THE NEW ZEALAND MARITIME RECORD
|HINEMOA 1875 - 1944
The 1870s were energetic years in the safeguarding of New Zealand's particularly treacherous coastline. Communications were still slow and difficult on land. Trade and travel were more reliably carried out by sea. At the beginning of the decade there were still only seven lighthouses for more than four thousand miles of a coast notorious since the days of the first sealers and whalers. By the end of the decade there were fourteen more lighthouses in operation and several others under construction.
The Marine Board had the schooner-rigged paddle steamer Luna for landing materials when she was free from other duties. But in 1876, the year before the Marine Department was formed (now the Marine division of the Ministry of Transport) she was joined by the 542 ton, yacht like Stella and the Hinemoa; slightly larger sister ships designed specifically for light-house work. Besides carrying materials and equipment for the new light-houses, these small vessels had to service the existing ones, and occasionally search the lonely islands to the South of New Zealand for ship-wrecked sailors.
Through the years there were a number of steamers and launches which serviced the lighthouses, but one, the Hinemoa stands out in the lives and memories of lighthouse families over several decades. In his unpublished manuscript Eric Creamer recalled:
"When I think or speak of this vessel, it is much more than a construction of steel and wood that I have in mind, for I cannot separate her from the principal members of her crew... I find it quite impossible to remember the Hinemoa coming to anchor off one of the lighthouse-stations where we lived for a time, without visualising Captain John Bollons, her Master, on the Bridge, Mr. Jackson, the Chief Engineer, in his engine-room..."
With Black painted hull, pale Pink boot topping, and White upper works, and a Yellow funnel with a thin Black band at the top, the three-masted Hinemoa was a most attractive little ship. The Saloon, which contained a small upright piano, was rectangular in shape, with sleeping cabins opening off it to Port and Starboard. It had no outside portholes: the lighting by day came from skylights overhead. Beyond its forward bulkhead was the captain's quarters and abaft its after bulkhead the galley. The figurehead on her clipper bow was the bust of a Maori maiden holding a trumpet in her mouth. The Hinemoa had plenty of brass fittings as well as two long brass cannons to polish which made an enormous amount of work. Young apprentices, later to become seamen, A.B.'s and officers were the 'brass monkeys' who holly-stoned the decks and polished the brass.
Although principally commissioned as a politicians' yacht she soon began to double as a lighthouse tender. Politicians, Governors and Governors-General sometimes had to wait their turn. Both Lords Glasgow and Ranfurly clashed with Cabinet Ministers over the use of the steamer.
"The Government is very liberal in allowing the Governor the use of the Government Steamers to carry his family, servants, baggage, carriages and horses to and from Auckland or Christchurch to Wellington free of expense', the Premier advised. They needed it; a fully equipped vice-regal party could haul 60 tons of equipment and stores up to the Queen City for the annual Auckland season."
1875 Similar in design to the Stella, but slightly larger, the Hinemoa was of 542 tons gross and 282 tons net register. She was completed the same year by the same builders, Robert Scott and Company, at Cartsdyke on the River Clyde.
Registered Ship number 69016 was ordered under Sir Julius Vogel's £10 million Public Works Loan for special service as Government and Parliamentary yacht. Hinemoa was 207 feet long, with a beam of 25 feet and draught of 15 feet. She was powered by two compound-surface condensing engines of 150 b.h.p. which could be worked up to over 700 b.h.p. giving a speed of 12 knots on an average consumption of 16 tons of coal a day. The Hinemoa cost £23,500 to build and a further amount of £1,833 18s. 2d. was paid out for extras.
1876 July 8 Under the command of her delivery master, Captain Watson, she left Greenock for New Zealand via the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia.
1876 October 2 Arrived at Wellington after a smart passage of 86 days.
1877 Captain John Fairchild appointed as the Hinemoa's master, he also commanded the Stella, the Government lighthouse tender.
Captain Fairchild had been master of the paddle-wheel steamer Sturt on the Waikato River and on the coast during the New Zealand wars, until he captained the paddle wheel steamer Luna. He commanded the Stella during the building of the Brothers and Puysegar Point lighthouses, captained the Hinemoa for 7 years, then was appointed Skipper of Tutanekai of 1896. Two years later Captain Fairchild was fatally injured on board the Tutanekai while supervising the loading of an engine. The Prime Minister Richard Seddon, and the leader of the Opposition, headed the long line of people who mourned the loss of New Zealand's finest Captain.
"Captain Fairchild was a tall man of outstanding personality and he was kind to us young people.
1878 Hinemoa was handed over to the Marine Department to maintain, but in the following two years was engaged in duties outside the Department.
1878 October 22 The City of Auckland went ashore on Otaki Beach and became a total wreck. The immigrants were forced to tramp to Waikanae, about 12 miles further South, to board the Hinemoa which conveyed them first to Wellington. and then to Napier.
1878 In October 1795 a ship named Endeavour limped into Dusky Sound, New Zealand, after striking bad weather some days out of Sydney. The ship was abandoned to become the first New Zealand shipwreck. Captain Fairchild of the New Zealand Government steamer Hinemoa visited the wreck in 1878, and noted that she was one-third English Oak and two-thirds Teak, with all bolts of pure copper. Whalers had cut away most of her decks. He estimated she was 180 feet long (later revising his estimate of her keel to 128 feet), 32 foot beam, and between 700 and 800 tons register. He removed one of her rudder traces (which had the words "Saville, London" on it) and brought back several pieces of the wreck.
1880 August The Hinemoa towing the iron hulled Shaw Savill sailing ship St Leonards at Wellington, an oil painting by William Forster at the New Zealand National Maritime Museum.
The mainmast was removed sometime between 1880 and 1889. The superstructure appears to have been extended in this period to include further accommodation, an enclosed bridge with an upper level and the addition of extra life boats.
1881 She had her first work with the lighthouses. The tower and light from Mana Island were carried in sections by the Government Steamer Hinemoa and re-erected at Cape Egmont, the most westerly point in the Province of Taranaki.
When not laid up at anchor in Wellington harbour, the Hinemoa was engaged on special services such as carrying cargo for other Government Departments, or moving members of the General Assembly around. Considerable quantities of cargo were carried for the Railways and Defence Departments. At this time a contract was let to W. Cable and Company for new boilers at a cost of £858.
1883 October 27 The Governor, Sir William Jervois arrived at New Plymouth aboard the vessel.
It is reputed that on a voyage at about this time, Captain Fairchild had approached the Governor, who was on his bridge, and tried to point out to him some place of interest on the coast, which they happened to be passing. The Governor had said haughtily: "Captain Fairchild, in future when you address me you will kindly do so through my A.D.C." Fairchild had withdrawn with his usual grunt; but five minutes later the Governor walked across to him and asked: "Captain Fairchild, what is the name of that settlement over there?" Fairchild apparently replied: "Your Excellency, in future when you address me you will kindly do so through my Chief Officer." The Governor's response is not known, however it was said that it would have been a damned sight easier to find another Governor than to replace Captain Fairchild.
1886 June 12 The Government Service Steamer Hinemoa was offered to his family to transfer the body of Thomas Henderson senior, founder of the shipping firm of Henderson & Macfarlane, from Wellington to Auckland for burial in the family plot at Grafton Cemetery.
1886 Established the first castaway depots on the Antipodes and Bounty Islands.
1886 The first official visit to Picton by a Governor-General was that of Sir William Jervois. He arrived in the Government vessel Hinemoa. The Mayor entertained the Governor and his suite to dinner at the Terminus Hotel and then had to claim a refund of costs as being part of his salary. On the arrival of the ship the Mayor went on board and escorted His Excellency ashore where he was met by the councillors and their wives. A civic reception was held later to which the general public were invited.
On the day of this visit a fashionable wedding was scheduled to take place, to which the elite of Picton and Marlborough had been invited. The problem was that the time of the wedding was set at 2.30 p.m. the time of the Governor's arrival. An invitation was extended to the Governor and he was asked to grace the occasion with his presence and this he consented to do. However the Hinemoa was late and did not arrive until 4.30 p.m. On arrival His Excellency's first enquiry was after the bridal couple, to be informed that the wedding had taken place at the scheduled time of 2.30. He said he greatly regretted missing the ceremony.
1888 The Hinemoa was laid up. Her machinery was overhauled at a cost of £7,585 and on being recommissioned she relieved Stella as the lighthouse tender, being engaged on the servicing of buoys, beacons, and lights and attending to castaway depots. Captain Fairchild transferred to the Hinemoa from the Stella and remained in the former vessel until 1895, when he was sent to Britain to bring out the Tutanekai.
1889 Above: Hinemoa at the Wool Jetty, Wellington (centre). At anchor are the ships of the Royal Navy's Australasian Squadron. By 1916 the Wool Jetty would be transformed into the Lyttelton Ferry Wharf
1889 In response to a severe gale at Apia, the government of New Zealand offered to place the steamer Hinemoa at the disposal of Admiral Kimberly at Samoa.
1890 The Hinemoa was unable to land due to heavy seas at the Cape Brett Lighthouse, so letters were sent ashore in a tin tied to a line.
1890 The Hinemoa made a cruise to the sub-Antartic Islands: Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Islands, from Bluff. An account was published in The Islands of the Far South by J. S. Cumpston.
1891 January 29 Arrived at Macquarie Island.
1891 Hinemoa was twice sent in search of the Kakanui with 19 hands apparently lost after departing Macquarie Island. Hinemoa stopped at Auckland Island, Campbell island and the Snares but found no trace.
1892 February 17 Arrived New Plymouth from Oamaru with the dredge Progress in tow.
1892 Besides the usual trips to the outlying islands of the colony, an extra duty imposed on the Hinemoa was to go to Sydney and bring the new Governor, the Earl of Glasgow (1859 - 1951), back to New Zealand.
1893 During the year ended 31 March 1893 the vessel steamed 30,840 miles, was 3,662 hours under steam, burnt 1,556 tons of coal, and landed 2,638 tons of cargo, while her crew cleaned, painted, and relaid 98 buoys.
The Hinemoa was kept busy for the next few years attending to the lighthouses, overhauling and cleaning buoys, and doing other work, including a trip to the Snares, Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes, and Bounty Islands in search of castaways, and to inspect the provision and clothing depots.
1893 September 4 The Spirit of Dawn was totally wrecked on a reef off the Antipodes Island. Five members of the crew, including the Captain, were drowned. The remaining eleven members of the crew made it into a life boat and were able to land on the Island. During their stay on the Island their only food consisted of mutton birds, mussels and roots. They had to eat these raw as they had no means of lighting a fire. They remained on the Island for 87 days without a fire, during which time they lived in a cave beneath an overhanging bluff. They hoisted a flag in a cove on the highest point of the Island, which was eventually seen by the crew of the Government Steamer Hinemoa.
1895 Captain J. Neale appointed as master. About this time the Hinemoa had to be sent to the Auckland and Campbell Islands on special service to prevent sealing during the off season, and the Terranora was chartered from the Post and Telegraph Department to assist with servicing lighthouses.
1896 December On return from her Southern lighthouse trip she was withdrawn from service, as it was decided that the Tutanekai should take over the servicing. It was decided to sell the Hinemoa and tenders for her purchase were invited by advertisement in New Zealand, Sydney, and Melbourne, but no offers were received.
It was then decided to use her by visiting the sealing grounds more frequently and by arranging that the Government steamers should convey as much as possible of the coal, sleepers, and other material required by the Railways to the port at which they were wanted, and that the other Government Departments should use the Government steamers for shipping their cargo whenever this could be conveniently arranged. To enable her to carry additional cargo, the fore hold was enlarged, and some necessary repairs done to her machinery.
1897 Captain C. F. Post was appointed master of the vessel when Captain Neale left her to take up the appointment of harbourmaster at Manukau. Then, when Captain Fairchild met with a fatal accident, Captain Post transferred to the Tutanekai and John Bollons, who had served under both Captains Fairchild and Neale on the Hinemoa, received promotion as her master.
1897 During the construction of houses for the keepers at Farewell Spit, a cargo of bricks was brought ashore from the vessel. The wind blew so fiercley during the night that the bricks were covered in sand and never found again.
1898 January 3 John Sinclair of Wellington died aged 61. He was a seaman on board the Hinemoa.
1898 Captain John Fairchild was accidentally killed when a shackle broke aloft and struck him a fatal blow. Captain Bollons was the late Captain Fairchild's immediate replacement.
John Peter Bollons arrived in New Zealand as a sixteen year old seaman at Bluff on the seventh of November 1881, when the barque England's Glory was wrecked on the beach at Lookout Point, Bluff.
"Andrew José came as a boy, one of the crew of the England's Glory wrecked in 1881 below what used to be called Suicide Point at the Bluff. The Glory Track named for this ship starts just above this point. She was a fully rigged 183 feet barque with a magnificent figurehead carved from a single trunk of Oregon. It has been one of the treasures of the Southland Museum for many years. Another member of this crew was John Bollons, and it was 'Old' Barney Buller (Tohi te Marama) of Bullers Point, The Neck, who took both boys in and fathered them for years."
From 1892 Bollons served as articled apprentice, able seaman, second mate and then ship's mate under Captain Fairchild on the Hinemoa before becoming her master for twenty four years. His tremendous knowledge of the coast, islands, ocean and people was unsurpassed. He was intensely interested in everything pertaining to the Maori race and was first ashore to inspect each lighthouse station and discuss events since the ship's last visit. Bollons examined any fossils or artifacts that had been found and, master of barter that he was, often left with articles to add to his substantial collection. A fluent Maori speaker, resourceful master seaman, tough disciplinarian and a kind hearted gentleman, he died suddenly on the 17th of September 1929 while Master of the 811 ton government steamer Tutenekai of 1896 and is buried at Bluff.
In appearance he was broad and stocky - five foot nine, perhaps? - with startling blue eyes and a grey pointed beard, always neatly trimmed, with never a hair of it straying. At sea and ashore, he used always to stand with his hands behind his back and his feet well apart, as though to anticipate a roll of the ship even though on land. His speech was a mixture of Maori and of nautical language, which might have derived from Conrad (whose works he read avidly). I recall his coming to tea at Government House, when my mother asked anxiously whether he might not have got wet in the sudden rain squall which had smitten us all a few minutes before. "Oh, no, Your Excellency," he replied; "I hove to under the lee of the Post Office."
Bernard Fergusson1899 June 2 One of the very few fatal accidents in the Hinemoa's long career happened at East Island off East Cape. One of her boats, in charge of William Brown, the chief officer, was lowered to find whether a landing could be made on the following morning. He was instructed to exercise caution and run no risk. When nearing the landing place, the boat was struck by a heavy sea, became unmanageable and capsized, and its six occupants were catapulted into the water. Second Officer F. A. Hardy and able seaman J. Weymark were cast on the island by the surf and could not be rescued until the following day. Mr Brown and three seamen, N. Buchanan, 0. Sjoblom, and C. Osterman, were drowned. All the bodies except that of Osterman were recovered. Brown's body was, at the request of his relatives, brought to Wellington for burial. The bodies of the two seamen were buried on the island, the Department later enclosing the grave and erecting a headstone. On returning to Auckland after this accident the Hinemoa ran into Queens Wharf, damaging the carved figurehead on her bow.
1900 February 17 The Knight Templar departed from Lyttelton with 260 soldiers and 300 horses for Durban and the Boer War. Hinemoa attended her to a mile beyond the heads. 1900 Circa Frank Worsley (1872 - 1943) was the Captain of Sir Ernest Shackleton's vessel, the Endurance. About 1900 he was appointed Mate of the Hinemoa and served aboard her with the historian James Cowan. Cowan said that he sailed twice with Worsley in the Hinemoa and that one of these voyages was to Samoa and the other was a search on the Tasman Sea, seeking the disabled and drifting steamer Perthshire.
1900 27 December to January 31, 1901 A cruise on the Hinemoa to New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands, with the Governor-General of New Zealand; the Earl of Ranfurly aboard.
"A favourite with the Governors-General and their families was the annual summer cruise to Fiordland and the sub-Antarctic Islands."
1901 June 11 - 27 With the Governor aboard, the Hinemoa escorted the Royal yacht Ophir around the coast when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited New Zealand in 1901. At this time she changed livery from the traditional Black hull to White with an all Yellow funnel to be in keeping with the colour scheme of the chartered Orient Liner Ophir (below).
1901 June 27 "About mid-day on the 27th of June we slipped from the wharf and went outside, returning again in the evening, after having adjusted our compasses, and dropped our anchor in the gulf some distance from Lyttelton. A heavy swell was running and made us roll considerably.
It was about 8 pm, when we perceived the Governor's yacht approaching with the Royal Party on the saloon deck, she was brilliantly lit up with electricity, and as she came on rockets ascended in all directions. When she came closer we saw that there would be some difficulty in getting their Royal Highnesses from one ship to another, the swell was so great, but after considerable trouble a gangboard was got out, and waiting their first opportunity the Royal Party quickly ran on board, the Duchess first, the Duke following; and only just in time; for the ships came together with a crash and then rolled far apart, leaving the gangboard dangling down from the Ophir's upper deck. One of our four principal gangway ladders was smashed to matchwood also the lower boom, a long spar some fifteen or sixteen inches in diameter, a lot more damage was done but the Governor's yacht suffered the most, she having some of her plates stove in and her bridge smashed, and after we got the Royal suite and luggage on board, she left with all possible speed for Lyttelton to go in dock and we got up anchor and proceeded on our way to Tasmania."
From the journal of Able Seaman Harry Price of the Ophir1901 October 25 The Hinemoa called at Cuvier Island and Captain Bollons made his three monthly inspection of the station.
1901 - 1911 Hinemoa maintained her normal schedule of duties, attending to the lighthouses, buoys, and beacons, searching for castaways, and carrying out repairs to and replenishing the provision depots. She also made a special trip to Nelson carrying patients for the mental hospital.
1902 Above: Landing light house supplies at North Head on the Kaipara Harbour.
1904 March 8 There were worries about the ship, the Light-house keeper on Cuvier Island wrote:
"Her work is increasing gradually year after year, at present she is only able to visit the light-house stations once in every four months and a half probably before long only twice a year, and by only getting one mail in between makes the place all most unfit for a white man's abode."1905 May 7 Made one of her periodical visits to the Auckland Islands and found the twenty two crew members of the wrecked barque Anjou, which had run aground on the Western cliffs in February.
1906 The vessel was used to collect Sea Lions, Penguins and Albatross for the Christchurch International Exhibition.
1906 Tuesday April 24 At Kaipara Heads.
1906 Willie Sanders (Lieutenant-Commander William Edward Sanders VC DSO) was born in Auckland in 1883. He started his career at sea on a coastal steamer in 1899 and in January 1906 joined the New Zealand Government Service Steamer Hinemoa for a two year stint. During 1906 he kept a dairy which he titled Cruises of the GSS Hinemoa. The duties of the Hinemoa included servicing lighthouses around New Zealand's coastline and maintaining the castaway depots in the sub-Antarctic Islands. The depots (tin sheds) were stocked with provisions, stove for cooking etc. They provided shelter and food supplies for castaways from any ships wrecked on the Islands.
1907 November The Hinemoa departed from Bluff on a sixteen day cruise, partly scientific expedition arranged by the Canterbury Philosophical Institute and partly to replenish stores at the Relief Depots in the Auckland, Bounty, Campbell and Antipodes Islands. The officers of the Hinemoa were Captain Bollons, Chief Officer Mr. Hamilton, Second Officer Mr. Whitford.
She returned to Bluff with the survivors of the Dundonald (2,115 tons) on the 30th November. The Glasgow owned barque had sailed from Sydney, Australia, on 17th February and sank on 7th March after running ashore on Disappointment Island, eleven lives were lost. The body of J. Peters of the Dundonald was carried back and buried in the cemetery at Port Ross on Auckland Island.
The surviving crew from the Dundonald constructed a boat to reach a depot set up by the N.Z. Government on an island adjacent to Disappointment Island, on which they had been stranded. Relics of the stranding, including photographs, are in Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, NZ. The Southland Daily News of Monday the 2nd of December, 1907 carried a report of the return of the Hinemoa.
Crew of Hinemoa on an expedition to the Auckland Islands
showing the frame of a boat used by survivors of the Dundonald shipwreck.
1907 Walter Bruce Joss became second officer on the Government steamer of that time, the Hinemoa. On the same vessel "Young" Barney Buller (Williams) was chief officer, K. Knudson was 3rd Mate, M. Puhl, R. Ellis and J. Grattan were seamen.
Undated William Williams b.1876 rose to be Chief Officer for the Government Steamer Hinemoa in a lifetime that was too short.
1907 November An expedition to Port Ross in the Auckland Islands in order to make observations and collections of the geo-physics, geology, zoology, and botany.
1907 November Hinemoa collected members of Philosophical Expedition from Camp Cove and proceed to Port Ross. During the voyage L. Cockayne under instruction from the Governement collected 12 specimens of the Auckland Island flightless duck later released on Kapiti Is.
1907 November Hinemoa visited Disappointment Island. While there also retrieved the remains of the Dundonald's first mate bringing him back for burial at the Hardwicke Cemetery
1908 Mr B. C. Aston from the Philosophical Team returned to Auckland Island aboard the Hinemoa, making further botanical collections.
Captain Bollons (right) with some of the Hinemoa crew, capturing a sea lion in 1909
1917 The steamer Port Kembla hit a mine laid by the German Raider Wolf, nine miles off the Cape Farwell Lighthouse and sank. The Hinemoa laid a series of markers for the mine-sweepers. Some mines were swept up, others drifted and were destroyed on Wanganui and Foxton beaches.
1911 Withdrawn from service and offered for sale. Once again there were no buyers, so she was returned to service and became as busy as ever.
1922 As a consequence of the necessity for retrenchment and economy, it was decided to lay her up and she was offered for sale at £3,000. She was replaced by the Tutanekai, which underwent an extensive overhaul and refit for the purpose.
1922 After twenty four years in command of the vessel, Captain Bollons became Master of the Tutenekai.
1925 - 1926 Fourteen year old Bernard Fergusson sailed with Captain Bollons on the Hinemoa while she was still in occasional service as a relief ship for the Tutanekai during 1925 and 1926. As Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson (later Lord Ballantrae), he was Governor General of New Zealand from 1962 until 1967. In 1972 he published a fictionalised biography of Captain Bollons (see bibliography). Fergusson's father, General Sir Charles Fergusson had been Governor from 1924 until 1930, as was his grandfather, Sir James Fergusson in 1873 and 1874. His maternal grandfather, the Earl of Glasgow, also held the same post from 1892 to 1897.
1925 It is reported that the Hinemoa was extensively overhauled and handed over to the Department of External Affairs for the Pacific Islands trade. An alternative source states that she was sold in 1925 for Milford Sound cruising.
1932 Reported to be laid up.
1936 - 37 Still listed with a passenger certificate in Lloyd's register and in the ownership of D. W. McKay, with her home port listed as Wellington.
Laid up at Stewart Island
1941 Sold by David W. McKay of Invercargill to the Department of Industries and Commerce for scrapping.
1942 July 6 Purchased by the Royal New Zealand Navy when about to be broken up at Paterson Inlet (Stewart Island) and converted into a sullage (waste oil) barge for use by American ships under repair at Wellington.
1942 November Towed to Bluff.
1943 January 23 Arrived at Lyttelton under tow from Bluff by the tug Lyttelton.
1943 December The removal of the engines, boilers, masts and super-structure completed.
1944 May The hulk was offered for sale.
1944 August 4 After being stripped of all useful material, she was towed out to sea from Lyttelton by the tug Lyttelton.
1944 August 5 The 69 year old Hinemoa was used as a target for their 12-pounder guns by the minesweepers Hautapu, Waima, Awatere, Maimai and Pahau, but they only achieved two hits out of the 89 shells fired. Later the same day she was sunk by explosive charges in 120 fathoms in Pegasus Bay, 60 miles North-East of Lyttelton, at 43° 17" S, 173° 50" E.
Chilton, Charles Editor
Thanks to Madelene Allen, Tricia McRae, Steven McLachlan (specialist in Maritime Covers) for many of the images and Marcus Castell for the research.
New Zealand Maritime Record
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