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Shipping Lines involved in New Zealand Immigration

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Union Steam Ship Co. of N.Z. Ltd. | Blackball Line | Houlder Bros. | NZ Shipping Co. | White Star Line | Willis, Gann and Co. | Patrick Henderson's Albion Shipping Co. | Shaw, Savill Co.|

Many of the vessels sailing from the UK before 1858 were operated by the Blackball and Willis, Gann and Co. lines. Walter Saville, a clerk, for Willis, Gann and Co. had great foresight and left the company and started his own company in partnership with Robert Shaw in 1859 by chartering vessels for the UK - NZ trade.  Smaller private companies continued to bring emigrants out to New Zealand throughout the years.  Vessels were often chartered or sold between the shipping companies and this change of house flag often resulted in a name change for the vessel.  When steam monopolized the emigrant trade many of the 'white wings'  were 'sold foreign' resulting in a name change.

Fildes, R D The Ships That Serve Australia and New Zealand: Searail, Sydney 1975-1977 2v ISBN  0909096015 & 0909096023
Stewart, I G The Ships That Serve New Zealand : volume 1 : British and European lines. A H & A W Reed Wellington 1964 254p : ill
Shipping -history

The painting of ships is a very individualistic thing.  Some ship owners specified what colour their ships would be: they might have a black hull with beige masts and yards, with the yardarm ends painted black, or whatever. Sometimes it would be up to the master of the ship and often would depend on what colour of paint they had on board at the time.  In the later days of steamships the same thing would apply. However it often came down to painting the funnel in "company colours" often with the companies crest on the funnel too.  The Cunard funnels which were red with black stripes of varying thickness.  The hull might be different colours depending on the location of the service they were in i.e. white or light colours in the tropics and darker colours in the North Atlantic.

Union Steam Ship Co. of  New Zealand Ltdusscoflag.jpg (8637 bytes)

New Zealand Ship and Marine Society
Great images and information in relation to the U.S.S.Co's. steamers. Union Steam Ship Co. and the NZ Shipping Co. 

Founded in 1875, in Dunedin, from Union Steam Ship Co. of N.Z. LTD funnel markingsseveral New Zealand shipping companies to trade the Australian and New  Zealand waters and backed by British capital.  For that reason the name was selected. The USSNZ owned and run a large fleet of at least three hundred vessels in the first one hundred years. It became a subsidiary of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Ship Company in 1917 but retained its name, USSNZ, and vessels. The company operated sailings from San Francisco to Sydney and Auckland to Tahiti. For a large part of its life time, from 1875 to 2000, the company was one of the largest shipping companies in this part of the world. It was New Zealand�s first multi-national company and its influence on the country was huge, at one stage monopolising our fuel and transport industries.

The archives of the Union Steam Ship Company Ltd and Wellington Harbour Board are now at the Wellington City Archives and will be accessible to researchers which has professional archivists, a facility built for archival storage, a public Reading Room and other specialist support systems. A considerable part of the Harbour Board collection is on the public access database The archives of the Union Steam Ship Company came from its head office in Wellington.

The Wellington Harbour Board 1880 to 1989 had a significant influence on Wellington's economic, political and social life, not to mention on the shape of the city through such activities as reclamation. Contact: Wellington City Archives Phone 04 801 2096 Email

The Timaru Herald 4 February 1876
The Union Steamship Company. The five new steamers, varying in size and style will come out within the next four months. The Wanaka, a similar boat to the ill-fated Bruce, but larger and more powerful, will arrive early April. and will be placed in the coastal trade with the Hawea and Taupo. The Wanaka will be followed in May by the Rotorua, a sister ship to the Hawea and Taupo. The Rotorua will take up the running on the coast, and the Wanaka then will go on the Bruce's line - from Dunedin to Timaru, Akaroa and Lyttelton. Towards the end of May are expected out the other three boats; the Rotomahana, a very powerful screw steamer, guaranteed to stem 14 knots, for the Dunedin and Oamaru trade; the second, a 12-knot tug-boat for the Otago harbour Service; and the third, a large ocean steamship, for the Sydney trade, guaranteed to steam 13 knots and fitted up in magnificent style, with saloon and sleeping berths amidships. All expected to be running by June.

Timaru Herald
10 October 1900 page 2
The Union Steam Ship Company began its inception with two steamers, the Hawera and the Taupo. The following year the number had increased to nine.  In 1900 it owned fifty-five vessels, of a tonnage of 74,627 tons, and including steamers Mararoa, Mokoia, Monowai, Waikare, and Moana. Beginning with the New Zealand coastal trade the company extended its field of operations to Australia, the Pacific Islands, India, and America, and opened a service along the Tasmanian coast.

Year Passengers carried Cargo: Tons  Distance covered in miles
1876 25,000  95,000 171,000
1886 119,000
1896 160,400
1899 212,500 1,389,917 2,124,704 

Union Steam Ship Co. vessels: Aorangi 2, Awatera, Makura, Marama, Matita (lost 1916), Maunganui, Moana, ss unionco.jpg (32220 bytes) Maori 174t,  Tahiti (lost 1930), Tofua, Roscommon (formerly the "Oswestry Grange"), Wairura. RMMS Aorangi(2nd), SS Hauroto, SS Ringarooma, T.S.S Tamahine, SS Tekapo, SS Monowai, SS Arawata 

Churchouse, Jack, 1936- Glamour Ships of the Union Steam Ship Company, N.Z., Ltd Wellington, N.Z. : Millwood Press, 1981, 103pp,  profusely illustrated.  25cms x 28 cms.  Brings back the beauty, elegance and glamour of a bygone era. Features the most outstanding of the Company�s passenger ships over 85 years from inception in 1875. Passenger ships were only a part of the Company's fleet, but they were the glamour ships, eclipsing the sturdy cargo carriers which contributed so much to New Zealand's development. "For 100 years the Union Company, established at Dunedin in 1875, was the predominant shipping company in New Zealand and for much of that time Australasia as well. The history of the Company is closely interwoven with the economic progress of New Zealand. It is also a record of the remarkable advances made in naval architecture and marine engineering during that period. " ... This illustrated account of the Union Company reflects the tremendous strides made during those 60 years, from the diminutive Maori of 174 tons to the Awatea of 13,482 tons. It is also an introduction to those ships which were among the best known. Indeed many of them were household names until they were eclipsed by a combination of events that included subsidised competition on the one hand and air travel on the other. "Travel by sea was, of necessity, more leisurely in those gracious days. Colourful brochures and posters depicted a shipboard elegance which included the seemingly sumptuous banquets itemised in beautifully printed menus. An excitement attended each ship's departure : the wharf thronged with people linked to passengers by coloured streamers - all part of a bygone era. These passenger vessels of the Union Company were, indeed, glamour ships ... "

Farquhar, I. J. (Ian James) Union fleet 1875-1975 : being a list of ships owned by the Union Steam Ship Company of N.Z. Ltd., since its inception in Dunedin in 1875, together with a list of some of the significant dates in the history of the Line with illustrations by J. E. Hobbs. Wellington : New Zealand Ship and Marine Society, 2nd rev. ed. 1976. 61 p  (1968 1st ed. 56p plus 12 pages with 18 b/w illust.) Company chronology. Details of company colour schemes, lists of tenders, harbour launches, etc.

Hobbs, J. E. (John Ephraim 1911-1979) The Union Steam Ship Company Steam Ships Wellington, N.Z.: Millwood Press, Wellington : New Zealand Ship and Marine Society, 1982. hc 112 pp with 50 full-page colour paintings, landscape format, of ships of the Company from 1868 to 1964 each with a painting by J.E. Hobbs, specs, and history of the ship.  Commentary by D F Gardner.  Pictorial record of the Union Company: steamships, coasters, short sea traders, deep sea passenger liners including the ss Rotomahana 1879-1925. ISBN: 0908582412 

Laxon, W A. Davey and the Awatea. 1997 1st edition. Dunmore Press, Palmerston North. The Union Steamship Company played a major part in NZ's overseas trade earlier last century. This is the story of Arthur Davey, his career, voyages and promotion through the company. It is also the story of the ship "Awatea" the fastest and most luxurious merchant ship in the southern hemisphere. 220pp; b/w photos; index; pictorial s/covers.

The Star Thursday 25th 1879 page 2
The Lennox Herald of July 19 gives the following particulars of the trail trip of the Union Company's new steamer Rotomahana. Turned out by Messrs Denny Bros., her builders, and Denny and Co., who constructed her machinery. - "The Rotomahana was guaranteed to steam at the rate of 15 knots per hour.... The high and low pressure cylinders are respectively 42in and 87in in diameter, the length of stroke 4ft, and steam is raised in six steel boilers, at a pressure of 70.b to the square inch." 

Merchant Fleets 32 Union Steamship Company by Duncan Haws. 1997.  This book is the story from 1875 until the present day of one of the greatest ever shipping companies. The Union Steamship Company of New Zealand must surely hold the accolade for having owned the largest number of truly beautiful passenger ships both large and small. They were resplendent with their bronze green, yellow branded, hulls and bright pink waterline and always surmounted by a majestic black topped glowing red funnel. The largest yet coverage � 218 scale profiles covering all but 29 of the earlier or smaller ships.

McLauchlan, Gordon, The Line That Dared : A History of the Union Steam Ship Company, 1875-1975 / Gordon McLauchlan. Published: Mission Bay, Auckland [N.Z.] : Four Star Books, 1987. 205 p., 8 p. of plates, b&w and col. illustrations index. Covers the first hundred years to 1975. One of the most successful international commercial enterprises every begun by New Zealanders. 

McLean, Gavin. The Southern Octopus : The Rise of a Shipping Empire. New Zealand Ship & Marine Society, Wellington, 1990, 27cm, 239p : ill.,  illustrations, appendices, notes, index. ISBN : 0-9597834-3-1 The Union Steam Ship Co. between 1870 and 1917 and includes deck and elevation plans of the SS "Warrimoo."

Mowbray, Tate, E. 1902- Transpacific Steam 1986 Cornwall Books ISBN 0 8453 4792 6

History of Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand Ltd. 1875 - 1940
The Story of a Company of world-wide scope which was founded and is managed in New Zealand - issued by the Company in commemoration of the centenary of British Settlement in New Zealand, 1940.�Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand, founded at Dunedin in 1875, entered the cargo and passenger trade across the Tasman in 1876, in 1881 to South Pacific Islands and in 1888 to Calcutta and ports in the East. It maintained a mail and passenger service to San Francisco from 1910 to 1936. The Australasia to Vancouver service wound up after the Second World War and the passenger service to Sydney ended in 1960. Illustrated 55 printed pages. Cover size: 19cm (7��) x 25cm (10�). Blue cloth covers over the boards.

Parsons, R.H.  A History of the Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand, 1875-1971. Volume 2. The ships [by] A.L. Arbon, edited and prepared for publication by R.H. Parsons. Lobethal, S.A. : R.H. Parsons, 1974 Steamship services. 135p with 21 b/w photos. Foundation and early progress. Trans-Pacific routes, Australian coastal trade, sail training. ISBN: 0909418004 .

Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand History of Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand, Limited, 1875-1940 : The story of a company of world-wide scope which was founded and is managed in New Zealand: "Issued by the company in commemoration of the centenary of British settlement in New Zealand, 1940." Wellington 1940: 56 pp with b/w photos of ships, their captains & their shipowner.  

Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand 50th anniversary of the founding of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand Limited : an account of the Company's history during the period 1875-1925, with a report of a dinner held at Wellington on the 15th May, 1925, to celebrate the Company's Jubilee  1925 Wellington: the Company 68 p : ill. MILLS, Sir James (editor) 9 b/w photos, 38 portraits and 23 b/w photos of ships. Drawing of the original "Maori", 1875.

Waters, Sydney D. Union Line : A Short History of the Union Steam Ship Co. of New Zealand Ltd. 1875-1951: the Company, Wellington 1951 148p : with b/w illus. The story of a shipping company of world-wide scope that was founded and is managed in New Zealand. Includes a comprehensive listing of vessels owned by the company from 1875 - 1951 plus those vessels being built in 1951.

Early Steamships in New Zealand
 - Maori I, Beautiful Star, Hawea, Taupo
The First Steamers
The Intercolonial Trade
The famous Rotomahana
Trans-Pacific Mail Routes
Inter-Island Express
Training Ship Dartford
World War of 1914-18
Sinking of Aparima and Avenger.
Motor liner Aorangi
Loss of the Tahiti
Tubo-electric steamer Rangatira
San Francisco Service ended.
Advent of the Awatea
Trans-Tasman Flying Boats.
Natuinalisation of Airways.
World War II"
Sinking of the Niagara and Awatwa
Service of Aorangi and Monowai
Maunganui as Hospital Ship
Losses of tonnage
Building of the Hinemoa
The New Tofua
Turbo-electric Maori ordered.
Ship-masters and Engineers
Fleet List.

Port Chalmers Maritime Museum Collection includes Union Steam Ship Company memorabilia.  Surviving records are scattered around NZ with transient crew not recorded only permanent staff. The Hocken Library, Otago University, has a comprehensive collection of USS Co records. Lists of the USS Co archives can be obtained from the Hocken Library Manuscripts Section, 137-151, but has a few staff records but the majority of the staff records of the Company as well as its more recent administrative records (since c. 1920s) are  at the Museum of Wellington City & Sea. The Otago Museum has a collection of the original builders model ships of the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand.  Directors 


The s.s. Manuka, a twin screw vessel, official no. 117582, a passenger liner, built in 1903 by Wm Denny & Bros., at Dumbarton, Scotland, for the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand, sank on 16th December 1929 in fog shortly before midnight when she struck rocks off Long Point, south of the Nuggets while en route Bluff - Dunedin. 369 x 47 feet with triple expansion steam engines driving twin screws to give a speed of 14.5 knots. Gross 4534.34 tons; net 2813.01 tons. Passenger accommodation: 360. 190 Saloon, 136 second class. Built for the trans Tasman 'horse-shoe' service from Wellington and Bluff to Sydney and Melbourne but transferred to the Sydney-Vancouver service in 1904. Ports of call were Sydney, Brisbane, Suva, Honolulu and Vancouver. Replaced by Maheno in 1906 and returned to Tasman trade but still made one Sydney-Vancouver trip each of the next four years when the regular ships were being dry-docked. Monana, Maitai, Aorangi, Miowera, Maheno, Marama and Makura all served on the route at different times prior to WW1. The ship was requisitioned as a transport for war service during WW1. She was a total loss. No lives were lost considering most went to the lifeboats wearing only what they had been asleep in. (Refer Glamour ships of the Union Steam Ship Co. by Jack Churchouse, and A Century of Style by N.H. Brewer. Also the official History of the Company: "A Short History of the Union Line 1875-1951" by Sydney D.S. Waters.)

Marama at Glasgow, 1907.

The Union Steamship Co of New Zealand Ltd passenger steamer Marama, built by Caird & Co, Greenock, and delivered in November 1907. The photograph at the lower right hand corner is the embossed imprint of the photographer, Maclure Macdonald & Co, of Bothwell, Glasgow.

The Star Jan. 1 1877 page 2
The S.S. Wanaka -Union Steamship Company vessel reached Port Chalmers from Glasgow. 277 tons register and nearly 500 tons gross. L 175ft, beam 23ft, depth of hold 11ft 4". Description. of vessel.  Captain James Malcom.

Union Co.

Brewer, N H A Century of Style 238 pp  b/w photos;   AH & AW Reed; 1982 The 36 passenger vessels operated by Union Co. from 1875 to 1976 are described as ‘queens of the sea’ and the book gives an account of the career of each ship

McLean, Gavin. Ships of the Union Company Wellington. 1989. G.P. Books.  48 pp with 87 b/w photos. Photographic record of the Union Steamship Company of NZ Ltd. since 1860. ISBN: 0477000169

The S.S. Wanaka -Union Steamship Company vessel reached Port Chalmers from Glasgow. 277 tons register and nearly 500 tons gross. L 175ft, beam 23ft, depth of hold 11ft 4". Description. Captain James Malcom.

Otago Witness Nov. 17 1898 pg 11
Shipping News
The Oonah, Union Company steamer to run on the Lyttelton - Wellington service in conjunction with the Rotomahana. The Oonah 1757 tons register (gross), 2000 hp (same power as the Talune), Steams 14 knots an hour. Her saloon is amidships , capable of seating 70 persons. The Oonah is now in the Tasmanian service, will leave for Wellington, about the 9th.

Evening Post, 12 February 1912, Page 8
WANGANUI, This Day. The death is reported of Captain Nicholson Woods, aged sixty. Deceased was formerly for many years connected with the Union Steam Ship Company. For the last six years he has been employed by the Canterbury S.S. Company. He skippered the Storm for some time past. The cause of death was heart trouble.

Blackball Line    

James Baines founded the Black Ball Line house flagBlackball Line of Australian packets in 1851 and had Donald McKay, the American ship builder, build the Lightning, Champion of the Sea, Donald McKay and the James Baines These vessels were comfortable, had well ventilated quarters for steerage passengers, state rooms for cabin passengers, smoking rooms, decorated saloons and were strongly rigged.  There was also an American Black Ball Line, no connection.

The Blackball Line had a contract to deliver mail to Australia, started with the purchase of the St. John ship Marco Polo built by James Smith. This line carried more passengers to Australia than any other line. In addition to the Marco Polo the Blackball Line at various times owned 15 other Saint John ships including the Constance, Oliver Lang 1275 t, Palm Tree, Samarang 1175 tons b. 1857, Sovereign of the Seas, and the Zealandia (renamed Hebe). Reference: Saint John Ships and Their Builders by Esther Clark Wright  The Blackball Line went bankrupt in 1866.

Blackball vessels : Dover Castle, Elizabeth Ann Bright, Fiery Star (136t), Flying Cloud, Light Brigade,  Indian Queen (1051 t), Montmorency (carried settlers to NZ in 1856-1857 and 1866-1867. The ship was destroyed by fire at Napier  28 March 1867 after discharging passengers), Morning Star, Owen Glendower, Sunda, Whirlwind.

Hollet, Dave. Fast Passage to Australia 1986 London: Fairplay.  History of the Black Ball, Eagle, and White Star Lines of Australian packets.

Stammers, M.K. Passage Makers UK 1978 History of this line of Australian packets, 1852-71

Circular Saw line

The Southern Cross 29 June 1866. Monthly Summary of Shipping pg6
The barque Haversham, recently purchased by Messrs Henderson and Macfarlane, of this city, and handed over to the command of Captain J.R. Sherlock, late of the Sir George Grey, was to leave Newcastle, NSW, for San Francisco, about the 20th instant, on account of her new owners. This new acquisition to the Circular Saw line of clipper vessels is a Sunderland-built vessel of 700 tons register, possessing excellent passenger accommodation and large carrying capacity.

Free Trader, clipper barque, 280 tons, Captain H. Robinson.
Anne Melhuish, barque, 287 tons, Williams, from Newcastle, NSW

The Southern Cross 25 October 1865
The barque Novelty, Captain Austin, arrived off North Head last night from Sydney, nine days out.. She left Sydney on the 15th,with a large general cargo of merchandise on account of her owners Messrs. Henderson and Macfarlane. Passengers: Captain and Mrs Wilson, Mrs Austin, Mrs Byle, Mrs Jones and child, Mrs Kenney and six children and six in the steerage.

The Southern Cross July 30 1866 pg3
The Circular Saw barque, Alice Cameron, Captain Nearing, left yesterday for Sydney, with a large cargo of wool, hides, timber, potatoes, general merchandise and the following 31 passengers:

Mr Walter Adamson
Mrs Barnes and three children
Mr Joseph Baxter
Mr N Blumenthal
Mr W. Chapman
Mr James Coulter
Mr and Mrs Dunn
Mr John Ferris
Dr Gentle
Mrs Hems
Mr James Hill
Mr T. Hogh
Mr Charles Hulbert

Mr Thomas Katey
Mr H.T. Knipley
Mr George McMalles
Mr Denis Minchan
Mr James Moore
Mr Jerry Murphy
Mr Alfred Payne
Mr S Reynolds
Mrs Smyth and two children
Mr James Stevens
Miss Welsh
Mr J White

Houlder Bros.

Search the National Maritime Museum, England database Manuscript Collection under Houlder for information on the Houlder Brothers & Co. (1849). The 'Empress' was a vessel of this line.

Stevens, F.E. One Hundred Years of Holders, 1849- 1950 London, 1950

Kirk, Allan. Fair Winds and Rough Seas. The Story of the Holm Shipping Company from sail to steam. Wellington, Sydney & London, 1st.ed., 1975. Xv + 260 pp., 55 photo-plates. D.j., 22 x 14.5cm. The Holm Line of New Zealand was founded in 1880 when Swedish-born Ferdinand Holm bought a share in the barque Malay and in time he and his sons built up a fleet of sailing vessels that not only served coastal waters but also traded with Australia, Pacific Islands and even ventured into the Antarctic. The Holm Line's "blackest year" was in 1959 when Holmburn caught fire at Lyttelton and two lives were lost; and Holmglen mysteriously disappeared with all hands off Timaru. Other severe losses include the sinking of Holmwood in 1940 by a German raider, and the wreck of the Holmbank in Peraki Bay in 1963. These and other incidents are related in this book, illustrated with over 50 photographs. 

April 1876. From the Southern Cross, an Auckland newspaperThe New Zealand Shipping Company 

NEW ZEALAND SHIPPING COMPANY LIMITED was incorporated in 1873 in Christchurch, NZSC house flagNew Zealand, by a group of local farmers and merchants, who were dissatisfied with the existing shipping facilities. There was competition from the existing shipping companies, particularly Shaw Savill and the Albion Line. Refrigeration was introduced and the second cargo of frozen meat from New Zealand was carried in 1882 in one of the company's sailing ships, the Mataura. 1883 steamers were introduced.  In 1916 the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) acquired a controlling interest in the company.  The company lost eleven vessel during WW1. In 1936 the company creates the Montreal - Australian New Zealand Line (MANZ Line) as a joint venture between Ellerman & Bucknall and Port Line. During WW2 the company lost 19 vessels.1965 Competition with airlines causes the company to transfer all its cargo ships to Federal Line. 1973 P&O take full control of the company. photos

 The Otago Settlers Museum has an indexed list of paying passengers to Otago (Port Chalmers & Bluff) who came on vessels owned by the New Zealand Shipping Company 1875-1882. The Alexander Turnbull Library  (Manuscript & Archives section) has the New Zealand Shipping Company passenger lists 1875-1950. Indexed.  Captain Henry Rose b. 1833 was the first manger of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Shipping Company. Timeframes has a portrait of this gentleman who devoted fifty years to shipping. He captained the Merope, Mermaid, Rakaia and Waimate. The Saint George cross is on the N.Z.S.Co. flag. ShipsList  History WW2 losses Ship colours - black hull and buff funnels 1930s. History

West Coast Times, 12 June 1875, Page 2
The return of ships despatched by the New -Zealand Shipping Company from London to this Colony in 1874, and from the Colony for the same period, supplies some very instructive information as to the relative trade importance of the several Provinces of New Zealand. The total number of ships despatched was 63. Of these the highest register tonnage was 1745 tons, and the lowest 377 tons. There are several vessels set down as ranging between 800 tons and 500 tons, but these represent rather trade ships than immigrant vessels, although many of them carried immigrants. Of the above total number nine ships belong to the Company � namely, the Rakaia 1021:
the Dorette, 847;
Waikato, 1021;
Waitangi, 1127;
Mataura, 853;
Waitara, 833;
Waimate, 1123;
Rangitikei, 1225 tons.
The amount of tonnage, including immigrants, to Canterbury, was 18,770 tons, 5143 immigrants;
to Otago, 12,264 tons, 2511 immigrants:
to Wellington, 14,268 tons, 3403 immigrants;
to Auckland, 13,356 tons, 3510 immigrants;
Napier, 2261 tons, 782 immigrants;
Nelson, 1039 tons, 342 immigrants;
Picton, 871 tons, 301 immigrants.
The total amount of tonnage despatched from London was 63,255 tons, with 15,998 immigrants. During the year 1874 eleven ships were despatched from Canterbury, with 18,580 tons (chiefly wool); seven ships from Otago, with 6377 tons (considerable portion of these cargoes was also wool); three vessels from Auckland, with 2043 tons. It should be noted, in order that the above figures may not mislead, that this export from Canterbury covers eight months, or nearly the whole year � from January to December; � where from Otago it only covers seven months � from January to July (inclusive); � and from Auckland, only three months, namely, April, August, and November. Two vessels were despatched from Wellington, in February and August, with 1377 tons; one from Napier, in April, with 806 tons; and one from the Bluff, with 534 tons. To give an abstract of the above, it appears that the number of ships depatched from London during the year was sixty-three. The average tonnage to each was 1000 tons and the average number of passengers to each ship was 234. The ships despatched from New Zealand ports were twenty-five in number, averaging 869 tons, and carrying in all 53,222 hales of wool, 96,573 sacks of wheat, besides 3722 tons of tallow, meat, and flax. All these vessels have quick despatch and direct intercourse with English ports, so that there is a basis afforded to the shipper to calculate approximately the tendencies of Home and European markets.

The New Zealand Shipping Company's
Royal Mail Line Steamers for London via Rio de Janeiro and Madeira

Steamers  Tons  Commanders  Port of dep.  Date 1892
Kaikoura  4474  Crutchley  Auckland  March 19
Ruahine  6100  Greesnstreet  Lyttelton  April 16
Tongariro  4163  Bone  Lyttelton April 30
Aorangi  4163  Sutcliffe  Lyttelton  May 14
Rimutaka  4474  Findlay  Lyttelton  June 11
Ruapehu  4163  Mayoss  Lyttelton  July 9

And thenceforward every fourth Saturday. The rates of passage money are as follow
Saloon, from 60 guineas upwards
Second Salon, from 35 to 40 guineas
Steerage, from 18 guineas upwards


The New Zealand Shipping Company, Limited
1921 Fleet
Remuera     	11,276  tons
Ruahine      	10,839     "
Rimataka      	 8,893     " 
Ruapeha       	 8,831
Hororata    	11,243
Huronui      	 9,265
Kaikoura     	 8,697
Otarama      	 7,759
Otaki            7,963
Opawa         	 9,297
Orari            9,179 
Piako        	 8,283
Paparoa       	 7,697
Tasmania     	 7,609
Tekoa          	 9,775 (building)
Waimate     	 7,015
Whakatane  	 7,055
               150,726 tons
Fleet 1954
Federal Steam Navigation 
Company, Limited
1921 Fleet
Shropshire         	12,184 tons
Wiltshire            	12,160  "
Cornwall             	10,699  "
Northumberland 		12,160
Devon                    9,661
Dorest                   8,734
Durburn                  6,975
Essex                    8,722
Kent                     9,857
Middlesex           	 5,568
Somerset              	 9,773
Suffolk                  8,838
Surrey                   9,783
Sussex                   6,930
Westmoreland    	 9,512
                  144,526 tons
Fleet 1954

Otago Witness Thursday 9 April 1896 page 36 Shipping News
A new steamship, the Mataura, was launched by Messrs Barclay, Curle, and CO. ay White Inch on February 15 for the New Zealand Shipping Company and is intended for the frozen meat trade between New Zealand and London. The vessel is schooner-rigged, and constructed on Lloyd's three-deck rule . Her dimensions are: length 421ft; breath 54ft 6 in; depth of hold 32ft. She will carry about 8400 tons of cargo.

Available from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc. 1988. New Zealand Shipping Company Register 1875-1893 Alphabetical list of ships names and shipping arrivals in chronological order (no names) 4 fiche $NZ 9.00, also at the Alexander Turnbull Library ISBN:  0908770103

Bott, Alan. The Sailing Ships of the New Zealand Shipping Company 1873-1900  B.T. Batsford, London (1972) illus. ISBN 0-7134-0467-1  (published by B.T. Batsford, London, 1st edition, 1972, 160 pages, ISBN 0-7134-0467-1). Illustrated with 84 photographs.

Clarkson, John, 1941- New Zealand and Federal lines / John Clarkson, Roy Fenton Preston, U.K. : J. & M. Clarkson, 1995 88 p Chiefly illustrations.  New Zealand Shipping Company &  Federal Steam Navigation Company. ISBN 0952117940

Haws, Duncan. - Merchant Fleets series, PSL, Cambridge (vols. 1-5)/ published by the author, London (vols. 6 & up):
Vol. 1 - P&O, Orient, and Blue Anchor Lines (1978)
Vol. 7 - New Zealand Shipping Co. and Federal Steam Navigation Co. (1985) 112p : ill scale line drawings by the author. Chronological history, livery, routes and fleet lists of The NZ Shipping Co. with 108 vessels. The Federal Steam Navigation Co. with 95 vessels.
Vol. 10 - Shaw, Savill & Albion (1987)

Holman, Gordon. In the Wake of Endeavour: The History of The New Zealand Shipping Company and Federal Steam Navigation Company; with a foreword by Sir Denis Blundell. London, Charles. Knight & Co., 1973. 241 PP, plus 12 pages with   b/w photos - ten portraits and ten ships.  The first hundred years of this company, founded in Christchurch, New Zealand, in January 1873, and in 1973 an integral part of the giant Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. ISBN: 0853141819
Laxon, William Allan, 1936- Crossed Flags : The histories of the New Zealand Shipping Company Limited and the Federal Steam Navigation Company Limited and their subsidiaries / by W.A. Laxon with I.J. Farquhar and N.J. Kirby ; based on the draft by Fred W. Perry (d. 1993). Gravesend, UK: World Ship Society, c1997. hb. 196 pp with 10 colour plates and 336 bw illust. $80. Full plate: R.M.S. "Rangitane" leaving Auckland, 1938. Capacity plan of "Northumberland", 1916. Capacity plan of "Hinakura", 1949.  ISBN: 0905617878. From the early sailing ships of the 1870s through to the modern container vessels of the 1970s, Crossed Flags is an information bank of our maritime history. Contains descriptions of ships who flew the companies' flags, the men who directed the various companies and the chronology.  The company played its pioneering part in the shipment of frozen meat from New Zealand, the Mataura being fitted with the fleet's first refrigerating machinery to lift the first shipment from Auckland in 1883, following the initial shipment from Port Chalmers in the Dunedin (Albion Line) the previous year.  Mentions the Samesk (one of the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard "Sam" wartime ships), part of the Federal Line when renamed Leicester.  The focus the role the ships played in the growth and expansion of Australia and New Zealand, particularly as the NZS Co. broke the mould of the 19th century imperial culture by being established in  NZ rather than the Old Country.

McLean, Gavin, 1957- Ships of the New Zealand Shipping Company {compiled by Gavin McLean}.  Wellington Harbour Board Maritime Museum. {Wellington, N.Z.}: GP Books, c1989. ISBN: 0477000150 (pbk) Pictorial works from from 1873 to 1980.  48 pp with 73 b/w photos. ISBN: 0-477-000150 e.g. The 'Ruahine' was built at Dumbarton, Scotland, in 1891.  She was 6127 tons and 131 metres long.  With a much larger cargo capacity than the NZ Shipping Co.'s original steamers, and ample passenger accomodation, she was the shape of things to come.  Four smaller vessels were built from 1892 to 1896, then a pair of 6,500 tonners, the 'Papanui' and the 'Paparoa' in 1898-9. photos

The second 'Ruahine' (!0,832 tons, 1909-49) was when built, the company's largest ship.  (She was eclipsed by the 'Rotorua' and 'Remuera',  both more than 11,000 tons in 1910-11) Able to accommodate 520 passengers in four classes, this 'Ruahine' survived two world wars and served out her later years trooping and carrying emigrants.  Sold to Italy in 1949, she was broken up five years later. 

Sharpe, C B. A Short History of the New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd : 1873-1951Publisher : the Company 1951, London.

The New Zealand Shipping Company Limited, monthly line of New Zealand direct steamers list of passengers, S.S. Dorif from London ( Gravesend ) 26 July and from Plymouth 28 July 1883: London 1883 (copy at Canterbury University, N.Z.)

The New Zealand Shipping Company's Pocket Book 162 pages; coloured photo plates, maps, tables, and flags; A & C Black; 1908  A guide for passengers on the company’s steamers.

CO-208 New Zealand Company  Records  1837 - 1861 196 microfilm reel(s) Inventory available.
Reference Number : Micro-215 Hocken Library, Dunedin, N.Z.
Contains Inwards letters (1839-1858), Register of inwards letters (1839-1858), Register of outwards letter (1841-1856), Outwards letter (1839-1858), Minutes (1837-1853), Accounts (1839-1861), Local records (1839-1850), Land records (1839-1853), and Persons (1839-1858). The Persons group of records includes registers of emigrant labourers applying for free passage (1839-1850), papers relating to the New Zealand Company's dealings with the Government and the Union Bank of Australia and a journal and a letter book belonging to Colonel Wakefield (1839-1842, 1845-1848).
It also includes letter from the Canterbury Association and the Otago Association.
Copied as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.
Originals location : Copied from the original material in the Public Records Office, London

Waters, Sydney D. Clipper Ship to Motor Liner: The Story of the New Zealand Shipping Company 1837-1939 110pp illustrations, appendices plus 8 plates including the sailing vessel "Turakina". New Zealand Shipping, London, 1939 

Waters, Sydney D, New Zealand Shipping Company 1873-1939  1939. Lists all ships owned by the company since its foundation in 1873, broken into categories of sailing ships, steam ships and motor ships.  Includes the ships of the Federal Steam Navigation Co. which merged with the NZ Shipping Company in the 1890's.  Provides details of vessels and a snippet their history, number of NZ voyages etc. and devotes a chapter to early master mariners who sailed these ships.  Not indexed and does not include passenger lists. Includes black and white plates of the following ships:
The sailing vessel Turakina overhauling the steamship Ruapehu on 14 Feb 1895
The clipper Rangitiki, one of the first four vessels owned by the NZ Shipping Co.
The second steamship Ruapehu, built in 1900
The second steamship Ruahine built in 1909
The auxiliary steamship Durham built in 1876 for Money Wigram & Co
The motor vessel Rangitata
The first Tongariro, one of the first five auxiliary steamships built for the NZ Shipping Co in 1883

Waters, Sydney D, Ordeal by Sea. The New Zealand Shipping Co.s History in the Second World War, 1939-1945. Published by the New Zealand Shipping Co. 1949. 263 pages with appendices and index, dj. Covers all the NZC vessels including Turakina, Cambridge, Rangitane, Essex, Hororata, Waimarama, Port Chalmers, Hurunui, Piako, Opawa, Rimutaka, Tongariro, Kaipaki, Kaipara, Kaituna, Kaikoura, etc. The Company lost 19 ships (53.12% of their fleet), plus a further four vessels managed on behalf of the Ministry of War Transport. This is the story of one merchant fleet struggling to survive and keep supplies flowing in the face of enemy U-boats, surface raiders, aircraft and mines.  He recalls the sinking of the Cambridge and the beautiful passenger liner Rangitane. The Turakina's fight with a raider, the adventures of the Essex in convoy, and the salvage of the Hororata. There are descriptions of the black months during the Battle of the Atlantic, the turning of the tables so that U-boats began to suffer the losses they had inflicted on unarmed merchant ships, and NZSC's post-war rebuilding programme.

Grey River Argus, 16 November 1883, Page 2

The New Zealand Shipping Company's splendid steel screw steamer Aorangi, the Native name for Mount Cook, was successfully launched on the 2nd inst., from the yards of Messrs Elder and Co., at Gavan, on the Clyde. The vessel is the sister ship to the Tongariro, which was launched on August the 23rd, and also to another being built at the same yards and now in an advanced state of construction for the same owners. Her principal dimensions are � Length between perpendiculars 380 ft, length over all 410t, breadth 47ft, depth 33ft 4in, with a gross tonnage of about 4200. She is built of steel throughout, and is a very graceful object in the water, and so closely does she resemble the Tongariro that any detailed description of her accommodation and fittings would be superfluous. On the main deck accommodation is provided for eighty first class passengers and a similar number of second class, and 250 third class. The state rooms are spacious, and the well furnished main saloon, which is placed amidships, immediately abaft the engine room, is a fine apartment, 43ft by 32ft. high. The ladies' boudoir is forward of the saloon, and is handsomely fitted up. The second-class saloon cabins are forward of the machinery space, and are all well and comfortably fitted. Forward again is the accommodation for third class passengers, who will have no cause of complaint. The vessel will be lighted with electric light, and refrigerating chambers will be fitted in the forehold, winch will be capable of receiving very extensive cargoes of frozen meat. The j engines are 4000-horse power. After the launch Mr Pearce, one of the contracting firm, proposed "Success to- the Aorangi," and Mr Coster, the Chairman of the New Zealand Shipping Company, in acknowlodging the toast, said the steamers of the Company were named after mountains of New Zealand ; their sailing ships were j being named after rivers, and now they appropriately adopted the names of mountains, which were the sources of rivers.  They had seventeen sailing ships and three steamers, but they hoped to increase the latter materially in due time. He hoped, and indeed he knew, that shareholders in New Zealand and England would not be satisfied unless they acquired steamers of the highest class, and they could go to no better builder than Mr Pearce. The Aorangi will sail for New Zealand on the 22nd proximo.

1880Patrick Henderson's Albion Shipping Co.


North Otago Times Feb. 1864 & Nov. 17.
Patrick Henderson's Line of Packets, from the Clyde to Otago. A ship of this Line will leave Glasgow direct each Month during the season.

Viola  1140 Tons Regst.  Resolute  1070
City of Dunedin  1064  Earl of Dalhousie  1040
Ben Lomond    987  Pladda    982
Wave Queen    850  Helenslee    800
Arimn    700   Tamana    680
Sevilla    600  Robert Henderson    600
Silistrin    640  Bechin Castle    540
E.P. Bouverie  1040  Paria    700
Beautiful Star    620  Vicksburg  1249


North Otago Times  7 Feb. 1868
Messrs P. Henderson and Co.'s Line of monthly packets.


 1240 Reg. tons





City of Dunedin


E.P. Bouverie


Peter Denny


Ben Lomond




William Davie


Wave Queen




Helen Burns


Jane Davie


Helen Denny


Elizabeth Fleming




Robert Henderson


Jane Henderson


The Albion flag was a Albion Shipping Co. flagFrench flag with a wee Union Jack in the centre. Their ships were painted black with a gold stripe and gingerbread work.  The ShipsList

Laird, Dorothy. Paddy Henderson, 1834-1961:a History of the Scottish Shipping firm P. Henderson and Company and other Enterprises which Sprang from their Initiative and Spirit of Maritime Adventure/ Outram,1961

Available from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc. Patrick Henderson Company Shipping Lists 1871-1880 3 Fiche $7.50 1989, Wellington NZSG ISBN 0908770219

Glasgow City Archives (may have information on the Henderson Line)
Mitchell Library
North Street
G3 7DN

Albion vessels: Agnes Muir, Akaroa, Canterbury, James Nicol Fleming, Oamaru, Otago, Peter Denny, Pladda, Timaru, Wild Deer, Wellington, William Davie.
Albion  chartered vessels: Resolute

Otago Witness Saturday March 24 1877
On January 13th there was launched from the ship-building yard of Messrs Robert Duncan and Co., Port Glasgow, an iron sailing ship for the Albion Shipping Company, to sail under the flag of Messrs Patrick Henderson and CO. On leaving the ways she was named the Taranaki by Miss Urquhart, of Ivybank, Langside. The following are the dimensions:-
Length 220ft; breadth 35ft; depth 21ft; 1125 tons net register. After the launch she was towed to the steam crane, where he masts and spars will be shipped, and when other fittings are completed she will proceed to Glasgow, to load for New Zealand.

Shaw Savill Co.

SHAW SAVILL CO. formed in 1859 by two shipping clerks, Robert Shaw and Walter Savill, joined forces to charter vessels for the New Zealand trade. Four years later the company owned 15 ships and contracted to carry emigrants to Otago at fares of 12 from Glasgow and 13 10s from London. With this preferential tariff if 12% in favour of Scotmen, it was not surprising to hear that  very few of the Scots families who settled in the Otago Province do not owe their presence there to a Shaw- Savill passage.  The company specialized in the New Zealand trade conveying migrants down under and frozen meat to the UK.  In 1883 the company became Shaw Savill & Albion Co. when they amalgamated with Patrick Henderson's Albion Shipping Co. (note the 'e' was dropped off Saville).  When they gained a share of the New Zealand Government contract for a regular mail, passenger and cargo service between the United Kingdom and New Zealand, they began operating a joint service with the White Star Line (1926-1930).  In 1933 the company taken over by the Furness Withy Group. 1986 ceased to operate under the name.  For more information, search the National Maritime Museum, England Manuscript Collection. Shaw, Savill's ships were painted green.

"Star" Christchurch  Wednesday 26 April 1899
Blenheim - Obituary - Captain ANDERSON - marine superintendent for Shaw Savill & Albion Co.
died early this morning at age 55 years. Deceased arrived in Blenheim at the beginning of the present month and intended residing here for some time for the benefit of his health.

The Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE109NF, England advises most of the Shaw Savill, Albion Co. employment records were destroyed during WW2 as a result of bombs and fires but the museum holds employment records from 1947-1965. Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2P2EJ, England may also have some information on this company. The ShipsList

Bowen, F.C. (Frank Charles, b.1894) Shaw, Savill & Albion Co, 1858-1939 Company history

Bowen, F.C.  The Flag of the Southern Cross; The History of the Shaw Savill and Albion Co.  1939-1945. Pub. 1947 by Shaw Savill & Albion and Co. 71 pgs with b/w photographs - ships, portraits of directors, and captains, rolls of honour - sea service and ashore. Full details of war service of company ships.

De Kerbrech, Richard The Shaw Savill Line, images in mast, steam and motor. London. 1992. Ship Pictorial Publication. 1st Ed. 144 pp with 129 illust. (8 in colour). Pict. soft cover. ISBN 0951603833. The great British liner company: sailing vessels, steamers and motorships connecting the U.K. with the Dominions of the Southern Hemisphere.

De Kerbrech, Richard P. Shaw Savill and Albion - The Post-War Fortunes of a Shipping Empire London. 1986 1st ed. Pub. Conway. 178 pp with b/w illustrations.   Southern Cross & Northern Star.  A shipping line which went from 35 ships to one container ship. ISBN: 0851773931  Over 100 photos and 30 line drawings, fleet list with details of all ships. Dj.

Saville, David - Sail to New Zealand; the story of Shaw, Savill and Co, 1858~82   London: Robert Hale, 1986. ISBN 0-7090-2809-1 185p, plates. David is the grandson of Walter Saville.

Shaw Savill and Albion Co. Ltd. Royal Mail steamers between London and New Zealand : via Panama Canal, taking passengers for Australia. Through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 1936 12p. illus., maps. Macmillan Brown Library U of Christchurch

Shaw Savill and Albion Co. Ltd. Royal Mail Steamers between London and New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia.  London : International Advertising Agency,1896   3rd ed. London, Includes: official guide. Passenger handbook to the ships, the route and destinations. Macmillan Brown Library U of Christchurch

Shaw Savill/Albion Line Through the PANAMA CANAL from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Royal Mail Steamers Between NZ and London. History of the Panama Canal with some drawings.

Shaw, Savill and Albion Company Ltd. : Records  1918-1946 Reference Number : Misc-MS-1573
The collection consists of Pay sheets (1918-1944) and correspondence (1940-1946) Shaw, Savill and Albion Company Ltd.  The donor's father was a store foreman for Shaw, Savill and Albion Co. Ltd. Port Chalmers.
Available at the Hocken Library, Dunedin, N.Z.

Waters, S.D. (Sydney David), 1883-1965. Shaw, Savill Line: one hundred years of trading Christchurch : Whitcombe and Tombs, 1961 158pp. 16 pages with 30 b/w photos. World map with Shaw Savill Line routes.  Their 20,000 ton Southern Cross was the first round-the-world liner which carried no cargo. Her maiden voyage from Southampton commenced on March 29 1955, passenger list.

"Southern Cross" - Published by J. Arthur Dixon

The Southern Cross left Southampton 13 September 1956 for a round the world voyage carrying passengers to Capetown, Sydney, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Panama, Trinidad and round the world Commander Sir David Aitchison, K.C.V.O. and chief engineer O.L. Jones. In 2003 she was broken up by ship breakers in Bangladesh.

The Southern Cross left Southampton 13 September 1956. Partial list for passengers for NZ.

Line of Vessels between London, Glasgow, and all New Zealand Ports.

List of Fleet







Margaret Galbraith





Crusader  1054  Merope  1054

















Helen Denny


 Saint Leonards














Jessie Redman




*Lady Jocelyn










*These ships are fitted with Refrigeration machinery

The above vessels have splendid passenger accomodation, and passages can be taken out in the Colony for friends residing at Home. 
Passages granted from London: Per steamer, 16 guineas from London; per sailing vessel 1?. guineas. And from Glasgow -Per sailing vessel, 15 guineas. 
Return tickets are also granted at a considerable reduction from ordinary rate.
London Office - 34 Leadenhall Street. Agents: 
Glasgow - P. Henderson & Co.; and
The British and New Zealand Mortgage and Agency of New Zealand (Limited),
Dunedin, Invercargill, Oamaru and Timaru.
Source: Otago Witness Saturday May 24 1884


will despatch their Royal Mail Steamers for London
Calling at Rio de Janeiro, Teneriffe, and Plymouth.




 Port of dep.




 J.W. Jennings


 April 2



 J. Stuart


 April 30





 May 28



 W.H. Kidley


 June 25





 July 23

And thenceforward every fourth Saturday. The steamers are fitted with cool chambers for conveyance of dairy produce.


AOTEA		 		 6,364 Tons
ATHENIC		 Twin Screw	12,234
CORINTHIC	 Twin Screw	12,231
DELPHIC		 Twin Screw	 8,273
GOTHIC		 Twin Screw	 7,755
IONIC		 Twin Screw	12,234
KARAMEA		 		 5,563
KUMARA		 		 6,034
MAMARI  	 Twin Screw	 6,689 
MAORI		 		 5,317
MATATUA		 Twin Screw	 6,488
PAKEHA		 		 4,331
RANGATIRA		 	 4,045
TOKOMARU		 	 6,238
WAIWERA			 	 6,237


ARAWA		 Twin Screw	 9,372*
ATHENIC		 Twin Screw	12,234*
CORINTHIC	 Twin Screw	12,231*
DELPHIC		 Twin Screw	 8,273*
IONIC		 Twin Screw	12,232*
KARAMEA		 		 5,563
KIA ORA		 Twin Screw	 6,558*
KUMARA		 		 6,034*
MAMARI  	 Twin Screw	 8,114* 
MATATUA		 Twin Screw	 6,488*
PAKEHA		 Twin Screw	 10,481*
RANGATIRA	 Twin Screw 	 10,118*
TAINUI		 Twin Screw	  9,957*
TOKOMARU		 	  6,084
WAIMANA		 Twin Screw	 10,389*
WAIWERA			 	  6,237
ZEALANDIC	 Twin Screw	 10,898*

*These vessels are fitted with Wireless Telegraphy

Shaw, Saville Co.  vessels: Adamant, Anazi, Auckland, Bebington, Black Swan, Bombay, Bulwark, Cashmere, Chile, Countess of  Fife, Crusader,  Electra, Euterpe, Evening Star, Glenhuntly, Glenshee, Helen Denny, Helenslee, Hermione, Hudson, Iron Queen, Marlborough, Matoaka, Messina, Pleiades, Plenione, Samuel Plimsoll, Roxana, Sir George Pollock, Snaresbrook, Strathallan, Taranaki, Timaru, Velore, Warwick, Vallosperia,

Shaw, Savill Co. chartered vessels: Alice, Alastor, Asterion, Ballarat, Berar, Conflict, Caroline, City of Quebec, Coromandel,  Coronilla, Cossipore, Countess of Kintore, Crownthorpe, Devonshire, Dragon, Gananoque, Ganges, Earl Granville, Elizabeth Graham, England,  Helellyn,  John Duncan, Killochan, Laira, Lanarkshire, Lancashire Witch, Norman Castle, Northampton, Routenbeck, Silver Eagle,  Star of India, Taunton, Telegraph, Water Nymph, Wave Queen, White Rose

Shaw, Savill & Albion Co. vessels : Avalanche, Famenoth, Hermione.

Shaw, Savill & Albion Co. chartered vessels: Camperdown, Gareloch

Otago Witness Sep 13. 1873 page 14
Messrs Shaw, Savill and Co. have reduced their freights from London to New Zealand to 30s per ton.

Otago Witness Thursday 28 December 1893 page 34
The Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company's new steamship Maori attained a speed of 12 knots. The vessel begin under the command of Captain Scotland. Designed for the frozen meat trade. She is built on the tree-deck type, with poop, long bride house, and long topgallant forecastle. Water ballast provided on the cellular double-bottom principle. Her deck machinery includes eight powerful steam winches. The engines 29in, 46in and 77in, with a stroke of 48in. The dimensions of the steamer are: 415ft long' over all; 48ft in breadth, with a moulded depth of 32ft 6in. The refrigerating machinery supplied by Haslam Foundery and Engineering Company (Limited), Derby. Engine builders - Central Marine Engine Works, West Hartlepool.

'Red Jacket' in the ice off Cape Horn on a voyage from Australia to Liverpool, August 1854. Drawn by J.B. Smith & Son, Brooklyn. Lithograph by N. Currier, NYWhite Star Line

There were two White Star Lines. White Star flag One founded by Thompson of Liverpool. One founded by John Pilkington and Henry Threfall Wilson of Liverpool which built the Titanic.  White Star Line: Founded in 1850 and merged with the Cunard Steamship Co., in 1936. The White Star Fleet later vessels names ended with "ic" e.g.  Athenic, Coptic, Corinthic and Ionic II. ShipList webpage  W.H. Cockerline Fleet

Haws, Duncan Merchant Fleets - White Star Line Starling Press Ltd., 1990

Tom Robertson marine artist - beautiful painting of the Red Jacket at Melbourne in 1856. She was designed by Samuel A. Pook, of Boston, launched in 1859 only a few days before the Lightning, and was of 2,305 tons, with a length of 260 feet. Made her maiden voyage from New York to  Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes under the command of Captain Elsa Eldridge. She was named after a famous Indian chief, and her finely-carved figurehead showed an Indian in full war array, complete with headdress and buckskins and painted in vivid colours. The lives of these graceful clippers were very short and in 1870 the Red Jacket was in the transatlantic trade sailing between the Mersey and the St. Lawrence, before going out to serve as a coal hulk at Cape Verde.

White Star Magazine

White Star vessels: Albert William, Annie Wilson, Arabian, Blue Jacket, Chariot of Fame, Electric, Glen Devon, Golden Sunset, Great Tasmania, Mermaid, Miriam, Mystery, Queen of the North, Prince of Seas, Red Jacket, Royal Standard s.s., Santon, Star of Shalimar, Shooting Star, Tasmania, Telegraph, Tornado, Ulcoats, White Star, William Albert, Zingdale.
White Star chartered vessels: Mermaid

Otago Witness November 30th 1861 page 5 
Prince of Seas was totally destroyed by fire alongside the railway pier in Hobson's Bay, on the night of the 15th inst; she had fortunately discharged her cargo.)

July 9 1859 Otago Witness page 3
We observe by advertisements in the Liverpool papers, that it is the intention of the owners, to establish a "White Star" Line of Liverpool and New Zealand clippers to sail on the 10th of every month from Liverpool for two ports in New Zealand. The clipper ship Tornado, 1226 tons register, 3500 tons burden, was to be despatched for Auckland and Wellington on the 10th June.

Oct. 24 1862 Otago Witness page 4
Messrs H. Wilson and Chambers, of the White Star line, intend despatching the Mermaid from London to Canterbury on the 1st September; and the Chariot of Fame, from London to Auckland and Otago, on the 10th September. The Chariot of Fame arrived in the home country from Otago on August 21.

The SS Delphic was built in 1897 by Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland, for the White Star Line. She was jointly owned by the White Star and Shaw, Savill & Albion lines. During the Boer war she carried troops and horses from England to South Africa. On August 1917, she was torpedoed 135 miles off Bishop Rock, and went down with the loss of five lives.

Willis, Gann and Co.

In Dec. 1856 H.H. Willis & Co became Arthur Willis, Gann & Co. Both Walter Savill and Robert Shaw worked for the Arthur Willis, Gann & Co. and both decided they could do better than their employer by going it alone and it was a disagreement in January 1858 (the result of which was that Robert Shaw had his salary reduced) that saw the departure of Shaw followed almost immediately by Walter Savill.  Reference: Saville, David - Sail to New Zealand; the story of Shaw, Savill and Co, 1858-82.


Henry H. Willis & Co.'s Line of Packets
London and New Zealand
The following fine first-class SHIPS are intended to be continued as Regular Traders.




Clara G. Potter 600
Simlah Robertson 750




Columbus A. Hobson 650
Lord W. Bentinck E. Canney 600

Barbara Gordon

W.Lilley 500
Sir Edward Paget A. Barclay 700


W.L. Mullins


Cresswell J. Williams


Stately T. Ginder




The Undersigned, Agent for the above splendid Line of Vessels, is authorised to arrange with settlers here who may be desirous of bringing their friends in Great Britain out to this colony, and are prepared either to pay the passage money at once to them, or to give satisfactory security for its payment on arrival of the vessel. 

Chief Cabin (lower deck)	 35 guineas each
Fore Cabin			 20 guineas each
Steerage (enclosed berth )	 17 guineas each
Steerage, for single men only	 15 guineas each

Children under 7 years, one-third, or under 14 years, two thirds of the above prices. Further particulars on application to S. VICKERS
Taranaki Herald , August 11th 1852 page 1


1858                1855 Taranaki Herald


Arthur Willis, Gann, & Co.'s Line of Packets
London and New Zealand
The following fine first-class Ships are intended to be continued as Regular Traders.





J. Foster



J. Cass



A.W. Barclay



S.C. Gibson



C.G. Petherbridge


Joseph Fletcher

J. Pook



J. Bryon



W.C. Barnett



C. Cowie



W. Williamson



W.  Forsayth


Further particulars may be known by applying to Bethune & Hunter. January 6, 1860
Wellington Independent, August 20 1861 page 1

Willis, Gann & Co. vessels : Burmah, Caduceus, Cashmere, Chapman, Clontarf, Cresswell, Egmont, Green Jacket, Clontarf, Cresswell, Hastings, Henbury, Joseph Fletcher, Josephine Willis, Maori, Mary Anne, Matoaka, Nimrod, Royal Sturat, Spray of the Ocean, The Egmont, The Mariner, Triton, Zealandia, Victory

Taranki Herald 31 Jan. 1855.

Maritime Books  |   Bookfinder  

Many vessels were sold foreign. Between 1786 and 1871 British vessels were forbidden by statute from changing names, one of the measures to combat smuggling. A ship owner could evade this stipulation by selling the vessel to a foreigner, then buying it back days soon after. Upon its sale to the foreigner the vessel was considered no longer British, so a British subject who purchased it even a few days later could rename the vessel.

Wanganui Chronicle 1 Sept. 1899   Vessels Re-named
The steamer Kaikoura, which the Brisbane T. Company purchased some time ago from the New Zealand Shipping Company, has been rechristened, and in future will be known as the Zaida. She was to leave London on the 15th inst. for Brisbane, and after discharging there will proceed to Melbourne to ship horses for Calcutta.
The four-masted barque Drumrock has been renamed the Persimmon, and the ship Opawa, well known in New Zealand waters has been re-named the Aquila. Both vessels were reported lately as having been sold.

New Zealand Flags

The flag of New Zealand - New Zealand's national symbol, takes precedence over all other flags, as 'the symbol of the Realm, Government and people of New Zealand'. Its royal blue background represents the blue sea and sky surrounding us, and the stars of the Southern Cross signify our place in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack Flag recognises our historical foundations and that New Zealand was once a British colony and dominion. In first use as a naval ensign from 1869, it was approved as the national flag of New Zealand by King Edward VII in 1902.

Timaru Herald Thursday 25 August 1887 pg3  & 4 The Story of the Union Jack

Ye mariners of England
That guard our native seas,
Whose flag has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze

Shipping Line House Flags and Funnel Markings - 1913

The national flag flown upside down is a distress signal.
A flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning.
A plain white flag indicates a clean ship.
A quarantine flag is yellow flag.
Vessels carrying explosives display a red flag.
The dipping of a flag is a mark of respect.
Striking a flag is a token of surrender.

Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World by J.L. Loughran : 
This work covers the house flags and funnel markings of shipping companies, begun in 1926 by Captain F.J.N. Wedge. It contains over 1000 flags and funnels which constitute a representative selection of the insignia of ship owning, managing and operating companies. Hardcover. Published by Brown, Son & Ferguson.

Holm Window
In 1970, the Holm window, in St. Paul's, Wellington was installed. Designed by Beverley Shore Bennett and made by Roy Miller of Dunedin, the window is a memorial to Ferdinand Holm, founder of the Holm Shipping Company, and to his wife Mary. St Paul, the patron saint of the Cathedral, appears in the centre at the top of the window; the stars of the Southern Cross and the Holm Company flag are at the top left. The three ships represent stages in the development of the Company.