Mary & Benjamin's Story

Mary married Benjamin Coleman an agricultural Sussex England then accompanied her brother David Carey  and his family to Sydney Australia, arriving 1 October 1838 on the ship "Coromandel". They were also accompanied by Benjamin's brother, William and his wife. The families did not find Sydney to their liking and were recruited by Johnny Jones to farm his Waikouaiti settlement in Otago New Zealand in 1840.

Jones proposed to have settlers break in the land and grow food for various shore-based whaling stations on the understanding they would be granted 60 acres of their own land after two years service. Sailing in the "Magnet" on 20 February 1844 were thirty three people, ten married couples, eleven children and two single men.

It is believed Benjamin was the first to grow grain in Otago at Matanaka. . In 1842 all the settlers lost their houses and possessions to a fire. The Woman's clothing having to be replaced from Sydney. When Edward Shortland visited Matanaka on the Beach in the summer of 1843/44 only Kennard, B Coleman and Silver were still living there. In April 1844 the "Deborah" brought another party which included Frederick Tuckett, John Barnicoat and the Rev Charles Creed who was to replace the Rev Watkins at the Wesleyan Mission.

By 1846 the families had moved to Otakou where the Weller Brothers had a Whaling station where the Coleman's and Carey's grew potatoes. Benjamin Coleman operated the landing spit and built an accommodation and public house for the whalers  in 1848, Benjamin set up a timber cutting business with his brother in law David Carey. They owned lighters and provided water and ballast for ships being made ready for voyage home

After the arrival of the Dunedin settlers in 1848, the family moved to Port Chalmers (Known then as Koputahi), Mary Coleman and Hannah Carey being the first white women to live there. Benjamin Coleman and David Carey gifted timber for the first Methodist church in Port Chalmers.

On the 1st of October 1849 Benjamin Coleman drowned off Pullings Point, Otago Harbour while ferrying Mr. T. Watson of the Commercial Hotel home. Leaving a family of Eight Children, the oldest a girl of 12

Mary married Captain Peter Williams on October 12 1850 but marriage was not happy and they separated after a few years. They had three children.

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