Alert HDML

Yesterday as part of the story on the HDML – Kuparu, I ran a link to Zaps Zander’s impressive blog on Navy vessels. Zaps has asked for some help from the WW readers, in the above photo we see a large white vessel rafted alongside the ferries, now some people think it is an ML (Alert Q1189) and some say not? The question of the day is – is it Alert? Zaps is pretty sure she would have been in Dunedin around the time of this photo, as the road construction behind is before 1959 when the Auckland Harbour Bridge opened.
Any one able to help out, & if its not Alert, who is it?
The photo also is a sad reminder of the fleet of awesome harbour ferries we lost, just imagine the tourist attraction if they were around these days…………….

Update from John Bullivant – below is a selection of photos of ‘Alert’. The colour photo with the ferries looks to have been  taken from a similar spot as the one you put up. Think they buried them in the early 1970’s, they were mostly cut up when I rescued some Kauri off them for wood turning.

Input from Russell Ward – more photos below, Russell believes she was used by the sea scouts in Dunedin. Later owned by Ernie Davis Mayor of Auckland. Chiseled out of him on some deal and there was a memorable photo of her on a rock in the Gulf at an impossible angle – Russell will try & find it. Russell thinks she has been updated and sold for a pittance in Dunedin and was also heard of up in Auckland (confirmed by Cameron Pollard) on offer for a lot more. Two Isuzu diesels for the zoom zoom.


Alert001Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 12.31.13 PM
Input from Linus Flemin – the current skipper of the ML Alert. (Q1189)
The research I have done would also suggest that this is Alert alongside the ferries and at this time belonged to Sir Ernie Davis. Alert was one of the first HDMLs to be sold by the Navy post war 1947. Alec Black of Dunedin was the first owner who converted her for charter work.( I think Ernie purchased her around 1959) We Know she went south again around 1980 for deer recovery in Fiordland owned by Jim Kane, and has been in Bluff and Fiordland for the past 30 years. Anymore history would be greatly appreciated.
Alert is currently receiving much needed love at Kopu Marine. Photo below.
07-10-2018 Update from owner Linus Fleming – the new photos below, in his eyes confirm that the vessel is Alert.
Alert at baileys 1961
Interested in reading more on all things Motor Launch, be they serving in the Navy or in civvy hands. (over 250 photo’s and 50+ stories and tech data / links to other ML pages) Check out the link below

And if you are looking for eye candy – check out the link below to the 2018 Victoria Classic Boat Festival in British Columbia – stunning.
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18 thoughts on “Alert

  1. And to add, Alert was active in southern Seas based out of Dunedin and Bluff in late 40’s and 50’s.


  2. Just to clarify those that were sold off in 1946, Alert, Q1187 and Pakatoa/Aotearoa were all sold then. Q1186 was sold to Aussie (never had a Name or Pennant number (maybe as Wings Afloat). Pakatoa went to Tauranga


  3. When I was a Sea Scout I went on a trip on the Alert to Little Barrier Island where we went ashore. I had a turn at the helm but I was not up to it. The result was a course that waved from side to side. I was too young to anticipate a correction.
    Paul Bieleski, Nelson.


  4. Well,here I go again, this time with a large slice of humble pie! The mystery launch 1S INDEED ALERT ex Q 1189.Did a bit more checking, found some more photo’s ,unfortunately none of Pakatoa.In my defence, a bit confusing with two very altered boats both having been (although not together) in the same place in a reasonably close time frame. Maybe someone could throw a little light for me on the involvement of Sir Ernest Davis re the ALERT. He died in 1962 aged 90.


  5. Alert sat in Deep Cove for many years and missed a lot of care and attention. Good to see she now has an appreciative owner. Regards, Keith


  6. Gidday Ray, re TIARE, a Fairmile,ML 403. Now, back to the “Question of the day” re Alert.With some info from an aquaintance of mine who worked many years for North Shore Ferries and latterly Fullers and with the help of a much clearer photo in David Balderston’s excellent book The Harbour Ferries of Auckland, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the ex ML is anything other than the PAKATOA. Definately NOT the Alert.(or more correctly ALERT 2) I may not know everything,but all my adult life I have kept an avid interest in this class of ship.


  7. A question for Geoff. Brebner. Was “Tiare” the one Bill Gallagher bought and canibalised for his steel boat “Hamutana” a Fairmile or an HDML. I am sure she had a pair of Hercules engines.And the remains are still visible up the Waingaro river, Raglan.


  8. Well, here goes on my 2nd 50 cents worth.Did a bit of searching over the afternoon Q1351 was sold in 1950 to Faulkner Ferries of Tauranga and fitted out as the ferry AOTEAROA for their service to Mt Maunganui.She was sold in 1965 to R J Kerridge to service their holiday resort on Pakatoa Island.She was renamed Pakatoa. After she was replaced by the hydrofoil Manuwai then latterly the larger Te Kotuku. she was laid up for quite awhile alongside the derelict ferries in St Mary’s Bay before being sold. Two things that harden my resolve are : Different styled wheelhouse (I found a pic of her at Tauranga,wheelhouse same as in the pic at Auckland .Alert’s wheelhouse different profile, although could admit to the possibility of it been some time)
    (2) Forward portholes : Pakatoa has 4, Alert has 5. (The spacing varied between builders)
    Pity no ports visible in Ak pic.i And I have visited and paid my respects to her ( Alert)at Kopu.


  9. I am very sure the HDML in the photo is the Pakatoa ex Aotearoa formerly a ferry at Mt Maunganui. She became a member of Mr Dromgoole’s North Shore Ferries fleet. Was painted iight green if I recall.Was recently burnt at Matakohe on the Kaipara. Alert spent very little time in Auckland, was most of her life in the South Island.Saw her at the Bluff a few years back.


  10. The main photo was taken late 1960, the funnel – less ferry is The Peregrine which has recently had her engines removed in anticipation of being re engine, this never happened. Other ferries from left to right, are Takapuna, Pupuke, Albatross and Makora with Korea across the end of the wharf.

    The colour photo of the ferries dates from 1967 with Ngoiro, Albatross, being slowly cannabilised for Kestrel, Makora and Toroa with steam up.


  11. Alert is currently on the hardstand at Kopu getting some TLC. Kuparu has just been and gone from the same yard.


  12. I remember the ‘Alert ‘ motoring up and down the Tamaki Estuary in the late 60s. I think she may have lived up at Panmure at that stage. One time she was returning at night and tried to take a short-cut across the middle of the sand bar at Bucklands Beach (never understood why, as she’d been up a number of times that I had seen in the day time, and was I thought A Sea Scout/cadet training vessel at that time) with predictable results. They spent about an hour or so wriggling her off (they were lucky the tide was on the way in) and decided that following the channel was a good idea. Didn’t see her again from early 70s.
    She was apparently converted for oceanographic work while in Dunedin in the 50s and was the only one I knew of with a house on top. Looks a bit different today (in Wellington I believe)
    Regarding the comment on the ferries,- I have a number of small bowls etc I turned from a Kauri deck support post I scrounged from the guys who were cutting the ferries up with chainsaws, so they could be buried.


  13. Yes, that is the ‘Alert’. She hung around moored next to the ferries for much of the time I served my apprenticeship at Bailey’s (1962-1967), owned by a tall, elder gentleman who often lived on board. This photo may have been taken after the harbour bridge was opened as this is how I remember the old ferries tied up to the Ferry Company wharf at the time.
    Great photo. Cheers, Gil Littler


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