Catlins river, The first European settlement in the area was a sealing gang at Port Molyneaux at the mouth of the Clutha River, in 1810. Then in 1840 a party of settlers arrived in the brig Portenia with pit saws, frame houses and carpenters gear. Whaler, Captain Edward Cattlin was commissioned to survey the river for navigability, and subsequently selected it as a port as it gave such ready access to the inland timber. He purchased about 2600 sq,km of land in the vacinity from the local Maoris for 30 pounds in cash, the balance in goods. The one responsible for the sale was the paramount chief Tuhawaiki, known among his European acquaintances as “Bloody Jack” and remembered by numerous place names in the area.
Concentrated milling soon began in the area, the first mill being powered by water wheel being established at Glenomaru in 1858. There was also a number of associated transient industries, ship building, gunpowder manufacture, (from Mahoe charcoal) and leather tanning (using beech bark). The native timbers on the hills were felled to supply the lucrative trade to Australia, but the early momentum waned as the accessible high quality coastal and valley floor stands were logged.
The river and surrounding district were named after the whaler Captain Edward Cattlin (as he was reputed to have spelt his name) (died 1856), who was commissioned to conduct the navigational survey of the Molyneaux River (later named the Clutha) in 1840
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The KATE 1870.
The CALEDONIA 1872.
The AURORA 1872.
The SURAT 1874. * (picture)
The ISABELLA 1883.