The Building & Launching of White Cloud + A Peep Inside 1A Summer Street


The Building & Launching of White Cloud + A Peep Inside 1A Summer Street

1A Summer St, Ponsonby was an unlikely location for boatbuilding, particularly for large launches. The building was built on to the rear of a retail shop, on the corner of Ponsonby Rd & Summer St., Auckland. Summer St was & still is an incredibly narrow side street, dating back to the late 1800’s.
To date on ww we have never seen good photos of the interior of the yard/shed, now thanks to the generosity of Pam Mare, we have access to the above photos. Pam is  part of the Buckby family, that had White Cloud built at the yard by Ben Hipkins, to a McGeady design. Ben bought the Supreme Craft, off Mac Mcgeady. Other craftsman at the yard were boat builder Garry Wheeler & Tracey Nelson, a marine & refrigeration engineer, who did the vast majority of the engine & machinery installations, in the Supreme Craft vessels, — along with looking after all the Ponui Island mechanical work, from  all the farm tractors, power generators, to George Chamberlain’s Lane built, tram topper, Falcon.

Such was the shortage of space at the building, that every boat that emerged, meant ,the picket fence of the house opposite in Summer St, to have to be removed & later replaced, to facilitate the exit from the building on to the transporter.

White Cloud left the shed in June 1965, to go to Fodenway Motors, Penrose, for engine installation & finishing. The photos below show her leaving the shed & later, on route to launching. Sorry for the poor photo quality, stills photos taken from old ‘home’ movie footage,  recorded by Len Buckby or his wife & made available to us by his daughter Pam Mare.
Special thanks to Ken Ricketts for pulling the individual pieces together.


7 thoughts on “The Building & Launching of White Cloud + A Peep Inside 1A Summer Street

  1. Yes I saw that Paul – but I understand as sold was not as per the photos on tme. Nothing sinister I’m sure the buyer saw her for what she was, but she had gone down hill. At the end of the day, the price paid reflected her condition. And being a McGeady her planking was very prominent – anyone have a view on why this happened to most McGeady built boats?


  2. Pingback: White Cloud Movie – Leaving The Shed + Launch Day | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  3. Thank you for that update & correction Chris — wonderful & of course fascinating to see all the cars & shops etc. of that era — KEN R


  4. The 2 photos of her in the traffic are on K Rd, outside George Courts heading towards the top of Queen St. She certainly has nicer looks and curves than some of the ladies (?) who currently walk down the middle of that road.


  5. To my knowledge, it was Grandad who designed ‘White Cloud’ and Ben Hipkins who built her. Both Ken and I have uncovered a treasure trove of information on the history of ‘White Cloud’ which I am truly grateful for. I give thanks to all concerned for releasing this info after it being dormant for so many years.


  6. I would like to acknowledge Karen Moren, Mac McGeady’s Granddaughter, who has done a lot of the detective work involved with this project, which I have enjoyed doing so much. — KEN R


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