Bondi Belle


story & photos by Baden Pascoe

Bondi Bell was built as S.S.Whakapara, at Whakapara (North of Whangarei) by Charles Bailey Jr. for the Foote family who were saw millers at several Northland locations . Launched in 1901, initially she was a steamer and converted to diesel in the 1920’s. This vessel is steeped in history and her owner ,Ted Carter needs to find a new owner for her. He is asking $85,000 and is open to negotiations. For details call Ted on 0274-485976.

(b/w photo c.1901-02. Whangarei, Hatea River, were the town basin is now)

Link the (blue) link below to read the brilliant story of the history of Bondi Belle & her 80 year circumnavigation of New Zealand.

BONDI BELLE – Around NZ in 80 Years

The press clipping from the Hokianga Newspaper c1929, was saved by Arch Fell & given to Baden Pascoe. Arch is most likely in the photo. Click to enlarge

Bondi Belle Hokianga Newspaper c1929

7 thoughts on “Bondi Belle

  1. Pingback: Bondi Belle – Relaunched | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  2. Well the press clipping pretty well settles that issue! That’s a heap better than anecdote but, from the context, it was written in early 1935 rather than 1929.


  3. PS the run down the west coast from the Hokianga to Greymouth was done in December 1934. BONDI’s 3 compasses were all inaccurate as they hadn’t been swung properly and she got wildly off course. Finally the crew took a sunsight, headed east and came into New Plymouth. She had been bought by the well-known firm KDV Box Co. and was intended for towing lumber at Greymouth.
    There is no mention of any other vessel accompanying her in the newspapers of the time.


  4. A couple more things. I see that Baden maintains that Fell put on the sponsons, not Harvey & Lang. Certainly there is an image of her in Kings’ shed with the sponsons in place but whether Fell put them on or they had been put on by Harvey & Lang previously, I don’t know. It all depends on which anecdote one believes. Her original steam engine was indeed a 20 ihp unit from A & G Prices in Thames. H. Worrall owned her in Christchurch in 1953 according to APYMBA records (as BONDI).


  5. As Baden says, WHAKAPARA was built by a team sent to the mill at Whakapara by CHAS. BAILEY JR. not by Bailey & Lowe. She was railed to Whangarei and launched there in July 1899. The Foote brothers sold her to Bayly of Auckland in 1910. He sold to R.A.J. Dixon who had those “sponsons” put on by Harvey & Lang for stability either in the winter of 1913 or in 1918. She had major work done by them in both years for Dixon who used her for fishing in the Gulf, still in steam until after 1918.


  6. Such a lovely, purposeful looking steamer. I wonder what progression of engines she received after losing the steam plant. She is my kind of ship. Would love to see her rebuilt as such. Steam powered, of course.


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