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)