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Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 









The Story of Merchant Steam Navigation 

in the Australasian Coastal and 

Intercolonial Trades, and 

on the Ocean Lines 

of the Southern 



Author of " Stokin', ar.d Other Verses," &c. 



Gordon & Gotch, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Melbourne, 
Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, London 


Jackson & Co.. Ltd.. 

Booksellers & Stationers. 

91, Trafalgar Street. 




Chapter I ... ... ... ... 7 — 17 

Early British-Australian Lines — The Great 
Britain — P. and 0. Liner Chusan — General 
Screw Company — P. and 0. Line — Orient Line 
— Messageries Maritimes — North German Lloyd 

Chapter II ... ... ... ... 18 — 35 

Seventy years ago — Sophia Jane — Surprise and 
William 4th — Australian Stoam Conveyance Co. 
— A.S.N. Co. — The Sydney and Melbourne 
S.S. Co. — McMeckan, Blackwood and Co. — 
Launceston S.N. Co. 

Chapter III ... ... ... ... 36 — 56 

Along New Zealand Coasts — Coming of the 
Ann — First Intercolonial Mail Steamer William 
Denny — Wellington Steamship Company — 
Southern S.S. Co. — Auckland Steam Packet 
Co. — Northern Company — The Oldest Steamer 

Chapter IV ... ... ... ... 57 — 69 

Intercolonial Royal Mail Co. — New Zealand 
Steam Navigation Co. — A.S.N. Co. — Loss of 
the White Swan. 


CONTENTS— Continued 

Chapter V ... ... ... ... 70 — 79 

With the Mails to Panama — The Panama Com- 

Chapter VI ... ... ... ... 80 — 96 

On the 'Frisco Line — A.S.N. Co. — Californian 
Line — American Pacific Mail Company — 
Oceanic Company — Union Company. 

Chapter VII ... ... ... ... 97 — 102 

The All-Red Mail — The Canadian-Australian 
Royal Mail Company — Canadian-Pacific Com- 
pany, Union Company and New Zealand Ship- 
ping Company. 

Chapter VIII ... ... ... ... 103 — 129 

Present Day Steam Lines of Southern Pacific 
— Union Steamship Co. — Huddart, Parker Ltd. 
—Howard Smith Co.— A.U.S.N. Co.— Adelaide 
S.S. Co.— North Coast S.N. Co.— Melbourne 
Steamship Co. — Mcllwraith, McEacharn Ltd. — 
Burns, Philp and Co. 

Chapter IX ... ... ... ... 130—136 

Early London-Direct Liners — New Zealand 
Shipping Co. — Shaw, Savill and Albion Com- 
pany — The Elderslie — British King. 

Chapter X ... ... ... ... 137—150 

Notes of some Notable and Representative 


In the collection of information and photographs I have 
been generously assisted by the Steamship Companies of 
Australasia, the New Zealand Postal Department, and 
the various State Navigation Departments; by ship- 
masters who commanded the old-time steam packets, 
by gentlemen formerly associated with the by-gone steam- 
ship lines and by many who find real pleasure in the 
treasuring of pictures of ships and the stories of their do- 
ings; to all these I tender my sincere thanks, and take this 
opportunity of explaining that limitations of space prevent 
my including many personal reminiscences as fully as I 
would wish. 

In those chapters dealing with Australian coastal steam- 
ers, great assistance has been rendered by Captain W. C. 
Thomson of the Arawatta, who furnished notes set down 
and handed to him by the late Mr. Dugal Robinson, one- 
time ship's carpenter, who spent a life-time in the Aus- 
tralian coastal trade; in the New Zealand section, valu- 
able assistance in searching records and procuring photo- 
graphs has been given by Mr. F. G. Lay ton. 

As merchant steamships only are treated of, it is per- 
haps advisable to mention that, whereas the first steamer 
to arrive in Australian waters, the Sophia Jane, was a 
merchantman, H.M. steam sloop Driver was the first steam 
vessel to arrive in New Zealand. This she did in January, 
1846, more than seven years before the trader Ann. 


Steam in tin Soutbern Pacific 



The black-topped Indian liners 

Sweep through the great Canal 
That makes the trip to Suez 

A water carnival. 
They go by sea to Suez, 

The same old P. and 0. 
That ran the Indian service 

Some sixty years ago, 
When, up at ancient Cairo, 

Where Nile's broad current sails, 
A hundred camelsi kneeling, 

Were loaded up with mails, 
To grunt across to Suez, 
Through sand and sun to Suez, 
Across the cruel desert 

To take" the English mails. 

Although, strictly speaking, the Suez and Cape steam- 
ship lines do not come within the scope of a history of 
steam navigation in the Southern Pacific, in order to 
show the relative proportions of the Australian coastal 
and the Indian ocean trades, something of the running 
of the early liners must be told. 


As far back as the year 1849 when the colony of New 
South Wales embraced what are now the States of Vic- 
toria and Queensland, the people of New South Wales 
were eager 'for eteam communication with the Old 
World. Already in the eastern coast, some wonderful- 
looking steam packets were plying, and the superiority 
of even these primitive steamers over the schooners and 
other coastal sailing craft caused the colonists to serious- 
ly consider the matter of a two-monthly steam mail 
service connecting at Singapore with the P. and O. 
liners which, since 1842, had been running between 
Great Britain and the East, by way of the Cape of Good 
Hope. In support of the parent colony's suggestions, 
South Australia, Van Dieman's Land and West Aus- 
tralia, promised sums of £3000, £2000, and £1000, 
respectively, as annual subsidies to the proposed line. 

Events did not hustle on one another's heels then, as 
they do now, but on the 3rd August, 1852, the P. and 
O. steamer Chusan, an iron screw steamer of 699 gross 
tonnage and 80 horse-power, arrived at Sydney to begin 
the service mentioned. She was a new vessel, having 
been launched that year, and was barque-rigged and 
carried three guns. Captain Henry Dow commanded 
her. In honour of the arrival of this the first P. and 
O. liner in Australian waters, the people of Sydney 
entertained her officers at a ball held in the Museum 
Building on 26th August, 1852. A public holiday was 
also observed on this day and a score of music 
entitled the Chusan Polka was composed to celebrate the 
occasion, copies of which are still treasured in Sydney. 
Three months after the Chusan steamed into Port 

*. &, ^'^^mmi* 

The "CHUSAN" (1852), P. and 0. Line. 

Hull of "GREAT BRITAIN," now lying at Port Stanley, 
Falkland Islands. 

Auxiliary Cfipper, "GREAT VICTORIA.' 

ARMAND BEHIC," Messageries Maritimes. 


Jackson, there arrived in liobson's Bay the Great 
Britain^ a steamship of 3500 tons, belonging to the 
Liverpool and Australian Steam Navigation Company. 
Captain Gray was in command, and as she steamed up 
the Bay, the little Aginora, a small steam tender 
sent down from Sydney for service in Hobson's Bay 
snorted her way in abreast of the huge steamer. There 
was a contrast indeed, the largest and the smallest ves- 
sels to arrive, in Hobson's Bay that year, steaming in 
together ! While the Great Britain lay in the Bay, the 
Aginora and other tenders carried interested sight- 
seers out to see the "leviathan." The agents for the 
Great Britain, Bright Brothers and Company, prede- 
cessors of the present firm of Gibbs, Bright and Com- 
pany, charged the public five shillings a head to see 
over her. Then the Great Britain went on to Sydney, 
where she lay at anchor quite near the little Chusan. 

Before the Great Britain sailed, a dance was held on 
board, when the Band of Her Majesty's 11th Regiment 
played the famous Chusan Polka; and one can imagine 
the scene — the still waters of Neutral Bay, reflecting a 
few lights here and there, where now a blaze of bril- 
liance marks the great city's waterfront, curving about 
her quays and bays; the Great Britain, bright with 
lights and gay with music, while across the star-lit 
water the Chusan lay. The Great Britain was a levia- 
than indeed in the eyes of those dancers. In ours, more 
than fifty years later, she would seem a small vessel for 
ocean work. 

On the 26th November, 1853, the Chusan sailed 
from Sydney for the last time, and the Madras replaced 


her on the Australian Station. Very soon afterwards 
the P. and O. decided to withdraw from the Australian 
trade. This course caused great resentment in Sydney 
and in Melbourne, but attention was soon claimed by the 
Australian Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company 
which began to run a two-monthly service between Lon- 
don and Australia with the auxiliary steamers Adelaide 
1124 tons, Victoria 1120 tons, Australian 735 tons, 
Melbourne 817 tons, and Sydney 735 tons. The per- 
formances of these vessels, concerning the appointments 
and speed of which extravagant descriptions had been 
given, verged on the farcical, clipper ships outstripping 
them, by weeks, on the voyage out and Home. 

The General Screw Steam Navigation Company, 
which had extensive servicesi to India and Africa, in 
1853, sent the Harbinger and Argo, steamers of 1000 
tons, to Sydney. And later on, the Croesus, Jason y 
Golden Fleece and The Prince, all vessels of 2500 tons, 
entered the British- Australian service. This company 
also sent out the Hellespont, of 600 tons, described at 
the time of her arrival, as the prettiest steamship in 
Port Jackson. She was sold for £20,000 to the Mel- 
bourne and Sydney Steam Packet Company. In his 
book Opals and Agates, Mr. Nehemiah Bartley describes 
how in December, 1853, he travelled from Melbourne to 
Sydney on the Harbinger which steamed out of the 
Heads in company with the steamer London, 405 tons, 
formerly of the Dundee-Perth line. The vessels steamed 
so close together and the sea was so calm that Mr. Bart- 
ly "could see a lady in her berth, through the roomy 
stern-ports of that luxurious liner." Further, he states 


"on board the Harbinger, 1100 tons, a written menu 
was placed at the plate of every saloon passenger at 
dinner time, an attention which I failed to observe on a 
P. and O. steamer when travelling from Melbourne to 
Sydney in 1883." At the outbreak of the Crimean 
War, all the General Screw steamers were chartered as 
transports, and the Australian service ceased. The 
Lady Joselyn, formerly the Brazil, was one of this com- 
pany's steamers, afterwards being converted to a pas- 
senger sailing ship and run in the New Zealand trade, 
where her name has become almost a household word in 
the homes of the descendants of early pioneers. 

The next line to start was the Australian Auxiliary 
Steam Clipper Company, with two auxiliary steamers, 
the Istamboul and Indomitable, of 1470 tons. After a 
trip or two they too were withdrawn. 

In 1856, after the conclusion of the Crimean War, 
the British Government proposed to subsidise a mail 
line to run to Australia via Alexandria. At this point 
the passengers and mails proceeded by way of the 
Mahmondieh Canal in Egypt to the Nile, a distance of 
48 miles, on barges towed by steamers, the journey 
being continued thence up the Nile to Cairo in steamers. 
From Cairo to Suez, 90 miles across the desert, the 
journey was made in coaches and omnibuses drawn by 
horses, mules and donkeys. The European and Aus- 
tralian Royal Mail Co., which secured the contract, were 
owners of the steamers European and Columbian, built 
on the Clyde in 1885, of 2400 tons and 400 h.p. But 
the company, on being granted the contract was so un- 
prepared to carry it out that it offered it to the Penin- 


sular and Oriental Comrjany, which had actually ten- 
dered at a lower rate, on the condition that the P. and 
O. Co. bought their two steamers. This the P. and O. 
declined to do. The E. and A. Company, in 1857, char- 
tered the Etna of the Cunard Line, and the P. and O. 
Company's Simla. These vessels sailed on the same day, 
ie Simla from Sydney and the Etna from Southamp- 
ton. Afterwards the Oneida was bought, and the Aus- 
tralasian and Tasmanian were specially built for the 
trade. Through mismanagement and excessive overland 
expenses incurred, the company, at the end of the year 
1858, went into liquidation, being in debt for the large 
amount of £700,000. In spite of this failure, this line 
constituted the first Suez service to Australia, while an 
offshoot of this company, the Intercolonial Royal Mail 
Steam Packet Company, for several years carried on the 
New Zealand-Australian intercolonial trade, afterwards 
being merged into the Panama, New Zealand and 
Australian Royal Mail Company, as described in later 
chapters. Messrs Bright Brothers and Co., in addition 
to the Great Britain, also placed in the Australian trade 
the Royal Charter ■, 2720 tons, 200 horse power, and the 
Black Ball auxiliary steamer Great Victoria, of 4000 
tens, formerly the French steamer Jacquard, built in 
1854. The Royal Charter became one of the most de- 
plorable of wrecks on the Irish coast when on a voyage 
from Australia to Liverpool with a full complement of 
passengers and valuable specie. 

After the collapse of the European and Australian 
Line, the P. and O. Company took up the contracts, 
via the overland route and having already a large 



Indian and China trade, made a success of the under- 
taking. But at an enormous cost. Three thousand 
camels were required to transport the cargo of a single 
steamer. In 1869 the Suez Canal was opened. Yet, 
though the mail steamers proceeded through the Canal, 
the mails still went overland, owing to the attitude of 
the British Post Office authorities, who contended that 
since the cost of overland transport was removed the 
company should agree to a reduced subsidy. For a 
time the company was obdurate and sent the mails over- 
land, picking them up again at Alexandria. Finally 
a reduced susidy was accepted, and the P. and O. ser- 
vice between London and Australia was firmly estab- 
lished. On 31st December, 1873, the contract made 
with this company in 1867 expired and a new one begun 
which took effect from 1st January, 1874, and provided 
for a monthly steamer to and from Melbourne to con- 
nect at Galle with the company's China liners. This 
place had in 1861 been made the place of junction in- 
stead of Mauritius. The service of through steamers 
to Australia began in 1882 when Colombo was substi- 
tuted for Galle as a port of call. The beginning of this 
service was no doubt hastened by the action of that 
powerful French company the^ Messageries Maritimes 
which, in 1882, under subsidy from the French Govern- 
ment began a direct service between, France, Australia, 
and New Caledonia. This company, founded in the 
year 1851, is now one of the large shipping companies 
of the world, its fleet numbering 66 vessels, while in the 
Australian trade such steamers as the Armand Behic, 
6385 tons, 7512 horse power, are employed, and the 


Pacifique of 1938 tons and 1877 horse-power alternates 
with a steamer of the mail line in maintaining com- 
munication between Sydney and New Caledonia, the 
smaller vessel also plying to the New Hebrides. 

In 1886 another company, the North German Lloyd, 
started a service to Australia with the steamers 
Salier, Habsburg, Hohenstaufen, and Hohenzollern. 
Eight years later the twin-screw steamer Prinz Regent 
Luitpold was put on the line, and soon afterwards the 
original eight-weekly service was altered to a four- 
weekly one, which at present is maintained by steamers 
of a tonnage ranging up to 13,300 tons — such vessels 
as the Grosser Kurfiirst and Frederick der Grosse. In 
regard to many conveniences for the comfort and safety 
of passengers, the North German Lloyd have been the 
pioneers in the Australian trade, notably in the matter 
of wireless telegraphy, and they are the only company 
trading to Australia whose steamers are fitted with 
submarine signal-bell appliances and hydraulic bulk- 
heads. The company's Sydney- Singapore service, be- 
gun in the "eighties/' was in 1904 merged into a four- 
weekly service between Australia and the East, calling 
at German New Guinea, Yap and Manila and connect- 
ing at Hong Kong with the fortnightly mail boats for 
Europe. The North German Lloyds run a cargo ser- 
vice between Australia and Europe. 

The need of a service to connect at an 
Eastern port with the English mail-boats was 
felt by the people of Queensland in 1865 when 
tthe Government chartered the Gibbs, Bright Com- 
pany's steamer Hero, 985 tons, to run a mail to Batavia 


where the British India line would carry it on. The 
steamer broke down through the patent metal of the 
stern-bearings becoming too hot and melting, after- 
wards cooling and setting solidly, so that the shaft 
could not revolve. So the vessel's stern was run up on 
the bank of the Brisbane River at Pinkenba Flats and 
large fires built around the vessel's stern to melt the 
metal out again. Meantime, the Souchays, 450 tons, 
made the trip with the mails, but after a few voyages 
the service was found to be unsatisfactory and was 
discontinued. Some years afterwards, in the early 
1 'seventies," the China Company put on steamers 
between Sydney and China, calling at Brisbane. 

Later, the South Australian Government induced a 
Dutch Company to run a line of steamers from Batavia 
to .Port Darwin and Adelaide. Two steamers, the William 
McKinnon and General Pell, were employed. It has been 
stated that these were really British India Company 
steamers feeling their way on the Australian coasts. 
However, in 1880, the Queensland Government made a 
contract with the British . India Company for a mail 
service to London via Torres Straits, calling at seven 
ports between Brisbane and Thursday Island. Some 
of the steamers in this service were the Jumna, Bulim- 
ba, Roma, and Jelunga; and another was the Quetta 
which became a disastrous wreck on the Queensland 
coast in 1890, when Homeward-bound with a full com- 
plement of passengers. 

The present contractors for the London-Australian 
mail service via Suez, the Orient Line, began to run 
via the Cape of Good Hope in 1877, and was founded 


by Anderson, Anderson and Company in conjunction 
with P. Green and Company; both firms long connected 
with Australian clipper ship lines. The first steamers 
sent out by the owners before the actual formation of 
the Orient Company were the St. Asyth and Whampoa, 
which steamed from Southampton to Sydney via Cape 
of Good Hope. In 1878 the Orient liners Garonne, 
Lusitania, Cuzco, and Chimborazo, vessels of 3800 
tons and 3000 horse-power were chartered and after- 
wards bought from the Pacific Steam Navigation Com- 
pany. At the beginning, the Orient service was a 
monthly one, but soon the traffic demanded fortnightly 
sailings, which were begun in 1880, when the Orient, 
5380 tons, 6000 horse-power, was built, and the Potosi 
and Sorata, 4000 tons, 3500 horse-power, were char- 
tered from the Pacific Company. Since that time larger 
and faster steamers have been added to the Orient fleet. 
Now, 12,000 ton steamships, Orsova, Otway, Osterley, 
Otranto, and Orvieto carry the mails, the terminal port 
of the line in Australia being Brisbane. These fine 
vessels are capable of a speed of 18 knots, and are thus 
easily able to maintain a sea-speed of seventeen knots 
an hour. P. and O. liners of 11,000 tons register, of 
which the Mantua is the last to arrive in Australian 
waters, vie with the Orient ships in speed and luxury 
of appointments, and the service has recently been ex- 
tended to Auckland. The mail contract has been made 
with the Orient Line by the Commonwealth of Austra- 
lia partly on account of the P. and O. Company employ- 
ing Lascar seamen, which is against the canons of 
"White Australia," whereas the Orient Company's 
steamers carry white crews. 

The "SHAMROCK" (1841), A.S.N. Co. 

The "SEA HORSE" (1842). 


Such is a brief outline of the history of steamer 
communication with Great Britain. Other writers 
have dealt in detail with the Cape and Suez lines, and 
it is not neecssary to recapitulate here what has been so 
excellently done before. 





Her engine broke down twice a day, 

And when it chose to go 
Every gland had a snowy, steamy spray 

That blew as the bull-whales blow. 
And every rod was pitted deep 

With the marks of her toilsome years 
At every stroke she'd sob and weep — 

Her bilge held mostly tears. 

The year 1831 is an eventful one in the annals of 
Australian shipping, for it marked the beginning of 
steam navigation along Australian coasts. In March 
of that year there was built and launched at Sydney by 
Henry Gilbert the small paddle steamer Surprise, for 
service between Sydney and Parramatta, between which 
places a steam service was also being arranged by the 
Australian Steam Conveyance Company. This com- 
pany had under construction a small steamer after- 
wards named the Australia. The Surprise on her 
trial trip ran the distance from Sydney to Parramatta 
in four hours, but this trial was not made until July, 


1831, through delays in connection with the fitting of 
her engines. Two months after the Surprise was 
launched, the Sophia Jane, a paddle steamer of 256 
tons and 50 horse-power, arrived at Sydney in charge of 
Captain Biddulph, R.N., and on 16th May, 1831, this 
vessel began running between Sydney and Newcastle. 
She was the first Australian steamship, the Surprise 
being the second, while the third was built soon 
afterwards at Williams River by J. H. Grose. 
She was the William J/.th, also a paddle steamer, 
and ran for many years in the river and coastal trades 
of New South Wales. In the absence of details of the 
building and launching and other information concern- 
ing these Australian-built steamers and the methods of 
building, it may be mentioned that twenty years later 
the Governor Wynyard was built in New Zealand with 
very primitive tools, and reference to the description 
of this work, in Chapter 3, will give an idea of the 
strenuous nature of the task these early ship-builderB 
and engine-fitters set themselves. 

The Australian Steam Conveyance Co. was not a suc- 
cessful venture, and possibly this was due to misman- 
agement, for, after the company had failed, its ex- 
treasurer, John Thomas Wilson, left Sydney suddenly 
on a certain sunny day when a fresh breeze blew, 
leaving £30,000 of debts behind him. He gave his 
horse to a lad to hold, and the Sophia Jane carried him 
out to the ship Venus, which soon spread her white 
wings and bore the defaulter away to parts unknown. 

The next company formed was the General Steam 
Packet Company, and there were also two private 


steamship owners in Sydney — Ben Boyd and J. H. 
Grose. The steam fleet of Australia, in 1837, comprised 
the vessels Corsair, William 4-th, Maitland, Glonmel, 
James Watt, Victoria, Sovereign, and Tamar. The 
James Watt was then engaged in the Moreton Bay trade 
and on her first trip to that place she carried that 
Queensland pioneer, Tom Petrie, who states in his book 
of reminiscences that the thrashing of the steamer's 
paddles sadly terrified the natives who had never seen 
a steamer before. Truly these old packets were fear- 
some monsters! 

Two years later, there was held in the Royal Hotel, 
Sydney, a public meeting, convened to discuss the ques- 
tion of forming a steamship company on somewhat 
broader lines than those so far established. On 1st 
August, 1839, Messrs. Eales, Grose, Love, Lord, Ander- 
son, Hughes, Peacock, and Walker were appointed as a 
provisional committee to act in the matter of forming 
the new company, and in July, 1840, "The Hunter 
River Steam Navigation Company " was formed with a 
capital of £40,000. The difficulties overcome in the 
formation of the company may be judged when it is 
said that cash was scarce, and it was the custom 
then and for years afterwards, when purchasing stock, 
to pay a very small portion in cash and the remainder 
by bills of very long date. For the first Board of 
Directors these gentlemen were nominated : — John 
Eales, John Hosking (afterwards Mayor of Sydney), 
Edward Lord, William Drake, William Abercrombie, 
Thomas Steele, Daniel Cooper, Robert Scott, and Ward 
Stephens. Mr. Matthew Whytlaw was appointed man- 


ager, and the company's offices and wharf were at the 
toot of Margaret Street, Darling Harbour. 

The first of the fleet to arrive was the P.S. Bose, 
Captain Stewart. Her tonnage was 172 tons burthen, 
and she arrived at Sydney on 6th April, 1841, causing 
a great sensation in the port. Next came the Thistle 
of 175 tons. The exact date of her arrival cannot be 
given, but she preceded the Shamrock, 211 tons, which 
arrived in charge of Captain Gilmore on 26th October, 
1841, after a passage of 123 days. After arrival, the 
bottoms of these vessels were cleaned by putting them 
ashore on the south side of Darling Harbour where, at 
low water, they were cleaned and painted. Shortly 
after this, Mr John Eales dug a dock in the bank of 
the Hunter River for the company's vessels; it was 
used on several occasions, but it was a primitive affair 
and "soon fell into disrepute." 

In December, 1841, the company advertised their 
intention to send steamers to Moreton Bay should in- 
ducement offer. At about this time it was decided 
that the wharf officials should wear a tall, glased hat 
with a steamer or other badge upon it, emblazoned 
in yellow. Captains Stuart, Paterson, Mulhall, Gil- 
more, Wishart, Griffin, and Cape, were the company's 
commanders ; some of these names are not yet forgotten 
by the older shipmasters of to-day. The Shamrock 
entered the Moreton Bay trade in December, 1841, and 
remained therein for five months, at the end of which 
time it was found to be unprofitable, despite the high 
fares and freights charged. There were three classes 
of passengers carried — first, intermediate, and steerage, 


and the fares were £8, £6, and £4, single fare; while 
the rate was £1 per ton for freight and £1 per bale for 

In January, 1842, Thomas S. Mort was elected a 
Director, and the manager Mr Whytlaw resigned, being 
replaced by Mr Francis Clarke. It was resolved at a 
half-yearly meeting that a steamer should trade once 
a month to Melbourne Town, but on the next day the 
Directors decided "as it will be both dangerous at this 
time of the year, as well as unprofitable to send the 
Shamrock to Melbourne Town it was resolved that she 
continue in the Moreton Bay trade." Soon afterwards 
the steamers Tamar and Sovereign were bought from 
J. H. Txrose, and the Sovereign ran between Sydney 
and Windsor, on which route the cabin fare was 25s 
and the steerage 12s 6d; freight 20s a ton. At thid 
time Boyd and Co. had on the coast the steamers 
Cornubia, Juno, and Sea Horse. Either the skill 
of engineers or the quality of boilers were at fault 
in those days, for the Rose after 2J years' service re- 
quired new boilers, and the Sovereign also was re- 
boilered, her old ones being sold for £5 in Sydney. In 
July, 1844, this minute appears in the records of the 
company : — 

"Dr Leichardt's application for a passage to Moreton 
Bay. Letter read, setting forth that he and a party 
of men were about undertaking an exploring expedition 
to Port Essington. Kesolved that his application be 

An important departure was made in February, 
1846, when the works at Pyrmont were first established, 



consisting then of a wharf and boiler shed, erected at 
a cost of £111. At this time Captain Palmer was ap- 
pointed Marine Surveyor to the company. The Sham- 
rock was engaged in running fortnightly trips to Mel- 
bourne, while the Sovereign ran in the Moreton Bay 
trade until her loss in the South Passage on 11th March,. 
1847, when 44 lives were lost. The survivors were suc- 
coured by the aborigines of Stradbroke Island. From 
that time the navigation of South Passage was forbid- 
den. The Thistle took the Sovereign's place and the 
fleet was augmented by the Haven, built for the corn- 
pay for its Sydney-Parramatta service. The James 
Watt, become obsolete, was dismantled and her engines 
and boiler replaced in the new cargo steamer Eagle, 
which was built by Chown and Co., and launched on 
23rd August, 1848. Evidently the James Watt's boiler 
was obsolete as well as herself, for in six months' time 
"the Eagle was fitted with tubular boilers, a pattern 
now being much used in England." These were con- 
structed at Pyrmont, and were the first tubular boilers 
made in Australia. How these old packets fared in 
bad weather is shown in an account of the Thistle, with 
a huge deck load of wool from Moreton Bay, running 
into a gale of wind, and having to jettison the whole of 
the wool. The Raven was sold in September, 1848, 
and the transaction was remarkable in that no cash 
changed hands. Bills of long date were given and 
security was taken over a sheep and cattle station in the 
Wide Bay district. 

In March, 1851, the name of the company was 
changed to the Australasian Steam Navigation Com- 

2 4 


pany. The old association was dissolved and the new 
company, with the material of the old and a capital of 
£320,000, was incorporated by Act of Parliament, with 
power to make its own Bye-Laws. Two years later the 
A.S.N. Company launched the Ballarat, the first 
steamer to be built at the Pyrmont Works, and shortly 
afterwards the City of. Melbourne was purchased at 
auction for .£6850. This was the wooden City of Mel- 
bourne, built on the Yarra in 1851 and originally a 
schooner, but afterwards converted into a screw steamer. 
Her screw shaft was about level with the cabin floor. 
In 1854 Captain O'Reilly had her in the Brisbane- 
Gladstone trade. The Sydney and Melbourne Steam 
Packet Company was established in December 1853, 
with the screw steamer Hellespont and the paddle 
steamers London and Governor General. The Governor 
General was originally named the New Orleans, and was 
one of three wooden American ocean paddle steamers 
which arrived at Sydney in 1853. One of the others 
was the Golden Age, which is reported to have made 
record trips between Sydney and Melbourne during 
her brief stay in Australian waters. Afterwards she 
took passengers to Panama and did not return again. 
The third of these, the General Urbistende became the 
popular A.S.N, boat Ben Bolt. They were vessels of 
some 500 tons, and their side paddles were driven by 
means of old-fashioned beam engines. 

Six months after beginning service, the Sydney and 
Melbourne Steam Packet Company made overtures to 
amalgamate with the A.S.N. Company, but their ad- 
vances were declined. A conference was, however, held 


at which the rates between Melbourne and Sydney were 
fixed as follows: — Saloon, £10 10s; intermediate, £7; 
steerage, £4 10s; horses, £8 each; freight, £3 per ton. 
Another company, the Launceston Steamship Com- 
pany, had in 1852 been formed with a capital of 
£40,000 to trade with steam vessels between Melbourne 
and Launceston and other Tasmanian ports. Just 
which vessels this company possessed cannot easily be 
discovered, but in 1854 there were engaged on this 
route the City of Hobart and Tasman, yacht-like little 
packets, with white-painted ports, the Ladybird, Tinella, 
and Black Swan. On arrival at Melbourne all these 
steamers were diligently searched by the police, in case 
runaway convicts had stowed themselves away in the 
dark and noisome holds. All vessels were lightered in 
Hobson's Bay except the Slack Swan and Royal Shep- 
herd, which lay at the wharf at Williamstown. Sand- 
ridge Pier was in course of erection, and a novel means 
was adopted to overcome a natural obstacle in the shape 
of a large quicksand on the site of the proposed pier. 
Two ships, one of which was the Margaret Poynter, of 
Glasgow, were scuttled, piles having been first bolted 
to them. Then they were filled with stones, and in 
this way a solid foundation was secured. There were 
many tugs in Hobson's Bay then and towing was dear, 
this being partly due to the price of coal — £6 a ton. 
The Argus newspaper had a hulk in the Bay with the 
name Argus painted on it. Here was stationed a re- 
porter and whaleboat crew who boarded each ship which 
arrived in search of news. There were no cables then; 
the first railway in Australia, between Melbourne and 


the port was being built by the Hobson's Bay Railway 
Company. It was opened in 1855. 

Between Sydney and Melbourne, in 1854, were run- 
ning the A.S.N. Company's Yarra Yarra, paddle, 350 
tons; City of Sydney, screw, 393 tons; Wonga Wonga, 
screw, 681 tons; Telegraph, paddle, 367 tons, the 
Sydney and Melbourne Company's three vessels, the 
paddle steamer William £th (Old Billy), and the screw 
steamers Sir John Harvey and Fettercairn. From Mel- 
bourne to Adelaide ran the old screw steamers Bos- 
phorus and Havelock, while other steamers running out 
of the Bay were the paddle vessels Shandon and Prince 
Albert. With the clipper ships which then made such 
wonderful passages — racers like the Marco Polo, 
Sovereign of the Seas, James Baines, Champion of the 
Seas and others — Hobson's Bay was often busy with 
shipping. In October, 1854, when there was a throng 
of masts to be seen, up the bay from her station 
where she had lain in quarantine for measles on board, 
came the Gibbs, Bright liner Great Britain. Large and 
majestic, she moved slowly to her anchorage, a gun 
here and there on a Gibbs, Bright vessel giving her wel- 

The mention of this old Australian shipping company 
brings up the name of that other company which began 
business soon after Gibbs-Bright — the Howard Smith 
Company. At the latter end of the year 1854, Captain 
William Howard Smith came to Melbourne with a small 
screw steamer, the Express, which he moored in the 
river, where the Falls Bridge now is, and lived on board 
with his family. Shortly afterwards he ran the Expresi 


in the Geelong trade, at which place Mr. T. J. Parker, 
afterwards a partner in the well-known Huddart, 
Parker Company, acted as agent for the steamer. 
Captain Howard Smith in 1862 sold the Express and 
her trade to Mr Parker, and began an intercolonial 
service between Sydney and Melbourne with the You 
Tangs, 672 tons. This steamer was formerly the Kief, 
and was built by the Imperial Government for use in 
the Crimea War. In 1866 Captain Howard Smith went 
Home and purchased more vessels, and thus began the 
present Howard Smith line, while the Huddart, Parker 
Company also had its beginning in the Express and her 
trade, taken over by Mr Parker. 

On the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1855, the 
P. and 0. and General Screw Company's steamers were 
all withdrawn from Australian waters to act as trans- 
ports, and there was no steam mail service between 
Australia and Ceylon. The A.S.N. Co. offered to run 
the Wonga Wonga and City of Sydney, but the offer 
was not accepted, and for some time the mails were 
carried via the Cape by the Great Britain and the 
clipper ships. 

Great depression in Australian shipping was a result 
of the War, and in December, 1855, the Sydney and 
Melbourne Steam Packet Company became extinct, its 
vessels being sold by auction. A month later the 
Launceston Steamship Company offered to sell its fleet 
to the A.S.N. Company. But the A.S.N, had declared 
no dividend for the six months, and moreover had just 
been advised of the total loss of a new river steamer, 
the Brisbane, on the way out from England. So the 


offer was declined. The Launceston Company, how- 
ever, survived, and afterwards became the Tasmanian 
Steam Navigation Co., which the Union Co. bought out 
in 1891. i 

The Shamrock in 1854 and 1855 was engaged in the 
Sydney-Brisbane run, and berthed at South Brisbane 
wharf, where Parbury's wharf now is. A passenger 
who left Brisbane on 4th October, 1855, in the Sham- 
rock, of which vessel he speaks disrespectfully, describ- 
ing her as a skimming-dish of 8 feet draught, built foi 
bar-harbours, says, "I embarked on the Shamrock for 
Sydney. Spring being well advanced, there was a souther- 
ly current on the coast and we got to the pilot station at 
night and anchored. We got the length of Moreton 
and Stradbroke Islands down the coast on the next day. 
On the third morning we actually passed the Richmond 
Bar. On the 6th inst. after breakfast the Boomerang 
passed up and signalled us that' Lord Raglan was dead 
before Sebastopol. Next day we passed Port Maquarie, 
Port Stephens and the mouth of the Hunter. Saw 
South Head light at midnight and got to the wharf at 
3 a.m. on the 8th." The Boomerang mentioned was a 
two -funnelled, two-masted steamer of very smart ap- 
pearance, capable of carrying 68 passengers, and 100 
tons of cargo besides coal. In 1859 she ran a mail 
service between Melbourne and Wellington. Her figure- 
head represented a wild blackfellow holding a boomerang 
ready to throw, and was said to have been modelled 
on an aboriginal named Dundolly who was hanged at 
Brisbane in the sixties for murder. On the fall of 
Sebastopol on 11th September, 1855, Captain O'Reilly 


illuminated the Boomerang , which was lying at Bris- 
bane, below Victoria Bridge, in celebration of the vic- 

During its operations the A.S.N. Company made 
no allowance for depreciation of its ship property, and 
in January 1857 it was found that one-fourth of the 
capital of the company had been lost through depre- 
ciation. To adjust this loss, the £20 shares were 
reduced in value to £15. The fleet consisted then of 
nineteen steamers, including the London and Governor 
General, which had been bought for £7000 each. The 
City of Sydney was chartered by the European and 
Australian Company to run a trip to Suez and back 
with the English mail, the price paid being £8,800. 
That was in November, 1857. Six months later came 
the rush to the Port Curtis gold diggings, and the 
steamers Geelong and Duncan Eoyle were purchased 
by the A.S.N. Company for £2000 and placed in this 

At this time the William Jfth was running between 
Sydney and the Clarence River under the flag of the 
Grafton Steam Navigation Company which was formed 
in 1857 by gentlemen who had interests in the Clarence 
River trade. The capital was £13,500 in £10 shares, 
and the first directors were Messrs. Mitchell, Irving, 
and Waterson. Up till 1860 Old Billy was the sole 
steamer of this young concern, which has grown into 
the well-known North Coast Steam Navigation Com- 
pany. In 1860 the paddle steamer Phoenix, which was 
fitted with the engines of the old Sophia Jane, replaced 
the time-worn veteran, and after her came the Grafton; 


then the company's service was extended to the Rich- 
mond River, the capital increased to £50,000, and the 
name changed to the Clarence and Richmond River 
Steam -Navigation Company. The screw steamer W ai- 
med was purchased from the Illawarra Steam Naviga- 
tion Company, and the Urara was built in England. 
How these small companies struggled ! Negotiations were 
begun to amalgamate the C. and R. R. Co. with the 
A.S.N., but fell through. Some time previous to this 
the Intercolonial R.M. Co. had offered the Lord Ashley, 
Lord Worsley, and Prince Alfred, together with the 
goodwill of their business, to the A.S.N, for £30,000. 
Evidently the power of the A.S.N, was something to be 
reckoned with when a new steamship company began 
operations. This offer was made just after the A.S.N. 
Company had secured a contract to carry mails between 
Wellington and Melbourne. As related in the story of 
the Intercolonial Company, it would have paid the 
A.S.N. Company to have accepted this offer. 

There were not many coastwise lights then — Wilson's 
Promontory was lighted in 1858, Cape Schank in 1860, 
Gabo in 1864. Between Melbourne and Adelaide where 
steamers were few, there were no lights at all, and on 
6th August, 1859, a dreadful wreck occurred at Cape 
Northumberland, a wreck immortalised by Adam Lindsay 
Gordon in his poem "From the Wreck." The steam- 
ship Admella, with 105 souls on board, ran ashore on a 
reef in the dark and broke in two. A heavy surf was 
running, yet two men succeeded in getting ashore and 
giving the alarm at a station near by, and Gordon rode 
to Mount Gambier with the news. For seven days the 



passengers and crew clung to the wreck without food or 
water, while would-be helpers watched from the cliffs, 
powerless to help for want of appliances. Twenty-two 
were eventually saved and eighty-three were drowned. 
Considering the uncharted and unlighted state of the 
coasts, the style of navigation followed was reckless. 
But then coal was costly, and every knot saved meant 
more than it does now — more profit. 

At the dawn of the "sixties/' great strides were evi- 
dent in the advance of steam in Australasian shipping, 
and everywhere can be traced the influence of the 
A.S.N. Company. Between Melbourne and Otago 
Messrs. McMeckan, Blackwood and Company began a 
steam service under the name of the Adelaide, Mel- 
bourne, and Otago Steamship Company, with the 
Omeo, Aldinga, Alhambra, Gothenburg, and the 
A.S.N. Company's Balclutha and Geelongr New Zea- 
land was just beginning to be a considerable quantity 
in the operations of ship-owners, for gold discoveries 
were made in Otago in 1861, when a great rush of dig- 
gers from Melbourne began. McMeckan, Blackwood 
sent over many of their fleet of sailing ships, and this 
trade marked the firm's entry into steam, from which 
beginning they grew to be steamship owners of some 
importance up to the middle "seventies." The A.S.N. 
Company placed the Wonga Wonga and Rangatira in 
the Otago trade, and every sort of steam vessel was sent 
across by private steamship owners. Two small steamers 
the Comet and Citizen, were never heard of again. 

Until 16*84^ Queensland had taken no part in the 
steam trade on her coasts, but at this time it was felt 


that the monopoly enjoyed by the A.S.N. Company 
should suffer a check, and with this end in view the 
Queensland Steam Navigation Company was formed. 
The promoters had entered into arrangements with the 
Queensland Government, pending the formation of the 
Company, for the conveyance of the mails for three years 
from 1st April, 1862. The capital of the company was 
£25,000. The paddle steamer Queensland, 309 tons, 
built at Glasgow, came out in 1862, and was placed in 
the Northern trade, amid great enthusiasm, for the 
shares were held by all classes in Queensland. Imme- 
diately this steamer began to run, the A.S.N. Company 
cut the rates on the Queensland services. In August, 
1862, the respective fares were: — 



Brisbane to Maryboro', Saloon 


£2 5 


17 6 


,, Rockhampton, Saloon 




17 6 


The Queensland people were, however, very hopeful 
of success, and the company's capital was increased to 
£60,000. Two new steamers, the Lady Young and 
Lady Bowen, of 442 tons, were built and arrived at 
Brisbane in 1864, while the steamer Platypus was also 
purchased. She sailed out as a schooner to Pernambuco 
and from there to Australia as a barque. As cargo she 
carried the river steamer Emu. Pending the arrival of 
the two Ladies, the Star of Australia of 120 tons, 45 
horse-power, was chartered from Mr. Byrnes of Sydney 
to run cargo only. At the end of 1864 the war of rates 

The "YOU YANGS (1862), Howard Smith Line. 

The "GOVERNOR BLACKALL" (1871), A.S.N. Co. 

The "LUNA" (1870). 

[De Mans.. 

The "QUEEN OF THE SOUTH" (1877). 



was so keen that the A.S.N, were actually charging 
only one-quarter the rates formerly charged. The old 
company was feeling it as well as the new one, and in 
November, 1865, an arrangement was come to and the 
rates were raised again, to a higher level than ever be- 
fore. The Q.S.N, presently lost the mail subsidy, and 
in January, 1868, the A.S.N, bought the new concern 
out, lock, stock, and barrel for £42,000. The Platypus 
was bought by the Queensland Government, and after- 
wards passed into the hands of the Clarence and Rich- 
mond River Company, while the Emu, a stern-wheeler, 
plied on the Brisbane River and surrounding bays. 
There was another stern-wheeler there, the Settler. Her 
owner, Captain Jackson, sometime about 1863, set out 
with her from Adelaide to New Zealand, but the winds 
were unkind and the Settler arrived instead at Moreton 
Bay, where she stayed to compete with such vessels as 
the Hawk, Diamond, and Bremer. When the Hokitika 
gold rush began in 1865 the A.S.N. Company placed 
the new steamer James Paterson in the trade. This ser- 
vice was in addition to their regular monthly services to 
Nelson, Wellington, and Dunedin, which was begun in 
1862 by the Rangatira. The James Paterson was named 
after the company's first general manager, who died 
suddenly in April, 1862, and who did so much 
in establishing the concern. The Leichardt, after- 
wards sunk in Brisbane River, and the Kennedy, still 
trading in New Zealand waters, were launched in 1865, 
from the Pyrmont works. Next year the Tinonee was 
built, and the Cawarra, Captain Chatfield, lost at New- 
castle in a terrific gale, still spoken of as the Cawarra 



Gale, one man alone surviving. A few months later 
the Telegraph, Captain Fitzsimmons, was lost off Cape 
Perpendicular. She was a fast steamer in her time, 
and up to 1884 her passages had not been surpassed. 
The Florence Irving and Ballina were bought in 1865 
from the C. and R.R. Co. and other vessels were built 
or bought. In 1869 the Auckland opened trade with 
Fiji via Auckland, and negotiations began which re- 
sulted in the following year in some of the company's 
vessels being chartered for the San Francisco mail ser- 
vice. The Havilah, 165 tons, in 1871, opened steam 
trade with New Caledonia; in this year also the com- 
pany made an offer to the New South Wales Govern- 
ment to conduct a mail service for ten years between 
Sydney and California via Auckland for £30,000 a 
year. The offer was not accepted. In 1874, however, 
the A.S.N. Company did run a 'Frisco service, pending 
the Pacific Mail Company's service being commenced. 
A memorable departure was made in 1878 in the im- 
portation of three crews of Chinese sailors and firemen 
for the fleet, but it was a disastrous move, resulting in 
a strike of the white crews. During 1879 no dividends 
were declared. In 1880 the steamers and plant used in 
the Hunter River trade were sold to the Newcastle 
Steamship Company. To balance this decrease in the 
fleet Captain Trouton, the General Manager, went to 
England to arrange for the construction of eleven new 
steamers to be fitted with surface-condensing engines. 

In September, 1882, the A.S.N, boats ceased trading 
to Sandridge Pier, where they had lain so long, and 
went up the river to the new wharf at Melbourne, and 



soon afterwards the last of the Chinese crews were dis- 

Powerful competitors were arising on all sides. The 
A.S.N, had not the easy victories over these which it 
had formerly, and by a strange coincidence, the blow 
which shook this old company to its foundations was 
struck from Queensland by a company whose title closely 
resembled that of the concern which was bought out by 
the A.S.N, in 1868. In the year 1884 the A.S.N, was 
merged in the A. U.S.N. Company, and the flag with 
the two red and two blue plain triangles was seen no 
more on the Australian coasts. The commanders of 
the ships of the A.S.N. Company were many during 
its existence, and when the old name was changed some 
skippers of this pioneer Australian company were these : 
— Jas. Banks, E. Armstrong, T. A. Lake, J. E. Munro, 
D. Calder, J. E. Butcher, F. C. Lee, J. Selomes, C. E. 
Saunders, W. C. Thomson, T. L. Johnston, J. E. Mea- 
burn, G. H. Leggett, W. Sinclair, A. McLean, M. 
Osborne, Henry Howe, J. B. S. Medley, James Higgen, 
J. Adrian, A. J. & rke, James L. Michael, and James 
Grahl. More about the passing of the A.S.N. Company 
will be found in the chapter concerning the A. U.S.N. 



Beyond the white 

Of Maria Light 
Where the long, green seas go tramping in, 
And the red of Columbia Shoal, 

Tramping in, stamping in, 
With slow, resistless roll — 

The first New Zealand steamer, the Governor 
Wynyard, was built at Auckland in 1851 by Mr 
Robert Stone, to the order of Messrs. C. J. Stone, F. 
Gardiner, and Captain A. Cook, who required her for 
the Auckland harbour and river trade. The builder's 
yard was located in Freeman's Bay, and. all the 
machinery required was made by Mr. Bourne, whose 
primitive foundry occupied the site where now 
stands the D.S.C. Stores. This foundry possessed no 
steam power: all the work was done by hand, old 
pensioners and discharged soldiers being engaged to 
blow the bellows. "Slid'et-resits" were then in their 
infancy, consequently all the work in connection with 
the building of the engines had to be done by 
means of hand tools on the lathe. The Governor 
Wynyard had a keel 52ft. in length and a beam 
of 13ft., and was a paddle steamer of the side- 


wheel type. Her engine was of the upright order, 
known as a ' 'steeple- top/' her crank working in a 
"Jew's harp." The greatest difficulty experienced was 
in the construction of a boiler, there being at that time 
no boilermaker dwelling in Auckland. Most oppor- 
tunely, there arrived by a Californian barque an 
American of the name of Brown, who, on hearing that 
a boilermaker was wanted^ immediately set to work. 
The boiler was of the Lancashire type, with two tubes 
running the whole length. Mr. Brown had no shears, 
no rollers, and no punching machine. But with the 
true American resourcefulness he rose to the occasion. 
He made a mould of hard clay, in which he bent the 
plates to the desired shape after heating them. And 
he sent word to every hamlet and every home that he 
wanted the strongest man in the district. This indi- 
vidual was forthcoming — a most stalwart and powerful 
labourer, who punched every hole in the boiler by the 
might of his sturdy arms. 

The vessel, which was built of wood, was launched 
on Christmas eve in the year 1851. The launch was 
a broadside one, and the little steamer slid into the 
water very gently, as may be illustrated by the recital 
of an episode in connection with the launching. 

Mrs. Taylor, the wife of one of the shipwrights, 
asked permission to be on the ship when she was 
launched, and for safety she was placed in the 
steamer's cabin. After the vessel was afloat, the lady, 
growing impatient, asked when the launch would take 
place. Her disappointment, on finding that there would 
be no wild rush into the tide, was keen. 


The vessel was towed to Wynyard pier, where the 
Mayor (then known asi the chairman of the Council) 
christened her. Concerning the naming of the ship, 
this story is told. Long before the question of a name 
had been discussed by the owners or the builder, the 
newspaper New Zealander most incorrectly stated that 
the steamer was to be named after the reigning 
Governor, which news so pleased that gentleman that 
he paid a visit of inspection to Mr Stone's shipyard 
and expressed great satisfaction with the design and 
workmanship and the progress made. In view of his 
evident pleasure, and no one having a better name to 
suggest, the newspaper's nomination was accepted. 

A trial was made on the Tamaki River, the 
steamer being in command of one of her owners, Cap- 
tain Cook, while Mr. Brown had charge of the 
machinery. At the outset, too much water in the 
boiler caused it to prime; so the blow-off cock was 
opened, but, being over-large, too much water was 
allowed to run away. The fires had then to be drawn 
while more water was supplied through the safety- 
valve by means of a bucket. Brown calculated on a 
speed of ten knots, but he was an optimist, for she 
only attained 1\ to 8 knots. As she was about to start, 
a young Maori swam out and challenged her to a race, 
much as the splendid horseman bearing a banner rode 
out ahead of G-eorge Stephenson's "Rocket," and dared 
the iron horse. There was amongst the spectators a 
Mr. Thomas Keven, who is described as being excited 
about anything he took an interest in. To the 
doubting spirits he proved a strong tonic, for whenever 


the wheels moved and the paddles churned he drew 
attention to what everyone could plainly see, while he 
shouted, "Won't go! Won't she? Why, she's going 
now ! Look !" 

True enough, the Governor Wyni/ard "went." There 
was no doubt of it at all. Her spent steam blew into 
her paddle-boxes, and at every stroke of the piston an 
explosion occurred. The cattle on the river-bank 
stared transfixed for one instant, then with tails aloft 
set out for the sky-line in search of the simple life. 

The steamer was of light draught, and the principal 
trade was with the Tamaki settlers, who at one time 
became very annoyed because she could not wait beyond 
the sailing time for a tardy keg of butter or a box of 
eggs. This trade was insufficient, however, to support 
her profitably, and in 1852 it was decided to send her 
to Melbourne. But before she sailed she was chartered 
for a secret run to the Hen and Chickens Islands, 
where, it was alleged, valuable gold deposits had been 
found. The prospecting party returned, with many 
sacks of specimen quart?, and there was a simmer of 
excitement in the little community as to whether the 
mineral was gold. Tests proved that it was not. 

The paddle-boxes were removed for the run across 
to Melbourne, a suit of sails was made, and Mr. 
Chantry Harris^ mate of a Home sailer and afterwards 
journalist, took her across'. Despite the fact that her 
sponson beams projected on either side 2 she made good 
weather of it, and, her engines being replaced, she ran 
on the Yarra for many years, earning in the "boom 
times" as much as £80 in one day. More profitable 


than waiting on the Tamaki for a keg of home-made 
butter ! 

The Governor Wynyard had a varied career. The 
last record of her that can be traced shows her trading 
on the Tamar River, in Tasmania, where doubtless she 
worked out her destiny "unhonoured and unsung." 

The second merchant steamship to pbr-^h New 
Zealand waters, the screw steamer Ann of 154 tons 
burden, came to Wellington from Sydney on 3rd Sep- 
tember, 1853, in charge of Captain Gibbs, having 
called en route' at Nelson. A long, low-hulled vessel 
with narrow black funnel, she carried sail to assist her 
steam, and though she wasi the first inter-colonial 
steamship to cross the Tasman Sea,, she did not enter 
into regular trading between Australia and New Zea- 
land. She steamed south to Lyttelton and then took 
her way back to Sydney 

Communication between the various provinces was 
at that, time maintained by schooners, but these: craft 
plied in erratic manner between New Zealand ports. 
To and from Australia a more regular service was run, 
so that it was frequently found to be quicker to travel 
from Dunedin to Auckland via Melbourne or Sydney. 
An instance of this may be quoted. The Auckland 
Provincial Government requested the Imperial Govern- 
ment not to despatch mail matter for Auckland by any 
New Zealand-bound vessels save those bound direct to 
Auckland, failing which the mails were to be sent to 

The arrival of the A nn was an event of immense 
import to the residents of Lyttelton who had just, built 

The "CITY OF DUN ED IN" (1863). 

The "GOLDEN AGE" (1863). 

The "TARANAKI" in Dunedin Dock. [Be Maua. 

The "STORM BIRD" (in 1885). 


a wharf capable of handling 100 tons of cargo, and 
concerning which they loudly boasted to the belittle- 
ment of Wellington, which possessed no wharf at all. 

In 1854 two steamers arrived, the William Denny 
and the Nelson. The first of these, the William Denny, 
a vessel of 595 tons burden ; built in 1853 by Wm. 
Denny and Co., of Dumbarton, came over from Aus- 
tralia under an agreement with the Auckland Pro- 
vincial Government, to run a monthly mail service 
between Auckland and Sydney in connection with the 
monthly Home steam mail services which made Sydney 
their terminal port. Th.e English mails usually arrived 
there about the 15th to 20th of the month and the 
William Denny sailed on the 20th. In case of "the 
non-arrival of the regular English mail at the expected 
time, the vessel shall await it for five days and shall 
always proceed to sea within six days after the mail 
is put on board' ' so runs a sentence in a. letter written 
on 3rd August, 1854, by the Superintendent of the 
Auckland Province to the Colonial Secretary urging the 
prompt despatch of the mails at Sydney. 

This intercolonial service, which cost the Auckland 
Provincial Government £5,500 per annum, after sur- 
viving three years, came to an abrupt conclusion 
through the wrecking of the steamer at North Cape on 
the 3rd March, 1857. When one day out from Auck- 
land, on her way to Sydney, she grounded at night 
during a thick fog between Paerengarenga and the 
North Cape, but backed off and all would have been 
well had she anchored till daylight. However, she 
proceeded on her voyage, her captain being, doubtless, 


anxious to reach Sydney in good time to connect with 
the Home steamer. Almost immediately she ran 
ashore again at the North Cape and there she: re- 
mained. Later on, she was lifted by jacks and re- 
paired. A crew was engaged and all preparations 
made for the re-launching and the continuance! of the 
interrupted voyage. But during her launching a heavy 
S.E. gale sprang up and so damaged her that she was 
abandoned. Traces . still remain of the vessel despite 
the 52 years of wind and weather which have beaten 
over her. 

The steamer Nelson, 330 tons, Captain Martin, was 
brought to New Zealand under agreement with the 
General Government to maintain a regular service 
between the various provinces. Mr. Kennedy, after- 
wards a well-known commander in the Southern 
Pacific — in the Union Company's and other ser- 
vices — was chief officer, and Mr. Nancarrow was 
chief engineer. The Nelson was peculiar in having 
her propeller fitted behind her rudder. Her engage- 
ment was only sanctioned after a heated debate 
in the House of Parliament, in the course of which it 
was stated that the vessel could not be run for less than 
£40 a day. A subsidy of ,£6000 per annum was voted 
and the Nelson entered into service between Manakau 
and Dunedin, calling at New Plymouth, Nelson, Wel- 
lington, and Lyttelton, thus inaugurating the first 
regular interprovincial steam line. The above estimate 
of £40 would seem to be an overstatement. But it 
must be remembered that except at times of great 
activity, when high fares and freights were obtainable 


the early steamers were not great money-makers until 
the compound engine was introduced, an event which 
did not occur in New Zealand until the Taupo and 
Hawea arrived in 1875. The Nelson's engines con- 
sisted of two high-pressure cylinders, which exhausted 
into a "jet-condenser" — an arrangement whereby the 
spent steam entered a pipe through which sea water 
flowed. The steam blew the water out of the pipe, 
being itself condensed in the process. 

The Nelson was replaced at the end of the year 1855 
by the Zingari, and returned to England where good 
freights were offering through the Crimean War opera- 
tions. This steamer must not be confused with the 
P.S. Nelson a side-wheeler which plied on the coast in 
the early "sixties/' , 

The Zingari, Captain Milltown, was a vessel of 150 
tons and 130 horse-power. She had oscillating cylin- 
ders; in all other respects resembling the Nelson in her 
machinery. Her lines were fine and yachtlike, she 
halving been originally built as a pleasure yacht. She 
was the first steamer to run a harbour excursion in 
Wellington Harbour. This she did on 22nd August, 
1855. Colonel Gore Brown, C.B., who succeeded Sir 
George Grey as Governor, visited all the provinces of 
New Zealand in the Zingari, arriving at Dunedin, the 
most southern port of this tour, on 13th January, 1856. 
An incident of this trip was a visit to the site of the 
town of Picton, then called Waitohi^ when the Governor 
was/ shown where Picton was to be built. There was 
not a house to mark the settlement, yet even then men 
dreamed of future main trunk railways, and Picton 



was considered as the port at which the South Island 
line would some day terminate. In 1857 the Zingari 
followed the gold rush to Victoria, her withdrawal 
being announced as follows in the "Maori Messenger," 
a newspaper printed in English and Maori at Auck- 
land, in its issue of 31st December, 1857 : "In shipping 
there have been some losses during the year now closed. 
The steamer William Denny unfortunately ran ashore 
early in the year, and has remained fast there ever 
since. The steamer Zingari has ceased to run between 
the Northern and Southern Settlements." 

Her place was taken by the White Swan, a steam- 
ship whose name will be forever coupled in the annals 
of the Dominion with the loss of valuable national docu- 
ments. In February, 1858, the Government of New 
Zealand received an offer from Mr. W. P. Kirkwood, 
an Adelaide ship-owner, to run his steamer the 
White Swan of 335 tons and 72 nominal horse-power 
between the Northern and Southern ports. The 
steamer was commanded by Captain John McLean, and 
she was alleged to< have accommodation for forty saloon 
and ninety steerage passengers, though where these 
were accommodated is a, problem, as the ship also car- 
ried 150 tons of cargo. The Government made a two 
years' agreement at a cost of £6000 per annum, and 
the White Swan arrived at Manakau in June, 1858. In 
this service she plied for some months. 

In the year 1857, the steamer Wonga Wonga 
was purchased in Australia by some Auckland 
merchants and engaged in the Auckland-Whan- 
garei trade. But according to the "Maori Mes- 


senger," already quoted, "the Wonga Wonga has 
been removed from the trade between , Auckland 
and the Bay of Islands to that between Wellington 
and Nelson." This occurred when she was purchased 
by the Wellington Steamship Company. The 
Wonga Wonga, and her sister ship the Stormbird. 
were built by Lawrie and Co., of Glasgow, and launched 
in the year 1854. Their tonnage was 67 tons net re- 
gister. They had the usual double-cylinder high- 
pressure engines, the cylinders being 24 inches in 
diameter with a two-foot stroke of piston. Jet con- 
densers were used, while the boilers carried a pressure 
of 18 pounds to the square inch. The vessels were brig- 
rigged with white funnels. The Wonga Wonga must 
not be confused with the A.S.N. Company's Wonga 

When trouble occurred with the Taranaki Maoris the 
Wonga Yionga was chartered at the rate of £60 a day to 
carry despatches between Otoehunga and Taranaki and 
the Waikato ; and the profits resulting enabled her own- 
ers to purchase her sister ship the Stormbird. On 17th 
June, 1854, the Stormbird, or Storm Bird, as her name 
was then spelt, left the Broomielaw, on the north side of 
Glasgow Harbour under command of Captain McCal- 
lum, bound for Hobson's Bay. That is fifty-five years 
ago, and she still ploughs New Zealand waters, flying 
the flag of the Wanganui Steam Packet Co., so far 
as can be ascertained, the oldest steamer on the world. 
She was consigned to Messrs. Graham, Sands and Co., 
Collins Street, Melbourne, and with the Wonga 
Wonga was originally intended to act as tender to the 


steamers Sovereign and Prince of Wales which were to 
have begun a mail service between Melbourne and 
Panama. But the outbreak of the Crimea War upset 
the plans and the project fell through. The Stormbird 
then entered the Melbourne- Westerport trade, subse- 
quently coming to Dunedin consigned to Mr. John 
Jones, from whom she passed to the Wellington Steam- 
ship Company. These two vessels constituted that 
company's fleet. The Wonga Wonga was com- 
manded by Captain Renner and the Stormbird by Cap- 
tain Mundle. The Wonga Wonga was lost off Grey- 
mouth on 2nd May, 1866. 

There recently appeared in the journal Petit Marseil- 
lais a history of what was stated to be the oldest steam- 
ship afloat. This vessel is the Orient of 1,060 tons, be- 
longing to the New Mediterranean Navigation Company. 
She was built at Bristol in the year 1855, and in her 
career has carried the flags of four countries. At pre- 
sent she is running between Marseilles and Algeria, and 
she is claimed to be in excellent preservation. 

Following on this announcement Shipping Illustrated 
of New York advanced the claims of the steamship 
Collier as the oldest steam vessel afloat. She was built 
in the year 1848, and at first glance these figures appear 
to give her undisputed seniority. But for many years 
after her construction the Collier used steam as an 
auxiliary to her sails. She traded between Liverpool 
and Melbourne in the "fifties." Later, she was con- 
verted into a full-powered steamer, and now runs in 
the Irish Sea trade. The Stormbird since her arrival 
in Australian waters has always been a full -powered 


steamer. In 1883 she was lengthened by some seventeen 
feet, the work being carried out by Mr D. Robertson of 
Wellington. But apart from this, the original hull still 
exists. She has had two sets of new engines during her 
career and a set of new cylinders. 

The screw steamer Queen, of 132 tons, arrived at 
Dunedin from Melbourne on 27th August, 1858. She 
steamed up the harbour to the Dunedin jetty, and, be- 
ing the first steamer to do so, though not the first steam- 
ship to enter Port Chalmers, was saluted by a salvo of 
20 guns. Her owners, Messrs. Macandrew and Co. 
placed her in the Wellington-Dunedin trade. The fol- 
lowing advertisement in a Wellington paper of March, 
1859, shows the difference in the rates of passage-mone} 
then and now : — 


The screw steamship Queen, Captain Wilson, will sail 
as above on Friday, 11th March. 

Fare to Lyttelton 
Return ticket Lyttelton 

Fare to Otago 

Return ticket Otago ... 

It cost more then to go to Dunedin and back than is 
now charged for the Sydney return trip. 

The month of January, 1859, marked the arrival of 
two new steamships at Dunedin, the Pirate and the 



£5 5 

£3 10 

8 8 

5 10 


5 10 




Geelong. The Pirate, 285 ton3, was built in 1853 for 
the Glasgow-Liverpool trade, regardless of expense. 
Afterwards she ran in the Mediterranean trade and 
later, she was sold for £13,000 to Australian owners, 
and a further £2000 was 1 spent on her by her new 
owners on alterations to cabins, etc. Messrs. Macandrew 
and Co. were her New Zealand owners, and on the occa- 
sion of her arrival at Dunedin on 28th January, 1859, 
she was commanded by Captain Thomas Robertson, 
formerly of the Ladybird and Queen, and afterwards 
Harbour Master at Port Chalmers. The Geelong, which 
arrived at Dunedin on 31st January, 1859, was a 
paddle steamer of 108 tons, fitted with two engines of 
45 nominal horse-power each. She was built in 1854 
by Wingate and Co. on the Clyde, who afterwards built 
the Arawata and Bingarooma. Her hull was of great 
strength, the bottom plates being of \ inch iron. She 
came across from Melbourne under the command of 
Captain Jamieson, and her owner was Mr John Jones. 
After her arrival Captain Thomson had command, and 
subsequently Captain Boyd. A contract was made be- 
tween Messrs. Jones, Cargill and Company and the 
Otago Provincial Government to run the Geelong be- 
tween Oamaru and Dunedin, calling at several ports en 
route — ports they were then, now, since the coming of the 
railway, mere bays and river-mouths. The agreement 
was for two years, and the subsidy £1950 per annum. 
The fares between Oamaru and Dunedin were £3 10s 
cabin and £2 steerage. The Geelong was wrecked off 
Whangape Heads on 14th March, 1879, being then the 
property of Mr. D. Sinclair. 


The "GO-AHEAD" (1870). 

The "LORD WORSLEY" (1859). 


m m 

The "ALDINGA" (1860). 



The Golden Age, a, small side-paddle steamer built by 
W. and G. White, of Melbourne, of wood on the diag- 
onal principle without frames, arrived from Melbourne 
in January, 1863, and ran in Dunedin Harbour, mak- 
ing her first trip from Port to town on 20th October, 
1863. It was in this year that the Pride of the Tarra 
and Favourite, small river craft, came into collision 
when the former was proceeding from Port with 
a full complement of passengers just landed from 
the ship Mataoka. The result was the sinking of the 
Pride of the Tarra and the loss of lives of well- 
known Dunedin citizens, who, after travelling to Lon- 
don and back, were drowned almost at their doors. 
The Golden Age carried the survivors of this disaster 
to Dunedin. 

In 1861-1862 Messrs. Houghton and Co., of Dunedin, 
purchased the steamers Oreti and Wanganui, while on 
the Canterbury coast the steamer Planet plied. The 
Guiding Star ran to ports between Dunedin and Inver- 
cargill. About this time the Rangatira was built at 
Home for Auckland owners, and came out under sail. 
But her captain, having a regard for dramatic effect, 
stopped at Kawau Island where he shipped her funnel 
and propeller. Then this trim litle vessel swept up 
Auckland Harbour under steam, her arrival causing in- 
tense excitement among the townsfolk. Shortly after- 
wards the steamers Gorio and Ahuriri arrived and en- 
tered the Auckland-Napier trade. 

It was customary in the early "sixties" for steam- 
ships to be sent across to New Zealand with cargo, usual- 
ly live stock, and to be offered for sale. In the New 



Zealand Herald advertisements constantly appeared. 
The "fine paddle steamer Ballarat," 82 tons register, 
40 horse-power, lying at Manakau ; the Susannah Cuth- 
bert, 300 tons, 50 horse-power, copper sheathed and 
copper-fastened; the new iron screw steamer Xanthe, 
690 tons, 140 horse-power; were all offered for sale at 
the same time. The screw steamer Kargaroo and the 
Susannah Cuthbert arrived simultaneously at Manakau 
from Sydney, having taken 10 and 8 days respectively 
on the voyage. The Kangaroo carried a cargo of horses 
and only lost one, while the Susannah Cuthbert brought 
oattle, and landed them all in prime condition. Surely 
the stamina of animals has deteriorated ; nowadays they 
•die so easily on large and modern vessels. Another ves- 
sel which crossed from Sydney to Manakau in 1864 was 
the Moniora. There was not much steam trade about 
Auckland until after the opening of the Thames Gold- 

The City of Dunedin, of 327 tons, arrived at Dun- 
edin on the 25th November, 1863, from Glasgow. She 
had side-paddles. In the first issue of the Oamaru 
Times of 25th February, 1864, an advertisement ap- 
peared announcing that the steamers City of Dunedin, 
Captain J. P. Boyd, and Geelong, Captain Turnbull, 
would ply once a week in the service which had been 
maintained by the Geelong, assisted by the William 
Miskin. In less than two years after her arrival in New 
Zealand waters, the City of Dunedin mysteriously dis- 
appeared. She sailed from Wellington on the 20th 
May, 1865, for Hokitika, in calm weather, carrying 15 
passengers as well as her crew, and was never reported 



again. A false rumour stated that she was in Wai- 
kouaiti Bay, whither the steamer Samson went in search 
but found no trace of the missing steamer. From Tera- 
whiti sheep station, near the Cape of that name, a 
steamer was observed, apparently in distress, for she 
was moving in a circle. The lady who saw her, went to 
inform her brouthers of the queer movements of the ves- 
sel, but when they came, the steamer had disappeared. 
It can only be conjectured that it was the City of Dun- 
edin that was seen. 

At the time of her loss, Hokitika was a thriving place 
and heavy passenger lists and cargo freights were usual- 
ly the order of things. From Dunedin the Ruby and 
Lady Darling ran "south about" to the West Coast 
diggings. The Kennedy, still trading out of Wellington, 
was bought from the A.S.N. Company for the Dunedin - 
Hokitika trade, and the Charles Edward, at that time a 
paddle-steamer, was also engaged therein. 

It was at this time also that the Southern Steamship 
Company of Dunedin was formed, and ran the Geelong 
in the Oamaru-Dunedin trade. The company also had 
the Pareora built in 1866, and she arrived about the 
end of 1867. In the North Island, the termination of 
the Maori War, caused a fleet of transports, which had 
gathered in the Waikato River, to be thrown out of em- 
ployment. Some of these were the Bluenose, Rangiriri, 
White Slave, Waipa, Pioneer, and Maori Chief, while 
the. larger vessels were the Prince Alfred, Gungadai, 
Alexander, and the gunboat Sandfly. Mr. S. Hague- 
Smith owned the Prince Alfred, and the Maori Chief 
belonged to a contractor, who left the district without 


discharging his debts, but leaving his steamer lying at 
her moorings. Doubtless he thought that there was 
about to be a slump in shipping. Mf Hague-Smith 
was the man's principal creditor, and he promptly 
seized the Maori Chief, a stern-wheel vessel, 100 feet 
long, with a draught of 1 foot. Obviously the vessel 
was unsuited to the long run round to Auckland where 
her new owner wished her to be, and the cost and risk 
of towing her were also considerable. The alternative 
course of taking her overland was decided on. A huge 
waggon 80 feet long and fitted with six wheels with tyres 
10 inches wide, was made. The steamer's engines, 
boiler, and stern wheel and all other removable heavy 
parts, were taken out, and at low tide the vessel was 
raised on jacks and the strange vehicle placed beneath 
her. Thirty-six bullocks hauled her ashore and along 
the main road to Auckland. At four o'clock in the 
afternoon she was being dragged down Pitt Street, and 
at sundown she floated calmly on the waters of the 
Waitemata. Here she was re-engined and made into a 
side-paddle steamer to act as tender at the Thames to 
Mr. Hague-Smith's steamers Royal Alfred and Duke of 
Edinburgh. Of these the former was built at North 
Shore, Auckland, her machinery being taken from the 
Prince Alfred, and her boiler manufactured by Messrs. 
P. N. Russell and Company of Sydney from plans pre- 
pared by Mr. James Stewart, engineer, of Auckland. 
The Duke of Edinburgh came over from Australia to 
enter the Thames-Auckland trade. 

On the first day of August, 1867, the Thames gold- 
fields had been onened amid much excitement, and com- 



munication between Auckland and the mining camps 
had been carried on by means of schooners; — there was 
no railway then. But the heavy traffic demanded a 
steam service, and in 1868, as already stated, Mr. Hague- 
Smith began his service. Soon another steamer, the 
Favourite, entered the trade. She had been employed in 
the West Coast trade, and after being lengthened was 
sent to Auckland, where she was soon found to be out- 
of-date in comparison with such steamers as the 
Williams, of 218 tons, sent over by the A.S.N. Com- 
pany, and the Golden Crown, and being sent to Napier, 
was lost on the way, with all hands. 

Captain W. Farquhar, now ships husband to the 
Northern S.S. Company's fleet at Auckland, arrived at 
Auckland from Australia in 1868 and took command of 
the Duke of Edinburgh, while his brother, Captain 
Alec. Farquhar, now in command of the paddle steamer 
Whakatere was captain of the Royal Alfred. 

Mr. Hague Smith towards the end of the year 1873 
sold his steamers to the Auckland Steam Packet Com- 
pany which had just been formed, with Mr. Hugh Craig 
as manager. The Royal Alfred was soon found to be 
too large for the Coromandel trade, a reaction in trade 
having set in after the first rush of the goldfields, and 
this vessel was sold to Captain Haselden, of the Port 
Jackson Steamship Company, and sent across to Sydney 
in charge of Captain W. Farquhar, who on his return 
t<> Auckland took command of the Auckland Steam 
Packet Company's Star of the South, which was to run 
as a subsidised mail steamer between Auckland and 
Fiji. The trade with the Fijis was then in its infancy, 


though the 'Frisco mailboats made connection between 
the two places. Kandavau was the Fijian port for the 
'Frisco steamers 1 , but the people of Levuka determined 
to get their port made the port of call. The 
Star of the South was chartered to carry a deputation 
to Kandavau when the three mail-boats would be there 
together, transhipping the Sydney and Auckland mails 
into the 'Frisco steamer. After the meeting of the de- 
putation and the shipping officials, Captain Farquhar 
relates, Lieutenant Woods asked him if he was going to 
leave, and was told that it was impossible to pick up 
the bearings as the moon was obscured. He said : 
"The McGregor is going to try, the pilot says he can 
get out.'' As all my passengers were pressing me to 
leave and were very anxious to get to their business I 
said, "Very well. I will follow the McGregor. I can 
float where she can." I followed her slowly, about a 
hundred yards astern. When she struck the middle 
patch of coral he sounded his whistle three times, 
signifying that he was going astern. I immediately 
went full speed astern as I knew she wasi ashore, and 
then returned till daylight. Next morning I went 
alongside her, and at high water tried to tow her off 
but could make no impression on her. As my passengers 
were pressing me to get back to Levuka and my full 
time having been spent in the group I left to inform the 
commodore of the mishap. On arriving at Levuka I 
sent word to H.M.S. Pearl of the mishap to the 
McGregor. The Pearl then got up steam and left at 
once for Kandavau. Captain Thomson, of Levuka, paid 
£50 for me to land him as I passed Kandavau. On 


returning to the McGregor the captain wanted me to 
stop and take ail the cargo and to assist in getting her 
off, but I could only stop two days. During that time 
I loaded my ship, and in company with the Pearl tried 
to tow her off, but by that time the coral had pierced 
her bottom and I could not stay any longer, I left for 
Auckland. Subsequently the Pearl towed her off alone." 
This mail service maintained by the Star of the South 
was under review in 1876, when the company offered 
to place the Llewellyn, a steamer specially fitted for the 
trade, in the route at. a. cost of £150 for each return 
trip, Auckland to Fiji. But adverse circumstances pre- 
vented the adoption of the new arrangement. For a 
time the Star of the South continued in the service, 
which soon afterwards the company abandoned alto- 
gether, and for a number of years the San Francisco 
steamers were the only mail boats on that run. 

The number of shallow bays, bar harbours, and small 
river ports near Auckland has' made that port the 
centre of a large "mosquito fleet," and the Auckland 
Steam Packet Company met with a great deal of oppo- 
sition from private steamship owners. In 1881 the 
present Northern Steamship Company was formed to 
take over the steamers and trade of the Auckland Steam 
Packet Company and other local steamers while the 
new company bought the Wellington from the Union 
Steamship Company. When the Auckland Steam 
Packet Company was absorbed, the Union Company 
bought that Company's Southern Cross and ran her in 
the Fiij trade for a number of years. Eventually, when 
her days of usefulness were over, she was scuttled in 


Cook Straits, somewhere near where the old Ladybird 
was afterwards scuttled. 

The Northern Company set about purchasing various 
vessels and their trades, these including the Coromandel 
Steamship Company's services between Auckland and the 
goldfields. Three years ago the Manakau Steamship Com- 
pany was bought out, and the Northern Company's "fleet 
now numbers 36 steamers and launches, engaged in ser- 
vices which provide communication with every coastal 
district in the Auckland province. In conjunction with 
the Union Company, the Northern Company main- 
tained a mail and passenger service between New 
Plymouth and Manakau, at first with the steamer 
Ngapuhi and later with the Rarawa. Now the comple- 
tion of the railway between Auckland and Wellington 
has caused a diminution in the traffic between these 
ports and the Northern Company's Rarawa runs the 
service single-handed, the Union boats having been 

The "ALBION" (1863), M'Meckan, Blackwood. 

The "RINGAROOMA" (1878), Union Line. 

[De Maus. 

4 l 

s »*« *h jji.gj | - 




Oh, when you pace the liner's deck, beside the bright 
saloon — 
The South Head light is fading far astern — 
Remember that on this same road, beneath the same old 
The old-time screws and paddles used to churn. 
The gentle Ann steamed over first — Sydney to Nelson 
The wind that blows sang in her rigging then. 
And soon the fast mail packets ran their merry easting 
And turned them round and picked it up again. 
The William Denny, Auckland-bound, Lord Ashley, 
running mails, 

The Airedale and Lord Worsley, eating coal 

The good crews fought the battle with the bitter south- 
east gale 
And brought their steamers through it sound and whole. 

After the loss of the William Denny in 1857, there 
was a break in the: steam service between Australia 
and New Zealand. But it will be seen from the follow- 
ing announcement made in the "Maori Messenger" of 


31st December, 1857, that active minds were 
arranging for a new service. The paper stated that "a 
contract had been made for four steamships which may- 
be shortly expected from England. Two are intended 
to trade between New Zealand and Australia, and the 
two others between the Northern and Southern ports 
of New Zealand." 

These vessels were built to the order of Messrs. 
Pearson and Coleman of Hull, who had secured con- 
tracts to run intercolonial mail services between New 
Zealand and Australia. When these shipowners found 
that the project required more money than they cared 
to risk, they formed the Intercolonial Royal Mail Steam 
Packet Company with a capital of £80,000. The man- 
ager for the Company in the colonies was Mr. E. 
Coleman, whose headquarters were at Sydney. 

A ten-years' agreement was made with this Company 
by the Imperial Government under which the steamers 
made regular voyages between Sydney and Nelson in 
consideration of a subsidy of £24,000 per annum, of 
which New Zealand paid £10,000, while the Imperial 
Government contributed the remaining £14,000. The 
vessels engaged were the Prince Alfred of 1200 tons, 
the Lord Worsley and the Lord Ashley of 500 tons, and 
the Airedale of 400 tons. The Prince Alfred sailed for 
Australia and New Zealand on 13th September, 1858, 
while the Lord Worsley steamed out to Dunedih in 
charge of Captain Robert Johnson, afterwards of the 
Marine Department, Wellington, and she was the first 
steamer to reach that port from London direct. The 
speed of these steamers under steam alone was about 



nine knots, though in October, 1859, the Lord Wors 
crossed from Sydney to Wellington in 4 days 18 hours. 
The connection oetweeii Sydney and Nelson was a 
monthly one, the Prince Alfred leaving Sydney twenty- 
four hours after the English mail steamer. On her 
arrival at Nelson, the mails for Wellington, Christ- 
church, and Dunedin were transhipped to one of the 
smaller vessels and the Prince Alfred proceeded to 
Manakau, calling at New Plymouth on the way. At 
Onehunga she waited a "reasonable time," and tiien 
with the outward Auckland and New Plymouth mails 
returned to Nelson where the Wellington and southern 
mails were collected for transit to Sydney in time to 
catch the outgoing Englisih mail steamer. 

Meanwhile, in the year 1858, the A.S.N. Company 
of Australia, agreed with the Government of Victoria 
and the Provincial Government of Wellington to main- 
tain a monthly mail steamer between Melbourne and 
Wellington. The Wonga Wonga, in charge of Captain 
Walker, made the initial trip, arriving in Wellington 
Harbour on 26th November, 1858, after a six-days' run 
from Melbourne. The second and succeeding voyages 
were made by the contract steamer Boomerang, com- 
manded by Captain Henry O'Reilly and afterwards by 
Captain Audley Coote. The Boomerang steamed into 
Wellington on Christmas Eve a.d. 1858 and her arrival 
was the signal for the firing of guns and general rejoic- 
ings, so keenly did the colonists desire fasti steam com- 
munication with Australia. A few days later, to wit 
on the lsrt January, 1859, the new lighthouse at Pen- 
carrow Head was lighted. At that time Wellington's 


signal station was on Mount Albert, behind Newtown 
Park. The ' 'Independent" in a leading article on Feb- 
ruary 16th suggested that, as the signalman's house was 
so dilapidated that it would probably fall down in the 
course of the winter, the signal station should be shifted 
to Pencarrow Heads and a repeating station built on 
Mount Victoria. The idea was evidently adopted, ex- 
cept that the outside station was placed on the town 
side of the entrance, instead of at Pencarrow. The 
paper also thought it would be a very good thing if the 
harbourmaster was provided with a marine barometer ! 

In its mail summary the same paper wrote : "On New 
Year's Day the first lighthouse in New Zealand was lit 
by the Superintendent of Wellington. It is situated on 
Pencarrow Head at the entrance of Wellington Harbour. 
It is an iron structure from the manufactory of Messrs. 
Cochrane and Co., after designs Of Mr. Edward Roberts 
of the Royal Engineers, and erected under the able 
superintendence of Mr. Wright, a gentleman engaged by 
the contractors and sent out for that purpose. . . . 
In calling it the first lighthouse we must no ; t omit to 
mention that a temporary light has been in existence on 
the same site for some years. Its cost is £5000." 

The service carried out by the Boomerang continued 
for nearly a year, being at length discontinued through 
the Intercolonial Company offering to run the service 
at a much lower cost 

The Wellington "Independent" of 18th February, 
1859, on which day the Boomerang had arrived from 
Melbourne after a passage of seven days fifteen hours, 
contained this paragraph : — "Wellington presents a more 


than usual bustling, gay appearance, there being no less 
than four steamers, three ships, three barques, two brigs, 
six brigantines, and nine schooners at anchor in the 
harbour.' ' 

While the "Spectator" of 26th February wrote: — 
"The Wonga Wonga, the first steamer of those now em- 
ployed, which commenced running regularly in the 
south, has only been at work some eighteen months 
and has now become a necessity to this province." At 
that time there were twelve steamers engaged in the 
interprovincial trade, five being subsidised by the Gen- 
eral Government and seven by the Provincial Govern- 
ments. "With all this steam," complained the "Specta- 
tor," "it creates considerable surprise and dissatisfaction 
that, owing to the bad arrangement of the timetable, 
there does not exist a fortnightly steam communication 
between the different provinces of New Zealand." And 
furthermore, Wellington did not possess a wharf! On 
the evening of the 23rd August, 1859, the Royal Mail 
Steamship Boomerang sailed from Wellington for the last 
time. The Intercolonial Company had been reviewing 
the whole of its itinerary, and under the re-arrangement 
of the running of its fleet a steamer plied between 
Sydney and Napier by way of Auckland while a second 
intercolonial route was from Sydney to Port Chalmers, 
calling at Nelson, Wellington, and Lyttelton. It was 
pointed out by the Company that for one-half the sub- 
sidy paid to the A.S.N. Company* the route of the 
second steamer would be altered to make Melbourne 
the Australian port. The Company had under con- 
struction a steamer of 500 tons and 120 horse-power, 


built, so as to carry 76 passengers and costing £25,000. 
This vessel was destined for the trade between Nelson 
and Auckland via. the East Coast and was to> constitute 
an additional service to the Manakau-Dunedin one. 
The Intercolonial Company stipulated that these offers 
were made conditionally on no other company's ships 
being employed by the Government, this stipulation 
having been evidently suggested, by the fact that the 
Wellington Steamship Company had been half-promised 
certain mail contracts and that the A.S.N. Company 
was trying to secure some. However, the Intercolonial 
Company's offer was accepted and a new contract made. 
The service between Dunedin, Lyttelton, Nelson, and 
Melbourne was begun in 1861 by the Prince Alfred 
and the Victory of 1100 tons and 200 horse-power. The 
Victory, however, was wrecked at Wickliffe Bay, Otago, 
on 3rd July, 1861. The Company's services were pass- 
ably well run, though at this time complaints were 
made of the accommodation on the Lord Worsley and 
the Lord Ashley. Captain John Vine Hall, who had 
succeeded Mr. Coleman as colonial manager, replied that 
it was hoped to provide two firskclass new ships. The 
loss of the Lord Worsley on 31st August, 1862, off 
Taranaki, hurried on this building. The Phoebe of 700 
tons and 120 horses-power nominal replaced the 
Lord Worsley which vessel, by the way, was once 
honoured by having as a passenger the notorious 
''Bully" Hayes. In March, 1863, the Company pur- 
chased the Paulet, 820 tons, 150 horse-power, and re- 
named her the Auckland. She had a speed of 11 J knots. 
It was in this same year that the Wellington Steam- 


ship Company went into liquidation owing to a 
law which provided that at the end of a stated time, 
joint stock companies must be wound up, their recon- 
struction being left to their shareholders' discretion. 
When this concern was wound up, a dividend of £19 on 
each. £10 share was paid. Messrs. Duncan and Vennel, 
shareholders in and agents for the Company, arranged 
for the refloating of the Company on broader lines under 
the title of the New Zealand Steam Navigation Com- 
pany, this step being induced, by the good prospects of 
trade and an announcement by the Government that in 
future all mail contracts were to be given to New Zea- 
land shipowners'. 

Mr. Richard Duncan, the new company's manager, 
and Captain Kenner proceeded to Sydney where they 
purchased the Ladybird and the Queen. The Queen 
had already sailed in New Zealand waters. The Lady- 
bird, 421 tons, was until quite recently afloat as a hulk 
in Port Nicholson, but even as a hulk her days of use- 
fulness were found to be over and the old vessel was 
towed out and scuttled in Cook Strait about twelve 
months ago. She was a pretty boat with clipper bows 
and graceful lines, and her coal consumption was enor- 
mous. The New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. also 
acquired the Rangatira from her Auckland owners and 
the Ahuriri from Napier. The Ahuriri in 1866 carried 
Major-General Chute from Wanganui to Wellington on 
the occasion of his return to the capital after subduing 
the Hau Hau rebellion. In addition to these ships the 
Wellington and Taranaki were built in Scotland by 
Blackwood and Gordon and were launched and sent to 


New Zealand in 1866. They were sister ships save that 
the Tarcmaki, 443 tons, had four feet more beam than 
the Wellington, 383 tons. 

The operations of the New Zealand Company met 
with much opposition from the Intercolonial Royal Mail 
Steamship Co. Their contract was made with the 
General Government, and its terms precluded the 
Government from employing the ships of any other com- 
pany. In addition to these services the I.R.M.S. Co. 
offered to build a steamer to run between Auckland and 
Nelson via Napier and Wellington. This vessel, the 
Claud Hamilton, was to cost £25,000, and to be of 800 
tons, 120 horse-power, and to carry 76 passengers. Her 
cabins were seven feet high and her engines situated 
amidships. Pending her arrival on the coast the White 
Swan was chartered by the I.R.M.S. Co. to run a six- 
weekly service. It was in the running of this service 
that tne two companies came strongly in opposition for 
the Hawkes Bay Provincial Government had an arrange- 
ment with the New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. to 
run the Wonga Wonga between Napier and Wellington 
to carry the inward and outward British mail and con- 
nect with the Sydney steamer. When the General 
Government entered into their contract with the Inter- 
colonial Company the Colonial Secretary wrote to the 
Superintendent of Hawkes Bay pointing out the un- 
desirability of the Wonga Wonga competing with the 
W /bite Swa.n. But the Superintendent replied that the 
White Swan did not return to Wellington in time to 
catch the outgoing Sydney steamer and she did not wait 
at Napier long enough to allow a reply to the English 


mail she brought. So that the Wonga Wonga suited 
their purpose best, and they intended to continue to 
engage her. At this time Hawkes Bay was fretting un- 
der the slight offered her by the Intercolonial Company 
discontinuing to make Napier the terminal port of the 
service which originally ran from Napier to Sydney via 
Auckland, and the Napier people were not inclined to 
stretch a point to assist the I.R.M.S. Co. Occasionally 
the Stormbird relieved the Wonga Wonga in the Napier 
trade. It was while in this trade that the White Swan 
was lost. Here is the story of the wreck of the White 
Swan, as told me by Captain John Symonds, octogen- 
arian, now living in Wellington, and at that time en- 
gineer of the Stormbird: — 

The Swan had on board 65 passengers, nearly all 
Government officials, with their families, and many 
public papers and records which were being taken to 
Wellington in connection with the removal of the seat 
of Government from Auckland. On the 27th of June, 
1862, the Stormbird, which belonged to a rival line, lay 
near the White Swan in Napier Harbour. In the course 
of conversation a friendly rivalry induced certain re- 
marks which culminated in the captain of the White 
Swan offering to wager that he would make the trip to 
Wellington in 19 hours. The White Swan sailed on 
Saturday afternoon, June 27, 1862. The Stormbird 
lay at Napier for two days, sailing for Wellington on 
June 29, 1862. Night came down, clear and fine, and 
the Stormbird sped down the coast, hugging it as closely 
as safety permitted, and though there was no "nigger on 
the safety valve," she was doing her best. Passing Flat 



Point a fire was noticed on the beach, and there was 
some discussion as to its cause, but it was decided that 
shepherds from a neighbouring station were camping 
there. On arrival at Wellington the Stormbird ran 
alongside a coal hulk to coal and await the arrival of 
watermen's boats to land her passengers. 

Says Captain Symonds : — "I had given orders for the 
fires under one of the boilers to be drawn and the boiler 
cooled off so as to clean it. Then I went on deck and 
called to the hulk-keeper, 'What time did the Swan get 
in?' 'She's not in yet/ he replied. Captain Mundle 
was on the bridge, and I turned and said, laughing : 
'Swan' 8 not in. She's broken down, I bet.' Then we 
saw a boat pulling out to us as fast as her crew could 
row. She ran alongside, and a paper was handed up to 
me. It read : 'Keep your steam up. The Swan's 
ashore.' That was all. I told the skipper, and 
after we had coaled, the 'Bird took aboard 
stores and bedding and an extra saloon staff. 
Then off we went 'lickety-clip' for Flat Point, where 
the Swan was piled up. The cooks and stewards worked 
double shifts, cooking and preparing in other ways for a 
crowd of passengers. When we arrived we saw the bow 
of the White Swan sticking out of the water some dis- 
tance from the beach, and on shore were all her crew 
and passengers. She had struck on a reef which runs 
far out, and had torn a hole in her bottom. Only the 
readiness of her engineer kept her afloat, for by rigging 
her condenser pumps so that they drew from the inside 
of her hull, instead of the outside, the ship was kept 
afloat until she was run ashore. They had barely time 


to do it. The fire we saw as we passed was one built 
by the passengers." The Stormbird carried the 65 pas- 
sengers and the Swan's crew to Wellington, but the 
Government records were lost. Sir William Fox offered 
£150 reward, yet no man ever earned it. All the ex- 
penses which the despatch of the Stormbird involved 
were borne by the Government. 

Another rival of the Intercolonial Company was the 
firm of McMeckan, Blackwood of Melbourne, which 
since 1859, had been running steamers between that port 
and Port Chalmers. In 1863 this firm was floated 
into a company called the Adelaide, Melbourne, and 
Otago S.N. Co. and ran the Aldinga of 446 tons gross 
and 140 horse-power, and the Alhambra, 642 tons, 454 
horse-power, between Dunedin and Auckland under 
agreement with the General Government, while the 
Omeo plied between Auckland and Melbourne and Syd- 
ney, but on the expiry of the contract, in 1865, the ves- 
sels were withdrawn. In 1864, the Nelson Government, 
always enterprising in the matter of communication 
with Australia arranged with the newly-formed Otago 
Steamship Company, of which the late E. B. Cargill 
was secretary, to establish a line on which the steamers 
Albion and Scotia plied between Nelson and Melbourne 
by way of Wellington and Dunedin, returning via Hoki- 
tika, Greymouth and Westport, the steamers running 
in opposite directions on this round trip. The Scotia 
was wrecked off Stirling Point on 3rd June, 1864, and 
was replaced by the South Australia of 400 tons net 
register. This service did not last very long, and the 
Albion, a steamer of 806 tons gross register and 180 


nominal horse-power, was sold to Sydney owners in 1868, 
and after taking on board 300 miners at Hokitika, sailed 
for Sydney where she was refitted. She then sailed for 
Japan, via Fiji, making the voyage in 32 steaming days. 
The South Australia returned to Melbourne. The Inter- 
colonial Company's steamer Tararua, 850 tons, which 
entered the intercolonial service in 1865, made a smart 
run across from Sydney to Nelson in 4 J days. From 
Picton to Wellington she steamed in 4 J hours, while the 
voyage between Wellington and Port Chalmers direct 
occupied only 16 J hours. 

While this company had secured the intercolonial 
contracts, the Government did not altogether neglect the 
claims of the New Zealand Steam Navigation Co. In 
1866 a contract was made with the local company for 
services between 

1. Taranaki, Raglan, and Manakau. 

2. Auckland and Dunedin via East Coast. 

3. Manakau and Bluff via way ports. 

The steamers Wellington, Ladybird, and Queen per- 
formed these services. But the Intercolonial Company 
still continued to add to its fleet. And when the Pan- 
ama mail service was offered for tender the Intercolonial 
Company secured the contract for the Pacific portion of 
the service. From that time the fortunes of the Inter- 
colonial Royal Mail Steam Packet Company were 
merged in that of the Panama, New Zealand, and Aus- 
tralian Royal Mail Company, while the New Zealand 
Steam Navigation Company struggled on in competition 
with its powerful rival, sustaining a rebuff in the 
foundering of the Taranaki on Boat Harbour Rock, 


Tory Channel, on 10th August, 1868. The vessel after 
lying there for a year, was raised and towed to Wel- 
lington on 1st October, 1869, and after refitting proved 
a useful ship to her owners in the shipping war that was 
waged during the ensuing six years. 



They steered nor'-east and they spread white wings, 

For the steam was weak and slow — 
And the songs that the full-powered liner sings 

Are the songs that they used to know. 
The winds have hidden the tracks laid clear 

But we know where the old roads are, 
And one of these days the Mail will steer, 

Nor'-east for Panama. 

More than four hundred years ago men endeavoured to 
find a quick way round the earth by crossing the 
Isthmus of Panama. In more modern times the estab- 
lishment of overland or water communication between 
the oceans became necessary, and sixty years ago this 
problem of making such, communication profitable was 
as vital and pressing in the minds of statesmen and 
travellers as it is to-day. The first concession, empower- 
ing the construction of a railway across the Isthmus was 
granted in May, 1847, to an association of Frenchmen 
represented by one Mateo Kline. This company failed 
to carry out its 1 contract, and its privileges' were trans- 
fered in December, 1848, to a group of United States 
financiers, Aspinwell, Chauncey Stephens, and others, 


who organised the Panama Railroad Company with a 
capital of 7,000,000 dollars. Early in 1855 the railway, 
which is 47^ miles long and built on a 5ft. guage, was 
opened for traffic. 

Prior to this, in the year 1853, when the eyes of 
British shipowners were focussed on the Cape and Suez 
routes to Australia and when a fast West Indian steam, 
service was in operation, there was formed in London 
the Australian Direct Steam Navigation Company, the 
object of the promoters of this concern being to estab- 
lish a line of steamers in the Atlantic and Pacific to 
carry mails between London and Melbourne by way of 
Panama. From Milford Haven to Navy Bay was the 
Atlantic run, a distance of 4552 miles. In the Pacific 
it was proposed to run to Otaheite, 4488 miles, and 
from there to Sydney and Melbourne alternately. The 
total distance to be steamed was 12,300 miles, and it 
was proposed to use paddle steamers fitted with elabor- 
ate condensing machinery. An interesting feature of 
this scheme was the fact that the screw propeller was 
rejected as being a new-fangled idea that would soon be 
discarded by the shipping world. And the paddle 
wheel was pronounced to be the only sensible means for 
traversing the oceans by the power of steam. But for 
the outbreak of the Crimean War, this service would 
doubtless have been run; the steamers Sovereign and 
Prince of Wales were to engage in the Pacific portion 
of the run, and as stated elsewhere the Stormbird was 
to have acted as tender to these vessels. But the out- 
break of the war and other circumstances prevented the 
service becoming an accomplished fact. The Imperial 



and Colonial Governments kept the matter of a Panama 
service steadily in mind, and in 1858 a proposal was made 
to "establish, a line of fast packets of about 2000 tons 
and calculated for an average speed of 12 knots to run 
between Australia, New Zealand, Panama, and Van 
Couver's Island.' ' 

New Zealand was the chief colonial mover in the nego- 
tiations which followed and which terminated in 1863 
in an agreement being entered into by the Governments 
of New South Wales and New Zealand, and the Panama, 
New Zealand and Australian Koyal Mail Company for the 
carriage of mails between Panama and these countries. 
The capital of the Company was £375,000, and with it 
was incorporated the Intercolonial Royal Mail Company. 
Between Aspinwall and Southampton the carriage was 
performed by the West Indian mail steamers at the 
expense of the British Government. At tnis time there 
were four routes offering by which, to cross the Isthmus 
— Nicaragua, Honduras, Tehauntepec and Panama. 
The Panama Railroad Company and the Government of 
New Granada offered special facilities to the mail com- 
pany to take the mails and passengers over the Panama 
route. The representative of New Granada pointed out, 
in a letter written to the Panama Steamship Company, 
that there had been no deaths from fever amongst 
through passengers for some time past, some fatalities 
which had occurred being among those who lingered a 
few days en route. Truly a pestilential country to 
travel through! 

The contract time allowed between Panama and Wel- 
lington was 720 hours, and the speed of the vessels was 

The "NEBRASKA" (1870), Californian Line. 

The "CITY OF NEW YORK" (1875), 
American Pacific Line. 

[De Maus. 


to be not less than eight knots an hour. There were 
four steamers engaged in this Trans-Pacific run. 

Name Tonnage. Horse-power. Size of Pro- 

Nominal. Indicated poller. 

Kaikoura ... 1501 400 1500 15 Feet 

Ruahine ... 1503 350 1500 Twin screws 

Rakaia ... 1456 350 1500 15 Feet 

Mataura ... 1786 450 1500 15 Feet 

These ships were about 260 feet long with a beam of 
some 32 feet and 26 feet depth of hold. They were two- 
masted, brig rigged, and had fine lines and lofty, raking 
spars. It was reported of them "they would lie so close 
to the wind under the screw — they would run within 
four points of the wind." The Prince Alfred was held 
in reserve at Panama in case of a breakdown of one of 
the regular liners. 

When the Panama, New Zealand and Australian 
Company was formed, with the taking over of the 
business of the Intercolonial Eoyal Mail Company, the 
following steamships, already running in the coastal and 
intercolonial trades of Australasia, were acquired :— 
Tararua, 850 tons, 160 h.p. j Auckland, 850 tons, 150 
h.p. ; Otago, 800 tons, 150 h.p. ; Claud Hamilton, 800 
tons, 120 h.p. ; Rangitoto, 650 tons, 140 h.p. ; Phoebe, 
650 tons, 120 h.p.; Lord Ashley, 500 tons, 90 h.p.; 
Egmont, 500 tons, 90 h.p. ; Airedale, 400 tons, 80 horse- 
power nominal. 

The routes followed were these : — 

Bluff to Onehunga via Dunedin, Lyttelton, Wel- 
lington, Nelson, and New Plymouth. 
Bluff to Wellington, Nelson, and New Plymouth. 


Dunedin to Sydney via Lyttelton, Wellington, 
Pic ton, and Nelson. 

Dunedin to Sydney via Lyttelton, Wellington, 
Napier and Auckland. 

Hokitika to Sydney. 

Nelson to Melbourne via Hokitika. 
The Panama Company enjoyed a monopoly in the 
matter of mail subsidies. An official communication 
dated 13th February, 1865, states that "the conditions 
imposed by the Assembly have been carried out as 
regards the monopoly clauses and that a lump sum of 
£95,000 has been agreed upon for an 8| knot service 
to Sydney, which is £19 2 0O0 in excess of the amounts 
at the disposal of Ministers. This excess Canterbury 
and Wellington will guarantee between them." Of the 
Company's ocean steamers the Euahine was the first 
ocean-going steamer to be fitted with twin-screws. She 
was built by J. W. Dudgeon, of Millwall, and this firm 
also built the vessel's engines. 

The* Kaikoura began the service, sailing from Sydney 
on 15th June, 1866. This steamer, which proved on her 
trials that she could steam at a speed of 13 knots on a 
coal consumption of 28 tons per day, left Plymouth in 
March, 1866, for Sydney, calling at Cape Verde Islands 
and St. Vincent. When off St. Helena it was found 
that one of her propeller-blades was missing. However, 
the Cape was reached on 7th April, the Kaikoura 
having steamed, by the log, 4000 miles since leaving 
St. Vincent. Leaving Capetown all went well till within 
500 miles of Port Philip when another blade was lost 
from the propeller. Captain Wheeler was in charge 


during the passage, which occupied 56 days from 
Plymouth. The saloon appointments of the Kaikoura 
were considered at that time to be excellent, and she 
had acccmmodation for 100 saloon and 60 second-class 

The Rakaia went from Milford Haven to Panama 
via Cape Horn in order to begin the service from the 
Panama side of the Pacific. She made the voyage en- 
tirely under steam, a distance of 11,315 miles, in 46 \ 
days, at an average speed of 10.37 knots on a coal con- 
sumption of 30 tons per day. She left Panama for 
Wellington on 24th June, 1866, reached the New Zea- 
land port 28 days later, and was accorded a great ova- 
tion. In the first three months of her commission 3he 
steamed 19,000 miles without any mishap, in charge oi 
Captain Wright. 

The Kaikoura took 27 days to reach Panama after 
leaving Wellington and, as with the Rakaia, her arrival 
was the signal for much rejoicing. In fact, whenever 
these vessels arrived at any port, the people appear to 
have shown great excitement, amounting almost to an 
admission of a lack of faith in the powers of the 
steamships to arrive at all. The Kaikoura' s daily runs 
varied from 164 to 280 knots. Twice on the voyage her 
engines were stopped for 2 J hours. In those days it was 
no unusual thing for a steamer to stop several times dur- 
ing a voyage for repairs. The average speed on this 
trip was a fraction over ten knots an hour. On the 
return voyage she made only 9 J knots, and on one day 
her propeller was disconnected for sixteen hours, in 
spite of which she logged 232 miles, principally under 
sail. The amount of coal consumed is given as "moder- 


ate," but for vessels of such small bunker capacity their 
coal consumption constituted a serious fault, and it 
made the establishment of a coaling station between 
Wellington and Panama a necessity. Captain John 
Vine Hall, the Superintendent of the line in Australia, 
was deputed to make enquiries as to a suitable place 
among the Southern Pacific Islands. At last he de- 
cided on Rapa or Opara, an island first discovered by 
Vancouver the English navigator, about 700 miles east 
of the Society Group. It lies on the verge of the South 
Archipelago, and was, as nearly as possible, two-thirds 
of the distance between Panama and Wellington and in 
the direct track of the Panama steamers. In 
the track upwards to Panama the winds were found 
variable, as the course lay in the well-known belt of 
westerly winds. From Panama to Wellington, they 
laid a course further north, through the heart of the 
easterly or trade winds prevailing generally, though 
varying with the seasons, between the Equator and 
southern tropics. In the latter part of the voyage the 
winds were found less fair, and in trying to avoid the 
prevailing westerlies, the captains adopted the course 
which brought them close to Rapa. Captain Hall went 
in the Ruahine to Rapa, where he found a deep harbour 
capable of accommodating forty vessels, surrounded by 
mountains. A poor quality of coal was used by the 
natives for cooking, but on examination it was found 
to be absolutely useless for steaming purposes, and the 
company established a coal hulk there for the conveni- 
ence of their steamers. This monthly mail service via 
Panama was maintained for three years, the vessels 


running to time fairly well, though occasionally one 
would incur a penalty of a few hundred pounds. The 
postage of letters by this route cost one shilling an 
ounce, the Panama Railroad Company charging 22 cents 
per pound for carrying the mail across the Isthmus. 
The saloon fare to Panama from Wellington was £65, 
and to Southampton £100. Melbourne, Sydney, Auck- 
land and Dunedin passengers paid £5 extra. There 
seems at first to have been a fair number of passengers 
travelling by the line. It was essentially a rich man's 
route, as indeed were most of the mail lines in those 
days. The passengers' entertainment was catered for 
as on modern liners by the promotion of concerts and 
theatrical performances. Here is a copy of a pro- 
gramme for such a performance, held on board the 
Mataura, the largest of the fleet and the last to enter 
the service. Across forty- two years of progress, it brings 
an air of good-fellowship, and one gains an idea of the 
age of some familiar sayings and ancient jests about 
dogs and other things. And the wits of those days had 
a good, safe butt in the crinoline. 

S.S. MATAURA, 1867, 
Under the patronage of Capt. G. E. Bird and a distinguished 
circle of ladies. 
On Thursday next 31st October, the Mataura Society 
will make their appearance in the laughable farce 


Amanthus ... ... C. Abraham, Esq. 


Susan ... 

Capt. Lillipop 

Baraby Babicombe, Esq 
Brownsmith, Esq. 

Miss Kitchener 

Miss Douglas 

A. Buchanan 

C Watson 

Hugh Millman, Esq. 


An interval of 15 minutes for refreshments and a supply 
of laughing gas for the side-splitting farce entitled, 


Lancelot Banks Hugh Moore 

Perkyn Puddifoot ... Tom Browne 

Gaoler ... ... ... Tom Douglas 

Prices — Pit, nothing. Boxes, less. 

The public are requested to bring no change for reserved 
seats as none will be demanded. Overcoats and crinolines 
may, if convenient, be left with the policeman at the door. 
No dawgs allowed. 
Director, HUGH MILLMAN. 

Stage Manager, W. F. WHEELER. 

The last ship to run on the line was the Rakaia, 
which left Sydney for Panama on 22nd December, 1868. 
With the opening of the railway across the United 
States the traffic of the Pacific was diverted to San 
Francisco; the fevers contracted by passengers on the 
overland journey across Panama made the line unpopu- 
lar, and heavy expenses and constant friction between 
the company and the Governments helped to terminate 
a service which, considering the times and the long 
sear-run, nearly seven thousand miles, was a creditable, 
if perhaps, a somewhat ambitious one. The Panama 
Company's four ocean liners returned to London. They 
were all taken over by the West India Royal Mail Com- 
pany, which had an interest in the Panama Company. 
In subsequent negotiations for a service between Aus- 
tralia and San Francisco, the Kmkoura, Rakaia, and 
Jttuahine were offered by the Atlantic and Pacific Mail 
Company of America for service. When the Royal 
Mail Company took the vessels, the Kaikoura became 


the Tiber; the Rakaia, the Ebro; and the Ruahine, the 
Liffey. The Tiber was wrecked at Hayti in 1882; the 
Liffey ran ashore on the Uruguay coast in 1874 and 
was lost, and the Ebro was sold to the Transport Com- 
pany of Barcelona and renamed the Baldomera 
Inglesais. In 1900 this vessel was still in active service 
and may be so yet. 

After the collapse of the Panama service, the Panama 
Company, the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company 
and other ship-owners fought bitterly for the New Zea- 
land intercolonial and coastal trade. In the early 
"seventies" both these companies passed into the realms 
of history. The greater part of the Panama fleet was 
purchased by the A.S.N. Company and Messrs. 
McMeckan, Blackwood and Co., of Melbourne, while 
the New Zealand Company was bought out by the 
young and vigorous Union Steamship Company of 

Immediately on the cessation of the Panama service, 
arrangements were made by the New Zealand Govero- 
ment with McMeckan, Blackwood and Company to run 
a service between Victoria and New Zealand in connec- 
tion with the Suez service. The P. and O. steamer was 
expected to await the arrival of the New Zealand boat, 
but on 21st April, 1874, the Baroda sailed from Mel- 
bourne without the New Zealand mails;, the Alhambra 
being late when she did arrive, the mails were hurriedly 
transferred to the Aldinga, which set out after the 
Home liner and after a strenuous run caught her at 
Adelaide. It was not without reason that the Aldinga 
had been called McMeckan's "fancy boat." 



Nebraska — she was a ship o' mine — 

Her crank had a twelve-foot throw — 
I fired in the California line 

Full forty years ago. 
Nevada — she was a 'Frisco boat, 

The Moses Taylor too, 
The big Dacotah was scarce afloat 

Before the line withdrew. 
With paddles trimmed to skim the brine, 

Just right, not high nor low, 
We shook things up on the 'Frisco line 

Some forty years ago. 

It was in tihe year 1869, after the cessation of tihe 
Panama service, that Lieutenant G. A. Woods, Colonial 
Mail Surveyor, was instructed to frame a report on the 
best routes for a mail service with. England via America. 
He urged the claims of the route via Tahiti for some- 
what similar reasons to those put forward by Captain 
Hall when advocating the use of the island of Opara 
as a coaling station in the Panama run. Mr. Woods 

The "MARIPOSA" (1886), Oceanic Line. [De Maus. 

j. J J. 



\U^.JL A %M J 

. i 





The "SONOMA" (1907), Oceanic Line. 


stated: — " Assuming Sydney to be the port of 
departure and Auckland to be made the port of call for 
New Zealand, the distance to San Francisco, via Auck- 
land, isi 6945 1 miles, while the distance via Auckland 
and Tahiti is 7140 miles . . . Supposing Wellington 
to be the port of call, the distance is 7083 miles via 
Wellington and 7190 miles via Tahiti . . . With 
respect to all distances, the total route via Wellington 
and Tahiti is only a small increase of fifty milea over 
that via Auckland and Tahiti. But by making Wel- 
lington the port of call the steamers would gain all the 
advantages of the prevailing westerly winds south of the 
equator to carry them into that part of the Pacific Ocean 
where the trade winds are regularly established through- 
out the year." 

"After carefully considering the question from the 

nautical point of view," concluded Mr. Woods, "I am 

of opinion that the most advantageous route for an 

ocean postal service to San Francisco for the benefit of 

the Australian colonies and New Zealand would be with 

Sydney as the port of arrival and departure (until there 

are facilities in Wellington for the docking of large 

ships), the vessels calling at Wellington and Tahiti 

en route, and I calculate the voyage could be easily 

accomplished with vessels of 2500 tons — from Sydney 

to Wellington, four days; Wellington to Tahiti, eight 

days; Tahiti to San Francisco, thirteen days; total, 

twenty-five days. Add to this stoppages of two days 

and the time occupied in going from San Francisco to 

New York, six days, and by Cunard's from New York 

to Liverpool, ten days." This scheme was designed to 



bring Wellington within thirty-eight days of London 
forty years ago, in the days of ten or twelve-knot 
steamers. His report, however, was not adopted at that 
time; not, in fact, until forty years later. 

New York and San Francisco had just been linked 
by the railway, and San Francisco had sprung into 
prominence as the natural Pacific port of the United 
States. Shipping companies transferred their patronage 
from Panama to San Francisco^ and new steamship lines 
came into existence. A fleet of 3000-ton paddle steamers 
was equipped for service between 'Frisco and Japan 
and China; the South American services were extended 
further south. It was an epoch which marked the entry 
of mercantile America into the ocean services of the 
Pacific. And it was natural that the eyes of ambitious 
Americans should be turned to far-away Austra- 
lasia. The quickest route to London from Sydney 
appeared to lie across the greatest Republic on earth 
and that Republic was not slow in pressing its claims. 
In the year 1870, the first San Francisco service was 
run, the beginning of a thirty-eight years' war with time 
and distance, the history of which is a record of 
ambitious aims and fast passages, marred again and 
again by bitter failure®. 

When it was decided to establish) a steam mail ser- 
vice between Sydney and San Francisco, the Atlantic 
and Pacific Steamship Corporation offered to run the 
steamers Euahine, Kaikoura, and Bakaia, formerly 
on the Panama line, but this offer was declined on the 
grounds that the vessels were too small. And pending 
a definite scheme being devised, the offer of Mr. H. H. 


Hall, American Consul at Sydney, to run a temporary 
monthly service was accepted. 

This arrangement was carried on from month to 
month at a cost of £1000 a month to the New South 
Wales and New Zealand Governments, the liability 
being equally divided. There appears to have been a 
certain amount of distrust evidenced by all the parties to 
this contract, and on more than one occasion the 
captains refused to land the mails until the subsidy was 
paid. Mr. Hall chartered the A.S.N. Company's 
steamers Rangdtira and Balclutha. These connected at 
Honolulu with the Northern Pacific Company's Ajax, 
which plied between that port and Honolulu. The 
Rangatira and Balclutha were soon replaced by the 
City of Melbourne and Wonga Wonga. On several 
occasions these vessels had to steam from Honolulu 
to Sydney, burning wood, as the Honolulu coal suppliers 
declined to make any but cash transactions wi£h the mail 
contractor, and apparently the cash was not always 

In 1871 negotiations which had been proceeding re- 
sulted in an agreement being made by Mr. Webb, senior 
partner for the firm of Webb and Holladay, who con- 
stituted the Californian Line, to run a fleet of four 
paddle steamers between Sydney and San Francisco, 
calling at Auckland and Honolulu. These steamers 
were of considerable size, as the dimensions show : — 

Nevada 2145 tons net, 850 horse-power (nominal) 

Nebraska 2143 „ 850 ,, ,, 

Dacotah H145 ,, 850 ,, „ 

M»ses Taylor 1354 ,, 500 


The first three of these steamers were built during the 
year 1867 at New York, of wood, and classed Al at 
Lloyds for a period of seven years. No expense had been 
spared in their construction, as their owner, Mr. Webb, 
built them with a view to selling them to the Federal 
Government for service as transports during the Ameri- 
can Civil War. But the Government merely chartered 
them, and at the conclusion of the war Mr Webb had 
the vessels on his hands, and after running them in the 
West Indian trade for a time, sent the Nevada and 
Nebraska round Cape Horn and up to San Francisco, 
where there seemed more profitable charters offering. 
From the News of the World published in San Fran- 
cisco, the following account is taken of the appointments 
of these vessels at the time of their entering the Aus- 
tralasian trade: — "The Nevada and Nebraska are sister 
ships in size, cabin accommodation and power, 3000 tons 
burden, built of live oak, double-planked 4 inches thick, 
iron-stripped. On a trial the Nebraska averaged 15 
knots an hour. She will average a speed of 340 miles 
a day when working up to full power, and is looked 
upon as the fastest ship on this coast. 

"Running along the centre of the deck are twenty 
beautiful staterooms, each having a close and Venetian 
door opening on to the deck and a window 32 inches 
square. These staterooms are all double with doors on 
either side and ventilators on top. Contrast these beau- 
tiful windows with the augur-holes of the Wonga 
Wonga! Right aft is the ladies' sitting-room, well 
fitted up, private, and well ventilated. Forward of this 
is the smoke-room, fitted up with a degree of comfort 


seldom seen on board ship. On the main deck is the 
grand saloon, 90 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 8 feet 
high. On each side of this saloon is a row of state 
rooms opening on the deck and accommodating 80 pas- 
sengers, with two bridal chambers in the forward part of 
the saloon. The berth deck is occupied by the third- 
class passengers, and will accommodate 620 of this class. 
Abaft this there are 40 well ventilated state-rooms for 
second-class passengers. The sleeping and other accom- 
modation comes up to the standard of firstrclasa on the 
City of Melbourne. For extinguishing fire, an iron pipe 
leading the whole length of the ship has some fifteen 
branches of hose always connected and water and steam 
are available. There are life-buoys in every berth and 
boats capable of carrying 830 passengers. The Aus- 
tralians returned from their visit to the Nevada and 
Nebraska fully satisfied that no such ships had ever 
visited Australasian waters." 

The Nebraska opened the service, sailing from San 
Francisco on 8th April, 1871. The Dacotah which fol- 
lowed the Nebraska and Nevada, arrived in Australia in 
1873. She carried the highest pressure of steam — 601bs. to 
the square inch, against the other vessels' 201bs., and this 
high pressure was the cause of endless trouble, for 
cylinders were not bored so. accurately then as now, and 
with high pressures a lot of leakage past the piston 
occurred. In addition to this the marine condenser was 
in its most primitive form, and there was a difficulty in 
condensing the Dacotah's steam. These vessels were 
typical American paddle-steamers. It ia only in com- 
paratively recent years that American shipbuilders have 


learned to construct screw-st earners. In those days 
paddles were fitted in all American-built steam- 
ships, and the engine used was the single^cylinder beam- 
engine. In the vessels of the Calif ornian Line this cylinder 
was set in a vertical position. The piston-rod worked 
straight upwards and was attached to one extremity of a 
horizontal beam which was pivoted at its centre to a pil- 
lar on the deck near the funnel. From the other end 
of this beam a connecting-rod communicated with the 
paddle crank — the crank having a twelve-foot stroke. 
As may be judged, the machinery was Titanic in its pro- 
portions. Had it not been so colossal, it would never 
have whirled the thirty-foot, paddles as! it did, for in 
proper trim the steamers sometimes attained a seventeen- 
knot speed. When so trimmed they were probably the 
fastest vessels ever employed on the 'Frisco service. 
The trimming of the paddles, however, affected the 
speed very materially, and when heavily loaded, the floats 
choked in leaving the water, resulting in a dragging 
which brought the speed down to eleven knots. It may 
be that during their war-time service the Nevada and 
her sisters acquired their semi-military and naval style. 
At any rate, when they were running the 'Frisco mail 
their commanders earned on in a high-handed manner. 
They allowed no one to forget that they were the Mail. 
Leaving port, they fired guns and when they signalled 
for the pilot, were it early dawn or after dark, they 
demanded quick despatch. Old seafarers tell a story 
of one of these American skippers who was bound from 
Auckland to Sydney. He was running late and beating 
the seas to white foam in his efforts to pick up time. 


One night a small barque loomed suddenly in hisi path, 
and though the steamer's helm was put hard over one of 
the paddle-boxes struck the sailing ship with sufficient 
force to cause her to founder during the next day. The 
mailboat never paused though her port paddle-box was 
damaged and some of the paddle-floats broken. On 
arrival at Sydney the captain "guessed he grazed some- 
thing" on the way across. The captain of the barque, 
with his wife and child and the ship's company, took 
to the boats and they were rescued by a passing ship the 
next day, most fortunately as it proved, for a south-east 
gale arose soon after their rescue. When the full 
account of the accident reached Sydney there was much 
indignation against the steamboat captain, and during 
the several subsequent visits he paid to Sydney he was 
subjected to a good deal of candid criticism. Nothing, 
however, could be done officially as his ship flew the 
American flag, and the American authorities apparently 
did not consider the occurrence demanded an inquiry. 
The steamer was the Nevada and tMI sailer was the 
barque A. H. Badger. 

The effect of the long sea-runs on. primitive machinery 
designed only for river and coastal work soon began 
to be manifest. The Nevada was the subject of inquiry 
by the Australian and New Zealand Postmasters as to 
her fitness to carry passengers. Her crank-shaft was 
reported to have a bad flaw in it, and owing to this' 
and leaky boilers it was found necessary to reduce her 
steam pressure to 61b. per square inch. Retribution 
came to her owners from a quarter whence it was least 
expected. Some passengers sent a protest to the United 


States at the time when the Ship Subsidy Bill was 
before Congress, and Congress promptly withdrew the 
subsidy to the line. The Moses Taylor, a smaller 
vessel, made the connection between San Francisco and 
Honolulu. In April, 1872, she failed to reach Honolulu 
in time to connect with the Nebraska, which vessel was 
taken right through to 'Frisco, thus causing a gap in the 
service which evoked protests from the Australian and 
New Zealand Premiers. Being in disfavour on both 
sides of the Pacific the Californian line soon ceased 
operations, the Nebraska sailing from Sydney in April, 
1873, being the last of the fleet to visit Australasian 
waters. This vessel appears to have been the best of 
the bunch and some of her steaming times are inter- 
esting : — 

San Francisco to Honolulu ... 7 days 15£ hours 

Honolulu to Auckland 14 days 16£ hours 

Auckland to Sydney ... ... 4 days 11 hours 

A total of 26 days 19 hours 

For a few trips at the beginning of the service these 
steamers forked alternately at Auckland for Sydney 
and Port Chalmers. On the latter route they called at 
Napier, Wellington, and Lyttelton en route. 

On the cessation of this service Mr H. Hall again 
began running a temporary service with the steamers 
Mongol and. Tartar chartered from their owners, the 
New York, London, and China Steamship Company. 
They were sister ships of 2000 tons register. The Mon- 
gol arrived at Port Chalmers from Liverpool on 13th 
February, 1874, after a voyage of 49 J days. The 



steamer McGregor also engaged in the service, and on 
15th September, 1874, arrived at Auckland with 2,500 
letters and 80,000 newspapers for New Zealand, and 
132 bags for Australia. The captain refused to land 
the New Zealand mails until he was paid the subsidy 
due for that voyage. 

The routes followed were from Sydney to Kandavau 
in Fiji, and from Dunedin to Kandavau, where tran- 
shipment was sometimes made, and sometimes the steam- 
ers ran right through to San Francisco. Soon after the 
service started an effort was made by merchants of 
Levuka to have the mail-boats call there instead of 
Kandavau, but without success. The Granada was the 
Honolulu- 'Frisco steamer, though occasionally she 
visited Autralasia. At the end of 1874 the Cyphrenes 
and Mikado replaced the Tartar and Mongol, which re- 
turned to America, and later on the A.S.N. Company's 
City of Melbourne, fitted with new compound engines 
ran a few trips, making one notably fast voyage of 26 
steaming days from Sydney to San Francisco. About 
this time an offer was made by the North German 
Lloyd Company to run 2500-ton steamers on the 'Frisco 
line, but the offer was declined in favour of one made 
by the American Pacific Mail Company in conjunction 
with the Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. of Glasgow, build- 
ers and owners of the steamers Zealandia and Austra- 
lia. Before Mr. Hall with his partner Mr. P. S. 
Forbes, relinquished their mail running they incurred 
a penalty of £10,000 for a breach of contract. After 
protracted litigation, a Mr. Cunningham, one of their 
sureties, paid £5,000 to the New South Wales Govern- 
ment, and a like sum to New Zealand. 


The Pacific Mail Co. had a large trade with China, 
and Japan, and a good financial connection in the 
United States, and it was hoped by contracting with 
this company to get quick despatch for the English 
mails across the American continent. The service under 
the company's flag was performed by the following 
steamers : — Vasco de Gama, Colima, City of San Fran- 
cisco, City of New York, City of Sydney, Zealandia, 
and Australia. A San Francisco newspaper thus noted 
the beginning of the Pacific Company's contract: — 

"The Australian contract with the Pacific Mail Com- 
pany is to be inaugurated on the 12th September, 1875, 
by the despatch of the Colima for Sydney. This is one 
of the fastest boats the Pacific Company own. The 
Vasco de Gama is to follow in October, but at present is 
reported wrecked at Nanaimo. The new steamers City 
of Washington, City of San Francisco, and City of 
Sydney are to leave New York at once to take up the 
Australian running. They are to be the permanent 
boats with the others built in Scotland." 

The City of New York appears to have been substi- 
tuted for the City of Washington, or maybe the news- 
paper had been misinformed as to the names of the 
vessels. The Vasco de Gama and the Colima were only 
employed pending the arrival of the regular steamers 
of the line, and their ultimate withdrawal seems tc 
have been warranted by their general unfitness for pas- 
senger traffic. The Colima repeatedly broke down, and 
on one occasion when she arrived at Kandavau from 
Australia her passengers hooted her. The three Cities 
were built at Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1875, and. were 


handsome vessels of 3000 tons burden, three masted, 
and having one funnel. On one occasion the City of 
San Francisco ran from Auckland to San Francisco in 
24 days 12 hours, this being 34 hours under contract 
time. The steamers Zealandia and Australia, built by 
the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company of Glasgow, were 
four-masted steamers with one funnel, and tHeir ton- 
nage was 2737 gross, and 1714 nett measurement. Their 
nominal horse-power was 500. The Pacific Company's 
service was actually begun by the Golima leaving 'Frisco 
on 10th November, 1875. The Vasco de Gama sailed 
from Sydney on 19th November, 1875, but as she was 
not to follow the contract route, the New South Wales 
Government declined to send mails by her. 

Before her retirement from the service the Colima 
broke a crank shaft off Banks Peninsula, and was towed 
into Lyttelton by the Union Company's Maori. One of 
the Cities on her way from 'Frisco to Honolulu, cracked 
her high-pressure piston-head. But this mishap did 
not dismay the skipper, who reached Honolulu under 
one engine, and, furthermore, he engaged a tug to tow 
him clear of Honolulu Harbour, and then came on to 
Auckland using only one cylinder, thus earning the 
subsidy, despite the fact that he arrived some days 

In 1877 the route via the Fijis was abandoned in 
favour of the Honolulu course, as the Fijis were con- 
sidered by seamen and underwriters to be unsafe for 
night running. 

The Pacific Mail Company's last contract expired in 
the year 1885, and as there were rumours of the estab- 

9 2 


lishment of an ocean mail service on the proposed All 
Red Route this company did not tender for further ser- 
vice. Negotiations began in which three ship-owning 
firms were concerned, the Oceanic Company of America, 
the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, and 
the Fairfield Company, which still had the steamers 
Zealandia and Australia. The Fairfield Company even- 
tually dropped out of the arrangement. 

After a great deal of correspondence and considera- 
tion, a three years* contract was secured conjointly by 
the Oceanic Company of America and the Union S.S. 
Co. of New Zealand. The Oceanic ships were the 
Alameda and Mariposa, built in 1884, of 3158 tons 
gross measurement, 1959 net, engines of 3000 horse- 
power indicated, and in cabin arrangement closely 
resembling the Wairarapa and Manapouri. The Union 
Company's steamer was the Mararoa, of 2598 tons, and 
3500 horse-power, a ship well-known in Australasian 
waters. She arrived at Sydney in November, 1885, a 
new ship, and sailed in charge of Captain Edie on 3rd 
December on her maiden voyage to San Francisco, 
where her officers were entertained to celebrate the arri- 
val of this, the first triple expansion steamer in San 
Francisco Bay. 

Meanwhile the Alameda left San Francisco on 21st 
November of the same year. Six hundred hours were 
allowed for the through trip. The southern New Zea- 
land mail was run down from Auckland via Onehunga, 
and the West Coast, and it was about this time that 
the Takapuna entered into service between Dunedin and 
Manakau, she having been specially built to negotiate 
the bar and to maintain a high speed at sea. 


After one or two runs the Mararoa's mail room was 
found to be too small. In consequence she was with- 
drawn and the old Zealandia was chartered by the 
Oceanic Company to replace her. The terms of the con- 
tract provided that the Union was to run one vessel and 
the Oceanic Company two. But having no steamer suit- 
able, the Union Company allowed Mr. J. D. Spreckels, 
who virtually was the Oceanic Co., to run three. This 
concession gave rise to a little trouble when, in 1890, 
the Union Company's new liner Monowai, of 3433 tons 
and 3000 horse-power, arrived in New Zealand and en- 
tered the service, taking the outward December mails 
from Sydney. The chartered steamer Zealandia was 
also timed to sail, she having brought down the mails, 
and the Oceanic Company protested against the Mono- 
wai taking the mail when one of their ships was avail- 
able. The Union Company, however, was merely ad- 
hering to the terms of the contract. Both ships sailed 
almost simultaneously, and the result was an ocean 
race across the Pacific, in which the Zealandia beat the 
Monowai by 19 hours. The Zealandia then retired from 
the 'Frisco mail service, after fifteen years' running on 
the route. 

In 1894 the Monowai made a record run from 'Frisco, 
laiding her mail in New Zealand 31 days after despatch 
from London. Yet despite this record the Monowai 
was considered by the New Zealand Government to be 
too slow. Her owners explained that owing to the high 
cost of coal at San Francisco, she carried from New Zea- 
land sufficient coal to take her there and bring her back. 
So that on her outward trips she was deeply laden and 


her speed consequently was slow. Then the Union 
Company chartered the Shaw, Savill Co.'s old Arawa 
to replace the Monowai. The Arawa held and still 
holds the record for the fastest run of 34 days 17 hours 
23 minutes from London to Wellington via the Cape, 
and it was expected that she would do well on the Pacific 
route. But after one or two trips it was found neces- 
sary to make alterations to her boilers. For this pur- 
pose she went to England and the Monowai resumed 
her running. The Union Company then decided to 
build a new ship for the 'Frisco service. The Moana, 
of 3915 tons and 4500 horse-power, was built in 1896 
and took up the Monowai's running in 1897. 

The year 1900 saw the enactment of legislation in the 
United States which prevented any but American ship- 
ping from plying between American ports. The United 
States had just secured the Hawaiian Islands, so that 
the Moana was precluded from calling there on her 
way to San Francisco. And as Spreckels had been 
granted the American subsidy, the New Zealand 
Government decided to subsidise his steamers also. In 
justification of this step it was stated that the cost of 
running an independent line of British ships would 
have been prohibitive. The Moana entered the Van- 
couver service, the Alameda and Mariposa were with- 
drawn and a three-weekly service inaugurated on 21st 
November, 1900, by the Sierra from 'Frisco. She was 
followed by the Sonoma and the Ventura. All these 
steamers were built at Philadelphia. The history of the 
service performed by these ships is not a brilliant one, 
though they were of 6000 tons register. But there was 


-one "star" performance which deserves recognition. 
In August, 1901, the Ventura raced across the Pacific 
in record time, but through delays at the American 
port she missed a regular mail train. Mr. Spreckels 
rose to the occasion and by telegraph arranged for a 
special train to take on the mail from Chicago, on the 
arrival of the second mail train, and to overtake the 
first at Toledo, 244 miles from Chicago. Without pause 
the special flew after the mail flier and performed her 
strenuous task successfully, with the result that the 
mail reached London 26 days after leaving Auckland. 

The climax of a series of delays and protests was 
reached when the Sonoma's firemen struck in Sydney 
in January, 1907. After that the service struggled on 
till March, when the New Zealand Government, follow- 
ing the example of the United States, withdrew the sub- 
sidy, and the Sierra, the ship which opened the service, 
closed it when she sailed from Auckland on 1st April, 

From that date till the 3rd January, 1909, no regular 
line of subsidised mail steamers ran on the 'Frisco route, 
though the Weir Line has, since 1908, run mail and 
cargo steamers, the Howard Smith Company being 
the Australian agents. Then, forty years after Lieu- 
tenant Woods made his report, the route he recom- 
mended via Tahiti was adopted. The Union Company's 
steamer Manapouri began a series of regular sailings 
to the French possession where connection is made with 
the Spreckels steamer Mariposa, which ran the 'Frisco 
mail, as already described. The arrangement is for 
ten trips per annum, the time occupied between Wei- 


lington and San Francisco to be 22 days. The subsidy- 
paid is £7000 per annum. It is a modest programme 
in comparison with the ambitious time-table of the 
past, but with the increased utility of the Suez services, 
the 'Frisco line has lost many of its advantages, and 
possibly will never regain them. 

The "MARAROA" (1909), Union Line. 


The "MAORI" (1909), Union Line. 




The tail-rods leap in their bearings; 

They rise with a rush and a ring — 
They sink to the sound of laughter, 

And, hurried and short they sing: 
"Make way for the Mails, 
His Majesty's -Mails, 
We carry the Mails for the King." 

The All-Red route^ which Lord Strathcona defines as 
the "British highway between Great Britain, New Zea- 
land and Australia," has been discussed for a quarter 
of a century. As far back as 1885 the Canadian-Pacific 
Railway Company contemplated placing a line of fast, 
steamships between Vancouver and Sydney. While 
admitting that such a British mail line would be of 
immense value to the Empire, there is not the slightest 
doubt that its constant discussion and repeated post- 
ponement have militated greatly against the develop- 
ment of other fast lines^ the owners of which have 
hesitated to spend money in new steamers when the 
threat of the All-Red competition was ever before them. 
This was first evident in 1885 at which time the con- 
tract of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company of America 



to carry the 'Frisco mails terminated. One of the 
reasons for this Company's non-renewal of the contract 
was the possibility of the All-Red idea becoming a fact 
in the Pacific. In 1887 the C.P.R. revived the considera- 
tion of the project, and it is interesting to note that it 
was proposed to carry mails from Auckland to Liverpool 
in 29 days, the time being made up as follows : Crossing 
the Pacific, 17 days; crossing Canada, 6 days; crossing 
the Atlantic, 6 days. The C.P.R., however, like the 
Imperial authorities, has never produced a definite 
scheme for an All-Red mail service. In 1890 the for- 
mation of a London company, the Imperial Steam 
Navigation Company was mooted, its object being the 
fast carriage of mails on the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans, the through time, including the overland run 
through Canada, to be 35 days. The Australasian 
colonies were asked to* pay £80,000 annually as a sub- 
sidy to this line. This they declined to do, and the 
project lapsed, as did another plan of the C.P.R. in the 
following year, when that Company sent its first China 
liner, the Empress of India, into regular service between 
Vancouver and the Chinese and Japanese ports. 

The credit for the establishment of the present 
Pacific-Vancouver mail service is due to Mr. James 
Huddart, who in the year 1893 secured a contract to 
carry mails between Sydney and Vancouver by way of 
Brisbane, Honolulu, and Victoria (B.C.). In the pre- 
vious year, Mr. Huddart had formed the New Zealand 
and Australian Steamship Company to run in com- 
petition with the Union Steamship Company in the 
New Zealand trade. And when, as described elsewhere, 



t'lis service was abandoned, the N.Z. and A. Co. was 
merged into the Canadian-Australian Royal Mail Line, 
the steamers Warrimoo and Miowera being placed in 
the Vancouver mail service. The subsidy paid to the 
company amounted to £35,000 per annum, of which 
Canada paid £25,000 and New South Wales £10,000. 
The service was a monthly one. The Miowera — now re- 
named the Maitai — was the first steamship to put to 
sea with the All-Red mail, leaving Sydney on 18th May, 
1893. Compared with the San Francisco route, the 
All-Red was four days slower, due to a somewhat 
indirect route in the Pacific and to slower travel on the 
Canadian railways. 

As a third vessel was required to maintain this ser- 
vice, the New Zealand Shipping Company's steamer 
Aoranyi, 6300 tons, was chartered, and having proved 
her suitability for the work was purchased; and fitted 
with triple-expansion engines and other modern im- 
provements at a cost of £40,000. 

The expense of equipping this Pacific line was far 
beyond the recompense offered by the subsidy and the 
trade, but Mr. James Huddart was planning for the 
Atlantic service also, and but for the indiffer- 
ence of the Imperial Government, there is little 
doubt that he would have carried his scheme to a suc- 
cessful issue. Having established the Pacific line, Mr. 
Huddart, in 1894, tendered for a service between 
Canada and England — a 20-knot weekly service for a 
subsidy of £125,000 a year. In his "History of North 
Atlantic Steam Navigation," Mr. Henry Fry says of 
this transaction: "In June, 1894, the Intercolonial Con- 


ference met at Ottawa, and approved of Mr. Huddart's 
offer, as did also the Earl of Jersey, representing the 
Imperial Government. Mr. Huddart asked for an 
additional subsidy from the Home Government to 
which he has, as yet (1895) received no response, and 
in the meantime he refrains from any attempt to raise 
the necessary capital." At the very beginning of the 
service the Miowera ran ashore near Victoria, and, though 
successfully refloated, a break occurred in the service. 
In 1896 the New Zealand Government voted £20,000 
a year in consideration of the Vancouver steamers 
making Wellington the last Australasian port of call 
instead of Brisbane. Fiji was also added to the list of 
ports called at. This service was arranged to alternate 
with the 'Frisco steamers 2 and for a period of two years 
New Zealand had the best ocean mail service she has 
ever had. After that time, however, the New Zealand 
Government did not see its way to continue the sub- 
sidy and the service reverted to the Brisbane route, 
Queensland paying the sum of £7500 a year for it. 

Meanwhile, in 1897, the Canadian- Australian Com- 
pany went into liquidation, the New Zealand Shipping 
Company, as chief creditors, being appointed receivers. 
The Union Steamship Company of New Zealand 
bought the steamers Miowera and Warrimoo and a 
controlling interest in the line, while the New Zealand 
Shipping Company resumed ownership of the Aorangi 
and retained a share in the company. 

Soon after their purchase, the Miowera and Warrimoo 
were transferred to the Union Company's intercolonial 
trade, and the Moaiia and Maheno took their places. 


The Manuka and Moeraki also ran at times. Now, the 
Marama, 6437 tons, and the Makura — which in the 
Maori language means All-Red — of 8200 tons, are en- 
gaged in the service. In negotiations which were recent- 
ly concluded it was hoped to cover the 6330 knots be- 
tween Vancouver and Auckland in 15 days excluding 
stoppages, the vessels to travel at an 18-knot speed, 
and the London to Sydney run was expected to occupy 
28 days. 

But now in August, 1909, comes advice from London 
that no further action is to be taken concerning the 
establishment of a fast All-Red mail service. It is 
reported that the White Star Line is to begin a service 
between Australia and Prince Rupert, the Pacific port 
of the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway when that line 
is completed, and the Union Company is preparing, for 
the additional subsidy of £18,000, to greatly improve its 
service. The present subsidy is £66,000, contributed 
by Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Vessels 
of the type of the Makura will be put on 
the line, one of these replacing the Aorangi. The 
Makura is 450 feet long, with 58 feet beam, and a 
depthi of 35 feet, built by A. Stephen and Sons, of 
Linthouse, Glasgow. And. her engines, by the same 
firm, are of the four-crank type, balanced on the 
Schleck-Tweedy system, driving twin screws. The 
Makura is capable of a speed of seventeen knots. 

So far as the Pacific portion of the route is con- 
cerned the All-Red route has always struggled under 
the handicap of an insufficient subsidy. Lord Strath- 
cona, in explaining the scheme, said: — 'The supporters 


of the All-Red route are not antagonistic to other trade 
routes between Great Britain and Australia 2 nor will 
the proposed scheme affect them to any extent." Yet 
it would seem that the possibility of the project becom- 
ing fact helped to kill the fast San Franscisco service. 




We hailed the Wakatipu as we passed — 

Ahoy! from a dozen throats — 
And she cheered us on with a whistle-blast 

For the sake of the Union boats — 
Logging her ten knots, sure and slow, 

She fell astern in our wake, 
And watched the Botomahana go 

With the Company's honour at stake. 

In July, 1875, the Union Steamship Company of New 
Zealand was formed for the purpose of taking over of 
the business and plant of the Harbour Steam Company 
of Dunedin. Sir James Mills, then Mr. James Mills, a 
young man, twenty-eight years of age, conducted the 
operations of floating the company and was appointed 
general manager of the new concern, a position he has 
held ever since. 

The steamers taken over were the Maori, 174 tons; 
Bruce, 460 tons; and Beautiful Star, 146 tons, while 
the Tawpo and Hawea were at once ordered to be 


built. These vessels, of 720 tons, were the first 
steamers fitted with compound engines to arrive in 
New Zealand. They ran fortnightly trips between 
Dunedin and Onehunga, while the others of the fleet 
plied in the coastal trade of the South Island. 

The nominal capital of the Union Company was 
£250,000, divided into 25,000 shares of £10 each; and 
the first directors were Messrs. G-eorge McLean, E. B. 
Cargill, Hugh MacNeill, Henry Tewsley, J. R. Jones, 
and James Mills. With this fleet and capital, con- 
trolled by an exceedingly far-seeing directorate, was 
launched what has proved to be one of the most suc- 
cessful shipping companies of the world; the red fun- 
nels and green hulls of its liners are bright spots of 
colour in Southern Pacific sea-scapes. 

The loss of the Bruce was the first reverse sustained. 
She was wrecked at T'airoa Heads on 15th October, 
1875. To replace her the Rotorua, 516 tons, 130 horse- 
power, was builtj but on her arrival at Dunedin on 
30th December, 1876, was placed jn the intercolonial 
trade as other vessels were now available for coastal 
work. This was due to the Union Company having 
purchased from the bankrupt New Zealand Steam 
Navigation Company the steamers Phoebe, Ladybird, 
Taranaki, and Wellington. The intercolonial route 
followed by the Rotorua in conjunction with the 
Wakatipu, which belonged to another proprietary but 
ran under the Union Company's control, was from 
Port Chalmers to Manakau, calling at the main ports, 
and thence to Sydney. 

The Panama Company and the fleet of McMeckan, 
Blackwood and Co. were powerful rivals of the Union 

General Manager, A. U.S.N. Company. 

The "BEAUTIFUL STAR" (1875), Union Line. 

The "ROTOMAHANA" (1909), Union Line. 



Company in the intercolonial trade. The last>named 
firm in December, 1875 2 announced its intention of 
establishing a line between Sydney and New Zealand, 
having bought the Claud Hamilton and Tararua from 
the Panama Company when that concern began to 
dispose of its vessels. The steamer Otago, sold some 
time previously to a Sydney syndicate for service in 
the China trade, was bought by McMeckan-Blackwood, 
who spent £16,000 in refitting her for the new service. 
In addition to these vessels, this firm had the 
Albion, Omeo, and Alhambra still running on the 
Melbourne-Dunedin line, and had just built the well- 
known liners Arawata and Bingarooma, of 1100 tons. 
These steamers had accommodation for 80 saloon and 
120 steerage passengers. The Bingarooma carried the 
inward Suez mail to Dunedin and the Arawata took 
the outward mails to Melbourne, and they were ac- 
counted the smartest steamers crossing the Tasman 
Sea. In 1876 the Union Company sent its first 
steamer into the Pacific Island trade, the Taiaroa, bought 
from the Albion Company, being engaged by the French 
Government to maintain a mail service between 
Noumea and Sydney. 

Two years later, McMeckan-Blackwood's intercolonial 
steamers, Arawata, Bingarooma, Tararua, and Albion, 
were purchased, the transaction placing the whole of 
the intercolonial trade in the hands of the Union Com- 
pany, which then began /a programme of building 
which added some notable and favourite steamships to 
its fleet. All the new ships were from the yards of 
Wm. Denny and Co., of Dumbarton, and one of these, 


the Rotomahana, of 1777 gross tonnage, has won a 
reputation in the Southern Pacific for smart steaming. 

In 1879 the Te Anau, a sister ship in tonnage, but of 
less power than the Rotomahana, was built and arrived at 
Dunedin in February, 1880, and these vessels were em- 
ployed in that year in running excursions to the Sydney 
International Exhibition. They were far in advance 
of any steamer then in New Zealand waters, yet, even 
so, they used steam at a pressure of only 80 to 901bs. 
to the square inch. In 1881 the Penguin, 749 tons, 
waa purchased from the Bird Line of Glasgow, to replace 
the Taupo, lost at Tauranga, and the Gibbs, Bright 
steamer Hero was also bought to take the place of the 
Tararua lost at Waipapa Point, while the Southern Cross 
changed over from the Auckland Steam Packet to the 
Union Line. The capital of the Company had, in 1879, 
been increased to £500,000 and a London Board of 
Directors set up, and still the building of steamers went 
briskly on. The sister ships, Wairarapa and Mana- 
pouri, 1786 tons, came out in 1882. In 1883 came the 
Hauroto, 1988 tons, Waihora and Tarawera, sister ships 
of 2000 tons, and the Takapuna, 930 tons and 2000 
horse -power. 

Trade with Fiji had been carried on by the steamer 
Southern Cross since 1881, and so gratifying were the 
results that the steamer Suva was purchased from Mel- 
bourne owners and placed in the Melbourne-Fiji trade. 
This line, however, was soon abandoned, Sydney becom- 
ing the Australian port in the itinerary. 

The Takapuna, which had arrived in 1883, having 
been built expressly for the purpose of maintaining a 


fast mail and passenger service between Dunedin and 
Onehunga, was a fast steamer, and her fame travelled 
across the Tasman Sea, gathering in intensity as it went. 
Tales told of her in Australian cities represented a 
steamer which ploughed the seas 1 so swiftly that her 
decks were under water all the time and her passengers 
battened down. But in 1885 there came a vessel 
which upset all the old ideas as to steam pressures, and 
opened the eyes of New Zealanders as to what a modern 
steamship could be in luxury and speed. This was the 
Mararoa, 2598 tons, 3500 horse-power. Her engines 
were triple expansion, and she carried a steam pressure 
of 160 pounds. 

At this time the development of the West 
Coast coal mines caused the directors of the 
Union Company to devote some attention to this branch 
of the Company's business, and the result of their 
deliberations was the purchase of the Black Diamond 
line of steam colliers comprising the Koranui, 
Mawhera, Grafton, and Matai. In 1888 the Union 
Company's fleet numbered 30 vessels, exclusive of har- 
bour tugs, and three years later a further addition 
took place with the purchase of the plant and business 
of the old Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company, to 
accomplish which the capital was raised to £1,000,000. 
The steamers taken over were the Talune, Oonah, 
Pdteena, Flora, Corinna, Flinders, Mangana, and Mor- 
ton; some of these have been sold while others are still 
running in the New Zealand coastal trade. 

A year later, the Union Company met with the first 
serious opposition encountered since the passing of the 


McMeckan-Blackwood fleet, though it may be mentioned 
that a brief but exciting opposition had a few years 
before been run by the old steamers Centennial 
and Jubilee. In 1892 came news of the forma- 
tion of the New Zealand and Australian Shipping 
Company, which proposed to place two fast steamers 
in the Australian-New Zealand trade. These were the 
Warrimoo and Miowera, 3500 tons, 3800 horse-power, 
fitted with triple expansion engines. The firm of 
HuddartrParker were large shareholders in the new 
company, and the coming of these vessels was the signal 
for a keen rivalry between the two companies. To 
match these ■' fliers' ' the Union liners Mararoa and 
Rotomahana were made to show their best turn of 
speed, although no actual racing took place. The 
Rotomahana' s usual sailing dates were also those of the 
Warrimoo, while the Mararoa ran with the Miowera. 
They were days of intense excitement for all New 
Zealandera interested, in shipping. 

The match between the Mararoa and Miowera was 
even in point of horsepower and type of engine used. 
Though the Mararoa is the older ship, she has lines 
to boast of and heavy columns and bearings in her 
engine-room. Years later, when the 6,000-ton Spreckles 
mail boats were on the 'Frisco run, the Mararoa on one 
occasion hung to the flanks of the Sonoma right across 
from Auckland to Sydney, and was only out-steamed 
by a small margin, the exact times being, Sonoma, 3 
days 3 hours 16 minutes; Mararoa, 3 days 6 hours 50 
minutes. At Sydney the American engineers came 
round to look at "the cheeky little boat that dared race 


Uncle Sam's liner." When tHey saw her engines they 
said : 

"My ! What a waste of metal !" 

Yet it was just that metal that aided her in pacing 
the new and powerful Miowera. With the Rotomahana 
and the Warrimoo, the faster of the new boats, the 
case was different. The Rotomahana had certainly been 
overhauled and quite altered in her engines and boiler- 
pressure, yet she had only compound engines against 
the newcomer's triple expansion set. In the rivalry the 
Union boat quite lived up to the reputation for speed 
she had won in her trials fourteen years before when 
she ran at a speed of more than fifteen knots. The 
end of this competition was a friendly agreement where- 
by the Huddart-Parker liner Tasmania entered the New 
Zealand trade in November 1893, while the Warrimoo 
and Miowera were placed in the Vancouver trade. In 
1904 the Union Company built the turbine steamer 
Loongana, of 2448 tons and 6000 horse-power, for the 
Melbourne-Launceston trade, and in the following year 
the Maheno, 5282 tons, 6000 horse-power, also a tur- 
bine ship, was built and entered the intercolonial 
and Vancouver service. The success of the Loongana 
and the growing needs of the Lyttelton-Wellington ferry 
prompted the building of the Maori, 3399 tons, 6500 
horse-power, and this vessel on her entry in 1907, into 
the ferry service, began to break all previous records 
between the islands. Up to her arrival, H.M.S. 
Orlando held the record of the fastest passage from 
Heads to Heads, her time being just under ten hours. 
On the 22nd November, 1907, the Maori ran this dis- 


tance in 8 hours 44 minutes^ and in the following month 
she further reduced the time to 8 hours 15 minutes. 
Some records held by the passenger steamers on the 
coast prior to this performance are given below. 

February, 1904, Botomahana, 10 hours 35 minutes. 

February 24, 1904, Mararoa, 10 hours 40 minutes. 

March 1, 1904, Manuka, 10 hours 30 minutes. 

March 4, 1905, Wimmera, 10 hours 30 minutes. 

March 24, 1905, Moeraki, 10 hours 16 minutes. 

December 15, 1905, Mafieno, 9 hours 11 minutes. 

The striking point of these figures is the remarkable 
manner in which the old Botomahana holds her own — 
or, rather, held her own, for she has been transferred 
to the Tasmania- Australian trade. 

Since early in 1907, when the San Francisco service 
ceased, the intercolonial steamers have carried the weekly 
English mail between Sydney and New Zealand, and 
instead of sailing from Wellington on Saturdays as 
formerly, Friday is now the sailing day in order to al- 
low a margin of time in which to connect with the 
Suez steamers in Australian waters. 

Kecent notable additions to the Union Company's 
fleet, which now numbers sixty-five steamers of an aggre- 
gate tonnage of 157,526 tons, have been the Manuka and 
Moeraki, 4500 tons, 4500 horse-power, twin screw 
steamers employed on the ocean passenger lines, the 
Marama, 6437 tons, 7000 horse-power, and the Makurd, 
8200 tons, 9500 horse-power, which run in the Vancou- 
ver mail-service in conjunction with the Aorangi. In 
the Fiji and other island trades the Tufua, 4345 tons, 
4500 horse-power, Navua, 2930 tons, 2500 horse-power, 


and Atua, 3444 tons, 3500 horse-power, maintain a 
round-trip service, calling at Sydney en route. And 
regular sailings between Calcutta and Australasia are 
"maintained by the Aparima, 5704 tons, 3000 horse- 
power, Waitemata, 5432 tons, 2500 horse-power, and 
Wai/iora, 4638 tons, 2000 horse-power — not the old 
Waihora which was sold to Chinese owners. Sum- 
mer cruises to the Sounds of the South Island have con- 
tinued since 1877 when the Wanaka, 493 tons, ran the 
first trip. And winter excursions to the South Sea 
Islands were begun in 1885 with the despatch of the 
steamship Wairarapa, and are still features of this com- 
pany's itinerary. 

The company's South Sea services now include a regu- 
lar connection with the American mail boats at Tahiti, 
for which the New Zealand Government pays £7000 
per annum, chiefly as a means of fostering trade be- 
tween the Islands and the southern towns of New Zea- 
land, while in conjunction with the A.U.&.N. Company 
a four- weekly service between Melbourne and Fiji is 
run, the subsidy for which is £5000 per annum. 

The Union Steamship Company is numbered among 
the large shipping concerns of the world, and the pro- 
gress it has made in a period of thirty-five years is cer- 
tainly remarkable. 


The Huddart Parker Company traces its history a 
very long way back, to a period when representatives 


of the two families which chiefly own the line began 
shipping businesses in Melbourne. 

It was in the year 1853 that the late Mr. T. J. Par- 
ker arrived in Geelong. Towards the close of the fol- 
lowing year he became directly connected with the 
shipping interest as agent for the steamer Express. 
Mr. Traill, who is now chairman of directors of Hud- 
dart Parker and Co., joined Mr. Parker early in 1855 
as manager of the Excess steamer agency. Some 
years afterwards, the late Captain William Howard 
Smith, preparatory to entering the Inter-state trade 
with the You Tangs, sold his share in the Express to 
Mr. Parker, who took up his residence in Melbourne, 
assuming the agency there, Mr. Traill remaining in sole 
charge at Geelong. Captain Webb then took charge of 
of the Express, Mr. Skinner, joint owner with Mr. 
Parker, being the engineer. Mr. Skinner died in 1867, 
and Mr. Traill and Captain Webb became joint owners 
by the purchase of his interest. In 1869 the Express 
was superseded by the Despatch, the latter steamer hav- 
ing been built in Scotland under the supervision of Mr. 
Parker. The Alert and Excelsior were in succession 
built for the same trade, the former in 1877 and the lat- 
ter in 1882, and with the Excelsior's arrival commenced 
the bi-daily service in the Geelong and Melbourne trade, 
now carried on by the Courier and Excelsior. 

This brings the history of the company to a time 
when it is necessary to go back again and review an- 
other branch of the business, in which the late Peter 
Huddart was successful in establishing the coal trade 
between New South Wales and Geelong. Captain 


The "BARCO" (1883), A. U.S.N. Co. 

The "WYREEMA" (1908), A. U.S.N. Co. 



Huddart, who came to the colony about 1854-55, 
was in the early ''sixties" joined by his nephew, 
Mr. James Huddart, who established a busi- 
ness in Ballarat, and afterwards took up the im- 
portation of coal and export of produce at Geelong. In 
the year 1876 Mr. Huddart joined Messrs. Parker, 
Traill, and Webb, forming the now well-known firm of 
Huddart, Parker and Company, who were then coal 
importers and merchants at Geelong, each partner hav- 
ing an equal interest, Mr. Huddart being appointed 
manager. The ships owned by the firm at this stage 
were the barques Olivia Davies, Medea, and Queen 
Emma. In the following year the firm purchased the 
coal importing business of Mr. Morley, in Melbourne, 
and with the business took over the barques Frederica 
and Sparrow Hawk. Mr. Huddart was appointed man- 
ager in Melbourne, and Mr. Traill, in addition to the 
management of the steamboat business at Geelong, 
took charge of the coal importing trade at that port. 

The coal business at both ports having already in- 
creased, it was resolved in 1880 to employ steam instead 
of sailing vessels in the trade, and the steamers Nemesis, 
Lindus, and W 'endouree were bought in rapid succes- 

A further development took place in 1882, when the 
firm considered it advisable to enter the Sydney trade, 
the firm of John Fraser and Company becoming their 
agents and supplying the necessary wharf accommoda- 
tion. It was soon found that the steamers Nemesis, 
Lindus, and W endouree were inadequate for the ex- 
tended trade, and Mr. Huddart was commissioned to 

L 8 


build in England two steamers of a superior type, the 
vessels being named the Burrumbeet and Corangamite, 
and these steamers were amongst the first in which 
triple-expansion engines were introduced. 

During the developments which have just been enum- 
erated, it became apparent that the two businesses, 
namely the Geelong and Melbourne trade and the inter- 
state business, which now overshadowed the former, 
should be amalgamated, and in 1886 Mr. Parker trans- 
ferred half his interests in the steamers Despatch, 
Alert, and Excelsior to Mr. James Huddart, who then 
attained an equal interest with the other partners, and 
was appointed general manager of the firm, which in 
all its branches was carried on under the name adopted 
in 1876 — Huddart, Parker and Company. Two years 
later, namely in 1888, the present limited company was 
formed with a capital of £300,000. 

Trade with Tasmania was commenced in August of 
the year 1889, the p.s. Newcastle being in the first in- 
stance chartered to run between Melbourne and Laun- 
ceston, the Coogee afterwards being altered and placed 
in the trade. The service between Sydney and Hobart 
was initiated by the steamer Wendouree in November of 
the same year. In 1890 the operations of the company 
were extended to South and Western Australia, the 
Nemesis being the first of the company's steamers to be 
engaged in that service. The s.s. Tasmania was built 
in 1892, and employed in the different trades carried 
on by the company as occasion required. When this 
vessel entered the New Zealand service in 1893 she 
had as consort the Anglian, 2159 tons, which had been 


purchased from the Union Company of London, trad- 
ing to Africa. Four years later the Tasmania was lost 
off Mahia Peninsula, and the Anglian was withdrawn 
from the service. Then came the tilingamite and the 
new steamers Westralia, 2884 tons, and Zealandia, 2771 
tons, the latter now one of the Union Company's fleet, 
and re-named Paloona. From that time onward, the 
Huddart Parker Proprietary has run two steamers in 
the Sydney- Auckland-Dunedin service, and one on the 
Sydney- Wellington-Melbourne route. On the loss of 
the Elingamite at Three Kings, the company replaced 
her with the Victoria, 2969 tons, and later additions to 
the passenger fleet are the Wimmera, 3022 tons, River- 
ma, 4758 tons, and Ulimaroa, bill tons. The cargo 
steamers of this line still have the black funnel, unre- 
lieved, that for many years was the Huddart-Parker 
funnel, and which the Tasmania and Anglian carried. 
But the passenger vessels of the fleet have funnels 
painted a light yellow, which gives a pleasant contrast 
to the black hull with its white streak. The Zealandia 
is to be replaced by a new twin-screw steamer which will 
also be named Zealandia. 

All this company's passenger steamers are built on 
a very seaworthy model with flush decks and saloons 
opening off the deck, and the services performed by the 
line in conjunction with the Union Line and in the 
West Australian trade, are commendably punctual and 
comfortable, combined with a speed that places the ves- 
sels on level terms with any steamers in the Southern 



Nearly twenty years after the A.S.N. Company had 
vanquished and absorbed the old Queensland S.N.Co., 
another effort was made by the northern colony to take 
a hand in the running of her coastal steam trade. In 
1883 the Queensland Steamship Company was formed, 
and the steamers Archer, 694 tons, Corea, 606 tons, 
Polly, 194 tons, Truganini, 203 tons, Gympie, 220 tons, 
and Gunga, 1257 tons, were purchased to carry on an 
active competition with the A.S.N. Company's fleet. 
Soon afterwards the Q.S.S. Co. built the Warrego, 
1552 tons, and the Barcoo and Maranoa, vessels of 1505 
tons; all three were then much in advance of any ves- 
sels previously seen on the coast and are still engaged in 
the coastal service. The competition between the rival 
companies was bitter, and after a strenuous rate-war, the 
Q.S.S. Company bought out the A.S.N. Company's fleet 
and goodwill. This was the biggest transaction of the kind 
which had ever been negotiated in these waters, and the 
Australian United Steam Navigation Company, as the 
new concern was styled, was practically a union of three 
companies, the Black Diamond Steam Line's Birksgabe 
and Tenterden of 1458 tons being also added to the 
fleet. The A.S.N, boats taken over were the Rockton 
and Cintra, 1970 tons, Victoria, 1250 tons, City of 
Adelaide, 1212 tons, Quirang, 1166 tons, Eurimbla, 
1055 tons, Katoomba, 1006 tons, Elamang, 946 tons, 
Glanworth, 877 tons, Fitzroy, 870 tons, City of Mel- 
bourne, 838 tons, Ranelagh, 836 tons, Leichardt, 690 


tons, Alexandra, 681 tons, Egmont, 670 tons, Dingadee, 
640 tons, Resketh, 640 tons, Currajong, 603 tons, Yar- 
alla, 482 tons, Croydon, 357 tons, and Palmer, 267 
tons. In addition to these there was a flotilla of 
launches and steam tenders, while two well-known 
coasters, the Queensland and James Patterson were 
used as hulks at Townsville, robbed of their glory of 
twenty years before, when they threshed and foamed 
over bars and wild seas, racing their rivals South or 

The Aramac and Arawatta of 2114 tons and 2700 
horse-power, and the Wodonga, 2341 tons, 3113 horse- 
power, were built for the A. U.S.N. Company's passen- 
ger service, and arrived in Queensland waters in the 
early "nineties." They were, and still are, handsome 
vessels, and their entry into the running caused a sen- 
sation, for they cut down the company's "times" be- 
tween the ports by hours. 

The dawning of the "nineties" seems to have marked 
the beginning of a new epoch in Australasian steam 
shipping. Both in Australian and in New Zealand 
waters, a greater enterprise and activity were in evi- 
dence and have continued.. The Wodonga has long 
since been eclipsed by such vessels as the Pilbarra, 2664 
tons, 1795 horse-power, Mallina, 3213 tons, 2000 horse- 
power, Wyandra, 4058 tons, 4000 horse-power, and the 
huge and luxurious liners Kanowna, 6942 tons, Kyarra, 
6953 tons, and Wyreema, 6338 tons, all of 5000 in- 
dicated horse-power. The company has also the tur- 
bine steamer Bingera running on the Queensland coast, 
a very fast and comfortable vessel. 

H 8 steam in the southebn pacific 

From Fremantle round by the main ports, away north 
to Thursday Island and across the Pacific to Fiji the 
flag of the A.U.S.N Co. is flown, the flag that is com- 
posed of the two red and two blue triangles of the 
A.S.N, and the diagonal cross of the Queensland Steam- 
ship Company, while the black funnels are girt 
by a narrow black band on a broad white one. Mr. 
B. W. Macdonald is General Manager in Australia 
for the A.U.S.N. Co., the Board of Directors being in 


The firm from which this company originated dates 
back to the year 1854, when Captain William Howard 
Smith arrived in Hobson's Bay, Victoria, from Eng- 
land as joint owner of the Express, a small steamer of 
which the other partner, Mr J. B. Skinner, was en- 
gineer. For eight years a harbour and coastal trade 
was run by Captain Howard Smith. Then in 1862 he 
sold his share in the Express business and began an in- 
tercolonial service between Melbourne and Newcastle 
with the screw steamer You Yangs, of 672 tons, former- 
ly the Kief, built originally for service in the Crimean 

In 1866 another journey to England brought further 
steamshjps to the Howard Smith Line, but, like all the 
large steamship companies of Australasia, it was in the 
"seventies" that the greatest activities in the building 
of ships prevailed. 


In 1876 three powerful vessels were built, the Leura, 
1500 tons, Bur wah y 900 tons, and Bodondo, 1000 tons, 
builders' measurements. Year by year the fleet and 
business of the Howard Smith Line have steadily in- 
creased until now the fleet numbers twenty-five steamers 
of an aggregate tonnage of about 70,000 tons. The 
favourite passenger steamships are the Cooma and 
Boinbala of 4000 tons, and the Peregrine of 3500 tons. 
All these are fitted with modern refrigerating cham- 
bers for carrying frozen meat, while cool chambers art 
provided for other perishable freights. The Peregrine 
which at the time of her arrival on the coast in 1891 
was of some 2000 tons register, has recently beea 
lengthened and refitted, and is practically a new 
steamer. She was built and entered service at about 
the same time as the A. U.S.N, liners Aramac, Ara- 
wafta, and Wodonga, and frequently gave the black- 
and-white-funnelled fliers a merry run. The Boinbala 
and Cooma, the fastest of the Howard Smith Line, have 
a speed of sixteen knots, and make the passage from Syd- 
ney to Melbourne in 40 hours. The Cooma, the later of 
these to arrive in Australian waters, has, lite the Bom- 
bala, been built with a regard to the need of ventilation 
in a hot climate. Her decks are flush decks fore and 
aft, the dining saloons are on deck and accommodation 
for 124 first-class and 100 second-class passengers has 
been provided on the upper and bridge decks. In addi- 
tion to electric fans in all the public rooms and cabins, 
suction trunks connected with large sirocco fans are 
fitted in all the accommodation alleyways, thus expell- 
ing the hot air from the staterooms. 


The Cooma, Bombala, and Peregrine make weekly 
trips from Melbourne to Townsville, calling at several 
ports on the way. At Townsville they are met by the 
twin-screw steamer Mourilyan, 1350 tons, which is en- 
gaged in the passenger service between Townsville and 
Cairns, passing through the Hinchinbrook Channel and 
Whitsunday Passage. The Mourilyan has plenty of 
deck space and ventilation, and is a new ship, built in 

From Geraldton in West Australia to Port Douglas 
in North Queensland, the steamers of the Howard 
Smith Line ply, calling at all the ports that lie between 
on the western, southern, and eastern coasts of Aus- 
tralia, while the company is agent for the Weir Line 
of steamers running between Sydney and San Francisco, 
in which service several Howard Smith steamers are 


There were running in the Adelaide-Melbourne trade, 
in 1875, the steamers Goorong and Aldinga, belonging 
to the Melbourne, Adelaide, and Otago Steam Naviga- 
tion Company, and the Flinders, a privately-owned 
vessel, while in Spencer's gulf, the coastal trade was 
in the hands of the Spencer's Gulf Steamship Company 
which owned the steamers Emu, 621 tons; Lubra, 321 
tons; Investigator, 584 tons; Franklin, 730 tons, and 
the old Royal Shepherd. Up to this time South Aus- 

The "KAPUNDA" (1908), Melbourne S.S. Co. 

The "KAROOLA" (1908), Mcllwraith, McEacharn 
Proprietary, Ltd. 



tralia had taken small part in the coastal steam trade, 
but in October, 1875, the Adelaide Steamship Company 
was formed with a capital of £100,000 for the purpose 
of trading to ports extending from Melbourne round 
Cape Leeuwin to Port Darwin. The formation of the 
Company was promoted by the owners of the steamer 

After some months of preparation the pioneer 

earners of the Adelaide Steamship Company entered 
the service between Melbourne and Adelaide. These 
vessels were the South Australian and Victorian, of 700 
tons gross measurement and 400 tons net, and 1200 
indicated horse-power. They began the service in 
December, 1876, while the Flinders was transferred to 
the Gulf trade. In 1877 the famous Aldinga was pur- 
chased. Two years later another well-known packet, 
the Claud Hamilton, which had been running in the 
Melbourne-Port Darwin trade, was put on the Adelaide 
route in opposition to the Adelaide Company's steamers. 
more than two years the battle was waged, an 
unprofitable one for both sides. Then the Claud Hamil- 
ton changed her flag for that of the Adelaide Company, 
the fares and freights rose again to a normal level. 
In November, 1882, the Company's capital was increased 

) £300,000 for the special purpose of buying out the 
Spencer Gulf Steamship Company, and soon the yellow 
and black funnels were seen along the coastal routes in 
the Gulf. Shortly after this, the Otway, Hob Roy, 
Penola, and Ferret were bought. The Ferret is a 
steamer with a past history of some interest. She was 
built on the Clyde for the purpose of carrying 


passengers over the Firth of Forth before it was 
bridged. But she did not enter this service for, on her 
completion, she was chartered, ostensibly for a pleasure 
cruise by an adventurer, who, with some accomplices, 
took her to Brazil, and during the voyage changed her 
name to India and made other alterations to disguise 
the vessel. A boat and some lifebuoys were cast adrift 
and were picked up, later on, near Gibraltar, and as 
nothing further was reported of the Ferret she was 
given up as lost when cruising in the Mediterranean. 
Meanwhile the steamer was taken to Capetown where 
a valuable cargo* of coffee from Brazil was sold. Evenr 
tually the Ferret, in her disguise as the India, arrived 
at Melbourne, where suspicions as to the honesty of 
her papers were aroused. Investigations proved her 
to be the missing Ferret. Her "skipper" and his ac- 
complices were arrested and the steamer was sold, 
finally passing into* the hands of the Adelaide Steam- 
ship Company, whose flag she still flies. 

In 1884 the Adelaide was built; three years later the 
Cdlac was bought. From that time additions to the 
fleet have been made of the' following steamers: — In 
1891 the Bullara, Innamincka, and Ouraka; 1895, the 
Wollowra and Marloo; 1897, Allinga and Kolya; 1898, 
the Kadina and Willyama; in 1899, the Moonta and 
Mi/itaro; 1902, the Tarcoola, Dilkera, Nardoo and 
Winfield. In 1903 two well-known passenger steam- 
ships, the Grantala and Yongala arrived in Australia. 
The cargo boats Junee, Urilla, and Lameroo were built 
and the cantilever steamer Echunga, which has a dead- 
weight carrying capacity of 8,000 tons. The Rwpara 



was built in 1906, and two years later the Koombana. 
Twenty-eight steamships now constitute the fleet of the 
Adelaide Steamship Company, in addition to which 
there are tugs, tenders, hulks, and barges. 

The first secretary of the company, Mr. Hubert 
Evans, retired soon after his appointment, and the 
position has been held successively by Messrs. John 
Turnhill, E. Northcote (now general manager), and 
P. D. Haggart the present secretary. The capital of 
the Adelaide Steamship Company is now £750,000, and 
the vessels comprising its fleet are seen in every Aus- 
tralian port of importance. 


In the second chapter it was shown how the Grafton 
Steam Navigation Company was absorbed by the 
Clarence and Richmond Steam Navigation Co., which 
inaugurated the new service with a little screw steamer 
called the Waimea, purchased from the Illawarra S.N, 
Co. for the purpose. At the same time the U vara was 
ordered in England for the Company; but both these 
steamers were wrecked in the early years of their useful- 
ness on the Richmond and the Clarence bars respectively. 
The loss of the Waimea so dislocated the arrangements 
that the Richmond River service had to be suspended 
for a time, and remained suspended until the Platypus 
was bought from the Queensland Government. 

I2 4 


In the development of the Richmond many steamers, 
long since passed out of service, were then renowned. 
The Agnes Irving — afterwards wrecked at the Macleay 
— the Ballina, and the Florence Irving — sold to the 
A.S.N. Col for the Brisbane trade — were all popular 
boats in their day, the Agnes being referred to even 
now as one of the most successful boats ever worked on 
the New South Wales coast. 

Next in order came the development of the Manning 
and the Macleay, Mr William Marshall having opened 
up the latter with the Fire King, and also built the 
Rainbow and the New Moon, which played an important 
part in making the trade of the river. The Fire King 
afterwards passed into the hands of the Clarence and 
Richmond Company, but was used on the Manning 
River run. The Queen of the South, the Woodburn 
(afterwards renamed Macleay), and the Diamantina 
were also used on the lower rivers 2 but the latter vessel 
passed out of the hands of the Company to a syndicate 
of Manning River settlers: who were dissatisfied with 
existing conditions and made the disastrous experiment 
of running a service of their own, the Company retir- 
ing and leaving the newcomers to work out their own 
destiny — liquidation . 

In 1881 came opposition from a new firm, Messrs. 
Nipper and See, which began to run in the Clarence 
River trade, and soon opened trade also on the Bel- 
linger, Nambucca, Hastings, and Manning routes with 
a fleet which included several well-known steamers — 
the Richmond, the Rosedale, the Murray, the Lubra, 
the Australian, the Helen Nicoll, the Wellington, the 


Fernmont, the Burrawang, the Lawrence, and the 
Goorong. Finally Mr. Nipper retired from the busi- 
ness, which was then carried on by John See and Co. ; 
but by this time the old Company had greatly increased 
its trading power by the acquisition of additional ton- 
nage. The new Company was styled the Clarence, Rich- 
mond, and Macleay Rivers Steam Navigation Company, 
and was registered under the Limited Liability Act with 
a capital of £150,000 in £1 shares. The City of Graf- 
ton and the Electra were built specially for the Clarence 
trade, the latter being the first vessel on the coast fitted 
with refrigerated space and electric light plant ; the 
Coraki and the Tomki were put into the Richmond 
River service. In December, 1888, another re-construc- 
tion was deemed necessary to meet the ever-growing re- 
quirements of the already very extensive operations. 

An old New Zealand trader, the Wanganui, was 
chartered from Houghton and Co., of Dunedin, by 
Nipper and See, and was taken across by Captain Bayl- 
don, now Harbourmaster at Thames, New Zealand. 
The Wanganui ran in opposition to the City of Grafton 
and came to grief on the bar of the Clarence River. 

In 1891 the firm of John See and Co. was bought by 
the Company with its vessels and trading interests on 
the Northern rivers, and the red funnel fleet which is 
now such a feature on the New South Wales coast was 
established under the one management and flying the 
flag of the North Coast Steam Navigation Company, 
Ltd. — the new name adopted under the last reconstruc- 
tion — with capital materially increased to a quarter of 
a million pounds. At the same time, in accordance with 


the agreement entered into as part of the scheme of pur- 
chase, Mr. See became Managing Director of the new 
Company in conjunction with the Chairman, Mr. T. R. 
Allt, who, it may be here added, took up the entire con- 
trol after the death of that gentleman, and has now 
completed 28 years' service at the head of affairs and 
nearly half a century's association with the business in 
its various forms and titles. 

Following is the sea-going fleet of the North Coast 
Company, with the trades the vessels are engaged 
in : — 

Tweed River, Duraribah, 284 tons ; Byron Bay, 
Oram, 1297 tons; Noorebar, 670 tons; Cavanba, 573 
tons. Richmond River, Brundah, 883 tons; Bamor- 
nie, 546 tons; City of Grafton, 825 tons; St. George, 
515 tons. Clarence River, Kyogle, 702 tons ; Kallatina, 
646 tons; Nymboida, 563 tons. Clarence and Richmond, 
Macleay, 398 tons; Tintenbar, 667 tons. Brisbane and 
Northern, Rocklily, 218 tons; Pyrmont, 213 tons. Bel- 
linger River, Rosedale, 274 tons; Myee, 145 tons. Nam- 
bucca River, Nerong, 219 tons; Euroka, 170 tons. Mac- 
leay River, Tulgilbar, 799 tons. Manning River, 
Electra, 395 tons; Burrawong, 391 tons. Coff's Har- 
bour and Woolgoolga, Dorrigo, 302 tons. 


This company's operations began in the r 'sixties" 
with a fleet of sailing vessels and a number of harbour 
tugs, but as the advantages of steam became evident, 


in the boom of the steamship trade of the middle 
"seventies" the screw steamer Brisbane, 1450 tons, was 
bought, and shortly afterwards the Melbourne, 2500 
tons, was purchased ; both these vessels being engaged 
in the intercolonial trade. When the gold rush to West 
Australia began, the passenger and cargo steamer Perth, 
2700 tons, was put on the trade. That was in the early 
"nineties." In 1902 the company built the Sydney, 
3000 tons, a fast vessel, fitted comfortably for passengers 
and equipped with the most up-to-date appliances for 
the rapid handling of cargo. Later additions to the 
fleet are the Hobart and Monaro, of 4000 tons, and the 
Kapunda, 4150 tons, and these three vessels ply between 
Newcastle and Western Australia, calling at all the 
main ports. 

A fortnightly passenger and cargo service was a few 
years ago begun between the North-west coast of Tas- 
mania and Sydney, while a recent extension of the com- 
pany's services has been the inclusion of Eden as a port 
of call. The Melbourne Steamship Company's earliest 
steamers were tug boats in Port Phillip, where the black 
funnels with red bands have for some forty years been 
a well-known sight in that port. A floating dock and 
ship-building works are also a part of the property of 
this company, which though possessing only a small 
fleet in point of numbers, has among them some fine 
vessels. ■* 



This company has the distinction of possessing the 
largest passenger steamship engaged in the Australian 
coastal service, the Karoola, of 7391 tons gross register, 
a favourite ship on the coast. Other vessels flying the 
house-flag with the rampant lion emblazoned upon it, 
are the Ashbridge, 2884 tons, the Gooey anna, 3922 
tons, the Coolgardie, 2542 tons (formerly the Bothwell 
Castle), the Komura, 2112 tons, the Eooyong, 2296 
tons, the New Guinea, 2674 tons, and the Norkoowa, 
1643 tons. Besides these there are the steamers Torrem 
and Zephyr. The services performed are principally 
on the route between Melbourne and the West, though 
the eastern coast is also included in the itinerary. The 
company's head office is at Melbourne, and there is also 
an office at London. 


The services performed by the steamship of this line in- 
clude regular sailings to Eastern and South Sea Island 
ports. The fleet comprises the steamers Airlie, 2337 
tons gross register; Guthrie, 2338 tons; Induna, 700 
tons; Makambo, 1159 tons; Malaita, 929 tons; Moresby, 
1763 tons; Muniara, 837 tons; Tambo, 732 tons; and 
some smaller vessels. Burns, Philp and Company were 
among the first to open steam trade with the South 

0L*** jFmii iii' 


***;*m*<m*mM*mt*r*i- .-#***"• 

g**^* » 



The "BOM BALA" (1904), Howard Smith Co. 







j k 

The "GRANTALA" (1903), Adelaide Co. 

The "ARAWA" (1884), Shaw, Savill Co. 


The "RIMUTAKA" (1885), N.Z. Shipping Co. 



Sea Islands, while their service to Japanese and Chinese 
ports, in which the Airlie and Guthrie are employed, 
has grown to such proportions as to require larger ves- 
sels. One of these, the Mataram, 4000 tons, recently 
entered the service, and another is in course of con- 
struction. The head office of this shipping concern is at 





And so we'll go a-glidin' — 

A phantom in the dawn. 
And when the sea-ways widen 
We'll hear the pistons chidin' 
The screws that send us ridin' 
• And rollin' to the Horn. 

The New Zealand Shipping Company, which was formed 
in 1873 with a capital of .£100,000 to trade with sailing 
vessels between New Zealand and London, in 1883 
began its steam service with the chartered steamers 
British King and British Queen of 3558 tons gross 
register. Some five years prior to this the Dutch East 
India Mail steamship Stadt Harlem, of 2749 tons, 
carried mails on the Cape Horn route and the New 
Zealand Shipping Company were agents for the vessel 
which arrived at Port Chalmers from Plymouth via 
Cape of Good* Hope with, mails 56 days old. On 5th 
May, 1878, she sailed for London, and performed the 
return voyage in 56 days. 


The New Zealand Government was at that time con- 
sidering the matter of a direct mail service to London, 
the routes favoured being by way of the Cape or Suez, 
but there was nothing definite done until 1881 when 
the New Zealand Shipping Company offered to run a 
monthly steam mail service for the sum of £30,000 a 
year, the contract to be a five-years one. The vessels 
were to be of 3500 tons and have a speed of eleven 
knots. After consideration the Government decided 
not to subsidise a mail line, but to pay £20,000 a year 
to encourage a passenger and freight service. With 
this object tenders were invited but none were received, 
and so the matter went on until 1883, when both the 
New Zealand Company and Gibbs, Bright and Company 
offered steam services for the carriage of passengers and 

The steamships then engaged in the New Zealand- 
London trade were the British King and British Queen, 
chartered from the British Shipowners' Association, 
while the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company ran the 
Cunard liner Catalonia, 4841 tons, and the White Star 
vessels Ionic and Doric, of 4368 tons. The British King 
which sailed from London on 1st January, 1883, was 
the first of these to arrive in New Zealand waters and 
was also the first steamer to carry frozen meat from 
New Zeala.d to London by the Cape Horn route, 
though not the first to take frozen meat from New 
Zealand. In November, 1881, the German steamer 
Marsala left Dunedin with a cargo of meat, and on 7th 
December, 1883, the Sorrento, of the same line, for 
which Gibbs, Bright and Co. were agents, took from 


Dunedin about 8000 carcases. These vessels went Home 
via Batavia and Surabaya, and the Marsala's freezer 
broke down near Batavia. All her cargo of meat, 
nearly 7000 carcases, had to be jettisoned. It was one 
of the most marvellous sights, the tossing overboard of 
that meat 2 for the sea was alive with sharks. The 
SorrentOj on the other hand, carried her cargo safely 
to London, but of course the British King had preceded 
her. The Marsala was undoubtedly the first steamer to 
carry frozen meat froon New Zealand. 

On 25th August, 1884, the steamer Elderslie, 1801 
tons register, Captain Hewat, arrived at Oamaru under 
charter to Mr. John Reid, of Elderslie. This vessel 
had been specially built for carrying frozen meat to the 
London market. The whole of the 'tween-decks was 
insulated with charcoal and she had four freezing 
engines and freezing chambers with a capacity of 25,000 
carcases of mutton. A banquet was given by Mr. Reid 
on 2nd September to commemorate his enterprise in 
establishing a system of direct shipment from Oamaru 
to London. On the 15th October, 1884, the Elderslie 
sailed with a full cargo of meat, wool, grain, and other 
produce, and on the day preceding her departure Mr. 
Reid was presented with a silver salver inscribed as 
follows: "Presented to John Reid, Esq., in recognition 
of his enterprise in bringing the s.f. Eldesrlie to load 
frozen meat at Oamaru for London direct. 1884." 

The year 1884 was an eventful one as regards the 
direct services to London. A notable voyage was that 
of the Victory, Captain Elcote, which steamed all the 
way from London to Auckland in 60 days without land 

The "ELDERSLIE (1884). 

The "ST. KILDA" (1861). 

Victorian Government Steamer, "LADY LOCH.' 

New Zealand Government Yacht, "HINEMOA." 



being sighted during the passage. She carried 500 
passengers, among them Captain Babot, superintendent 
of the Shaw, Savill Company in New Zealand. A sister 
ship to the Victor// was the Triumph, which was 
stranded on Tiri Tiri on 29th November, 1883, and 
afterwards refloated and repaired by Fraser and Son, 
shipbuilders, of Auckland. 

An arrangement had at length been made regarding 
the carriage of mails by the direct route, a five-year's 
contract for a monthly service being made with the 
New Zealand Shipping Company in conjunction with 
the Shaw, Savill Company. The New Zealand Company 
built five steamers of the highest class, the Aorangi, 
6300 tons, and the Tongariro, Rimutaka, Kaikoura, and 
Ruapehu, all of 4163 tons, graceful ships with clipper 
bows, three masts, and one funnel set before the main- 
mast. The first of these, the Tongariro, arrived in New 
Zealand on 11th December, 1883, to take up the run- 
ning of the new mail service in 1884. 

Subsidised mail services were carried out by the two 
companies until well into the ' 'nineties/' when the sub- 
sidies were withdrawn and poundage paid on the mails 
carried. Without a subsidy it was not profitable to 
run such steamers as those mentioned, none of which 
were great cargo carriers. So they gave way to a 
newer type. Only the Aorangi remains of the Ship- 
ping Company's old liners, and she is shortly to be 
superseded in the Vancouver service, where she was 
transferred when her sisters were sold. The Shaw, 
Savill mail carriers were the Coptic, Doric, and Ionic 
of the White Star fleet, and the Arawa and Tainui 



owned by the Shaw, Savill Company. Of the Shipping 
Company's fle v et the Euahine, 5975 tons, was the first 
of the new type designed. She arrived in New Zealand 
late in 1892 in charge of Captain Bone. This vessel 
was eventually sold to Spanish owners, becoming the 
Antonio Lopez, and was wrecked on Fire Island on 
12th June, 1909. Almost simultaneous with the wreck 
of the old Euahine, the new Euahine, of 11,000 tons, 
was launched. At first it was intended that this fine 
vessel should be driven by a combination of reciprocate- 
ing and turbine engines, like the Otaki of this line 
which is a triple screw steamship. But it has been 
decided that, while the Otaki has shown excellent 
results, a more prolonged test of the new method of 
propulsion is advisable before adopting it in a sister 

The fleet of the New Zealand Shipping Company now 
comprises seventeen ocean liners. In the list of these 
vessels given below it will be noticed that the names 
of the three pioneer steamers which were sold have been 
given to new vessels. 


... 6,300 ton» 

Kaikoura (Twin Screw) ... 

... 10,560 „ 

Kaipara (Twin Screw) 

... 10,560 „ 

Otaki (Triple Screw) 

... 11,000 „ 

Opawa (Twin Screw) 

... 10,660 „ 

Orari (Twin Screw) 

... 10,660 „ 


... 8,850 „ 

Faparoa (Twin Screw) 

... 8,860 „ 

llakaia ... ... ... 

... 8,595 „ 

Mirnutaka (Twin Screw) ... 

... 10,130 „ 

Euahine (Twin Screw) 

... 11,000 „ 


Muapehu (Twin Screw) 9,880 „ 

Tongariro (Twin Screw) 10,192 ,, 

Turakina (Twin Screw) 10,960 ,, 

Waimate 8,578 „ 

Wakanui 8,755 ,, 

Whakatane 8,775 „ 

The outward passage is via South Africa, the steamers 
sailing from London and calling at Plymouth, Teneriffe, 
Capetown, and Hobart on the way to New Zealand, 
whilst the journey from the colony is via South America, 
the ports of call being Monte Video, Teneriffe, Plymouth 
and London. 

The Shaw, Savill Company has also advanced as 
regards the size and equipment of its fleet. None of 
its pioneer steamers now remain; the Arawa and 
Tainui were sold, while the Coptic, Doric, and Ionic 
gave way to such fine vessels as the Gothic, 7755 tons, 
and Delphic, 8273 tons, while there are now engaged 
in the service the Gorinthic, Athenic, and Ionic, all of 
12,000 tons, and fitted with twin screw engines and 
very comfortable passenger accommodation. The 
Arawa, 9372 tons, and Tainui, 10,500 tons, have taken 
the places of the old steamers which bore these names, 
but there is a sad fall-away, in point of beauty, from 
the pretty bows and yachtlike lines of the old liners, 
one of which, the Arawa, on one occasion, made the 
voyage from London to Wellington in 34 days 17 hours 
23 minutes. Her namesake, however, is not slow; she 
steamed from Wellington on 12th January, 1909, and 
made the passage to London in 38 days, at an average 
speed of thirteen knots without replenishing her 


bunkers. The Gothic was the first twin-screw steamer 
to run on the Cape Horn route, and was a favourite 

By the ocean services of the New Zealand Shipping 
Company and the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company, 
as well as other combined cargo and passenger lines, 
the shipping of the Southern Pacific is linked to the 
other shipping centres of the world, and it is in the 
forging of the links in this chain of communication 
that the longest and hardest steaming occurs, in all the 
world of sea. 

The New Zealand Shipping Company now has its 
Head Office in London, its New Zealand business being 
controlled by the General Manager for New Zealand, 
Mr. Isaac Gibbs. The Shaw, Savill and Albion Com- 
pany has as joint New Zealand agents Messrs. Levin and 
Co., Dalgety and Co., and Murray, Roberts and Co. 

The "RUAHINE" (1866), Panama Co. 

Queensland Government Yacht, "LUCINDA. 





Australia, s.s. — San Francisco mail service; built, 
Glasgow, 1876; 2737 tons gross, 500 horse-power nominal. 

Ann, s.s. — 164 tons, Captain Gibbs. First commercial 
steamer to arrive in New Zealand — 3rd September, 1853. 

Arawaia, s.s. — Intercolonial; built by Wingate and Co., 
on the Clyde, 1875 ; 1100 tons net, 300 horse-power nominal ; 
245 feet long, 30 feet beam; compound surface condensing 
engines. Now the Union Company's store-ship at Wel- 

Aramac, s.s., Arawatta, s.s. — Australian coastal; built in 
1889 by Denny Bros. ; 2114 tons gross, 2700 indicated horse- 
power; running in A.U.S.N. Company's service. 

Alameda, s.s — American Oceanic Line; built 1883 by 
Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia; 3158 tons gross, 3000 indi- 
cated horse-power. 

Aldinga, s.s. — Intercolonial; built Greenock 1860; 446 
tons gross, 140 nominal horse-power; length 202 feet, 24 
feet beam, 13 feet depth. "Wrecked off Belambi Reef 
January, 1896. 

Alhambra, s.s. — Intercolonial; built for P. and O. 1855; 
bought by McMeckhan, Blackwood in 1862; 642 tons gross, 
454 horse-power nominal. Wecked off Newcastle. Last ocean 
steamer to be fitted with Mortice's spur gear on main 



Albion, s.s. — Intercolonial; built Greenock 1863; 806 tons 
gross, 180 nominal horse-power ; 218 feet long, 27 feet beam, 
15 feet depth. Sold by TJ.S.S. Co. in 1888 to Captain Ellis 
who re-named her Centennial and ran her with the Jubilee 
in opposition to the TJ.S.S. Co. Sunk Sydney Harbour 1888. 

Auckland, s.s. — Formerly Paulet; bought by Inter- 
colonial R.M.S. Co. 1863; 850 tons gross, 150 horse-power 
nominal. Speed on trial 11£ knots. Sold to A.S.N. Co. 
Wrecked on Beware Reef 1871. 

Ajax, s.s. — Pilot steamer, Newcastle ; single screw ; built 
of iron in 1874 by Morts Dock and Engineering Co., Sydney. 
Dimensions, 136ft. 6in. long (128ft. 9in. between perpen- 
diculars), x 21 x 12 feet. Gross tonnage 344, under deck 
189 tons. Engines by Mort Dock and Engineering Co. 
Compound cylinders 20in. and 38jin. diameter by 24in. 

Airedale, s.s. — Built 1857 ; 400 tons, 80 nominal horse- 
power. Lost New Plymouth 15th February, 1871. 


Boomerang, s.s. — Built Dundee. 1854; 445 tons; A.S.N. 
steamer; sold in 1881. 

Bombala, s.s. — Built on the Clyde in 1904 by A. Stephens 
and Sons ; 4000 tons ; single screw, triple expansion ; speed, 
15 knots; length, 348 feet, beam 44 feet. Howard Smith 

Balclutha, s.s., sister to Aldinga. — Bought by A.S.N. 
1863; sold 1881. 

Ben Bolt, formerly American paddle steamer General 
Usquebende. — Bought by A.S.N. Co. 1854; 500 tons gross. 

Black Swan, s.s.— 210 tons; bought by A.S.N. Co. 1868; 
afterwards lengthened; finally broken up. 

Beautiful Star, s.s. — TJ.S.S. Company; 177 tons gross; 
119 feet long, 17 feet beam, 10 feet depth; 30 horse-power 
nominal; built Northumberland 1862. 

British King, s.s. — London Direct Line ; built by Har- 
land and Wolff; 3558 tons; 4 cylinder tandem engines by 

NOTES 139 

Jack and Co., Liverpool; 2 high pressure cylinders 28 
inches; two low pressure GO inches; 4£ foot stroke. 

British Queen. — See above. 

Barcoo, s.s. — Built Denny Bros. 1885; 1505 tons gross; 
triple expansion; speed, 13 knots. A. U.S.N. Co. 


Cooma, s.s. — Built 1907, A. Stephens and Sons; 4000 tons. 
Howard Smith Line. 

Claud Hamilton, s.s. — Built 1866; 800 tons net, 
120 n.h.p.; cost £25,000; carried 76 passengers. Panama 
Line — afterwards in intercolonial trade. 

City of San Francisco, s.s. — Built 1875, John Roach, 
Chester, Penn., U.S.A.; 3000 tons, 1900 indicated horse- 
power, compound engines, cylinders 88in. and 51in., six 
boilers each containing 204 tubes by Delaware River Iron 
Works; length 350 feet, beam 40 feet, depth 28 feet; 
barque-rigged, double topsails, 30,000 yards canvas; crew 
113. On San Francisco Mail Line. 

City of New York and City of Sydney, s.s. — See above. 

City of Sydney, s.s. — Built 1853 of wood. A.S.N. 
steamer. Lost Green Cape 1862. 

City of Melbourne, s.s.— Built 1862 for A.S.N. Co.; 838 
tons, 200 horse-power. 

City of Melbourne, s.s. — Built on the Yarra 1851 of wood, 
bought in 1853 by A.S.N. Co. for £6850. Afterwards a 
schooner under Captain McLean. 

Chusan, s.s. — Built 1852; 699 tons net, 80 horse-power 
nominal. First P. and O. liner to Australia. 

Captain Cook, s.s. — New South Wales Government pilot 
steamer, Sydney; single screw, schooner rigged, built of 
steel in 1893 by Mort's Dock and Engineering Co., Balmain, 
N.S.W. Dimensions, 155ft. 8in. x 25ft. 2in. x 13ft. Ton- 
nage, gross 396, under deck 376, net 172. Engines by 
Mort's Dock Co. : triple expansion, cylinders 16, 25, and 41 
inches diameter, 30 inches stroke. Speed 13 knots. This 
vessel superseded an older Captain Cook built also by Morts 


Dock and Engineering Co., Sydney, in 1876. This was a 
wooden vessel, single-screw schooner, 123ft. 6in. x 21 x 12 
feet. Tonnage 185, under deck 184, net 126. Her engines 
were by Morison and Bearby, of Newcastle, N.S.W., com- 
pound, cylinders 20 and 38£in. diameter, 20in. stroke She 
was used as a collier after passing out of the pilot service, 
and finally went to Queensland, where she ended her life 
on the Brisbane River. 

Dacotah, p.s.— Built New York 1865; 2145 tons, 850 
horse-power nominal; similar to Nevada and Nebraska 
but carried 601b. steam. 


Egmont, s.s. — 670 tons net, 100 horse-power nominal. 
Panama Company, sold to A.S.N. Co. 1869, taken over by 
A.U.S.N, Co. Speed 12 knots. 

Elderslie, s.s. — Built by Palmer Co., Jarrow-on-Tyne ; 
1801 tons net; 315 feet long, 40 feet beam, 26} feet depth. 
Carried frozen meat from Oamaru 1884. 

Eagle, p.s. — Built by Chownes, Sydney, 1848; 224 tons; 
80 h.p.. In 1869 in charge of Captain Cadell (engineer 
James Roberson), took party to survey N. Territory for 
S.A. Government; burned wood and carried 81b. of steam; 
took 11 days to steam 1100 miles. Afterwards sunk to make 
a landing stage by A.S.N. Co. 


Great Britain, s.s. — Designed by Brunei and built by 
Patteson 1842; 3500 tons; 1500 horse-power. When first 
launched screw shaft was turned by four endless chains on 
a great drum. Ashore on Irish coast 1846. Bought by 
Bright Brothers and Co. in 1847, and fitted with 500 horse- 
power direct-acting engines. Ran in London-Melbourne 
trade for 21 years. Now a hulk at Port Stanley, Falkland 

NOTES 141 

Grafton, p.s. — 548 tons gross, 297 nett; 123 horse-power, 
500 indicated. Built at Liverpool, rebuilt 1877, and 
changed to screw steamer at Wellington 1887; bought by 
U.S.S. Co. 1889. Wrecked Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania, 

Governor Blackall, s.s. — Builti Morte Dock 1870 for 
Queensland Government; cost £30,000; 838 tons gross; 200 
horse-power indicated. A.S.N. Co. bought her. Afterwards 
sold to late Geo. Adams for £10,000. Now a hulk at 

Governor General, p.s. — 502 tons; formerly American 
steamer New Orleans; bought from Sydney and Melbourne 
S.S. Co. by A.S.N. Co. in 1856 for £7000; resold ro China 

Grantala, s.s. — See Yongala. 

Governor Wynyard, p.s. — Built Auckland N.Z. 1851 ; 
52 feet long, 13 feet beam; river steamer; first New Zea- 
land steamer. 

Geelong, p.s. — Built 1854, Wingate and Co.; 108 tons; 
90 horse-power nominal; two engines, 45-h.p. each; hull, 
half-inch iron. Wrecked Whangape Heads 14 March, 1879. 

Golden Age, p.s.— Built 1861, W. and G. White, Mel- 
bourne ;arrived Dunedin January, 1863; diagonal wooden 
vessel without frames. 

Golden Age, p.s. — 500 tons, American paddle steamer; 
ran one trip from Sydney to Panama about 1856. 

Gothic, s.s.— Built Harland and Wolff 1893. 7755 tons, 
twin screw, i.h.p. 4,400. London direct. Now owned by 
Holland- America Co. • 


Hero, s.s. — Built at Kingston-on-Hull 1861 ; 985 tons 
gross, 750 indicated horse-power; length 224 feet, beam 
25 feet. Gibbs, Bright and Co. ran her between Auckland 
and Australia 1873 to 1880, afterwards sold to U.S.S. Co. 
Now a hulk at Melbourne. 


Hawea, s.s. — Built 1874 by Denny, of Dumbarton; 720 
tons gross, 461 nett; 215 feet long, 27 feet beam; 14 feet 
depth. Arrived at Port chalmers 12th June, 1875 in charge 
of Captain Wheeler. U.S.S. Co. Lost New Plymouth 12th 
June, 1888. First compound steamer in New Zealand. 

Hawea, s.s. — Built 1897, Jas. McMillan and Co., Glas- 
gow. 1114 tons netj 1730 gross; triple expansion engines, 
was adrift disabled for 28 days, from 30th July, 1908, 
between Sydney and New Zealand. Stranded North Tip 
Head, Greymouth, October, 1908. Total wreck. 

Hinemoa, s.s. — Built of iron, 1876, Scott and Company, 

Greenock; 542 tons gross, 1000 i.h.p. ; single screw; speed 

10-11 knots. N.Z. Government. Captain Fairchild had her 
for many years. 

James Watt, p.s., 80 horse-power. — Owned by Grose and 
Street, Sydney; Captain John Taggart. First steamship 
to ply beteween Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane (1837). 


Kaikoura, s.s. — Built 1865, Millwall Ship and Graving 
Dock Co.; 1501 tons; 400 horse-power nominal, 1500 in- 
dicated, 80-inch cylinders, 3^ foot stroke. Panama Line. 
Sold to West India Mail Co. and re-named Tiber. 

Karoola, s.s.— Built 1908, Harland and Woolff ; 7391 tons. 
McEacharn, Mcllwraith and Co. 

Kennedy, s.s. — Built at Pyrmont, Sydney, by A.S.N. Co. 
1865; 201 tons gross, 123 net; 43 horse-power nominal. 
Now running out of Wellington (N.Z.). 

Lady Bowen and Lady Young, s.s. — Built 1864 for 
Q.S.N. Co.; 442 tons; bought by A.S.N. Co. in 1868. Sold 
and broken up 1881 and 1882. 

NOTES 143 

Ly-ee-moon, s.s. — 1202 tons; 160 horse-power. Built 
Blackwall 1859. Wrecked Green Cape 3rd May, 1886. At 
time of building was a paddle steamer, very fast, ran 
blockade of Chinese rivers with opium. Altered to screw 
and bought by A.S.N. Co. in 1878. 

Ladybird, s.s. — Built Dumbarton 1851; 421 tons gross; 
70 horse-power nominal; 151 feet x 22 feet x 19 feet. 
Scuttled in Cook Strait 1907. 

Lord Worsley, s.s. — Built 1857; 500 tons; 180 horse-power; 
barque-rigged. Lost off New Plymouth 31st August, 1862. 

Lord Ashley, s.s. — Sister ship. Lost Terrigal beach 1876. 

Luna, p.s.— - Built Greenwich 1864, of iron; 317 tons; 
double cylinder oscillating engines 120 n.h.p. Twice suc- 
cessfully ran blockade in American civil war. After war 
Captain Marshall bought her for the Melbourne-Geelong 
trade. Collided with s.s Black Swan off Gellibrand's Point; 
seized for debt and sold by auction. Bought by Auckland 
owners for Thames trade. Bought by N.Z. Government in 
1870. Again sold and used as hulk Port Chalmers. Finally 
taken to sea and scuttled. 

Lady Barkly. — Built Melbourne 1861, 56 tons, 20 h.p. 

Lucinda, p.s. — Built Dumbarton .1884, of steel; 301 tons 
gross; 112 h.p.; length 172 ft. 2in., beam 25ft. lin., depth 
9ft. 2in. Queensland Government yacht. 

Lady Loch, s.s. — Built Melbourne 1886; 487 tons gross; 
146 n.h.p. length 182ft, 7in. ; beam 24ft, Gin.; depth 
14ft. 4in. Victorian lighthouse steamer. 


Maheno, t.s. — Built 1905 by Dennys, Dumbarton; 5282 
tons; 6000 horse-power; turbine engines; length, 400 feet; 
beam, 50 feet. Union Line. 

Marama, t.s.s.— Built 1907 at Greenock; 6487 tons; 7000 
horse-power; twin screws; length, 420 feet; beam, 51 feet. 
Union Line. 

Mataura, s.s. — Built 1866 by Milwall Ship and Graving 
Co.; 1786 tons; 450 nominal, 1500 indicated horse-power; 
15-foot propeller. Panama Line., 


Moses Taylor, p.s. — American paddle steamer; 1354 tons; 
500 horse-power nominal; built 1867. 'Frisco service. 

Mongol, s.s.— Built Glasgow 1873, Dobie and Co.; 2200 
tons, 400 nominal, 1600 indicated horse-power; 300 feet long, 
37 feet beam, 30 feet depth; engines by Howden, Glasgow; 
high pressure cylinders, 48 inches, low pressure 90 inches; 
stroke, 4 feet; Griffiths patent 4-bladed propeller. Owned 
by New York-China S.S. Co. Ran in 'Frisco service. 

Mariposa, s.s. — See Alameda. 

McGregor, s.s. — Built 1872 for China trade by John Kay, 
Kirkcaldy; 2000 tons; 350 nominal horse-power; 350 feet 
long, 36 feet beam ; engined by builder ; cylinders 80 inches 
and 46 inches; compound engines; 4 boilers, 601b pressure; 
4ft. 2in. stroke; 4-bladed propeller 13ft. 6in. diameter. 
Ran in 'Frisco mail service. 

Monowai, s.s. — Built by Wm. Denny and Company in 
1890 for 'Frisco service; 3433 gross tons; 3000 indicated 

' Moana, s.s. — Built by Denny's, 1896; 3915 gross tons; 
45G0 indicated horse-power. 'Frisco service. 

Moeraki, t.s.s.. — Built 1902. Manuka, t.s.s. — Built 1903 
at Dumbarton ; 4392 tons ; 4500 horse-power ; length, 368 
feet; beam, 47 feet. Union Line. 

Miowera (now Matai), s.s.— Built 1892; 3393 tons; 3800 
horse-power indicated. First All-Red Mail Steamer. Inter- 
colonial and Vancouver trades. 

Mararoa, s.s. — Built 1885, Denny, Dumbarton ; 2598 tons ; 
3500 horse-power indicated; triple expansion. 'Frisco mail 
service and intercolonial. Union Company. 

Maori, s.s. — Built 1868, Blackwood and Gordon, Port 
Glasgow; 174 tons; 60 n.h.p. ; speed 10£ knots. Union 
Company's pioneer steamer. 

Maori, t.s. — Built 1907, Denny's, Dumbarton; 3399 gross 
tons; 6500 i.h.p.; Lyttelton-Wellington ferry. Union Line. 
Turbine engines. 

yOTJ-^ 1 45 

Mantua, t.s.s. — Built 1908, Caird, of Greenock; cost 
£350,000; 10,833 tons; 15,000 i.h.p. ; 19 knots; 540 feet 
long, 61 feet beam; quadruple expansion twin screw. 
P. and O. Line. 

Maitland, p.s.— Built Sydney 1837, J. Russell and W. 
Bourne. Sold 1851 to Melbourne owners. Sank in Salt- 
water River; raised and re-named Samson. 

Mullogh, s.s. — Built at Queen's Island, Belfast, 1855; 
59 tons, 15 nominal horse-power. Now a trawler on New 
Zealand Coast. 


Nelson, s.s. — Built 1853 by "Wm. Denny and Co., Dum- 
barton; 330 tons. First coastal steamer trading in New 

Nebraska, p.s.— Built New York 1865; 2145 tons; 850 
horse-power nominal; 286ft. x 41ft. x 26ft. ; built of oak and 
haokamack ; 4 decks ; beam engine, one cylinder, 85 inches ; 
12ft. stroke of piston; 33-foot paddle wheels; 4 boilers 
14ft. x 14ft. x 12ft. best American iron 5-16 inch thick; 
working pressure 251bs., generally run at 151bs; engine and 
boiler by Neptune Iron Works, New York ; coal consumption 
30 tons a day. 'Frisco line. 

Nevada, p.s. — Built New York 1867. — See above. 


Otago, s.s. — Built Glasgow 1863 for Panama Co.; arrived 
Port Chalmers 14th February 1864; 800 tons; 150 n.h.p. 
Lost Chaslands Mistake 4th December, 1876. 

Omeo, s.s. — Built at Hebburn, 1858; 789 tons. Brought 
out and laid Tasmanian cable in 1860; arrived Port 
Chalmers 29th December, 1860. Ran in the intercolonial 
trade; afterwards traded as a barque. 

Otaki, t.s.s. — Built 1907, Denny; 11,000 tons; engines of 
combined reciprocating and turbine type; twin screw triple 
expansion cylinders 24 inches, 39 inches, and 58 inches — 


stroke 39in. ; centre screw driven by low pressure turbine; 
average mean speed 15.02 knots, builder's trials; length 
464£ ft. x 60ft. -x 34ft. New Zealand Shipping Company. 

Otway, t.s.s.— Built Fairfield Co. 1909. Length, 550ft; 
12,000 tons; 15,000 i.h.p. ; speed, 18 knots. Orient Line. 

Otter, t.s.s.— Built Scotland 1884; 99 h.p. ; tonnage, 191 
gross, 87 net; dimensions, 128ft. 6in. x 21ft. 2in. x 10ft. lin. 
Queensland Government. 


Paloona, s.s. — See Zealandia^ 

Penguin, s.s. — Built Glasgow 1864. Bought by Union 
Company in 1880 from the Bird Line ; 824 tons. Lost 
Cook's Strait February, 1909- 

Prince Alfred, s.s.— Built 1856; 1200 tons; 400 horse- 
power. Panama Co. 

Prince Alfred, p.s. — Small paddle steamer chartered tc 
New Zealand Government by S. Hague Smith in Maori 

Pirate, s.s. — Built Glasgow 1853; 285 tons; Liverpool- 
Glasgow trade, then in Mediterranean, afterwards ran on 
Australian and New Zealand coasts. 


Queensland, p.s. — Built 1862, Barclay, Curie and Co., for 
Q.S.N. Co.; 309 tons; 120 h.p.; cost £18,900. Bought by 

A.S.N. Co. 

Queen of the South, s.s. — Built Paisley 1877. Ran on 
Australian Coast. Now owned by Levin and Co. 


Buahine, s.s.— Built 1865, J. W. Dudgeon, Millwall ; 1503 
tons; 350 nominal, 1500 indicated horse-power; compound 
engines; pairs of annular cylinders, 2-foot stroke; propeller 
3-bladed, 10£ feet diameter, 18£ feet pitch, 10 furnaces; 
Davison's surface condensers. Panama Line. Re-named 



Buahine, s.s. — Built 1891, Denny, Dumbarton; 5975 tons. 
New Zealand Shipping Co. Afterwards sold and re-named 
Antonio Lopez. Wrecked Fire Island, N.Y., 12th June, 

Buahine, s.s. — Built 1909, Denny, Dumbarton, 11,000 
tons; twin screw. New Zealand Shipping Co. 

Botorua, s.s. — Built 1876, Denny, Dumbarton; 516 tons; 
130 n.h.p. Union Company. Sold to Japanese owners. 

Bakaia, s.s. — Built in 1865 by Randolph and Elder, 
Glasgow; 1456 tons; same horse-power as Buahine; com- 
pound geared engines by builders; high pressure cylinders 
43 inches, low pressure, 79 inches, combined power given off 
on drum with internal gearing; engine revolutions 26.69 a 
minute — propeller revolved 69£ times; superheaters and 
surface condensers; two cylindrical tubular boilers 16ft. x 
13ft. ; furnaces at both ends ; fired alternately, the smoke 
passing over the flame of the other furnaces. Renamed 
Ebro and Baldomera Inglesais. Panama Line. 

Bose, p.s.— Built 1841; 172 tons; 146ft. x 19* x 11. 
A.S.N. Company's pioneer ship. 

Bingarooma, s.s. — See Arawata. Sold to Germans. Re- 
named Samoa, and trading in eastern waters. Re-engined 
in Japan in 1903. Now named Geiho Maru. 

Botomahana, s.s. — Built 1878, Denny, Dumbarton; 1770 
tons; 2500 i.h.p.; compound engines, cylinders 42 and 87 
inches, 6 boilers. On trial 15.386 knots. Arrived Port 
Chalmers September 30th, 1879. 


Sonoma, s.s., 5,500 tons. — Built Cramp, Philadelphia, 
1900. 'Frisco Line. 

Shamrock, p.s. — Built 1841; 211 tons. A.S.N. Company. 

Stormbird, s.s. — Built 1854, Lawrie and Co., Glasgow; 
67 tons net, 105 gross; double high pressure engines; 
cylinders 24 inches— 2 foot stroke; 181b. pressure of steam. 


Re-engined several times, and lengthened in 1883. Now 
running for Wanganui Steam Packet Co. Oldest steamer 
afloat (1909). 

Sea King — Steam clipper. Employed in early '60's as a 
transport during Maori war. In 1864 sailed from London 
to Madeira and changed name to Shenandoah, flying the 
Confederate flag. Visited Port Philip in 1865 having cap- 
tured nine American vessels. 

Surprise, p.s. — Built at Neutral Bay, launched 31st 
March, 1831 ; engined in July, 1831 ; 81 feet long, 10 horse- 
power engine. Parramatta river boat ; afterwards in 
Hobart-Sydney trade. First steamer built in Australia. 
The P.S. Sophia Jane arrived from England in the interval 
of launching and engineing the Surprise. 

St. Kilda, s.s. — Built Glasgow 1861 ; 231 tons gross ; 40 
i.h.p. ; length 122ft. x 21ft. 9in. x 10ft. 2in. 


Tamar, p.s. — Built of wood at Greenock 1833; 130 tons, 
60 h.p. Australian Coastal trade; one of the earliest 

Tararua f s.s. — Built 1864; 850 tons; 160 n.h.p. Lost 
Waipapa Point 30th April, 1881. Panama and Union 

Telegraph, p.s. — Built 1854; 367 tons. Lost Cape Per- 
pendicular in 1867. Fast and favourite A.S.N, boat. 

Thistle, p.s.— Built 1841; 175 tons. A.S.N. Co. sold 
her in 1849. 

Taranahi, s.s. — Built 1866, Blackwood and Gordon ; 443 
tons. Sunk Tory Channel 1868; raised and sold to 
U.S.S. Co. by N.Z.S.N. Co. Lost at Tauranga. 

Taupo, s.s. — See Haivea. Lost Tauranga 18th February, 

Tartar, s.s. — See Mongol. 

Tutanekai, s.s. — Built steel 1896, D. and J. Dunlop, Port 
Glasgow; 811 tons gross; 1500 i.h.p.; single screw; speed 
11-12 knots. N.Z. Government cable steamer. 

NOTES 149 


Ulimaroa, s.s. — Built 1908 by Gourlay, Sons and Co., 
Dundee; 5777 tons gross. Huddart, Parker Co. 


Victoria, s.s. (ex Shemara). — Was owned for some time by 
the N.S.W. Government, and attached to the Department 
of Navigation. Being unsuitable, however, for towing pur- 
poses she was sold out of the service, and resumed her old 
name (Shemara) and occupation as a steam yacht. Built 
by Ramage and Ferguson, Leith, in 1899, she was 188.5 x 
26.1 x 15.1 j engines triple expansion, 16, 26, and 42 inches 
by 27 inches stroke; speed 13£ knots. 

Victoria, s.s. — 686 gross tonnage. Adelaide Company's 
pioneer steamer 1875. 

Victoriat s.s. — Built Newcastle-on-Tyne ; 369 gross tons; 
95 n.h.p. Formerly gunboat Victorian Government, now 
towing in Sydney. , 

Victoria, s.s. — Built 1902, at Dundee; 2969 tons gross;. 
2500 h.p. ; 335 feet long, 43 feet beam. Huddart Parker 


White Swan, s.s. — 335 tons; 72 horse-power, nominal. 
Lost Flat Point 28th June, 1862 with N.Z. Government 

Wonga Wonga; s.s. — Built 1852; 680 tons register; 275 
horse-power; speed 10 knots on 28 tons a day. A.S.N. 
Company's steamer. Eventually broken up. 

Wonga Wonga, s.s. — Built Laurie and Co., Glasgow, 
1854; same measurements as Stormbird. Lost Greymouth 
2nd May, 1866. 

Warrimoo, s.s. — See Miowera. 

William Denny, s.s. — Built 1853, Wm. Denny and Co. ; 
595 tons. Lost North Cape 3rd March, 1857. 

Wellington, s.s. — Built 1866, Blackwood and Gordon; 
383 tons. N.Z. S.N. Co. sold to TJ.S.S. Co., then to 
Northern Co. Now laid up at Auckland. 



Wyreema, t.s.s.— Buih> 1908; 6338 tons gross; 5000 i.h.p. ; 
length 400 feet, beam 54 feet. A.TJ.S.N. Company. 

Wairarapa, s.s. — Built 1882, Denny, Dumbarton; 1786 
gross tons; 1750 i.h.p. Lost Great Barrier 29th October, 

Wimmera, s.s. — Built 1904 at Greenock; 3022 tons gross; 
3000 h.p.; 335 feet long, 43 feet beam. Huddart Parker 

William J^tli, p.s. — Built Williams River 1831; 84 tons; 
18 horse-power. First vessel of Clarence and Richmond 
Rivers Company. 

Wyandra, s.s.— Built Glasgow 1902; 4058 tons; 4000 
horse-power-; length, 340 feet; beam, 45 feet. A.TJ.S.N. 


Yongala, s.s. — Built 1903, Armstrong, Whitworth, New- 
castle-on-Tyne ; 3664 gross register. Adelaide S.S. Co. 

You Yangs, s.s. — 690 tons; built for service Crimean war, 
formerly s.s. Kief. First Howard Smith intercolonial 


Zingari, s.s. — Built 1853; 150 tons; 130 h.p. Ran on 
New Zealand coast 1855. 

Zealandia, s.s. — Built Glasgow 1875; sister to Australia. 
San Francisco Line. 

Zealandia, s.s. (now Paloona). — Built at Dundee 1899; 
2771 tons; 2000 h.p.; length, 327 feet; beam, 42 feet. Pur- 
chased from Huddart Parker Company by Union Company 
in 1909. 

Printed by the New Zealand Times Co., Ltd., Lambton Quay, Wellington 


" Stokin', and Other Verses ' 


Cloth, 2s. GtJ. Paper, 1s. 6d. 


Bulletin. — Will Lawson has plenty of individual merit — 
human sympathy, knowledge of his subjects, and vigorous 
handling of running measures. The lines race along in 
"The Hunters," "The Mails," and a number of others 
where rapid movement is to be suggested. His imagery is 

usually vivid and actual A book full of rattling 

verses about the sec. and sailor men. 

Australasian World' — Will Lawson is one of the most 
spirited and vigorous writers of verse in the Antipodes. 
The verses are written round the lives of sea-faring folk, 
and show a fine command of maritime technicology. Will 
Lawson has a wide knowledge of nautical life in the 
Southern Seas, and writes always with sincerity and 

Syren and Shipping (London). — His poems are faithful 
delineations of sea life, drawn, we should say, by a man 
who has been through the mill. 

Shipping World (London). — Will Lawson writes of the 
sea vividly, but with the grim and remorseless outlook of 
the man below decks. He has constituted himself the poet 
of the stoker, the greaser, and the trimmer, and in true 
word pictures we are made to see the grimy stokehold, with 

VERSES"— Continued 

its inferno of furnace and pistons, the living heart of the 
steamer. A volume of suggestive thought and vigorous 
lines — one that will repay its readers. 

Glasgow Herald. — Mr. Lawson's verse is of men and the 
things they do, more especially of the men who do much 
and are little heard of, stokers, greasers, shunters, and the 
like. His verses tramp with a swing that is rythmic and 
impressive. . . . will go straight to the heart of the 
average man. 

Birmingham Post. — Mr. Lawson has imagination and a 
strong, terse, often vivid style. It is not without reason 
that his country takes a pride in him. 

Daily Chronicle (London). — He can rhyme and he can 
convey the impression of being strong, brave and tender. 
His verses relate to everyday things, they are full of 
unusual images, etc., which the ordinary man never 
thinks of. 

Christchurch Press- — He is the laureate of the stoker 
and the fireman, the tramp steamer and the locomotive. 
"The Shunter" is a poem that men with far greater 
reputation than Mr. Lawson might have been proud to 

Western Mail. — He has the eye to see, the heart to 
understand and the graphic pen to describe. The poetic 
gift cannot be put to any higher use and produce more 
readable and arresting matter than, for instance, in 
"Stokin' " and "Trimmin' Coal." It is not exaggeration 
to say they quiver with life. The whole book has a brisk 
and gripping quality.