The Pilot's Cottage, Worser Bay
The People in the Pilots Cottage Then
The people in the Pilot's Cottage in the 1800's were very different to the ones today.
(Photo from the Alexander Turnbull Library)
You may have seen this photo before on this site, but now, looking at it closely, don't you notice that the man in the photo appears to be wearing pyjamas?" No, just a joke!! The man is in fact James Heberley, the first owner of the Pilot's Cottage. He is actually wearing the usual uniform of 1900!!!
Why was the Pilot's Cottage built?
One important fact to note is that Mr Heberley (Worser) did not actually live in the Pilot's Cottage! Mr Heberley was however, Wellington's first ships pilot.
The cottage was occupied by ships pilots from 1866 until 1894.
Life was very different back then and this is a frightening real life event that Worser himself saw during one of the whaling expeditions: when his ship Caroline called in to the Bay of Islands in 1827. This happpened before the Pilot's Cottage was built when Worser first arrived in New Zealand from England.
"...we called into the Bay of Islands, the natives were at war with one another and we obliged to lift anchor and shift farther out, to get clear of the shot...there was a slave girl on board, she had a child on her back and by accident she dropped the child overboard, belonging to the chief, the child was not drowned, but the chief took the slave girl on shore, and hung her up by her heels and stabbed her in the back of the neck and sucked her blood till he was tired, .... all the chiefs did this until the girl was dead, and then they cut her up and cooked her in a copper pot and they all had a feast... "
(The Dominion newspaper, January 11th 1888)
At this time Worser was still a teenager aboard the Caroline, and he stayed on the ship for two years after that.
Worser was probably just occasionally a pilot at Worser Bay, but he is famous and linked to the cottage because he used to say that the weather was getting "worser and worser" and the bay has taken the name from this.
The last pilot to live in the cottage was called William Shilling. The cottage stopped being used to pilot ships in 1894 because there were less sailing ships using the port at Worser Bay.
Last update: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 at 4:26:06 PM.
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