Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Beatrice > Edna > Lola – A Waiheke Story

Story & photo ex Joyce Fairgray, input from Harold Kidd

Today’s photo & story was prompted by the recent ww post / movie ‘Beautiful Waiheke’. The launch Beatrice was built in 1909 by Bailey & Lowe for Jas, Gordon – I’ll let Joyce tell the story.

“When the Lambournes and other city folk holidayed on Waiheke in the 1920s, they were welcomed by other young ones growing up there, who joined in the fun and friendship. 

One was my father Selwyn Pegler (born 1903), son of John and Nell Pegler of Orapiu. Nell was daughter of Martin and Mary Ann Day of Days Bay; her sister Annie married John’s brother George and they lived not far away at Omaru Bay. Both families were large – double first cousins – so there was always a big crowd ready for fun. Numbers were further swollen by more cousins, because another sister, Jane married Will Connell, and brother Ted Day married Mercie Connell. Ted and Mercie’s daughter-in-law, Dixie Day, was author of “Waiheke Pioneers”.

Grandfather John Pegler farmed at Orapiu, and he and Granny Nell leased the boarding house from William McIntosh. It was a family enterprise with parents and children working together to run the place. All had their jobs, cooking, milking cows, cutting firewood, growing vegetables, caring for poultry and much more.

When Dad was in his teens, his father bought the launch from the Gordon family of Awaawaroa. There were a large number of Gordon girls, (yes, one married a Day!) and the launch was named for one – Beatrice. I think.

When Peglers became owners, the name was changed to that of Pegler daughter Edna, and when eventually it was sold to Connells it was named for Connell daughter Lola.

Teenage Dad was told to learn all about the boat from Mr Gordon, and take over the responsibility of launchman for the boarding house, providing guests with fishing, picnics and other excursions. It was also used for transport to and from the island for the holidaymakers. The Fuller family was often among them, and they and others would want to see any shows that were on at His Majesty’s so Dad would get them to the city. He was given a ticket to see the show, and afterwards would take them all back to Orapiu. There were few lights to be seen round the gulf, but one landmark to watch for was a lone house light at Beachlands. Weather deteriorated one night and Dad decided they would have to sleep on the boat at the launch steps, and wait until morning. One lady was very cross about it.

In 1924 the lease was due for renewal. The two oldest girls had gone nursing, other children were reaching adulthood, and my grandparents decided Waiheke could not provide adequate livelihoods for all. The launch and other possessions were sold; they moved to a dairy farm at Paerata, and Dad’s days as a responsible young skipper were over”.

More details & photos of Lola here https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/08/27/mystery-launch-2708/

Input from Peter Stein
The above article brought back many fond memories.  When our launch “Waitangi” was laid up during the war because of the petrol shortage we relied very much on the “Lola”.  Our only access to Arran Bay was by the Auckland-Cowes Bay ferry.  The usual ferry was the “MV Baroona” but sometimes the “TSS Tangaroa” and “Onewa” were used on the run.  The ferry would stop off at Connell’s Bay and Mr WJ Connell (we knew him as “John Willie”) would bring the Lola alongside  for the passengers to board.  He owned the store in the bay named after him.  He usually had one of his two sons with him.  The elder Eric took over the store after his father died.  The younger son Les managed the farm which included the land behind the houses in Arran Bay.

If my memory serves me correctly the Lola was driven by a two cylinder Lister motor.
During the summer when I was a young boy the family would visit the Pegler’s in Omaru Bay.  It was an opportunity for my father to renew his acquaintance with Mr Pegler and for us to gather fruit from the fine orchard they had.

From the 1920s to the 1980s there would be few boaties that did not visit Connell’s Store for fuel and stores.  My father bought Arran House from WJ Connell in 1924.  Below is a copy of the first account my father received from Mr Connell.

Beautiful Waiheke – 1930’s Boating Movie with updated story

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

Introduction:

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:

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.

03-09-2015– comments

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.