#18 Joseph Cobine, Fencible to New Zealand

Joseph Cobine – Anne Coyle
B. 1801 Down, Ireland
D. 3/15/1866 Otahuhu, New Zealand

1847 – Cobine Family leaves Ireland for Auckland, New Zealand:

The British Government agreed to recruit and send a detachment of retired soldiers to New Zealand, to be known as the Royal New Zealand Fencibles Corps. The word Fencible, derived from the word ‘defence’ which was what the “Fencibles” were required to do. Defend the citizens if needed. Defend from whom you ask? Well the local natives of New Zealand, the Maoris;

Joseph and wife Ann Cobine (nee Coyle) came to New Zealand on the Fencible ship ‘Ann’, captained by C. S. Walker the ‘Ann’ sailed the end 1847. Most of the Irish Pensioners were from Northern Ireland and the passengers were picked up in Belfast. 73 fencibles, 66 women and 107 children, 37 of which were over the age of 14.
The voyage was marred by an epidemic of influenza which caused 12 deaths during the trip. Four births were also recorded. A five day stop was made at the Cape of Good Hope starting April 12th. Taking seven months in all to arrive in New Zealand the “Ann” recorded the longest Journey of the Fencible Ships.
Fencible families endured long voyages in cramped and small quarters. There were no separate cabins, or even dormitories. Families had an area about 10 feet square, with just a blanket hung around their space for privacy. They were only allowed a few possessions with them, the bulk of their belongings were stored in the hold with only limited access throughout the voyage. They cooked their food in a tiny galley, provisions consisting of salt beef and pork, preserved fish, flour, rice, ships biscuits, oatmeal, dried carrots, potatoes, dried peas, cheeses, butter, raisins, sugar, mustard, pepper, pickles, tea and coffee.
Washing was done in salt water.
On board each ship someone was designated as a school teacher so this helped keep the children occupied. A lot of the Pensioners and their wives were illiterate, as was the case with Joseph and Anne Cobine as shown on various certificates where they have signed their name with the mark of a X.

Ship records reflect
Cobine, Joseph b. 1801 DWN CNTY Ireland
Cobine, Ann
Cobine, Robert
4 Children

I guessing Robert is Joseph’s brother or cousin, Cobine is not a very common name.
Also, reflecting is a Peter Coyle, also from DWN CNY. I know that Ann’s maiden name is Coyle so this may be a tie for her family.
Posted in camps in the British Isles where pensioners were stationed were the acceptable requirements of a Pensioner that would qualify for New Zealand as a Fencible. “The men had to be of good character, under 48 yrs, (this was later lowered to 41) with a minimum of 15 yrs service. They needed to be over 5ft5inches in height, have industrious habits, robust frame and be medically approved of as fit for the occasional military duties. Those approved would be enrolled to serve for seven years. They would receive 1/3d a day in addition to their pension. They would receive free passage to New Zealand for themselves, wives and families, with rations at the public expense. They would receive an advance of three months pension on embarkation with a further advance of one months pension for each child to purchase the necessary outfit for the voyage.”
The conditions also stated that on arriving in New Zealand each pensioner would be put in possession of a cottage of two rooms, with an acre of land attached thereto, one-fourth of which would be cleared and made ready for cultivation at the public expense, preparatory to his arrival.
On taking possession of the cottage a pensioner would receive an advance of money as found necessary under the direction of his officer, for articles of furniture, cooking utensils, stock etc, as might be required.
Once embarked on the ship no pensioner would receive pay, but on landing in New Zealand would be employed on public works. If not required he would be allowed to charge out his labor provided he went no further than 5 miles away from his place of residence. If he couldn’t find work the government would find him work for the first year at a rate of 1.6d a day. They were not required to pay rent for their cottages and on completing 7 years the cottages and land were given to them.
Fencibles were required to attend regular military exercise on 12 days in each year, and on every Sunday to muster under arms, at Church Parade.
When you consider the life that most of these pensioned soldiers had in England and Ireland these conditions would have been very appealing. Most would have been living under harsh economic conditions, and the possibility of owning their own cottage and a piece of land, would have been beyond their reach in the United Kingdom. Most would have then been living in rented accommodation – often with more than one family per lodging. At that time work was hard to come by in the British Isles.
Leaving their homeland to go to a new place was nothing new for most of the Pensioners and their families, who had already travelled around the world, enduring hardships as soldiers. Their wives and children, following the regiment, would have marched behind them through India and other parts of the world. .

Joseph & Ann Cobine had 7 children
– Mary Ann b. 1828
– William b. 1832
– Sophia b. 1838
– Joseph b. 1843
– John b. 1846
– Robert b. 1849
– Elizabeth b. 1852

Wow, lots of activity on this post form 2 years ago.

This blog started off as a writing challenge to post an ancestor every week for a year. I failed as you can see only making it to the 18th week of the year 2014.

Now that my daughter has left for college I find I have time on my hands so I started posting again for my personal enjoyment. I never felt a need to cite my findings on a blog post, and I have no plans of publishing. However, I would like to give credit to Rhonda Wood for her abundance of information regarding the Joseph & Anne Cobine.  She sent me a 10 page article she wrote from her research which I used for my post.  She is definitely the person to contact should anyone need or want Cobine information – Michael.wood@xtra.co.nz.  Also, Maureen O’Conner, has all the copies of the baptismal and military information of Joseph – zazu1pukekohe@gmail.com. This are not on the post however some may find this helpful.

I also found online the Ship Log for the Ann 1848, which references the  Cobines and Coyles arriving to Auckland and multiple books regarding life in Auckland for the Fencilbles.

Regards, Jenna