Waratah is a 28’9” kauri launch built in 1924 by Alf Bell & when launched was called ‘All Bell’. The name has an amusing twist to it in that All Bell refers to the fact that the boat had no ‘Collings’ in her i.e. Alf Bell had no time for his former business partner Chas. Collings (Collings & Bell).
Waratah is powered by a 60hp Izuzu diesel & cruises at approx. 8 knots. Currently in the middle of a ‘rolling restoration’ she is in good running order & for sale on trademe.
Harold Kidd Update
Alf Bell was a boatbuilder and a crack engineer as well. He did all of the engine installations when he was a partner in Collings & Bell. He left the firm to go to Walsh Bros’ flying boat school at Kohimarama during WW1, doing the aero engine work there.
I had the privilege of clearing out the basement of his house in St Mary’s Bay many years ago as he was a distant relative. Several of the high quality engines and transmissions I found there are now motoring eg a very early single cylinder Cadillac engine which drove a bandsaw, the wheels of which were de Dion Bouton wooden-spoked veteran road wheels. There was a 1912 Wolseley complete from radiator to diff. Beautiful stuff. Any many other treasures.
ALL BELL was a fast boat as Alf fitted her with a 6 cylinder Sunbeam engine early in her career.
09-12-2015 – An amusing update
Karen Goa’s husband Ken (who’s a boat builder) has always admired the launch Waratah. Some years ago we were lucky enough to have access to her, so we spent some happy hours pootling around the harbour.
For his 60th birthday recently (the week the Waratah sold on TradeMe), we had a big house party – with a ‘Waratah’ cake, photo attached. It was delicious.
01-01-2016 Input from previous owner Alastair MacKenzie
“I lived in Schoolhouse Bay for a few years from about 1964 . I worked for Herman Holdings (an offshoot of Herman Timber Co. of Whangarei). Charlie Herman owned most of the land from Schoolhouse Bay across to the Coppermine and down to Sth. Harbour and my job involved logging pine to be barged to the mill at Whangarei as logs, wharf piles and farm posts etc. We (that is Barney Mahanga and I) also largely built the wharf and laid the foundation for the motels on the bay beachfront.
I looked around for a vessel for my family and I to explore further and go fishing and found the launch Waratah in the next bay around toward Mansion House. She had been used for long line fishing and had copper tanks under the bunks, was rather untidy and as I recall things didn’t work for the then owner who left her with the folk in the next bay from us to sell.
She was powered by a Chrysler Crown marine petrol engine (very thirsty !) and had keel cooling tubes. I tidied her up – she had a mast in those days tho’ no bow rail and she was pretty smart and reliable. As I recall she had a beam of about 6′ 6″ and tho’ very seaworthy would roll like the dickens in a side swell.
There was no schooling available in those days so when my family and I left the island I took the Waratah across and left her with the boat builder (forgotten his name) at Sandspit, who sold her for me.
ps Barney and wife Lucy lived in the old Schoolhouse and my family and I in the house a hundred m. or so up the hill from the wharf. An elderly couple (the Sowerbys) lived in an old homestead just to the left off the wharf.”