Milady


MILADY
photos ex Ian Mason & B Worthington. details ex Harold Kidd & Geoff Rogers

Milady was designed and built by Billy Rogers and was the last boat out of his Curran Street shed before it was taken under the Public Works Act for the Curran Street Harbour Bridge approach road. This has been confirmed to Harold & myself by Geoff Rogers who had recently left school to join his father and was on the job when MILADY was being built.
She was commissioned by one of the directors of Dorman & Long who were the head contractors for the Harbour Bridge construction. He was an Englishman who didn’t want Billy to use his typical sweet sheerline but insisted on a straight sheer which was what he was accustomed to with the type of power boats used in English sheltered waters like the Norfolk Broads. The owner had two cabinet makers come and do the interior fit-out for him while she was under construction. Milady got her name from the confectionery company (Waller & Hartley’s Milady Toffee Co.) in Blackpool, England that her first owner’s family owned. She was originally powered by a 6 cyl Chrysler Crown petrol engine.

Unconfirmed data (ex Ken Ricketts)- The original engine was later replaced by a Ford diesel c.1957 by her then owner, Charlie Hardman, who sold her about 1959 to Bill Luxton, who had a beach house at Whangamata. She was owned by a G S Bright somewhere along the way & in 1973 by Trevor Titchener. In her early days she also had an owner by the name of J M Kenny who had her call sign registered as ZM2412.
She is presently in Whangarei undergoing extensive repairs after finding some rocks at Kerikeri about 5 years ago & has been undergoing repairs & refit for the past 4 years by local semi retired boat builder, Ian Mason. Ian hopes to have her back in the water for this coming summer (2015/16). She presently has a fairly new naturally aspirated 130hp Ford diesel, which had replaced a 90hp naturally aspirated Ford diesel before that. The previous owners were 2 gentlemen from Auckland, who had, had her for about a year, but Ian Mason can’t recall their names.

 

31 thoughts on “Milady

  1. Sadly, I got the Lidgard provenance from Ken Ricketts several years ago at a time when I still pretty much believed what he told me. I don’t any longer for the reasons which are abundantly clear in this thread and other recent threads. Ricketts’ tale about the boat, the Lidgard bit, and practically everything else that Ricketts wrote about MILADY has been removed in the last couple of days from WW by Alan because it turned out to be total bullshit.
    I do apologise for passing on the bullshit to Mike Hunter.
    It won’t happen again.

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  2. My two bobs worth on Milady
    I was contracted by Chris Laird to do a damage report and scope of works on Milady after she hit rocks in the Kerikeri inlet in July 2009. He described her as a 34ft carvel planked Billy Rogers launch, owned by Garry Collins. She was written of by the insurance company and put on trademe. I was impressed by her standard of construction, and mostly labour content required to repair her so took her on as a project. During a conversation with Mike Hunter, he offered to contact Harold Kidd re any information he may have on Milady. Harolds reply to Mike was she was built by Lidgards At Kawau around 1955. In 1957 she was owned by G S Bright and 1973 by Trevor Tiichener. Confussion set in so I stopped looking for info until I came across the B&W photo of her in Brian Worthingtons collection. Brian put me on to John Hardman in Katikati. Johns family moved to Tepuki in 1954 and admits his recollection of the years my be wrong but that his farther Charlie purchased Milady in 1956? Charlie had raced with/against Billy in small boats and he recalls Milady anchoring of Billys yard, he thought in the Kauri Pt. Shoul bay area and Charlie rowing ashore to visit Billy. Charlie had a friend who owned a timber mill in Tepuki and the launch Plymate. During a raftup with Playmate, and a few whiskeys Milady was traded for the timber mill. John sent me the colour photo of Milady and a B&W photo of Playmate.
    All structural repairs have been completed however due to my dragging the chain I find myself doing maintainance now. Hoping for a 2016 relaunch.
    Hoping for more stories? if there out there
    Regards Ian Mason

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  3. And what was that delightful little yacht -double ender with a chine amidships not that you’d know- was she Bill Belchers?
    She was abandoned by a man, whose name I know, in one of the big storms hit by the fleet coming back from the islands. She wisely shed her rig (I think) and was found many months later bobbing on the waves quite happily. Sadly the insurance had been paid out ant the ex owner had to put up with the boat he created in her stead. She is a gem, hope she is loved somewhere.

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  4. Brilliant. Thanks Alan.
    I really don’t envy you your task in having to cope with input from this source. I wonder how much other seemingly-authoritative rubbish of this sort has sneaked past you and WW’s followers and is now “history”?
    Your blood is worth bottling!

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  5. PS Here are some more facts I got from Geoff Rogers
    1. The first owner (was he G.S. Bright after all, I’m checking?) had two cabinet makers come and do the interior fit-out for him while she was under construction.
    2. The name MILADY came from the fact that owner’s family had a interest in Waller & Hartley’s Milady Toffee company of Blackpool, England.
    3. Les Dobney was a well known teller of tall tales. Thankfully Geoff spotted the post and was able to see that Ken’s leg had been thoroughly pulled. However that doesn’t explain Ken’s story about the Lidgards building the boat…. and the nurse. A fertile imagination at the very least.
    Scary stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. We had a funny situation like that. Not long after my Grandpa died had passed away, my uncle had hauled Pacific out and while he wasn’t there, a person claimed to in fact be my grandpa and conveyed his history of ownership to a yard-walker….

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  7. As I feared, Ken’s tale about MILADY is just fable.
    1. She was in fact designed and built by Billy Rogers and was the last boat out of his Curran Street shed before it was taken under the Public Works Act for the Curran Street Harbour Bridge approach road. I’ve had a call from Geoff Rogers who had recently left school to join his father and was on the job when MILADY was being built. He is concerned to get Ken’s story about MILADY corrected before it gets entrenched as yet another Ricketts myth.
    2. She was commissioned by one of the directors of Dorman & Long who were the head contractors for the Harbour Bridge construction. He was an Englishman who didn’t want Billy to use his typical sweet sheerline but insisted on a straight sheer which was what he was accustomed to with the type of power boats used in English sheltered waters like the Norfolk Broads.
    3. Les Dobney did crew on MILADY and liked to say he was the owner, not than anyone (except Ken, it seems) believed him.
    4. As for the Julian rescue story, that needs independent confirmation before I would give it any credence. Jolly good yarn, but maybe that’s all it is?

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  8. Funnily enough have been told largely the same story -except the boat was a Sea Nymph V146 – and there was a photo with it – probably in Seaspray it was a long time ago.

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  9. Actually, Russell, you CAN’T “go out for a breather”. It’s shoved right down your throat on WW. All WW followers can do is squirm at the diet of tedious, self-aggrandising, cloying, repetitious crap or eventually crack, and say what they really think (except perhaps your good self).
    But perhaps this latest fable of Ken’s may have had a higher percentage of truth in it than usual? I did expect him to corroborate it, though, perhaps from Harry Julian’s book?

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  10. But, Jason, dear chep. I again have to refer the group to the blurb at the top of this page: “Visiting this blog is like a bunch of people in the boat club bar, there will be stuff discussed you know, stuff you know nothing about and stuff you want to know more about.” A bunch of people in the boat club bar….” You can always go out for a breather if you can’t handle the pace of the bs!

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  11. Watcha want to do with said bucket? Choice of several bodily functions some violent some sortakinda voluntary or bailing, peeling veges, washing decks.

    Russell
    I spend 1/2 my waking hours editing the puffed-out, blinkered copy that Mr Ricketts sends me & then he just adds it to the comments section…… telling a story once is all good but over & over just becomes boring.AH

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  12. “….his 45 footer Arapawa”…? Was that the Alden “Lady Helene” type that Jack Morgan built for Baldy Millar? Baldy sold her to Ralph Lavin, but I’ve lost track of her since then.

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  13. Many years ago Ron Daw took his 45 footer ARAPAWA to Cape Horn and then up the inland waterways to Valparaiso. He told me that the Chilean Navy showed him a Fyran tinnie they’d encountered off the Chilean coast containing the skeletons of a man and a woman. They’d been fishing off Poverty Bay and obviously had a similar experience to Les Dobney but had no Harry Julian to save them. Good plug for Fyran, though!

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  14. Awww, you had to be there in those days. Let me continue to set the scene. I remember two epic salvages occurring on blustery days in Kawau Bay -one by Harry Julian when he had Orari ll. And another yacht that went on Martello also.

    Mrs Lidgard often used to sit in state in the sunroom at the front of the house which was in line with the jetty -BP moved it towards the point. When you went ashore to amble along the shore to the club house for a shower or supplies or just a chat, it was polite to ask her permission to cross her lawn.

    There were always posh boats around -Kenya, Orari ll, Valsan, Lady Eileen, Marnine, Connie V, Rakanoa, Haunui smelling posh -varnish and fresh paint. An 8 – 15 yr old kid rowing past could always say “gidday” and maybe pull alongside in the dinghy (which was always kept well -tell a ship by her boats) and chat the owners up again for the season. Maybe trying to catch the eye of the daughter -if there was one.

    You had to be there -rich and pour alike no airs and graces. Harry taught me Coastal navigation on his new folding chart table he was so proud of.
    Not like the bs that abounds these daze over cookie cutter tupperware lookalikes with rubber duckies and no seamanship.
    You don’t need a bucket. Just a glass of gin or handkerchief to catch the weepy tears.

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  15. When I “reduced to writing,” the rescue of Les Daubney, it was so vivid in my memory it was as if it was yesterday, that it all happened, — I can still so clearly, see Harry J towing in that little cockle shell, in to Smeltinghouse Bay, where many of us were anchored, that horrible day, but what it did most of all, was to recall to me, the wonderful outstretched arms, of compassionate hospitality, of Roy & Irene Lidgard, that were always there for all of us, “who were of their time,” & this was just one of almost countless occasions, when they opened their house, & their hearts, to the needy, in the world of Auckland boating. We were all truly blessed that they were part of our lives – KEN R

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  16. Another owner I think was Mr Len Vinton, no hard proof just childhood memories but I do see in dad’s records she was sold in September 1963 which was the time of our association with the Vintons.

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  17. G S Bright owned her in 1957 so Dobney/Daubney didn’t own her for long. TREVOR Titchener, at one time the Mayor of Devonport, owned her in 1973. He was Paul Titchener’s uncle.

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