Mystery Launch On Slip at St Mary’s Bay


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Mystery Launch On Slip at St Mary’s Bay
Today’s photo comes to us via Lew Redwood’s fb (probably taken by Radcliff) & shows an unidentified launch on a slip in the St Mary’s Bay area. The photo is captioned ‘Auckland Harbour From Ponsonby’.
Lew commented that the orientation of the photo is looking from St Mary’s Bay near Point Erin showing a boat slip, with the premises of JT Julian & Son Boat Builders on Wynyard Wharf in the mid ground (1910>1919)
Can anyone ID the launch?
Harold Kidd Input – Reverting to the postcard, I think Chas Collings’ house is the one to the right whose verandah is visible. As for the launch, her configuration was a common one at the time. Built c1910 + or – 2 or 3 years, flush decked, “schooner rigged” with auxiliary sails, tuck stern, nice lines, a typical Auckland-built launch of the time. I think the pic and the postcard are too early for TEINA (sp) which was launched in June 1922. I can’t see why TEINA would be pulled out in St. Mary’s Bay. She was a Bayswater boat.
If the image was clearer you could count the ports etc. I do have a copy of the postcard at home but have never attempted to identify the launch.
My guess is that she’s a Ponsonby-owned launch. My mind says the first Drayton a 27 footer built in 1912 by H.N. Burgess and owned by the Walker Brothers, members of the Ponsonby Cruising Club just to the right of frame. But it could be 30 others.
Also CYA Woody’s – Remember this weekend is the Annual CYA Patio Bay Yacht Race + Launch Cruise + Christmas Party
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Early St Marys Bay

Early St Marys Bay
photo ex Ron Wattam

The above photo was found in two pieces in a collection of old Collings & Bell photos, Ron joined the pieces up & with a little photoshop work we have today’s image.. Given the source of the photo we could assume that the location is St. Marys Bay / what is now the Westhaven area.

Can anyone confirm the location & any luck ID’ing the vessels?

Input from Barry Davis

This is St Marys Bay before St Marys Bay Road was extended down to the foreshore sometime in the 1930’s? Until then the steps to the right were the public access to the beach. The building to the far left looks like the old Ponsonby Cruising Club headquarters. With the road being extended down to the foreshore the club rooms were moved forward and onto piles with another level added.

Tides Out At Collings & Bell

Tides Out At Collings & Bell
photos & details ex Harold Kidd

When the Collings & Bell boat yard / shed in St Mary’s Bay was vacated due to the Harbour Bridge construction project, a lot of cool items were just left lying around, on a sneaky visit Barry Davis discovered a selection of Chas Collings’ glass photography quarter plates showing St Mary’s Bay during an ultra low tide in the 1930s. The photos show that in the days before dredging most of the launches and yachts are aground.
Even though the plates were cracked & damaged the detail is amazing & they could be blown up to view the boats in detail. To secure these negatives was a great find as most of the plates were tossed into the bay by the apprentices.

In photo #4 Harold’s father’s schooner TAHITIENNE is at right background out in the stream in RottenRow.


photo & details ex Harold Kidd

A new photo of Wenna has surfaced from Bob Wiley of Boat Haulage, whose father did a lot of cruising on Wenna when she was owned by Willie McWhirter during the 1950s and 1960s.
Willie McWhirter (1902-1983) was a long-term Auckland Harbour Board employee, son of Tom McWhirter, brother of Jack, of the well-known yachting family of St. Mary’s Bay.
He lived at 61 St. Mary’s Road. Dave Jackson knew him well.
When McWhirter owned Wenna he carried a food safe on the dodger which was most unusual and characteristic of the launch during his ownership.
Harold commented this is now a  a missing chunk of Wenna’s history accounted for.

Back then the crack was “Wenna you going to buy me a beer?” 🙂

ps excuse the fly poo on the photo – HDK was worried that cleaning it might have damaged the original print 🙂

To view more photos on Wenna old & current – enter Wenna in the ww search box.

11/11/14 – Harold Kidd Update

Jack Taylor has given me the good oil on WENNA. He used to work alongside Alf Bell of Collings & Bell and Alf told him some facts about WENNA.
1. She WAS built by Collings & Bell.
2. They took their time over construction so Eric O’Neill, who lived in Ring Terrace a few yards away, kept nagging them, ” When are you going to get my boat finished”, and the WENNA stuck.
3. Eric was known around the waterfront as “Peggy” O’Neill after the song. He was a cheerful bloke and everyone liked him.
4. He knew nothing about boating at the start. He brought WENNA back from Barrier through the bad February 1936 hurricane and complained to Alex Collings that she leaked. 40 boats were lost in Auckland in that blow.
5. However, he got to be good enough to skipper PAIKEA on occasion during her NAPS service.