Shamrock (Shamrock Leaf)


Shamrock (originally Shamrock Leaf) was built by Bailey and Lowe and launched in 1915.   She started life powered by a 25hp Sterling petrol engine and could reach speeds of 10 knots. She was converted to diesel in 1936. Built for Arch McCarthy who ran the ferry service from Waitakaruru to Thames until the Kopu Bridge was opened.

Arch sold her to John Faulkner in 1925 where she worked as a ferry and tug in Tauranga harbour towing barges from Motiti Island and Mayor Island. She was sold in 1980 and went to Kawau Island where she did tug work towing log rafts and barges during the building of many of the wharfs at Kawau. With the tides permitting she would take the locals to Warkworth to do shopping etc. She was then on sold and was charter fishing from Leigh to Great and Little Barrier Islands.

In 2000 she was purchased by Rod Bridge from Shamrock Charters and sailed to the Kaipara Harbour where she would spend the next six years doing charter fishing in the harbour and over the Kaipara bar. It was 2000 when she was deregistered as a passenger ship and dropped the Leaf to become just Shamrock.   She holds the record for being the oldest vessel in continuous commercial survey in NZ.

Her current owners, Trish & Martin Beeby purchased her in 2006 from Rod Bridge and sailed her back to Auckland where she now resides at Te Atatu. She has competed in 3 Auckland Anniversary day Tug Boat Races and has not disgraced herself. Now powered by a 150hp Ford Dover her 4th engine after she had a Isuzu and a GM 4 /71.   2014 is her 99th year & she just passed another survey for insurance purposes and she is still doing well.

Trish has done a lot of work tracing her past but if anyone has any information or photos email them to

Photo below ex Zach Matich of Shamrock while she was chartering on the Kaipara out of Helensvillle


Photo below ex classicboatsnz showing Shamrock Leaf out at  Bailey & Lowe

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 6.07.17 AM

Update 09-10-2020 Unshore of the date but looking a tad more ‘pleasure’ craft.

15 thoughts on “Shamrock (Shamrock Leaf)

  1. Ray, she was on TradeMe in 2015 for sale in Auckland at $80k with a Cat D330. I have sent an image from TradeMe to Alan


  2. My apologies to all, Shamrock and Shamrock Leaf are one and the same boat.
    Does anyone know what became of the “Reremoana” built 1926 by Sam Ford for Faulkner Ferries


  3. Despite the caption in the above pic, the 42 footer SHAMROCK LEAF was built by Bailey & Lowe in April 1915 for Arch McCarthy of Thames. Frank Kumerich of Thames sold her to C.R., G.F.C. & R.H. Faulkner in 1927 to replace the steam launch RURU. The Register of British Ships didn’t catch up with the changes until 1933.
    I can’t find any record of a SHAMROCK owned by the Faulkners, although SHAMROCK LEAF did often got called SHAMROCK.


  4. I am sure that “Shamrock” and “Shamrock Leaf” were two diferent boats but both in the Faulkner Ferries fleet. In the top pic.( floating) she shows to be very low wooded. This is because in 1962-63
    Willie Oliver put her on the hard at Tauranga and dropped the deck by cutting out the top strake, about 7 inches.He replaced the clamp then dropped the deck down and built new beltings and the new wheelhouse. She always had the 4-71 GM when I knew her.Willy then did the same thing to “Awhitu” for Glen Tomich. At one time in the 1950’s I owned the little tug “Shamrock” from the Kaipara ex Subritzky-ex Smeeds Quarries (Waikato river)


  5. Wherever it came from, that caption is totally incorrect.
    1. There is no doubt that SHAMROCK LEAF was launched at the beginning of April 1915 from Bailey & Lowe’s then yard at Sulphur Beach shown clearly in the image (many contemporary references).
    2. Bailey & Lowe closed that yard down in June 1921.


  6. I wonder if this actually is a “launching” photo? The 1927 date conflicts with the 1915 information above (which is, at least in part, supported by a, presumed documented, sale in 1925). That suggests that either 1915 and related info is incorrect or that this is not a “launching” photo, but one taken some time after 1927 and which also puts us crook on the actual launch date.


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