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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 Paddle Steamer Mountaineer of 1879


Builder:     Kincaid and McQueen of Dunedin for the Wakatip Steam Shipping Company Ltd. at a cost of £6,700.

Naval architect:     Charles McQueen.

Type:     Steel hulled paddle steamer, one deck; two masts.

Length at keel:     125 feet.

Length overall:     130 feet.

Beam:     16.8 feet.

Depth:     7.3 feet.

Draught:     5 feet.

Displacement:     108 tons gross, 66.04 tons net.

Propulsion:     Compound engine with diagonal non-oscillating cylinders and slide valves, jet condensing, developing 66 h.p. at 90 r.p.m.; cylinder diameters, 18 inches (high-pressure), 36 inches (low-pressure); cylinder stroke 42 inches; side paddle wheels fitted with feathering floats; Locomotive type boiler supplied steam at a pressure of 70-72 psi. A later replacement boiler, also of the locomotive type, worked at 100 lb. per square inch.

Above: the general arrangement of a paddle wheel fitted with feathering floats, the purpose of which was to improve efficiency, the action being similar to that of a person swimming overarm. The leaves and links were connected to a plate free to move upon a fixed axle attached to the side of the sponson or outer portion of the paddle-box (from a sketch by M. Duston).

Service speed:     9 knots.

The Dining Saloon.

Passenger accommodation:     The saloon's interior was panelled with Birdseye Maple offset with Red Velvet upholstery and she was licensed to carry 200 day passengers.

Ship's company:     10.

Cargo capacity:     39 tons.

Official number:     57649.


1878     November     Prefabricated at Dunedin.

1879     February 11     Above: Launched on Lake Wakatipu.

1879     April 8     Registered at Invercargill on as vessel number 2 of that year.

Tourists on her after deck in 1884.

Circa 1895.

1899     August 1     Registered at Dunedin as vessel number 3 of that year.

The crew
1902     Aft mast removed.

1903     April 17     Above: Purchased by the Crown and repainted in the livery of the Railways Department.

View from the bridge looking forward.

1932     Withdrawn from service and sold to Mr Mackenzie of Walter Peak sheep station for £35 for use as a houseboat.

1936     October 5     Register closed.

1941     Sold to the New Zealand Government for scrap, all her useable metal was melted down and used in the war effort, the materials being used in the construction of minesweepers and Bren gun carriers.

Other Lake Wakatipu Steamers

Above: moored at Queenstown are the Railways Department's Lake steamers Antrim of 1868 and on the right, the 108 ton Mountaineer of 1879. Although neither has survived, the Antrim's steam engine and boiler are still in use at the Kinloch slipway and are used to haul the Earnslaw out for her bi-annual survey.

The Paddle Steamer Antrim of 1868

The Twin Screw Steamer Ben Lomond of 1872

The Twin Screw Steamer Earnslaw of 1911


Mackay, Malcolm
Lady of the Lake     The TSS Earnslaw Story
Queenstown: Author, 1999. Pictorial card covers, 48 pp. Illustrated: colour and B&W plates, line drawings.

Meyer, R. J.
All Aboard     The Ships and Trains that Served Lake Wakatipu
Wellington: NZ Railway and Locomotive Society, 1980. 196 pp. Colour frontis. Illustrated: B&W plates and line drawings. Index.

This page is part of the Preserved New Zealand Ships of Historic Interest section of the
New Zealand Maritime Record
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