Vicesimus. The Auckland Journals of Vicesimus Lush, 1850-63 - [Front matter] p 1-14
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This roomy kauri cottage, owned by the Lush family for over a hundred years, was bought by the Auckland City Council in 1969 and leased to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust at a peppercorn rental of ten cents annually. Funds for the restoration of the house were provided by the Trust and by the Friends of Ewelme, a voluntary group that has worked to give both house and garden the appearance once more of a well-cared-for home.

The first part of the house, under the main gable, was built in Ayr Street, Parnell, in 1863-4, so that the sons of Vicesimus and Blanche Lush might attend the Church of England Grammar School nearby. Mr Lush was soon afterwards transferred from Howick to Thames and later became Archdeacon of Waikato and when he died in 1882 his wife returned to Ewelme to live. Mrs Lush extended the house but from the 'eighties on it remained little changed.

Many Lush family possessions of colonial days have been presented to the Trust and their display, together with the setting of the cottage in an old-fashioned garden close to the city, recall a way of life that has otherwise vanished from the Auckland scene. The cottage is open daily for visitors.

Cover: Auckland from Parnell, 1859,
a watercolour by Andrew Robertson
(Auckland City Art Gallery).

How pleasant to know Mr Lush. His journals preserve like pressed flowers a time when New Zealand was young. Vicesimus (he owed his unusual Christian name to the fact that he was the twentieth child) arrived in Auckland in 1850 with his wife Blanche, four children under seven, and an unsatisfactory teenage servant girl called Betsy. He became first vicar of the military Pensioner settlement of Howick. The wooden parsonage grew to a comfortable home with children's ponies in the paddock and the hope of English buttercups in the surrounding glebe. London-born Vicesimus pastured the cows that provided his household with milk and butter, raised pigs which his accomplished wife transformed into pickled pork and bacon. Little that happened escaped his journals: he reports rumours of gold and of Maori attacks; he complains about rising prices; he plants blackberry, "a great rarity"; he gossips about notable people; he describes the novelty of green peas and new potatoes for Christmas dinner; he records shipwreck, murder, and great occasion. And from his eldest daughter Blanney we glimpse an era when the National Anthem played on the stroke of midnight was the signal to colonial Cinderellas in white muslin gowns that the Governor's Ball was over. It is a delight to visit the Auckland of Vicesimus Lush.

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Alison Drummond was first shown these journals about ten years ago and says she was so charmed with them that she read the entire manuscript - 1850 to 1882 - in less than a week. Selecting and editing has not been easy - "left to myself I would have used everything, though I shudder to think of the cost, or the reaction of present-day readers" - and trying to identify the numerous characters that shuttle through the pages has taken considerable detective work. Mrs Drummond is well acquainted with Auckland's history and is the author of several books on early New Zealand, an interest that goes back to her schooldays. Her family has strong links with New Zealand's past. Her grandfather commanded the Native Contingent during the Maori Wars of the 1860s and was later a judge in the Maori Land Court; her grandmother was a sister of the author Elsdon Best, a compiler of Maori lore; her great-great-grand father came to New Zealand in the early days of the Wellington settlement, at the age of eighty-two!

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Copy of a Plan of Howick Parsonage...

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Married and Gone to New Zealand
Children of the Country
Early Days in the Waikato
At Home in New Zealand

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© Alison Drummond 1971

Published with the aid of the New Zealand Literary Fund



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To the Grandchildren of Vicesimus and Blanche Lush

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So many people have contributed to the background knowledge needed for the presentation of these journals that I hope I will be forgiven for any omissions.

My thanks are due first to Mr Arthur Lush, grandson of the Revd Vicesimus Lush and owner of the original manuscript. He has made possible publication of the 1850-63 section and has also made available family and other records. His sister, Miss Ellen Lush, also has my gratitude. As custodian of the contents of Ewelme Cottage she has produced much of value to this book, such as the journals of Blanche Lush the younger and her brother Charles, also the two maps of Howick so relevant to the text, that are believed to be the work of Vicesimus Lush. The late Miss Aroha Ruddock made a particularly valuable contribution when, in the process of editing extracts from her grandfather's journal for the Weekly News she also noted and recorded the reminiscences of her uncle, Canon Edward Lush, whose knowledge of early Auckland was considerable.

A collection of letters contemporary with the journal was sent to me from England by Miss Virginia Browne-Wilkinson, a great-granddaughter of Charles Abraham, first Bishop of Wellington, and his wife Caroline. This includes many letters from New Zealand friends from 1850 onward and has been a useful check on other records.

I acknowledge gratefully the assistance given by the staffs of the following libraries: the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; the Auckland Institute and Museum Library; the Auckland Public Library; the Canterbury Museum Library; the General Assembly Library, Wellington; the Howick Historical Society; and the Hamilton Public Library. The Canterbury Museum Library has allowed me to quote from the journals of John Greenwood and Lord Robert Cecil, and the Auckland Institute and Museum Library from its collection of Selwyn and other letters; it has also permitted reproduction of contemporary photographs by the Revd John Kinder.

Alison Drummond

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PREFACE page 13



EPILOGUE page 259

APPENDIX page 261

SOURCES page 274

INDEX page 275

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between pages

Vicesimus Lush (EL) ---------------- 80-1
Blanche Lush (EL)
Blanche (Blanney), the eldest daughter (EL)
Charles, the eldest son (EL)
Martin, the third son (EL)
Anne, the fourth daughter (EL)
Edith, the youngest daughter (EL)
Eliza and Anne Lush, sisters of Vicesimus (EL)

The Howick Parsonage, 1853 (EL) ------------ 96-7
Bishop Selwyn's letter to Vicesimus Lush (AIML)
All Saints' Church, Howick, c. 1863 (AIML)
Church of England Grammar School, 1863 (AIML)

Mrs Selwyn, Lady Martin, Mrs Abraham (BW) ------------- 144-5
Mrs Warrington, wife of Dr A. Warrington (EL)
A panorama of St John's College, 1851 (AIML)
W. Swainson, Attorney-General, with (probably)
Mrs Annie Rookes (AIML)
Revd A. G. Purchas (EL)

Hall's Store at Otahuhu (OBC) --------------- 160-1
Ewelme Cottage, 1864 (AIML)
A page from the Journals of Vicesimus Lush (AL)
Mission Station at Taupiri, 1854 (NA)
Revd Heta Tarawhiti (WC)

ABBREVIATIONS: EL, Miss E. Lush collection; AIML, Auckland Institute and Museum Library, mostly Kinder collection; BW, Miss V. Browne-Wilkinson; OBC, Otaruhu Borough Centennial Publication 1948; AL, Mr Arthur Lush; NA, National Archives; WC, W. F. Wallis collection.

The cottage on Mr Lush's farm at Cockle Bay, a drawing by L. R. Drummond. ---------- page 273

Endpaper Maps

FRONT: Plan of Howick Parsonage and the surrounding land, drawn by Vicesimus Lush and included with a letter to his sister in England dated 31 January 1852.

BACK: Part of the Northern Island of New Zealand, 1853; portion of a sketch map drawn by Vicesimus Lush.

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From George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, to the Revd Vicesimus Lush in England:

St John's College, Auckland
New Zealand
20 December 1849

Rev. and dear Sir,

I write to you by the first direct opportunity since I received your letter, having found by experience that all the circuitous routes are very uncertain.

After reading your testimonials from those who I esteem so highly as the Bishop of Oxford and Archdeacon Berens, it is impossible that I should not desire to have you associated with myself in this great and growing work, which as yet is so scantily supplied with labourers, though helped, I believe, far more than we deserve, by Divine assistance. The only impediment to my free and earnest consent to your proposal is the fear lest you should not find in the poverty of the New Zealand Church such a supply for the wants of your increasing family as you may require and expect. Our Laity are by no means rich; nor are they very willing to give even in proportion to their means; and I have no other resources to provide for the augmentation of the income of the Clergy but the slow growth of Endowment Funds and the uncertain amount of contributions in England. The fixed and permanent income of the Diocese is already pledged to the present body of Clergy.

I do not say these things to discourage you. Far from it; but to make you acquainted with our real position. My own

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income is altogether precarious, depending upon an annual vote of Parliament, which is often attacked; and a payment from the Church Missionary Society. If you are prepared to "cast in your lot among us", when you know all the circumstances, you may be assured of a hearty welcome, and of as much consideration for the wants of your family as our circumstances will admit.

It was impossible for me to write a letter which you could receive before Mr Abraham's departure, but I have written such a general letter of information to him, as will, I hope, have enabled him to answer many of your enquiries.

According to the Diocesan scale which begins at £100 on the 1st Jan. following Deacon's Orders, and increases annually £10, to the maximum of £300, you would be entitled by your standing within the Ministry to £170 or £180 per annum; and this amount I think I could guarantee; the annual increments are not absolutely certain for the reasons already stated. - The country stations are not in general so expensive as the towns; and I think that the price of all the necessaries of life is likely to decrease....

In forming your resolution to emigrate to this Diocese I hope you have not overcredited me, so as to make me responsible for the disappointment which you may feel when you know more of your adopted Bishop. I cannot promise to help you, when I feel how much I need your help, and that of every other faithful Clergyman who would release me from a portion of the responsibility which was too great for me at first, and which increases every day - I fear that you will not find me such as I have been represented to you, either in piety, or temper - or in work. If you come at all, let it be to help me, and not to lean upon me for help. In the meantime let me have your prayers; for there are times when my overcrowded mind would trust more to the intercession of others: than to its own distracted petitions.

Believe me, Rev. and dear Sir,
Your very faithful Friend and Brother,

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