Beautiful Waiheke – 1930’s Boating Movie
I was sent this movie, filmed in late1929/30’s by the Lambourne brothers (Allan & Alex) nearly 2-1/2 years ago by Roger Guthrie, it was back in the very early days of ww & since then a lot more people have checked onto the site – in fact over 100,000 people. On ww last week I bumped into Peter Stein whose father (also Peter) appeared in the movie. Peter has written a very cool synopsis of the movie & the (now) classic launches that appear in the movie. I suggest you read Peters words & then watch the movie. Enjoy 🙂
The film “Beautiful Waiheke” by Peter Stein
The film was produced by the Lambourne brothers Allan & Alex in the late 1920’s early 1930’s. The Lambournes owned a large furniture shop on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Pompallier Terrace. The Arran Bay house was built in 1910 and remained Lambourne property until 1964 when it was sold to the Jorgensen Family.
Water transport for the Lambournes was the launch “Nga Whare” which is the round bilged craft in the film with the two portholes in her topsides. She was sold when I was a very young boy so I remember little about her.
Our property is next door to the Lambournes. Arran House was built circa 1885 for Andrew and Mary Croll from the Isle of Arran, Scotland. They were two of Waiheke’s pioneers. Andrew was a very fine photographer and albums of his photos can be seen at the Waiheke Historical Society Museum on Onetangi Road. Among the photos are scenes of the Annual Regatta organised by Andrew and held at Arran Bay circa the late nineteenth century. These events were well supported by “boaties” of the day. The albums were kindly donated by the Crolls of Sydney. Mary Croll was a very good artist and she put many scenes of the “bottom end” on canvas. Some of her mural work is still on the walls of one of the bedrooms in Arran House. My father, P.A.S. Stein purchased Arran House from W.J. Connell (owner of Connell’s Bay Store) in 1924 and it has been in our family ever since.
The Waitangi, the launch with mast and crosstree in the film was built in 1923 for Mr Cadman. It was a classic John L. Hacker design with sharp entry and flat stern section. The original owner named her “Karamana”. She had an aeroplane engine in her and we understand she was capable of 25knots which made her one of the fastest launches on the Waitemata at that time. Harold Kidd has a very good photo of her racing on the harbour (added below. AH). In the latter 1920s she ended up on the Tamaki Drive breakwater. My father bought the severely damaged hull and had her restored by Chas Bailey & Sons. He renamed her the “Waitangi” after his father’s steamer the TSS Waitangi of the Northern Steamship Co. My grandfather Peter Anton Stein was a Captain of various Northern Steamship Co. vessels from 1895 to 1908. Chas Bailey told my father that the Waitangi had brought them good luck because the next launch off their slipway was the legendary “Shenandoah”.
The Waitangi was 28 feet long (8.5m), had a beam of 7 foot 3inches (2.2m) and draft of 2 foot 8 inches (.8m). She was built in kauri and the bottom was double skinned from the bow to the wheelhouse. The rest of the vessel was single skinned. Her Auckland mooring was in St Mary’s Bay in front of the Ponsonby Cruising Club at the bottom of St Mary’s Road. Maintenance was carried out at Collings and Bell Boat Builders adjacent to the PCC.
About 1930 my father replaced the old Studebaker engine with a 105hp Kermath marine engine. Allely Bros. of Beaumont Street imported the motor and installed it. It was known as a 6 cylinder flat top. The pistons had a bore of 4” (100mm) and each cylinder had two spark plugs. It was double ignition with one spark plug connected to the magneto and the other one the distributor. Maximum speed was 18kns and at this speed the motor burnt 8 gallons of petrol per hour. Petrol was bought in 4 gallon cans and there were two cans to a box. We still have an old Atlantic box which we use as a vegetable bin at Arran House. Petrol in the early 30s was 1 shilling and six pence a gallon. A 50% rebate brought the price back to a respectable 9 pence a gallon. My father told me that the best run home he achieved was Connell’s Point to Kings Wharf in 1 hour and 12 minutes.
The film began with shots of the Guthrie family aboard their launch “Alcestis”. It then moved to shots of Arran Bay taken from different location around the Bay. The people setting out down the path are coming from the Lambourne’s house.
The aquaplaning sequence was filmed from the shore and the “Nga Whare” which was the tow boat. My father was the young man with one of the Lambourne girls on his shoulders. Years later I learnt to aquaplane on the same board.
The “Waitangi” then heads to Bulls Bay with my father as pilot. The majority of the film is shot at Bulls Bay (Anita Bay) on the north eastern end of Waiheke. At the northern end of the bay are many small rocky islands and the launches are filmed going through the channels between the rocks. These are not hard to navigate but should be done at ½ tide or more.
The “Coughing Caves” are in the southern point of Bulls Bay. With a northerly swell and incoming tide, waves enter the caves and when the top reaches the ceiling of the cave the air behind it is compressed until it bursts out in a cloud of spray. The boy in the dingy, Reg Crawford, is trying to get as close as he safely can to the emerging spray.
The “Whirl Pool” is in the long reef extending from the northern end of Bulls Bay. Riding the swell in and out of the pool could be quite exciting as seen in the film.
The homeward bound shots of the Waitangi in the storm were taken in the channel between Pakatoa and Waiheke.
Harold Kidd Input from previous ww post
Waitangi was built as KARAMANA for F.B. Cadman in 1923 by Bailey & Lowe to a design by Hacker. KARAMANA = CADMAN in pig maori.
She was later bought by Auckland Grammar School teacher P A S Stein and rebuilt as per the 2nd photo below. She was fitted with a war surplus 6 cyl Green sohc aero engine producing 120-140bhp, bore 5.5 ins, stroke 6 ins (you work out the capacity). She was pretty radical.
1. The Lambourne launch was called NGAWAI I think, not NGA WHARE. She was later bought by the Andrews family on the Hokianga. I remember her as a child during WW2 laid up in a shed with a Chrysler engine. Maybe another NGAWAI but she looks the same.
2. KARAMANA/WAITANGI was built by Bailey & Lowe in 1923, not by Chas. Bailey Jr who built SHENANDOAH in 1929. There’s some conflation there.