Bravo Island settlement, 1879

Settlement on Bravo Island in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, 1879.

Caption from National Library:

Shows the settlement at Bravo Island in Paterson Inlet, with the farm of Dennison Urban (‘Yankee’) Smith at extreme left, and the house of the Portuguese whaler Manuel Gomez in the centre with three figures in the doorway. There is cleared land in foreground, cows at pasture, a boatshed (to the left of Smith's beached boat - the ‘Bravo’), a cowshed at the extreme right, a sandspit at the extreme right beside the inlet in the right background. Two clay cliffs on the far bank are reflected in the water. The details listed are taken from John Hall-Jones Stewart Island explored.

Community contributions

16 comments have been posted about Bravo Island settlement, 1879

What do you know?

Julianne Russell

Posted: 19 Feb 2010

Hi my whanau come from here as well.My mother was Kitty Solomon her mother was Bessie Goomes and her gfather was Manuel Goomes the second,would love to attend any reunion if any.

Christian Smith

Posted: 10 Jan 2010

The American whaler was Urban Dennison Smith he went under the name Dennison U Smith . Dennison came from Groton , Connecticut , USA. He arrived at Stewart Island around 1860 after jumping ship . The ship being called the "RUNNYMEAD" . He married Susan Antoni in 1863 , sister of Johanna Antoni . Dennsion and Susan had 14 children , 2 of which drownwd at Bravo . Both Dennison Smith and Manuel Goomes where both boat builders at Bravo . Dennsion Smith and Tom Leask built the boat " ULVA " the first mail boat for the post .. The Smith family make regular trips back to their ancestral land on Bravo Island .

Justin Mora

Posted: 26 Jun 2009

In my family it's always been Brava because of my ancestors link to the original Brava Island. I presume it has just been recorded incorrectly over the years. I'm not sure how on would go about confirming it though


Posted: 19 May 2009

Hi Justin Thanks for telling us more about this island. I note that in the Heinemann NZ Atlas and other sources it is called 'Bravo Island' - are you able to confirm that it should be officially 'Brava Island'? I have been able to confirm the Brava Island at Cape Verde - perhaps they were trying to avoid using the same name? Jamie Mackay

Justin Mora

Posted: 18 May 2009

Brava Island was settled by an American and a Portuguese whaler. The latter was my great-great-grandfather and was named Goomes. He came from Brava Island in the Cape Verde Group which is how this Island got its name. The buildings in the picture are the two men's cottages. They married local Maori women with my GtGtGF marrying Joanna Antoni(Kamaku)of Ngai Tahu. Billy Connolly mentioned the men in his "World Tour of New Zealand" TV show, talking about how they jumped ship and lived in a cave on the island for a few years before building the cottages. Christopher Aubrey was a painter, also an American I believe, who was passing through when he painted this watercolour. At some point my ancestors left the island and my Grandmother grew up in Invercargill. She visited Brava in 2002, not long before she died.