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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 Queen

Displacement:     200 tons.

The Queen was an English steam ship carrying auxiliary sail and is reputed to have arrived in New Zealand waters on the 25th August 1858. She was the first screw steamer to visit Dunedin. Her hulk rests on Quail Island, where she is now completely buried.

Note:     The first seven entries refer to a vessel named the Queen, but they are unconfirmed as referring to this particular steamer.

1846     February 14     Arrived at Sydney

1846     March 22     Departed from Sydney

1853     January     Departed from Liverpool

1853     April     Arrived at Melbourne

1854     August 31     Arrived at Sydney

1854     September 6     Departed from Sydney

1855     December 27     The Schomberg outward bound from Liverpool for Melbourne, grounded on a sandbank 35 miles West of Cape Otway in the North-western approach to Bass Strait.  All the passengers were safely disembarked and put aboard the steamer Queen the following morning.  All efforts to save the ship failed and she eventually broke up.

The Queen was owned by Scotsman James MacAndrew (1820 - 1887) and was the first screw steamer to visit Dunedin. She caused quite a stir when she arrived on 27th September 1858.  Greeted with a 20 or 21 gun salute, she replied with a display of fire works launched from her deck that evening.

The Honourable James MacAndrew was one of Dunedin's more colourful characters and had arrived in the province at the beginning of 1851 aboard the Titan after a five months voyage from London.  The vessel was privately owned or chartered as a venture by MacAndrew and his father-in-law Thomas Reynolds.  He soon established James MacAndrew and Company, merchants and ship-owners and would be the first employer of the young James Mills, later founding chairman of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand.

James MacAndrew, was both a Freemason and a Free Churchman, he was elected Provincial Superintendent of Otago in January 1860, more on account of his tremendous enthusiasm and flair for the promotion of schemes with a popular appeal than for his religious afflictions.  MacAndrew subsequently embezzled public money and was subjected to impeachment proceedings.  When arrested for debt in 1861, he used his powers as Superintendent to declare his own home a prison and a place of detention.  The Governor intervened and ordered his temporary removal to the Dunedin jail.

He helped establish the University of Otago in the 1860s and was also the moving spirit in 1872 in the establishment of the Otago Medical School.  He was re-elected as Provincial Superintendent in 1867, serving for a further 11 years.  By 1884 he was the Member of Parliament for Port Chalmers and MacAndrew Bay, on the Otago Peninsula, was named after him.

Note:     The following entry contradicts the reputed date of the vessel's first arrival at Port Chalmers.

1858     January 8     The sailing ship Strathallan (550 tons) with 250 passengers arrived at Port Chalmers after 110 days from Leith under the command of captain Todd.  "Some time in the morning, Adam's Lighter, the Queen, came from Dunedin and got alongside and took a load of passengers on board.  I remember the second-cabin passengers' claim for precedence was very marked, with rather funny results. They and their belongings had to go first, then a few extras, and finally the Queen got away, very heavily loaded.  She got about a hundred yards when she sat fast and remained there all day.  So much for precedence.  Somewhere between ten and eleven a.m. Mr. McAndrew had got word of the plight we were in, and he turned up with a boat load of bread."     Reminisce of Agnes Archibald.

1858     The Otago Province had found it necessary to provide at its own expense a connection with Melbourne and the Queen was chartered for two years to connect Otago and later Canterbury with Melbourne and the English steamer service.  The steamer was soon found to be too small for the inter-colonial trade and was then used mainly for coastal work, mostly on the Lyttelton to Port Chalmers run.  By January 1860 James MacAndrew had obtained another vessel; the Pirate for the voyages to Melbourne and this successful venture opened up a lot of trade between the two centres.

1858     Hugh Percy Murray-Aynsley, chairman of the New Zealand directors of the New Zealand Shipping Company Limited, was born in Gloucestershire in 1828.  He came out to Lyttelton in 1858 aboard the s.s. Queen, a vessel purchased by the late Hon. James MacAndrew to open up trade between Melbourne and New Zealand.

1861     circa     Captain John Watson (born Peterhead, 1834, died Port Chalmers, NZ, 1912) joined the ship Alibi as chief officer and after a few months transferred to the ship Queen in a similar capacity.

James Turner records that he has salvaged a lot of timber from her.

"In my excavations carried out on her I measured her out from bow to stern to be approximate 45 feet.  She has a flooring that is lightly secured about a foot high above her hull which appears to be carvel built.  She is almost completely constructed of wood, the only metal items that I have found are on her stern post and also at the bottom of her bows.  All the top bow section has gone.

On her South island coastal run she called in at these ports; Akaroa, Timaru, Oamaru, Moeraki and Port Chalmers.  She was also used as a lighter in the Lyttelton Harbour carrying Ballast from Quail Island.  The ballast trade was very busy in Lyttelton in the early days."


McCluskey, F. H.
Down the Bay     The History of the Ferries on Otago Harbour
Wellington. New Zealand Ship and Marine Society, 1995. 151 pp. Pictorial card covers. 29.5 x 21. 2 maps on full page, 32 B&W photographs and 38 facsimiles of newspapers clippings.
A history of the passenger and freight services around the many bays of Otago Harbour.

MacGibbon, John
Going Abroad
Wellington: Ngaio Press, 1997 Soft Cover. 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. 231 pp. Illustrated
Family history about early migrants to the Free Church of Scotland settlement of Otago in the mid 19th century.  Queen: first steam ship in Dunedin, page 146.

Circa 1980
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Thanks to James Turner, 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
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