The Birth Place of Many Woodys

The Birth Place of Many Woodys
photos ex Chris McMullen ex Gilbert Littler

The two stunning aerial photos above of the Beaumont Street boatyards, taken in the early 1960’s by Whites Aviation, were sent in by Chris McMullen via his friend Gilbert Littler. These days Gilbert lives in Boston, USA but in the 1960’s worked at the Baileys yard (2nd photo above) as a boatbuilder. Gilbert was back in NZ recently to sail on Chris Bouzaid’s Rainbow II during the ‘One Ton Revisited Regatta’, which they won.

Chris commented that back in the 1960’s when the photos were taken, any interested young boy could go into a boatyard and watch what was going on. No health and safety regulations. An older guy told Chris one day “Don’t be a —— boatbuilder sonny ‘’  “Better to be a builder.” He told him the boatbuilding industry was too unreliable, hard dirty work and way under paid. Well Chris says he was right, but he ignored the old boys advice and some how survived, with no no regrets.

There are a lot of woody’s in the photos. Lots of history too. Lowes old yard is just south of the Atlantic oil depot. Chris’s old firm, McMullen & Wing Ltd, set up a travelift operation there to replace the St Marys Bay haul out, taken by the Harbour Bridge approach.
Chris commented that they filled the site with brick and concrete from the Union Steam Ship building. The date about 1980.  The site was leased from the old Auckland Harbour Board and had some very restrictive conditions over activity and building on the site.  It was too tough and Chris got out and left it with his business partner the late Eric Wing. He sub leased it to Kip Kempthorn who eventually bought the lease and managed to change the terms through negotiations with the new land lord  “Ports of Auckland “. Chris isn’t quite sure how he managed that but it happened. What is on the site now would never have been allowed under the original lease.  The McMullen & Wing site was next to the old Harbour Board slip and is now called Orams number two yard. As an aside Chris recently bought back their original travelift that has been worked flat out for over 33 years.

(remember to enlarge a photo, simply click on it)

12 thoughts on “The Birth Place of Many Woodys

  1. Sounds like ETHEL, built by Logan Bros in 1896 and used for many years around that time by George Murphy for fishing. I often saw her making for St. Mary’s Bay on a Sunday afternoon into the westerly under her Lister. The blue hull was unusual at the time. She’s now restored and sailing with the CYA fleet.


  2. Always enjoy looking at photos of the old waterfront. These latest remind me of a question I have had in my mind for many years. I know it concerns a yacht but one of the launches may know. That is for years there was a large gaff rigged yacht moored off the end of A&G Prices slip. It had a blue hull and from memory cream coloured mast and boom. Does anyone know the name of it and what became of it? Cheers Chris Laird


  3. The photo below ex Russell Ward, dated 07-11-1964, shows a different angle on the area, the scow Katie S is in the foreground & the launch Mazurka can be seen center right behind the scows mast. It was Mazurka that sparked this post. More on her in a later post.


  4. Hi Barry
    I have to disagree with you on this post straying away from what ww is all about. One of ww’s reasons for being is to archive the history of vessels & these photos are part of that 🙂
    Thanks for your input – the images & the ID’ing of the vessels is now locked into ‘cyber-space’ for future generations.

    Cheers Alan


  5. Just a couple of more points on the upper photo. The Northern coaster on the slip looks like the Maranui lost of Great Mercury Is. 1968. The Hapai was not scrapped until 1968 so was in use at the time this photo was taken, the AHB had purchased the old New Plymouth HB bucket dredge Paritutu as a fill in until the Hapai was back in service. The scow alongside the lower jetty is the Katie S, she remained here until 1969 when she was buried in the Fergusson container complex. The scow Jane Gifford is alongside the second jetty. The Glen Rosa, before she was lengthened, is the second launch on the Shipbuilders slipway. The ferries have played musical chairs with their berths from the lower photo, plus a couple of additions/deletions.
    Seem to have gotten away a bit from what WW is all about


  6. Uh yep, meant to say, Geof. That will be Hapai at the viaduct -the timing is about right. She sank in the Rangi channel 24/6/57 and was salvaged in house by the AHB see the obit of the engineer: She was put back into service apparently. In passing it is interesting that the AHB engineer oversaw the whole thing which was a major. Think of all the stupidity that would surround such an event now. In those days, they didn’t know they couldn’t do it, so they just went ahead and did it.
    Send all the consultants back to Europe whence they came with their clipboards and hard hats. Us Kiwis can do anything.


  7. That will be HDML Alert alongside the innermost ferry in the looking west pic. Not a nice top. Was jilling round Auckland at that time and did a bit of impact hydrography off Tiri in the ’60s as she went through the owners. Floated off on the tide but pictures sho her with her nose right up in the air. Yep I think that is Skip Lawler’s Ngaroma on the slip in the other pic.


  8. Sitting right on site now, its very different – not necessarily better, at least the sea is the same!


  9. Nice one Barry. Starting out at Viaduct AHB dredge Hapai, (I think), then John Wilson at cement wharf, Northern SSC coaster on 600 ton slip, an AHB steel lighter alongside slip jetty, Owhiti scow alongside Kestrel, derelict NSS Co Clansman ahead of ferries and think the Fairmile could be Lawler’s Ngaroma.Trying to recall whether Hapai had been broken up by 1961 after her capsize in 1957, have a vague recollection that AHB used a steam bucket dredge from down south until they had a replacement built.


  10. If anyone is interested the ferries in the lower photo are as follows; inner left Pupuke to end up on Ponui Is. 1965. Ahead of her alongside is The Peregrine, she has no funnel as the engines have recently been removed, she lingered on at this wharf until 1981when she was buried in the nearby reclamation. Outside The Peregrine is Albatross scrapped 1968. Across the end of the wharf is the Kestrel still afloat at Wynyard Wharf. On the right side of the wharf, inner berth is the Ngoiro now ashore at Tairua serving as a yacht club/restaurant. Next comes Takapuna,I think, ending up with The Peregrine buried in the nearby reclamation in 1981. Finally there is the last of the vehicular ferries, Korea, also to remain alongside until 1981 when she to was buried in the nearby reclamation.


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