24th September 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal
While we were endeavouring to reach the anchorage in Post-Office Bay (Charles Island), Mr. Chaffers and Mr.Mellersh went away in a boat to visit the islets that lie near the eastern side of that island: and it was found that they had all been the summits of volcanoes. Charles Island is peculiar in its outline: for a succession of round topped hills, precisely similar in shape, though differing in size, shews on every point of view. This exact similarity is very remarkable. Must not all these volcanoes have been thrown up under the same circumstances, such as similar action of the ocean, or even a strong wind — perhaps at the very same time?

The highest and largest of these hills rises 1,800 feet, the next about 1,700; the rest are of various smaller heights. The northern sides of the island are wooded, but the wood looks as brown as that on the lower parts of Chatham Island. Post-Office Bay is sheltered, easy of access, has excellent anchorage, and only wants fresh-water to make it a most desirable harbour for shipping. Its name is the result of a custom established by the whalers: a box was placed on a post, to receive letters, and homeward-bound ships examined the directions, taking with them all which they might have means of forwarding; but since the island has been peopled the box has been empty, for letters are now left at the settlement.

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