John Goldsworthy sailed the Hauraki Gulf for 14 years, after his wife Elizabeth died.
John Goldsworthy was born in 1810 in in Cornwall, England. In 1833 aged 23 and employed as a miner, he married Elizabeth Richards, aged 18 at the Crowan Parish Church.
The Cornish mining industry was in steep decline by the 1830s, and lack of employment prospects may have been a reason for their move to New Zealand.
For the New Zealand Company’s benefit John Goldsworthy described his occupation as ‘agricultural labourer’ – as the Company favoured farm workers to help found its new colony, and where no mining was yet being done.
Many agricultural workers are known to have emigrated in the Cornish agricultural depression peaking first in 1823, and then again in the ‘hungry forties’. The Goldsworthy’s emigrated between these two peak periods.
In 1855, they bought a farm at Mullet Point in the Mahurangi Harbour (near warkworth). Elizabeth died the same year, and daughter Anna maria took over the household.
John acquired a 15 ton sailing vessel the Elizabeth Ann, and operated it as a coastal trader until his death in 1865.
John and Elizabeth Goldsworthy migrated to the proposed new colony at Port Nicholson (now Wellington) with their 3 children, Elizabeth, aged 4, John, aged 2½, and Mary Ann as part of Colonial William Wakefield’s New Zealand Company’s colonists.
Mary Ann’s age was recorded in the New Zealand Company shipping records as 5 months old, but by the time she left England, she would have been aged 20 months.
The New Zealand Company was actively recruiting for emigrants with the offer of assisted passage. The Company wanted to get to Port Nicholson quickly to buy land cheaply before British annexation, and to profit from its settlement being made the colonial capital.
The rush of people emigrating to New Zealand meant that not all could be accommodated on the number of ships chartered by the New Zealand Company.
An additional ship chartered, and home to the Goldsworthys for the 152 day trip to New Zealand, was the Bolton. It was a barque of 540 tons, captained by John Percival Robinson, and carried the largest and last contingent of 232 ‘first fleet’ passengers.
On 19th November 1839, the Bolton left Gravesend, near London, England. After encountering a storm in the Bay of Biscay, the vessel called at Santa Cruz, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands in December 1839 to replace stock lost overboard.
The Bolton finally arrived off the New Zealand coast at Port Hardy in Rangitoto (now D’Urville Island) and stayed for 4 days in early April 1840. Whilst the New Zealand Company fleet had been at sea the Treaty of Waitangi had been signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, and New Zealand had become a British Colony.
As assisted steerage ‘emigrants’ the Goldsworthy’s role was as the labouring class for the new colony and they had no land allotment at Port Nicholson. They had a number of frights in the early weeks of settlement. After only one month in Port Nicholson they and 12 other Cornish families lost all their possessions in a fire that swept the huts of Bolton Row.
Four nights later the Goldsworthys and the other Port Nicholson settlers, felt their first traumatic earthquake.
Within a few months of arriving at the Port Nicholson the Goldsworthys headed for Auckland arriving as early as October or November 1840 – soon after the establishment of the new capital.
John Goldsworthy worked as a labourer for the Colonial Government, helping erect the new Government House on the corner of Princes Street and Waterloo Crescent. The building had been shipped to New Zealand on the ship Platina, and was a counterpart of the residence built for Napoleon’s exile on St. Helena.
John and Elizabeth Goldsworthy had 9 children in all, including the 3 born in Cornwall, England; 6 boys and 3 girls, born over a 16 year period between 1835 and 1851.
The first two New Zealand-born children were born during these early Auckland years; a girl, Anna Maria in Parnell, in 1841. Anna Maria was one of the earliest Pakehā children born in the new capital of Auckland: the first Auckland Town Pakehā child having been born only 15 days earlier.
A copper seam was discovered on Kawau Island in 1841, and by 1845 about 400 people were living on the Island, mainly Cornish. The Goldsworthys moved to Kawau for a short time in 1844.
After only a short period on Kawau Island, in 1844 the Goldsworthys moved on to the copper mines at Great Barrier Island for reasons unknown.
By 1849, perhaps as a result of a lull in mining activities, John’s occupation was described as ‘sawyer.’ He was therefore obviously also involved in some way in the milling of the Island’s kauri timber.
The Goldsworthys were still living at Miners Bay and John was away working at the adjoining mine at Miners Head on Great Barrier Island, when one morning, the family had an encounter with a Māori war party, who performed a haka on the beach.
The Goldsworthys’ settlement had been “surprised by several war canoes, whose warriors made themselves a comfortable camp, taking whatever they fancied from the settlers. One of them held a tomahawk to the head of Elizabeth, while his companion took the thatched roof from the Goldsworthys’ house to make a whare. Another came to the clothesline and proceeded to take the clothes off, but this was too much for Elizabeth, who rushed out and pulled a man’s shirt from the native’s hand. They all thought she would be killed, but he made off with what he had and did her no harm.”
The party took away the miners’ clothing, and their geese, plucking them alive.
Later the Goldsworthys came to respect the local Māori chief, who saw to it that certain articles valued by Elizabeth, such as a bolt of calico, were returned to her.
John Goldsworthy and his son, John junior, aged about 15, may have joined many Aucklanders with mining skills travelling to Bendigo and Ballarat, Victoria, Australia for the Victorian goldrush in about 1852.
After their return to Auckland, John, Elizabeth and family appear to have lived in St. George’s Bay, in Parnell. At this stage (1855), John described his occupation as ‘labourer.’
In early 1855 Elizabeth died of consumption at her daughter’s home in Shortland Street, aged only 40.
Her youngest child, Henry, was only 3 at the time. Elizabeth was buried in Symonds Street Cemetery, in what was to become the Goldsworthy family plot.
John then bought for £250.00 a 71ha coastal farm property near Mullet Point, Matakana, freehold from Robert Hunt, an innkeeper of Epsom.
John was to farm this property for the next ten years until his death in 1865. What he farmed is not known, but much farming in that time in the area consisted of little more than subsistence farming of various sorts. John owned a sailing cutter, named Elizabeth Ann.
In early 1863 John Goldsworthy married Jane James, aged about 35, in Wakefield Street, Auckland. Jane was probably a widow, and had a number of non-dependent children from her previous marriage. They had no further children.
Of John and Elizabeth Goldsworthy’s 9 children, 8 survived into adulthood, married and had children. James, their fourth son, died of unknown causes in 1865, prior to his father’s death that year, at the family’s Goldsworthy Bay, property, aged only 18. He was buried with his mother in the Goldsworthy family plot.
John Goldsworthy died in 1865 of a ‘disease’, probably cancer, of the liver and lungs at his Goldsworthy Bay farm property, aged 55. He was buried with his first wife, Elizabeth in the family plot in Symonds Street Cemetery.
John Goldsworthy made his will with an Auckland Solicitor James Maiston in early 1863, probably shortly after his marriage to Jane James. His signature in the will as a simple ‘X’ confirmed that John had remained illiterate throughout his life.
In his will, John left a legacy of £10 a year for life to his second wife Jane; his sailing cutter Elizabeth Ann to his eldest son John; £100to his daughter Anna Maria Meiklejohn; £50 to his daughter Mary Ann Gribble; and his remaining estate, including his Goldsworthy Bay farm property to his surviving sons John, Richard, William, Thomas and Henry.
 Source: Story as told by Anna Maria Meiklejohn to her niece, Clara Goldsworthy, and retold in ‘South of West Hamilton’, by Nancy Raynes, 1981.