Joseph Weller, baptised 1766 at High Wycombe, was the fifth child and fourth son of William Weller (1727-1802) and Ann House (1733-1817). He married Mary Brooks in 1801, they lived in Folkestone and six of their children survived infancy:-
|Joseph Brooks||1 August 1802||28 July 1835. Buried in Sydney|
|Mary||20 November 1803||in infancy, Folkstone|
|George||26 December 1805||Elizabeth Barwise||13 April 1875|
|Mary Brooks||21 August 1807||in infancy, Folkstone|
|Fanny||23 December 1811||Robert Johnston 30 July 1831||1896|
Joseph Senior was unwell, suffering from consumption, and was advised by his doctor to take a sea voyage. He became interested in emigrating to Australasia. His son Joseph went to Australia in 1825, returning from Sidney on July 7th, and his second son George also went to Australia the following year, returning from Sidney on December 20th. These seem to have been "reconnaissance" journeys, for a decision of the family to emigrate followed.
Joseph Junior and Edward were the leaders, arriving at Sidney in July 1829. The rest of the family followed early in 1830 :- Joseph Senior and his wife, his two daughters Fanny and Anne, and his son George and his wife.
Some of the family's ample capital was invested in land and property but their main interest was directed towards whaling and in 1831 a barque the "Lucy Ann" was purchased from the New South Wales government. This set sail for New Zealand on September 25th. With Joseph Junior and Edward aboard and an appropriate cargo and crew.
They landed at a promontory ?Te Umu Kuri? (which became known as Wellers' Rock) on the east coast of Otago harbour- and established a Whaling Station there.
It is not known what arrangements were made with the Maories, but construction of the whaling station started immediately. There must have been a considerable number of workers involved because while this construction proceeded a considerable quantity of timber (spar and planks) was accumulated which was dispatched to Sidney on the return voyage of the "LUCY ANN" in February 1932. Unfortunately a fire destroyed most of the buildings early in 1932. News of this reached Sidney in April and in May George Weller was sent to assist his two brothers in the reconstruction.
Whaling operations in 1832 were clearly severely restricted by this but the station was reestablished and a considerable amount of agricultural land and timber workings were developed. Early in 1833.
George returned to Sidney where he and his father continued to look after the Australian side of the family operations. With Joseph Junior in charge of the New Zealand operations, assisted by Edward, whaling at Otakou (as the Weller station was then known) and other stations on the eastern coast of New Zealand was very successful. In 1834 Joseph Junior became ill of consumption and returned to Sidney in August of that year. He died on September 6th. 1835 at age thirty one.
So Edward became manager of Weller's Otakou establishment when he was only twenty years of age. For a few years the business flourished and was in fact one of the biggest stations on the New Zealand coast, and did considerable business with calling ships as a general store.
Difficulties began to increase. The number of whales using those coastal waters became fewer in number; opposition from other whalers became more severe; there were difficulties with the native Maoris and also with the New Zealand Government over land possession. By early 1840 Edward was complaining of ill health and asking for the appointment of a manager to assist him. In August of that year a Mr. C.W. Schultze was so appointed and also a new clerk named Harwood.
Edward Weller sailed for Sidney on December 18th. 1840 and did not return.
In Sidney George had also been facing difficulties and in February 1841 he filed for bankruptcy.
From the time of their arrival in Australia the Weller funds had been partly personal and partly a family partnership. At the time of the bankruptcy filing George and Edward were the only partners
and each had private property and funds. Discharge from bankruptcy proceedings was granted to Edward on October 5th. 1842, and to George on October 9th. 1842.
Both George and Edward moved to Maitland, New South Wales, but George returned to England in 1849 to try to remedy his difficulties. George returned to East Maitland where he died 13 April 1875.
In 1893 Edward was living in a cottage on East Maitland Road, West Maitland when the district was hit by severe flooding. Attempts were made to persuade him to leave his home but he refused. As the flood water rose he apparently climbed into the loft to escape them and it was there , trapped below the roof, that he was drowned.
At the time of the bankruptcy Octavious Harwood, a clerk employed by Edward Weller bought part of the Otakou station. He entered into partnership with C.W. Schultze the manager and together they ran the station-mainly as a general store. Edward's sister Anne married this Mr. Schultze in April of 1849.
Edward married a Maori named Paparu in 1835, and they had a daughter in 1836 who was named Fanny but seems to have been known my the Maori version of "Hana". Paparu died in 1838. Edward married again in 1839 to Nikuru, daughter of a Maori chief. She died in 1840 at the birth of a daughter called Nani.
Nani had a son, Tom Ellison, who came to England on a rugby tour. In the acknowledgments at the beginning of ?Advance Guard? there is a Mr. George Ellison of Helensburgh, Dunedin.
The New Zealand folk song WEB site contains a song about the Weller Brothers of Sydney who supplied provisions to New Zealand shore whaling stations from their base at Otakou Soon May The Wellerman Come
Other related content: Charles William Schultze, Wellers whaling Station (1831-1839),
People related to this content: Annie Meek Weller (Born:1820-05-07), Edward Weller (Born:1814-07-06), Frances Weller (Born:1811-12-23), George Weller (Born:1805-12-26), Joseph Weller (Born:1766), Joseph Brooks Weller (Born:1802-08-01), Mary Weller (Born:1803-11-20),