What Happened To The Viking?
words & photo ex Mark Davis
This is a great tale – I’ll let Mark tell it 🙂
“I stumbled across your web site by accident after reading an article in the Otago Daily Times about the Elsie Evans. It got me thinking if anyone may know it’ll be yourself or one of your members. My late mum used to tell me of her life growing up in Waihi. Her dad, my grandfather, Walter Caldwell, used to own a well known fish shop in Waihi, called simply Waihi Fish Supply, (which is now a burger bar). To supply his shop he used to have a small number of boats moored at Waihi Beach. This, I think was sometime between the two world wars. Anyway to get to the point, he purpose built a boat to his own design in the “backyard” of the fish shop. This is the boat my mum talked about the most. When finished and launched at Waihi beach, most of the then town, turned out for the occasion. The boat was christened the Viking. Mum told me the Viking was an excellent sea boat and remembers going out on it once or twice. Of course being a “girl” she didn’t know any of the important stuff. The story continues, as the world was plunged into another global conflict in the late 30’s the government of the day commandeered as many suitable boats as possible for coastal patrol etc, the Viking was one of these boats. That’s where the story could end, but as chance would have it someone told mum the boat ended up at the Auckland Maritime Museum on Quay St Auckland. I’ve looked on line but didn’t find any trace of her, (the boat not mum), so put it down to urban legend or similar.
So that brings me to this email. After taking possession of mums treasures after her death I came across a suitcase of old photos. Amongst the hundreds of unidentified photos is a picture of a boat being built in a “backyard” of what looks to be the rear of the fish shop in Waihi, (I have visited and still do visit Waihi many times). The photo doesn’t show much apart from a hull being laid over with planking and not a lot of detail, however if you like detective novels then this may appeal to you or visitors to your web site. Please let me know if you’re interested, one way or the other, and I’ll email you a scan to have a look. As we now live in North Otago popping down to the Maritime Museum to research this further is not on the cards anytime soon.”
So woodys, can anyone help Mark out? Is there any truth in the Maritime Museum story or as Mark says – is it just an urban legend.