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Edward Weller

Birthplace: Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 12, 1893 (78)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (Drowning / hypothermia - trapped in roof space in flood)
Place of Burial: Maitland, Maitland City Council, New South Wales, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Weller and Mary Weller
Husband of Paparu Weller and Nikuru Hinewhariua Weller
Father of Fanny Te Ururaki Weller; Nani Hana (Hannah) Ellison and Florence Weller
Brother of Joseph Brooks Weller; George Weller; Mary Brooks Weller; William Weller; Frances (Fanny) Johnston and 2 others

Occupation: Whaler, Whaler Merchant
Managed by: Peter Winton Johns
Last Updated:

About Edward Weller

Edward Weller and his brothers were born in England but emigrated to Sydney with their parents in 1829. The Wellers were not convicts but rather well-to-do migrants from Kent who had come to New South Wales to expand the family’s existing fortune in the colonies. The timber and whaling trade in New Zealand quickly attracted their attention and in 1831 Edward and Joseph Weller left Sydney for Otago on their own ship, the Lucy Ann. They landed at Te Umu Kuri on the eastern side of the harbour in November, a historic occasion commemorated by a plaque unveiled a century later, and by the later name of the spot, as ‘Wellers’ Rock’. They came to establish a whaling station and brought with them all of the gear to do so.

The Wellers’ station was the beginning of permanent European occupation in the greater Dunedin district and its founding was a watershed in Otago’s history. It served as both a whaling station and a trading post and quite a lively period ensued with visiting ships calling in for supplies. It was highly profitable through the 1830s. Joseph Weller died of consumption in 1835 but Edward soldiered on alone, while an older brother looked after business from the Sydney end. Edward married Paparu, daughter of the Ōtākou chief Tahatu, and had a daughter with her named Fanny. After Paparu’s death in 1836 he married chief Taiaroa’s daughter Nikuru and had a second daughter, Nani.

Further Weller whaling stations were established northwards to Timaru and south to Taieri Island. Ōtākou was the biggest of them all, a hub of European settlement in the southern part of New Zealand with over a hundred permanent residents.

Then, quite suddenly, the whaling industry collapsed. By 1840 the Wellers’ business at Ōtākou was in sharp decline and there was a powerful new rival in the person of John Jones at nearby Waikouaiti. At the end of that year Edward Weller set sail for Sydney, never to return. He had been ill, his second wife had died, and there seemed little future for him in Otago. He spent his final years in rural New South Wales, farming and living alone. He drowned there in a flood in 1893.


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Edward Weller's Timeline

July 6, 1814
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
July 24, 1814
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
New Zealand
December 1840
Otakou, Otago, New Zealand
March 12, 1893
Age 78
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Edward died in the East Maitland (NSW) floods of 1893.

Maitland, Maitland City Council, New South Wales, Australia