Captain Francis Harding commanded the HMS Pelorus from 21st January 1837 to August of 1839.
Throughout 1837, Captain Harding sailed the Pelorus through the Marlborough Sound region collecting data and conducting extensive surveys of the uncharted sound of New Zealand. The result was the first published map of New Zealand.
Harding named "Pelorus River" and "Pelorus Sound". After visiting Albany in 1838, a party from the ship surveyed part of Torbay including a protected anchorage which was thereafter named Port Harding in honour of Captain Francis Harding's visit. In May of that year, it is recorded that Captain Francis Harding named three islets located off Kangaroo Island, "Pelorus Rock".
His logbooks aboard the Pelorus were for many years preserved at Admiralty House, London, and recently removed to the National Archives at Kew, Richmond, Surrey.
He was the fifth son of William Harding of Baraset, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King George III. Harding had previously been involved in Arctic exploration and the discovery of the Northwest Passage. He was instrumental in aiding the Admiralty during the search for the Lost Franklin expedition there.
Harding was also great friends with Charles Darwin (he married Davidona Dallas - Charles Darwin's sweetheart.)
Harding retired from the Royal Navy as Vice-Admiral.
(From Emily Davies-Cohen, Harding's great-great-grandaughter.)