Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Toiler (1912)

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19120208-14-2

The Toiler was launched in Te Kopuru from the yards of boat builders Brown & Sons on 22 January 1912. The steamer was built for Francis Lionel Kitching for a passenger and cargo service on the Northern Wairoa River.  She was the second vessel built for Kitching for his Kaipara trade. The vessel was christened by his wife with a bottle of champagne and named "Toiler". She was built  with a length of 75 feet (22.86m), 15 feet beam (4.572m), and a 5 foot draught (1.524m). She was powered with 130 h.p engines. Her tonnage was 61 tons register. She was of wooden construction, presumably of kauri planking.

After no further mention of the vessel she reappears again in early March 1916, when a man named Frank Thompson drowned after crossing from the Toiler to another vessel named the Bellbird. He fell between the vessels and was lost. His body was not recovered from the North Wairoa River. In May 1916, she assisted the schooner Maroro, when the vessel was caught up in heavy seas and towed her into harbour. In November, Kitching the Toiler's owner took the Sydney based Union Box & Packing Company, owners of the Maroro, to court. 

A salvage action involving a claim for £1000 for services rendered to a vessel in distress at the Kaipara Bar was commenced at the Supreme Court this morning before his Honor Mr. Justice Hosking. The plaintiff was Lionel Thomas Kitching. master and owner of the small steamer Toiler, and the defendants tbe Union Box and Packing Case Co., of Sydney, owners of the three-masted schooner Maroro, the vessel alleged to have been salved. Mr. M. G. McGregor appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. H. P. Richmond for the defendant-. The statement of claim based the sum claimed upon the estimated value of tbe Maroro's hull at £2300, and her cargo at £1200, the value of the Toiler being assessed at £3500. It was also stated that the Toiler was not insured except against fire risks.

Auckland Star 9 November 1916

In December 1916 Kitching's case was upheld, but a lesser amount of money award of £250 from the intital £1,000 claimed.

Judgement for the plaintiff for £250 was given by His Honor Mr. Justice Hosking at the Supreme Court yesterday in an Admiralty case in which Lionel Francis Kitching (.Mr. M. G. McGregor), owner and master of the steamer Toiler, claimed £1000 from the Union Box and Packing Case Company, Ltd. (Mr. H. P. Richmond). for salvage and towage services I rendered to the defendant's three-masted schooner Maroro. in the Kaipara Harbour in May last.
New Zealand Herald 9 December 1916

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19170517-40-2 
Auckland East Coast Freezing Company situated at Whakatane 1917

In August 1917, Toiler was purchased by the Auckland East Coast Freezing Company for use at its Whakatane freezing works. She reappears in 1920 still owned by the same company.

The East Coast Freezing Company's steamer Toiler (Captain A. McGlashan), which underwent annual inspection last week in Auckland by the Marine Department's officials, arrived here at eleven o'clock last night. She will tow the Company's lighter Moa, laden with timber, from this port to Whakatane.

Bay of Plenty Times 30 August 1920

In 1927, after being laid up in the Whakatane River for two years, Toiler was sold on to the Bluff Crayfish & Oyster Company in Southland for use as an oyster boat.

Among the arrivals at Wellington yesterday was the small wooden steamer Toiler, of 61 tons register, en route from Whakatane to Bluff. The vessel was recently purchased by the Bluff Crayfish and Oyster Company from the East Coast Freezing Company, after having been idle in the Whakatane river for about two years. After some alterations to the decking she will be employed for oyster fishing in the South. Tho Toiler left Whakatane on 10th May under the command of Captain L. L. Petrie. Meeting with heavy seas at the East Cape she had to put back to Wangaparawa Bay, but on the following day she again, put out and, despite the heavy weather, almost reached Mahia Peninsula, but the coal began to run short, which necessitated, putting in to Gisbbrne to replenish the supply. She sailed from Gisborne on Saturday, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, had reached Castlepoint, but exceptionally heavy seas were again encountered, and it was not until 3.30 p.m. yesterday that the Toiler berthed at Wellington to obtain a further supply of coal. Weather permitting, the Toiler is to sail from here at 8 o'clock to-morrow morning for Lyttelton, in continuation of her voyage.

Evening Post 17 May 1927

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19120404-14-1
The Toiler during sea trials late March 1912

 After 1927, there is no further mention of her. A brief search on google revealed she had been laid up on a beach at Bluff alongside the former Ocean Beach Freezing Works (closed in 1991) and left to the elements. Her remains are still there today.



New Zealand Herald, Volume XLIX, Issue 14899, 26 January 1912, Page 8


New Zealand Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 16172, 8 March 1916, Page 6


Wanganui Chronicle, Volume LXI, Issue 16647, 12 June 1916, Page 4


Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 268, 9 November 1916, Page 6


New Zealand Herald, Volume LIII, Issue 16408, 9 December 1916, Page 7

Te Puke Times , 10 August 1917, Page 2


Bay Of Plenty Times, Volume XLVIII, Issue 7482, 30 August 1920, Page 2


Evening Post, Volume CXIII, Issue 114, 17 May 1927, Page 10

The Bluff Portsider, September 2003, Vol. 23 No. 3 Page 5