NEW: The book The Blenheim People is now available for download as a PDF document.  Note that this is the version as published as a hard copy book and does not include any updates or corrections that have been made to the material on this website. Click on this link: The Blenheim People 2015

In December 2015 it was 175 years since the barque Blenheim arrived at Port Nicholson in New Zealand, having sailed from Greenock in Scotland four months earlier in August.  The passengers on the Blenheim were all Scottish, so the 175 year anniversary provided an opportunity to celebrate the role of Scottish settlers in the founding and growth of Wellington, and of New Zealand.

More information on the events held to mark the occasion can be found at the posting Commemorating Scottish Heritage, including the Picnic Programme and Information Sheet.

On the posting The Blenheim People you will find a list of the passengers, and links so you can follow the stories of the individuals and families who made the voyage.

A full list of all of the passengers is at Blenheim Passenger List.

You can also read Jessie Campbell’s first hand account of the voyage and her early years in New Zealand at Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters.

Background information on other aspects of the voyage is also provided:

A summary of Sources used in compiling this website is also provided.


A PDF version is available at The Blenheim People 2015 but this does not include the updates and corrections included in this website.

Much of the information on this website has now been published as a book – for details go to The Blenheim People As A Book.

Memorabilia in the form of brooches, key rings and fridge magnets are also available for purchase – see Blenheim175 Memorabilia.
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Creative Commons License
Blenheim175 and The Blenheim People by Hugh McPhail is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

16 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Dear Hugh
    You were kind enough to send me the link to the records of St Pauls when I queried where you had found the information about my gt gt gt grandmother, Annie Jeffs born 1842, who married Dugald Cameron (son of Donald and Christina.) I now cannot find where I’ve filed it and wondered if you would be so kind as to send it to me again. I would be very grateful.
    Best wishes, Dorothy Gaunt


  2. Hello,
    what a wonderful and informative site. My Family comes from the line of Isabella McLachlan and Isaiah Wade Leigh and through Charles Ernest Leigh who married Margaret Quinn (my Great Grandparents).
    I would appreciate it if we can correspond and learn more about your research / reunions etc.
    Best regards,


  3. In the discussion of Charles McLean Cameron (Ewen Cameron, Maria Colquhoun and family), you say: ‘The John Cameron Letters include a letter from John Cameron of Marangai to Charles McL Cameron Esq., 35 Great Castle Street, W. London, dated 9 September 1882, which reads: … ‘

    What are the John Cameron letters, which John Cameron is that (not Ewen and Maria’s son who was left in Scotland, presumably), and are they accessible?


    1. The “John Cameron Letters” are described in the “Sources” section at the end of the posting, i.e. “Letters of John Cameron of Callart, “Marangai”, Wanganui, New Zealand, 1854-1892, transcribed by the Alexander Turnbull Library, May 1952, from originals made available by Dr Elspeth Fitzgerald of Oamaru, edited by Ann Newman.” This is the John Cameron who was a cabin passenger on the Blenheim and whose history is contained in the posting “John Cameron of Marangai”. I have a paper copy of the transcript and will check for any further references to the family of Ewen Cameron, but most of them relate to business transactions of John Cameron.


      1. Thanks, I should have looked closer. It is his business correspondence with Charles McLean Cameron, son of Ewen and Maria, I’m interested in. C McL Cameron had an ‘interesting’ life, dying destitute in the Costley Home in Auckland, it seems, after some high flying business ventures that failed.


  4. Dear Hugh, thanks very much for all the fantastic archival information you have brought together on this site. I am a MSc student and researching the Glencoe MacDonald’s, in particular the genealogical oral traditions which surround the families. The strong claims of the Drimintoran related MacDonalds is my point of current research. In the write up about this family you say that “Alexander McDonald wrote a memoir which included some of the history of his family. He noted that he had documentary evidence sufficiently conclusive to himself, that he belonged to the Glencoe branch of the MacDonald Clan.” Do you by any chance have access to this archive? or any that pertain to Glencoe? many thanks in advance


    1. Dear David,
      I note your reply/request to Hugh McPhail who wrote “The Blenheim People” with great interest. My name is John Macdonald, a direct descendant of Donald Macdonald who was in cabin class on the Blenheim. My lineage is from his son Thomas who settled in Canterbury.
      We believe we are direct descendants of the Macdonald’s of Glencoe at the time of the massacre in 1692, in fact we believe the chief of the clan is here in Christchurch after all this time, despite the fact that in Scotland it is believed the male lineage died out.
      Any research you have would be of great interest.
      Kind regards, John Macdonald


  5. Wow fantastic site. Have discovered thank to your info that Donald McDonald is my husbands 4th grandfather.


      1. Yes Flora who was married to Thomas Kebbell is my husbands 3rd ggrandmother. Always happy to share info.


  6. Hi Hugh
    I am putting together a family history and love all the information you have collected. I would love to put some of the context you have written in my book on ancestors Duncan and Marjory Fraser. Do you own the copyright and if so can I have permission to reuse the material?


    1. Hi Meg
      Good luck with your researches and the book – the Frasers were certainly an interesting family.
      f course you can use the information I have collected.
      The copyright on “The Blenheim People” book and website is under a CreativeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Under this License you may You are free to:
      Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.
      Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material.
      However, the following terms apply:

      Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

      NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

      ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

      No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.


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Commemorating the arrival of Scottish settlers in Wellington