The Restoration Of Melodeon
Steam Tug Hipi
Today’s story features the Chas Bailey built steam tug Hipi and comes to us from Mick Kelly via Harold Kidd. Mick was prompted to write by a recent article by HDK in Boating New Zealand.
Mick commented that Hipi ran aground just south of Whangamata in the mid 1970s. He used to own the farm adjoining the beach where this occurred. The previous owner of the farm was called in the middle of the night to rescue the crew. For his efforts he was presented with the ship’s wheel, which he attached to the bar in his house.
The story as Mick remembers it was that she was towing a barge with a digger to pinch sand off the beaches in the area, and it all went a bit pear shaped. A local bought the wreck, and bulldozed a track down onto the beach. He cut off the metal superstructure and towed the hull up to where he could salvage the engine/s which Mick imagines had replaced the original steam engine.
Mick salvaged a few brass fittings, and some bits of Kauri decking which he incorporated into the first launch he built. He also used the hardwood keel timber for a beam in the shed he built on the farm.
Update from John Bullivant – ‘newer’ photo below, she was built by Baileys in 1909 and was converted to twin Gardner 8L3s at some stage (apparently)
Input from Baden Pascoe – Hipi was built in 1909 for Nelson Bros who owned the Tomoana Freezing Works as a lighter tug. In these days Gisborne had no deep water port so the frozen sheep carcases were loaded into insulated lighters and towed out to the roadstead. Initially she had two Simpson Strickland triple expansion steam engines and later replaced with a set of compound engines. The photo above with a wheel house fitted was after a major refit at WG Lowe & Son in 1933. The steam engines were removed and two Petter Atomic T25/2m diesel engines of 50 hp each were fitted. She then returned to Gisborne to carry out the same duties. By this time Nelson Bros had bought into the Kaiti Freezing Works and formed Gisborne Lightering and Stevedoring Co Ltd and their tugs and lighters assets transferred over. During the WWII she came back to Auckland as she was loaned/sold to the NZ Navy to work the submarine nets protecting the Auckland Harbour and based at Islington Bay. After the war she was sold by tender to Parry Bros, a well-known local owner of scows and the tug Glyn Bird. They phased out their scow fleet and replaced them with tugs and barges. Their early tugs were, Glyn Bird, Lady Eva, Hipi, Sibyl (now owned by the Pollards). They removed the Petters and replace them with two Kelvin K4’s of 88 hp each. As the old wooden barges become too small or became too hard to maintain they replaced them with steel barges. Hipi’s barge was Onewaka with a capacity of about 500 ton. She was employed on the sand run to Parengarenga and sometimes carried superphosphate to Te Paki Station with a supply landing at Parengarenga Harbour. The Kelvins were replaced with twin 8L3 Gardners of 150 hp making her the fastest tug on that run and their flag ship. I first saw Hipi in about 1964 while she was delivering super from Tauranga. My father knew one of the crew and I can remember boarding her and stepping over the very high wheel house combing. While she was returning to Tauranga from unloading at Whitianga in March 1976 she went aground below the cliffs at Papakura Bay as mentioned by Mick. The boys had spent the afternoon in the pub, had too much to drink and after a few hours bunked down and put the youngest crew member on the wheel. He too eventually fell asleep and was woken when she drove her self between a rock ledge with the Onewaka trailing behind. At this stage she was not making any water and was basically uninjured. Before they could get her off the wind came up and she became a total loss. They went ashore phoned Buster (Norman) Parry to inform him of the grounding. The farmer looked after the crew until the next day when Buster and Keith Penney the operations manager arrived. I understand her skipper George Little was already in Buster & Keith’s bad book and he was sacked on the spot. Ask any of the old school tug masters and crew and they will tell you about Hipi. She was the superstar wooden tug. Mick, have you a photo of her wheel?
The painting below artist is unknow and was gifted to Baden Pascoe by Keith Penney
24-03-2019 Update – via Mick Kelly – The wheel from Hipi resides in Featherston, Wairarapa, with Teena Pettitt, the daughter of the farm owner (Dave Pettitt) at the time of the incident mentioned above. Photos below.
Wairuru – Auckland to Suva, 1947
I was recently contacted by Steph Mellors who advised she had a short diary written aboard the 1937, Charles Bailey & Sons built motorsailer Wairuru, during a passage from Auckland to Apia, Samoa in June 1947.
On the cover (see above) is written in pencil Capt. Robt. Patterson, given the content of the diary, Steph does not think he wrote it. (I agree)
The NZ Maritime Index, records that Wairuru, owned by A G Bertram was sold in 1947 to O. F. Nelson & Co. Ltd., Apia, Western Samoa – who renamed her – Gaualofa. The records also sadly record that she was wrecked on 22 November 1953, on the South coast of Savai’i Island, near Sala’ihua.
Steph is unsure how she acquired the diary, thinks “probably rescued it from someone’s wastepaper basket in a fit of – it could be of interest to someone”.
Thankfully she saved it & now over 70 years later we get to share it. Enjoy the read, I did.
Any guesses as to who the author was?
I couldn’t do a WW post without a boat photo – my clinker dinghy Peg at Patio Bay. Which is a good excuse to remind you that today is the last day of the Classic Launch & Yacht – Clinker Boats Exhibition – details below – AND ITS FREE TO GET IN.
Today’s launch photo is from the Auckland Museum’s Tudor Collins collection. The photo quality is not the best, I suspect the plate was damaged at sometime in the past. The ww brains trust have come up with a big fat zero in terms of ID’ing the boat, so help from the woodys would be appreciated.
In terms of the location – given its a Tudor Collins image it’s more than likely to be the Bay of Islands or even further north e.g. Whangaroa? Input here too please 🙂
She was not a mystery for long 🙂 view details & photos on Harold Kidd’s 27 Sept 2013 ww story on Ranginui at the link below.
MYSTERY LAUNCHES 21-07-2015
photo ex Harold Kidd
During the recent post on the launch Manana (Raehutia) Harold Kidd sent me several photos of Manana while she was owned by the Seagar family.
Thats her on the left in the photo above – today’s question for woodys is what are the two launches to the right of the wharf ? & while we are at it – the location?
To view / read more about Manana – click link https://waitematawoodys.com/2015/07/17/manana/
And to brighten up the day – some stunning yachting photos from the first 2 days of the British Classic Week -click the link below
Update from Hylton Edmonds
From Left to Right – Manana (pre Leon / Chris Brown), Albacora (Pat Edmonds) and Lady Doreen (“Snooks” Fuller / AE Fuller & Sons), – and yes, taken at Otehei Bay, hmmm… guessing around late 50’s?. Due to the fact that Otehei Bay had the Lodge and was an official BOISFC Weigh Station Site, a lot of the Big Game boats would operate out of there, (as well as their home bases Russell / Paihia ) over a season. A few of them had permanent moorings down there too. Great Photo of a wonderful era.
photo & details ex Gavin Hargreaves
With today’s post we are looking to see if we can join the dots. Gavin sent me a photo of Manana, his Colin Wild launch. Gavin has owned her for 7 years after purchasing her from Bill Webber of French Pass who owned her for 20 odd years running a fishing charter business. When purchased she was pretty run down with what appeared to be the original interior. Gavin spent many hours and money giving her the love she deserves. The only difference in looks now is she has a fly bridge and a cut in stern leading to a boarding platform apart from that she still looks as pretty as the day she was launched.
Now back in 2013 via Adrienne, Dave Jackson sent in the photo below of a launch that he thinks was Raehutai, that Bill Seager changed the name to Manana.
So the question of the day – are these the same boats? For easy of comparison I have dropped both photos into a slide show.
Harold Kidd Input
Bill and Gerry Seagar got the design from Colin Wild, probably the last he ever did. They got her built at Chas. Bailey & Sons because, effectively, they owned that company at the time. Harry Pope was the foreman on the job.
The two brothers were notorious for their barneys with each other. Bill wanted her called REHUTAI after the two steam launches the family had built in the 1910s but Gerry wanted her called MANANA. She was launched as MANANA.
Photo below of her in Seagar ownership.
According to the ‘sales pitch’ given to Toroa’s new owner, Brian Simpson, she was built by Chas Bailey & Sons in the 1950’s. Approx. 26′ long & built of kauri.
Toroa spent it’s life in Auckland until Brian moved it to Taupo 5 months ago.
Any information about it’s history would be much appreciated.
Photo below ex Derek Molander – Caption – Watch officer Ces Todd and a party of cadets in 1967. The Coast Guard cutter Toroa lies at anchor behind them.
An Oops or a mid season bottom clean?