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Postby shipstamps » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:55 pm

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John Fearn was captain of the British trading vessel HUNTER, which sailed from New South Wales, Australia to the Hawaii Islands in 1798.
When in latitude 22 40S and approximately 171 50E he came upon an uncharted island which he named Hunter Island. Its is situated to the East of New Caledonia, a peak in the Hunter Island underwater ridge, and is administered by New Caledonia.
Proceeding North, Fearn sighted an inhabitant island to the west of the Gilbert group, (just south of the Equator), which he called Pleasant Island, it retained its name until 1888, when it was annexed by Germany and reverted to its native name Nauru.. On his return Fearn gave details of Eniwetok, which had been discovered in early days by the Spanish, but was imperfectly known.

John Fearn is sometimes confused with another John Fearn (1768-1837) a captain in the Royal navy, who retired from service to devote himself to philosophy, the discoverer of Nauru, however was not in command of a navy ship but of a modest snow.

The HUNTER was a snow/barque of 300 tons, owned by Campbell & Clarke, with an armament of 8 guns and a crew of 50/54.
She was built in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, and most probably registered at Calcutta.
She arrived under command of Capt. Fearn (the source gives Fern) in Sydney on 10 January (or June) 1796 from Calcutta with an assortment Indian goods, cows and horses.
20 August she sailed from Sydney for the River Thames, New Zealand to load spars for Bengal.

Robert Campbell the manager of Campbell & Clarke was a Scottish merchant. This company sent the SYDNEY COVE with relief supplies for Port Jackson settlement in 1796, but she was wrecked on Preservation Island.
Campbell came to New South Wales to investigate the loss of the vessel. During his visit he founded the firm of Campbell & Co. For his loss of the SYDNEY COVE in January 1825 he accepted 4.000 acres of land in the Limestone Plains area of Argyle County as part compensation for the loss of the vessel.

13 February 1800 the HUNTER arrived again in Sydney from Calcutta under command of Capt. Wm. Anderson, sailed on 14 April 1800 for N.I.Amboyna/Bengal. The owner is then given as Campbell & Co.
08 June 1800 arrived again in Sydney from Norfolk Island with on board Maj. Foveaux Det. NSW Corps, convicts and stores.
27/29 June sailed for NI E. Indies; she is then given as barque rigged.
30/31 August 1800 arrived Sydney from Bengal with general merchandise under Capt. Anderson, given as 300 ton, armament 8 guns, crew 50/54 men, owner Campbell & Co., built given as Batavia.
16 April 1809 from India at the Derwent, were she discharged 252 head of cattle, sailed on 23 May.
The she disappears from my sources.

(The vessel depicts shows us a ship of that time, not any painting of drawing exist of the HUNTER, also Captain Fearn in naval uniform must be an imaginary of the designer.)

On Nauru Island: 1974 35c and 50c sg 120/21 and 1998 $1.50 sg 493.

Sources Who’s Who in Pacific Navigation by John Dunmore. Shipping Arrivals & departures in Sydney and Australia.
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