About Fairfax Moresby
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Fairfax Moresby GCB (1786 – 21 January 1877), born in Calcutta, India, to English parents was a British naval officer.
Moresby was the eldest son of Fairfax Moresby, Lieut. Colonel of the 2nd Staffordshire Militia and Colonel Commandant of the Lichfield Volunteer Yeomanry, who had been posted to India where he married Mary Rotton (1767–1830) of Duffield, Derbyshire in October 1784. His younger brother Robert Moresby was also a distinguished maritime surveyor and captain of the British Royal Navy, who surveyed the Red Sea and the complex Indian Ocean atoll groups of the Maldive and Chagos Archipelagos.
Sir Fairfax Moresby entered the Navy as an Able Seaman in 1799. He became a midshipman on the Amazon in 1803, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1806 and commander in 1811. In 1811 he was sent sent to the Aegean Sea to defend the population of Malta from pirates; the grateful people presented him with a sword.
In 1815, Moresby was appointed a Commander of the Bath (CB). He was senior officer at Mauritius in 1821, with orders to suppress the slave trade, and concluded the Moresby Treaty with Seyyid Said, the imam of Muscat in September 1822 restricting the scope of local slave trading and conferring on English warships the right of searching and seizing local vessels.
Promoted rear admiral in 1849, he was commander-in-chief of the Pacific Station 1850 to 1853, based at Valparaiso, Chile, with the flagship HMS Portland. He took an interest in Pitcairn Island at this time and planned the emigration of the islanders to Norfolk Island which took place in 1856.
He was promoted vice-admiral in that year and promoted admiral in 1862. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (GCB) in 1865 and admiral of the Fleet in 1870. Moresby died in 1877 in the district of St. Thomas, Devon, England.
In Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby and Fairfax Harbour on which it stands are named after him, as are Moresby Island and Moresby Island (Gulf Islands) in British Columbia, Canada.
On 6 August 1814 in Malta he married Eliza Louisa Williams (1796–1874) of Bakewell, Derbyshire, with whom he had five children:
Ellen Mary Moresby (b. 1820) who married Commander (later Admiral) James Charles Prevost
Mary Moresby (1824–1908), married Robert Aslack White (1820–1908)
Commander Fairfax Moresby (1826–1858), who died in the wreck of HMS Sappho off the coast of Victoria, Australia.
Matthew Fortescue Moresby (1827–1919), was secretary to his father until he moved to Sydney, New South Wales where he became a well known painter and photographer.
Rear Admiral John Moresby (1830–1922), surveyed the coast of New Guinea