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John Frederick Ericson (1842 - )



John Frederick Ericson , born November 11, 1842, Gotenburg Day, Sweden.  207 

Married to Charlotte Kidson, born February 24, 1849 in Nelson.  207 

Married November 8,1868.  207 




John Frederick, born 1869, Nelson.

Arthur, born September, 12, 1872 at Worser Bay Pilot Station.

Charles Edward, November 12, 1873 at Worser Bay Pilot Station.

Charlotte Ann, Born October 14, 1874 at Farewell Spit.

Amelia, January 5, 1877 Cape Foulwind.

George William, born January 6, 1879 at Puysegur Point.

Kate, January 3, 1881 Godley Head

Grace Darling, January 20, 1882 at Godley Head.

May, born May 5, 1884 at Waipapa Point.

Constance Ruby, born June 6, 1886 at Waipapa Point.

Francis Olaf, born March 24, 1889 at Waipapa Point.



Farewell Spit Assistant Keeper  c October, 1874  207 
Cape Foulwind  83 Assistant Keeper  83 1876  83 1878  83
Puysegur Point  192 Principal Keeper  192 August 8, 1878  192
Godley Head  192 Principal Keeper  192 1880  192 1883  192
Waipapa  192 Principal Keeper  192 January 1, 1884  192   c Feb 1894 91 June 18, 1894  192
Dog Island  192  13b Principal Keeper  192 13b June 18, 1894  192  13b November, 1900  13b     c 1900  192
Cape Egmont 16 ?? 1904 16  245
Tuhawaiki (Jacks) Point  171 Principal Keeper  171 July 1 ,18 1904  1  245 



Puysegur Point:

J F Ericson moved to the lighthouse August 8, 1878 as the first keeper, here is an excerpt from the Ericson family history;  192

With his wife and five small children J F Ericson landed at Otago’s Retreat on 8 August 1878 to take charge of the new lighthouse station at Puysegur Point. The 60 ft wooden tower had  been built and Ericson’s first task was to install the lantern and equipment so that the light could begin to operate in March 1879. Access to the lighthouse station was by narrow winding road about three miles from the landing. Everything had to be brought up from the landing and the road was so bad that much of the keeper’s time was spent in trying to make the road sufficiently smooth for horse. On November 30 1878 he wrote –

We have had to carry up a good deal of the stores on our backs. It is hard and tedious work but the horse is rather light for this road and we are obliged to assist him.”

On 6.1.1879 George was born and Mrs. Ericson had to depend on the other keepers wife to “see her right.” Despite the hardship, by 1st March 1879 all was ready and Ericson lit the lamp. Life at Puysegur was a never ending struggle with the bleak isolation, the gale winds, rain and fog. In May 1880 J F Ericson wrote …

“owing to the very heavy rainfall we have had during this month our road has been completely blocked up by landslips. In one place the whole sidling has come down and about 1,000 yards of stuff is lodged on the road. We have often to work in very bad weather besides being tormented with thousands of sandflies while working. Therefore I hope, sir, you will kindly grant us a rise in salary for each of us is doing our very best to deserve it.”

 Instead a Government circular was received announcing a general 10% reduction in salaries.

 Descendants of George’s family and members of Southland Tramping Club made a pilgrimage to Puysegur to mark the centenary in 1979.  A tramping party were flown to Preservation Inlet and walked to the lighthouse, while others travelled by helicopter. 192




To prevent further tragedies a lighthouse was erected and on 1 January 1884 the light was lit by the first keeper J F Ericson.

J F Ericson moved to the lighthouse in 1883 as the first keeper, here is an excerpt from the Ericson family history; 192

On January 1st 1884 the light at Waipapa Point was first established, and an entry in the log 5.5.1884 states “female child born to Principal Keeper.” This was May. When Ruby (6.5.1886) and Frank (24.3.1889) were born they were able to get a nurse from the village in each case.

This was the first time the Ericson's had lived close to civilization. The children were able to attend school at Otara, the older boys left school. Arthur settled on a farm in that area, George further afield at  Orepuke. Alf McClure was the first school teacher at Otara. He taught Charlotte and in 1889 they were married. Charles joined NZ Railways, took the first train to Clyde in Central Otago, married about 1894. Work with the Railways took him to various places until he retired in Picton.

 Sunday 17th June 1894. J F Ericson’s last entry in Log of Waipapa Lighthouse “Took Inventory of Government Property.”

 Log entry for Monday 18th June 1894 reads “cleaned glass and brasswork and swept up. Government ship Hinemoa landed stores and oil etc and took Principal Keeper to Dog Island.". 192



Tuhawaiki (Jacks) Point  171

The first principal lighthouse keeper was John Frederick Ericson, who transferred from Cape Egmont to the new lighthouse at Jack's Point, south of Timaru. 171  16



Additional Sources:

13b. DOC, Lighthouse of Foveaux Strait - A History. Angela Bain May, 2010.


91Star , Issue 4872, 10 February 1894, Page 6. South Island Lighthouses


192. John F Ericson (Trevor Meikle, May 25, 2010)

207John Frederick Ericson (Lyall & Marilyn Smillie, February 18, 2010)

245New Zealand Herald, Volume XLI, Issue 12544, 11 April 1904, Page 5


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If anyone has any information on these people please contact me.

Last Updated: October 1, 2013.