The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
Early Stanley, old print of town and mountainsStanley 1867



Stanley, capital and only city of the Falklands, began between 1843 and 1845. Lieutenant Governor Moody, newly appointed and under orders to proceed to the Islands to carry out primary colonization, moved the seat of Government then at Port Louis (Anson) to the proposed new capital on the narrow and sharply rising strip of land forming the southern shore of Jackson’s Harbour. Moody had reported that masters of vessels objected to calling at Port Louis because of the 'delay in beating up Berkeley Sound' in the prevailing and generally strong westerly winds.
The inner deep water harbour of Port William was considered to be a deeper anchor for visiting ships. The site also offered shelter and fresh water and the availability of 56 acres of peat close behind the settlement. Port Jackson as it was known was renamed Stanley for Lord Stanley, the Colonial Secretary, Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby.

By the end of 1844 most of the Port Louis settlers had relocated to Stanley. The change over was slow, buildings had to be constructed by day and stores guarded by night all by Moody's small detachment. The Hebe, Columbian Packet and HMS Philomel helped transfer stores from Port Louis. The new town and capital officially came in to being on 18 July 1845.

Although in 1846 Moody wrote: 'the entire satisfaction with which the removal of the settlement from Anson to the present site is now regarded, I believe by every individual in the Colony'.

Not all the settlers however, agreed. Whitington (a settler who was always discontented with bad feelings towards Moody) wrote: 'of all the miserable bog-holes in the Falkland Islands I believe Mr Moody has selected one of the worst for the site of the town'.

Establishment of Stanley

The new town of Stanley in 1846 housed 164 persons in fifteen cottages, twelve houses and three huts. A new Government House was started on the present site.
The harbour front had a sea wall and three jetties. The town behind the waterfront was laid out with roads set in a grid, drains, and half acre housing plots (later reduced to quarter acre). The Government section was established on the west end of the new town on the harbour edge and became known as the ‘Dockyard’. A base for a pier head was made by cleverly cutting down and stuffing with rubble the 615 ton Canadian barque Margaret who had struggled into Stanley leaking and damaged in August 1850 only to be condemned. This became known as the ‘Government Jetty’. Surrounded by an eight foot fence, the Dockyard had a smithy, a carpenter’s shop, a storehouse (later to be used as barracks), a hospital, a jail, workshops, and a few cottages. The old dockyard was used by the Public Works Department, a blacksmith worked there and the storehouse that was the old jail and the hospital became part of the carpenter’s shop. The Government Central Store was one of the old storehouses. The Falkland’s Museum relocated to the Old Dockyard in September 2014.
In 1848 Governor Rennie, with a view to attracting the many vessels that could be seen passing but not calling at the islands (the ‘gold rushes’ in California and Australia were just beginning), had a pilot, Mr Phillips, draw up sailing directions and charts for Port Stanley. By 1850 the number calling and revenues were greatly increasing. During the next half century until the 1890’s when it began to decline with the arrival of steamships, Stanley harbour came into its own with flourishing although exorbitant ship repair/ supplies (and wrecking) businesses. Attractive and useful side-lines were to be had from the many condemned hulks. Many were used as storage hulks, others used for the bases of jetty heads. In the foundling colony with no trees wood was scarce and the wood from other condemned or wrecked ships was used in dwelling houses, chicken houses or for fence posts. Nothing was wasted.



Header: Stanley 1867
A Brief History of the Falkland Islands- Wayback Machine, Falkland Islands portal, "The Falkland Islands- Ian J Strange, Falkland Islands History- G Moir, The Falkland Islands- Mary Cawkell,
Richard Clement MoodyLieutenant Richard Clement Moody. Governor 1842-1848.