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This website is developed from the site originally conceived developed & maintained by Marcus Castell and associates. Opinions are those of the various authors of the articles, and are not those of the NZ National Maritime Museum unless specifically noted. Information in this site has been updated to 2002 and will be progressively updated as resources allow. More information on historic ships (etc) is contained in the MARITIME INDEX website
The Steam Launch Lyttelton

Small sailing vessels and later steamers brought coal from Newcastle on Australia's Eastern coast or the West Coast ports of Greymouth and Westport. It was stored in hulks, worn-out sailing ships cut down for use as coal warehouses, until needed by the steamers serving the port. The hulk above is fitted with a derrick and steam winch to swing baskets of coal over the side. Small steam launches such as the Lyttelton (in the foreground) moved hulks alongside their customers.

On two or three occasions, as part of the New Year's Day Regatta in Lyttelton Harbour, the hulks of ships were scuttled. It is probable that at least five vessels joined the Lyttelton Harbour graveyard in 1907 and met their fate in this way. These were the steam lighters, Waiwera, Dorset, Don, Red Jacket and Lyttelton. Many lighters became redundant through improved harbour facilities and the organisation by overseas traders of two way cargoes.


The Lyttelton is the only one of these vessels about which any details are known. She was used for many duties, including carrying members of the permanent artillery to Ripapa Island for gun maintenance and provisions. It was on one of these trips that the petty officer and engineer fell overboard and were drowned. The Lyttelton spent some time on the rocks at Diamond Harbour and was later used as a pleasure launch.

1907     Beached at Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour.

Above: photographed in 1936
with the remains of the steam ship Mullogh behind her.

Circa 1980, an expanded image opens in a new browser window.


Thanks to James Turner, the Lyttelton Museum, Steven McLachlan (specialist in Maritime Covers) and Marcus Castell.

This page is part of the The Wrecks and Hulks of Lyttelton Harbour section of the
New Zealand Maritime Record
web site.

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