Having moved lock stock and barrel to move from one hemisphere to another in the 21st Century I was more than intrigued to know, through Rex’s past, what the hell possessed people to move around the world to populate the Antipodes over 100 years previously, and without the aid of powered flight? Though obviously there were a number shipped to our Australian cousins shores who didn’t have very much say in the matter!
The first thing that intrigued me about Rex’s presence in New Zealand was – how the hell did he get here? We knew there was possibly a Channel Island connection, though there was very little evidence handed down through the family. But, after a little bit of sleuthing aided chiefly by Mr. Google, I came accross a passenger list. It sounds strange but as soon as I saw this I somehow knew that Auguste and Elizabeth Blanchet were related to Rex, even though he knew nothing about them.
The next thing that really gripped me with regard to this story was trying to establish what sort of vessel the Lancashire Witch was and whether it was the first of the Industrial Revolutions steam ships or perhaps, more romantically the last of the old sailing ships? Or perhaps a mixture of the two. Once again Mr. Google came to our aid and, at exactly the time of the sailing of the The Lancashire Witch with 21 year old Auguste and 20 year old Elizabeth on board, a painting by Thomas Dutton was commissioned for the Shaw Savill Shipping Company.