Lady Gillian – Flashback

Lady Gillian – Flashback 

The launch – Lady Gillian (Gillian) has made numerous appearances on WW, starting back in 2014 when we were trying to track down her whereabouts and lasting in 2020 when she had just undergone some enhancements to her appearance – see 2nd photo.

The b/w photo above comes to us from Gillian Lander who contacted WW regarding the vessel. I have reproduced Gillian’s note below :- 

“I have just discovered a whole lot of pics online of what was my grandfather’s launch c.1942ish  ‘Lady Gillian’ – named after me, born 1942.  My grandfather, Augustus [Gus] Seymour Henshaw was an Auckland business man. There was also the Lady Sarah…. I think belonging to the Heard family [Heards Sweets] The boat was sold in ? 1960s and went to Wellington I understand. Presumed it long gone. I see it is now painted white and in the South Island. Many years at Westhaven. Somewhere I have a photo of her with its numbering required during WWII. Wonderful childhood memories. Its’ previous life I understand was as a trader in the islands, the old girl has certainly been about”

In the photo of Lady Gillian with her wartime ID lettering – the location is the Waitemata Harbour.  Possibly somewhere near the Birkenhead headland, with the Chelsea Sugar Works in the distance. No Harbour Bridge in those days.

WW 2014

WW 2016

WW 2020

Lady Gillian


IMG_2796 (003)

Lady Gillian new bow rail


Last year I was in dialog with Andrew Beatson, the owner of the Nelson based launch – Lady Gillian, in regard to a a replacement bow rail. Andrew had made the decision to replace the existing rail (as seen the the top photo) with a something similar.
The middle photo shows the mocked up replacement, which AB had little say in the ‘design’. Andrew contacted me asking for advice, I won’t bore you with the details, unless you are contemplating something similar, in which case PM me.
Yesterday Andrew sent me the bottom photo, with lots of smiley faces – the new rail looks ace and will only get better after the timber has aged a little.
Small things can make a big difference to how a woody looks, sadly more often than not, people get it wrong. If you ever want advice / 2nd opinion, just drop WW an email – there are some very talent woodys who we can tap into 😉
There has been discussion on WW before regarding the provenance of Lady Gillian – back in 2014 Harold Kidd commented that she had most likely had a name change and could be from any builder in the 1910 >1930 period. Probably started life as a flush decker and with her row of even sized ports is characteristic of a southern build and could pass for an early Jukes of Balaena Bay.
Six years have passed since then and WW has a lot more readers – can anyone help ID the vessel?

10-03-2022 Photo below ‘uncovered’ in the WW archives

Lady Gillian




John Burland sent me the above photos of Lady Gillian moored at Nelson. She appeared on ww back in Oct 2014 (link below) & at the time her owners (Beatson family) commented that she needed ‘a bit of a tidy up’, by all appearances she has had that 🙂 The the 3rd photo we see her berth near Lady Karita, while LK is undergoing a re-fit.

We still do not know much about her – given there is a much bigger ww audience these days, maybe someone knows more about her past?

17-06-2017 Update – new photo below ex Andy Beatson

Lady Gillian (2)


Check out the link below to a cool youtube clip that features Steve Thomas’s 1908, John Reid designed classic launch – Seabird, in the musician Greg Johnson’s music video for the song ‘Never turn back’. It was filmed at Cable Bay near Nelson. Nice to see the CYA burgee flying on Seabird. Enjoy.

Lady Gillian

Lady Gillian

After yesterdays visual explosion of boats & related bits, I thought I would give your eyes a rest & put your brains to work i.e. test the research powers of ww out. All I know about Lady Gillian is the she is currently somewhere in the South Island. So folks what do we know about her?

ps people viewed yesterdays post 4,315 times, that is the second highest one day viewing, the highest being my first post on the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, that tells me ww people share my fondness for what Pam & George are up to in that old red shed 🙂 If you missed it , just scroll down.