Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Otago Wrecks and Hulks - the wooden steamer SS "Broxton"


WOODEN STEAMER COMING. It is reported that the wooden steamer Broxton has been fixed to load a cargo of coal at Newcastle shortly for Port Chalmers. The Broxton is an American vessel, and is evidently a new ship, as her name does not appear in the latest edition of 'Lloyd's Register of Shipping.'   -Evening Star, 3/11/1920.

The American steamer Broxton, which berthed at Port Chalmers yesterday afternoon to discharge 4275 tons of Newcastle coal for the railways, is said to be the largest wooden steamer afloat. She was built in Seattle for the United States Shipping Board, and on leaving the builders' hands six months ago was acquired by her present owners; the Universal Trading and Shipping Company of Seattle. This company owns five wooden steamers, also a number of other vessels. The Broxton,whose deadweight capacity is 5600 tons, is a single-screw steamer with a speed of eight and a-half to nine knots per hour loaded, and up to 10 knots running light. She loaded lumber on the Pacific Coast for Melbourne, and then steamed round to Newcastle on charter to carry three loads of coal to New Zealand. With the first load she left Newcastle at 1 p.m. last Tuesday, and on the run across the Tasman Sea experienced a series of fresh gales varying in direction from south-west to north-west. As the steamer was not fully loaded, on account of the bar at Newcastle, little inconvenience and no damage resulted from the rough weather. Her draught on arrival was 25ft lin.
The Broxton, which has one funnel, two masts, and four large hatchways, resembles in appearance the ordinary type of iron cargo carrier. A close inspection shows she is powerfully constructed of timber. Her decks are flush fore and aft, with the exception of a rise of about 5ft for the forecastle head. Her equipment, which is on modern lines, includes a wireless outfit. Her machinery works satisfactorily, the run from America to Melbourne being accomplished without a stop save for bunkering at Honolulu. She carries a crew of 37 all told. Captain G F Swanson'e officers are:— Messrs A. Winick (chief), S. L. Esleby (second), and P W Schrape (third). The Broxton will be in port Chalmers about 10 days discharging.   -Otago Daily Times, 24/11/1920

Drunkenness and Theft. —Marrion Garlcer was charged with drunkenness, and further with the theft of two jugs, the property of Brown's, Ltd., these being found in his possession when he was arrested in High street. — Defendant denied all knowledge of what had occurred, being too drunk to remember.— Charles Keith Badham, who was in company with Garlcer, was charged with the theft of a milk jug, the property of Brown's, Ltd. He also denied all recollection of the occurrence, but elected to plead guilty, the jug being in his possession, so that, he admitted, he must have taken it.— Both the accused belong to the crew of the steamer Broxton, from Newcastle, and evidence was given by the captain that they both bore good characters.— The Magistrate remarked that the case hardly came under the category of ordinary theft. He would only inflict a fine of 40s with regard to the thefts, the alternative to be 14 days' imprisonment.— Garlcer was fined a further 10s on the charge of drunkenness, with the alternative of 11 hours' imprisonment.   -Otago Daily Times, 25/11/1920.

At the Port Chalmers Court this morning James McNab, a fireman on the American steamer Broxton, pleaded not guilty to a charge of stealing a shin of frozen beef, weighing about 20lb, and valued at 20s, from the vessel. Sergeant Dougan said that Constable Farquharson yesterday evening saw accused go behind an hotel with a parcel, which proved to contain the meat in question. As the Broxton was the only vessel in port with frozen meat on board, the constable arrested the man, and inquiries confirmed that course as being in the right direction. The accused in court persisted in stating that he found the meat in a parcel on the railway track. After hearing the evidence of Park Merrill (steward) and Gustaf Swaneon (master), which was mostly circumstantial, the justices decided to convict, and inflicted a fine of £5, in default one month with hard labor. Messrs J. Stevenson and N. Dodds were the J.P.s.  -Evening Star, 26/11/1920.

After discharging her cargo of coal at Port Chalmers the American wooden steamer Broxton will return to Newcastle to load again for New Zealand.   -Evening Star, 2/12/1920.

From the ends of the earth thousands of tons of coal are being landed daily in New Zealand. Apart from the large importations being delivered at northern ports, three foreign steamers are discharging in Otago Harbour. At Port Chalmers the American steamer Broxton is discharging coal from Newcastle and the Swedish steamer Sydic is landing American coal from the James River. In Dunedin a cargo of over 3000 tons of Japanese coal is ready to be discharged from the Tamon Maru, while the Union Company steamer Cosmos is delivering coal from Newcastle. The great bulk of this imported coal is for the New Zealand Railways, so there should be no concern felt by holiday excursionists lest a reduced train service may hamper their home coming.  -Otago Daily Times, 3/1/1921.

ENGINEER wanted (first or second certificate); wages about £55 per month. — Apply Walker, Broxton, Port Chalmers.   -Otago Daily Times, 10/1/1921.

The Broxton will be clear of her Newcastle coal this morning, but as she takes in about 200 tons of ballast she will not be leaving Port Chalmers until Monday.   -Otago Daily Times, 15/1/1921.

The American steamer Broxton, which arrived at Port Chalmers on Monday with nearly 5000 tons of coal from Newcastle, berthed yesterday morning to discharge into railway trucks. This is her third cargo of Newcastle coal to be discharged at Port Chalmers for the Railway Department. After leaving Newcastle the Broxton had four days of bad weather, but the remaining five days were fine. She will probably return to Newcastle when her present cargo is out.   -Otago Daily Times, 16/2/1921.

Shipping work was held up on the waterfront by the heavy rain yesterday. The men stood by until 10 a.m. to work the coal-discharging steamers Cape Natal and Broxton, but as the rain then showed no sign of abating, the men were told to go home until the following morning. The weather moderated after midday, and the steamer Koromiko, whose going into dock has been delayed by wind and rain, was then hauled into the dry dock. The requisite labour was available to deal with her in dock, and work went on uninterruptedly until the scrubbing of her bottom was completed at 6 p.m. An hour’s overtime was thus worked, but no difficulties developed in connection with the working of it. It is therefore clear that normal conditions prevail at Port Chalmers.  -Otago Daily Times, 23/2/1921.

Accidentally getting into contact with a steam winch, a greaser on the Steamer Broxton had a narrow escape to-day. His clothes were torn off, with the exception of his boots and sox. His only injury, however, appeared to be a bruise on his side.  -Evening Star, 25/2/1921.

The Sun of April 2 states as follows: 'There are 18 vessels in port to-day, and, with one or two exceptions, all were working this morning, as the majority have cargo to discharge. The Railway Department is kept busy supplying trucks to meet requirements. The Broxton, which was discharging coal, was depending principally this morning on the empties from the Zealandia, which was loading wool. The Wootton, after her arrival this morning, had everything in readiness to commence discharge, but as no empties were available, her hatch was put on again, and she will now remain idle till Monday.   -Otago Daily Times, 6/4/1921.

MAGISTRATE'S COURT. Mr W. T. Lister, J P, presided at the Magistrate's Court yesterday. Halvor Helland and Theodore Bynnes, members of the crew of the American steamer Broxton. were charged with absenting themselves without leave from the vessel at Auckland. They pleaded guilty, and were each sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment, and ordered to be put on board the vessel before she leaves Lyttelton.  -Press, 14/4/1921.

A SHIPPING INCIDENT. The futility of trying to evade the census regulations was effectively brought home to the master of a steamer in Lyttelton yesterday. The vessel concerned was the American wooden steamer Broxton. In common with the masters of other vessels in port, her captain was served with the necessary census papers. From some motive which is not quite clear, the captain refused to execute the papers, possibly under the impression that an American ship did not come under the regulations. The district enumerator for Lyttelton immediately notified the local Customs officials, who took action under section 38, sub-section 2, of the Customs Act, which reads: "Subject to the provisions of this and of any other Act, a ship shall be entitled to a certificate or clearance so soon as all her inward cargo and stores have been duly accounted for, and all the other requirements of the law in regard to the ship have been duly complied with." The master of the Broxton was informed that his vessel would not be granted the necessary clearance papers until he had completed the census returns. This meant that the ship would be detained until the master complied with the law. In addition, his refusal to fill in the census form renders him liable to the penalty under the Census Act. Later in the afternoon the captain conferred with the American Consul's agent in Christchurch (Mr H. P. Bridge), and, apparently as a result or the interview, he returned to Lyttelton and sent in the forms filled in. In the meantime, however, fresh troubles had arisen on the boat. Two members of the crew had absented themselves, and as they were prohibited immigrants the vessel could not leave until a deposit of £l50 in respect of each man was paid to the Customs Department. In the evening the men put in an appearance, and the Broxton secured her clearance and sailed for Newcastle.
No trouble was experienced in port with the other vessels, which are all British.  -Press, 19/4/1921.

The American steamer Broxton, after being delayed for 78 days at Newcastle, left that port yesterday with a cargo of coal for New Zealand. She arrived at Newcastle on April 28th from Lyttelton.  -Press, 14/6/1921.

The American wooden steamer Broxton, at present discharging coal at Lyttelton to the agency of the Blackball Coal Company, was yesterday placed under arrest for debt by Mr A. H. Holmes, Registrar and Marshal of the Admiralty Court. The arrest was effected by fastening the writ of summons and the warrant to the mainmast.
The Broxton, which is stated to be the largest wooden steamer in commission, is not classed in ''Lloyd's Register." She is a steamer of 3585 tons register, commanded by Captain Swanson. The Broxton previously made one trip from Newcastle to Dunedin to Lyttelton. On the last occasion she was delayed at Newcastle for 76 days waiting for a cargo. As her articles expired there, the crew were paid off and a fresh crew engaged. She has almost completed discharge of her coal cargo here, and is already taking in ballast for the return trip to Newcastle. The effect of arresting the vessel is that she is held on security until an action for debt against the owners is heard, and the judgment, if any, is satisfied. The vessel may be released or bailed out by the offering by the owners of suitable bonds for security or by the payment of the amount sued for.  -Press, 9/8/1921.

Judgment against the owners of the United States steamer Broxton, now at Lyttelton, was entered by His Honor Mr. Justice Herdman, in the Supreme Court, in Admiralty jurisdiction in Christchurch on Friday. Mr. H. J. Beswick, on behalf of Harold Crofton Sleigh, shipping agent, Melbourne, claimed £175, balance of money advanced to pay wages. There was no appearance for the defence, and no defence was filed.
Mr. Beswick said the claim was admitted by the captain of the vessel. The ship traded between Australia and New Zealand, carrying coal. The representative of the United States in Christchurch had been in communication with the United States Government and the owners, and it was understood that, in all probability, the ship would have to be sold to pay its liabilities. There were other claims against it — one by the Blackball Coal Company, for £2000, and another for £1000. The money in the present case had been advanced to enable the ship to complete the voyage. Captain G. F. Swanson, master of the Broxton, said the vessel was a wooden ship, built at Seattle, and had steam engines. He believed she was owned by the National Oil Company. There were three or four different parties on the charter party. She was registered under the United States Shipping Board. Mr Sleigh, the plaintiff, chartered the ship from witness for one voyage, and advanced £1500 for wages. There was still due £175 or £179. A number of writs had been issued against the ship, one by the Blackball Coal Company for £2000. Mr. Beswick said an appraisement would have to take place after judgment waa given. He hoped the United States Consul would be able to bring about the sale of the ship without the officers of the Court intervening. His Honor gave judgment on the claim for £175, together with the costs of the proceedings. He appointed a commission for appraisement and sale of the ship.  -NZ Herald, 30/8/1921.

MAGISTRATE'S COURT. Mesrs W. T.. Lester and F. G. Nortfe J.P.'s presided: at the Magistrate's Court yesterday. Paul Servant, a fireman in the Broxton, for quitting a train while in motion was fined 20s and costs.  -Press, 30/8/1921.

being a Colonial Court of Admiralty, 
BETWEEN HAROLD CROFTON SLEIGH of Melbourne Victoria in the Commonwealth of Australia Shipping Agent PLAINTIFF 
I, ARTHUR HARRY HOLMES, Marshal of the Vice-Admiralty Court at Christchurch hereby give notice that under a Commission of Appraisement and Sale addressed to me and issued out of the Supreme Court of New Zealand (being a Colonial Court of Admiralty) at Christchurch at the suit of the above-named Plaintiff I have caused to be reduced into writing an inventory of the said Ship. AND WHEREAS the said Ship has been appraised by W. J. Le Cren Esquire of Christchurch Engineer and Daniel Reese Esquire of Christchurch Engineer and pursuant to the said Commission I will cause the said Ship and her equipment as she now lies in the Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand to be sold by PUBLIC AUCTION by Messrs H. Matson and Co. at Tattersall's Horse Bazaar No. 147 Cashel street, Christchurch on Monday the 26th day of September 1921 at the hour of noon.
Commission of Appraisement and Sale taken out by Harry Joseph Beswick of A.M.P. Buildings, Cathedral square, Christchurch, Solicitor for the Plaintiff. 
For Conditions of Sale apply to the Auctioneers. 
Dated at Christchurch this 9th. day of September. 1921. 
A. H. HOLMES, Marshal.   -Press, 10/9/1921.

The American steamer Broxton, 3,585 tons register, and the largest wooden steamer in commission, is to be submitted to public auction at Christchurch on Monday, September 26, together with 300 tons of Newcastle coal. The Broxton, in command of Captain Swanson, arrived at Lyttelton on July 21 with a cargo of coal from Newcastle to the agency of the Blackball Coal Company. Some weeks ago the vessel was placed under arrest by Mr A. H. Holmes, Registrar and Marshal of the Admiralty Court, in connection with a small debt incurred with Messrs Sleigh and Co., a Melbourne firm. With the exception of 300 tons, her coal cargo was discharged, and ballast had been already taken in for a return to Newcastle when the arrest was effected. The Broxton previously made several trips to Port Chalmers and one to Lyttelton from Newcastle. On the last occasion she was delayed at Newcastle for seventy-six days awaiting a cargo, and in the meantime, her articles having expired, the crew was paid off at Newcastle and a new crew signed on. By her long detention at Lyttelton the vessel has incurred considerable expense in the payment and upkeep of her crew, as well as harbor dues and other charges.  -Evening Star, 15/9/1921.

There was quite a nautical air about Messrs H. Matson and Co.’s sale rooms on Monday, when the American wooden steamer Broxton was put up for sale by order of the Marshal of the Vice-Admiralty Court, as the outcome of judgments obtained against the ship (reports the Christchurch ‘Press’). The Broxton, which now lies at Lyttelton, was built at Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., in 1920, by the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company, of that city, while she is engined by the Worthington Company. She is classed Lloyds Al, twelve years, and has a gross register of 3,585 tons and a net register of 2,664 tons. 
The ship was first put up to satisfy the claim of H. C. Sleigh. of Melbourne, shipping agent, and according to the conditions was subject to a reserve price based on the appraisal value, 25 per cent, of the purchase money to be paid on the fall of the hammer and the balance on October 10 next. An elaborate description of the ship and her appointments was given by the auctioneer, Mr Leicester Matson, and bids were invited. For a time nothing was heard but silence, and then a £10,000 bid was announced, but the bid apparently was not a genuine one, and was not taken. Consequently the ship was passed in. 
It was offered for a second time according to new conditions, on the claim of Forbes and Co., and no reserve was stipulated. The auctioneer delivered a striking exhortation, and stated that the ship cost from £70,000 to £80,000 to build, and was quite new. No trace of a bid could be detected for a prolonged period, and the auctioneer was in despair. 
"Will anyone start her at £5,000?" asked the auctioneer. 
Nobody obliged at first, but the bid finally came. The figure rose by £1,000 advances to £6,000. Another £500 was bid, and nothing more was forthcoming, and the ship was accordingly sold for £6,500, the buyer being Mr H. P. Bridge, the United States Consul in Christchurch, who was acting on behalf of other parties.  -Evening Star, 28/9/1921.

Members of the crew of the American steamer Broxton, which was sold on Monday last, are at present in a bad way, being stranded in Lyttelton without money or food. The men allege that large sums are owing to them as wages, and that they have received only a trifling amount on account. As they have never signed off, they are still sleeping aboard, no food is supplied to them, and they have to "fossick" round the port for enough to eat. To make matters worse, some of them come within the Restricted Immigrants clause, and have been informed by the Customs Department that they are liable to be arrested as such if they remain in the port. The officials of the Department, however, are sympathetic, and are taking no action in the meantime. Other members of crew are of British and American nationality, and these, of course, will have no difficulty about landing when the ship is paid off. 
The American Consular Agent in Christchurch, Mr H. P. Bridge, told a representative of "The Press" yesterday that the position was a most unfortunate one. The moral and legal responsibility for the care of the men falls upon the late owners in America, but they were bankrupt, and in any case were too far away to be dealt with. The new owners, on whose behalf he purchased the steamer on Monday, had been informed by the Court that they could not obtain possession until October 10th, when the crew would be paid off. There was no obligation on the new owners to provide for the men, but as a matter of fact they had made several small concessions. The men would eventually receive their money. He realised that the men were in a most unfortunate position through no fault of their own, but he could not see what could be done in the meantime. With regard to the complaint about no food being provided, this again was the responsibility of the bankrupt owners, who had apparently exhausted their credit in the port.  -Press, 1/10/1921.

(By Telegraph. Own Correspondent.) CHRISTCHURCH, this day. The mystery surrounding the purchase of the American steamer Broxton at auction on September 26 for £6500 has been partly lifted. The "Sun" has received authentic information that the purchaser, for whom Mr. Bridge, United States Vice-Consul, acted at the sale, are a syndicate of Canterbury residents, who have now offered to re-sell the vessel to the New Zealand Government at a very moderate advance on the purchase price. The offer was made about a week ago, and remained open until to-day. At midday the Government had not announced its decision. 
The purchasers' object in offering the vessel to the Government is to provide the country with a stand-by in the event of shipping troubles. They consider that with a 3,500 ton cargo steamer at its disposal the Government would be able to ensure regular supplies of phosphates from Nauru Island, to carry hydro-electric, railway, and public works plant, and such necessary commodities as coal, sugar, and timber in the event of lack of privately-owned vessels. They also believe that the ship would be useful for training boys for the sea, and also as a naval collier. They have already received offers of tempting charters, but are anxious that the Government should have the opportunity to purchase the vessel. The Broxton was sold by order of the Vice-Admiralty Court, in satisfaction of two debts, and is at present at Lyttelton. She is of wood, and was built last year at a cost of about £75,000. She will carry over 5,000 tons dead weight.  -Auckland Star, 10/10/1921.

(Australian and N.Z. Cable Assn.) CHRISTCHURCH, Tuesday. The purchasers of the American steamer Broxton, not having received an acceptance of the offer made to the Government to sell the ship to the State, are proceeding with the formation of a company with a capital of £l4,000 to control the vessel. A master for the vessel has been engaged, and five offers of charters have already been received. The vessel will probably go into the overseas trade. The late officers and crew of the ship have lodged claims totalling nearly £3000 for wages, etc., and the case will be heard to-day by the Supreme Court in Admiralty jurisdiction.   -Waikato Times, 11/10/1921.

Matters in connexion with the paying-off of the captain, officers, and crew of the erstwhile American steamer Broxton were finally dealt with on Saturday. The marshal (Mr A. H. Holmes) of the Vice-Admiralty Court submitted his report on the claims for wages and other charges to his Honour Mr Justice Adams, who duly approved of the adjustments made. The total amount payable to the captain, officers, and crew was in the vicinity of £3500, the captain's cheque being in the region of £600; the payments to the thirtyfour members of the crew averaged over £50. Upon his Honour approving of the marshal's report, a cheque for the total amount was handed to Mr H. P. Bridge, consular agent for the United States of America, who paid out the amounts awarded to each individual at his office. The process was somewhat lengthy, owing to the necessity for carefully checking the amounts and for getting receipts. Mr R. A. Cuthbert, of Messrs Garrick, Cowlishaw, Alpers, and Nicholls, watched proceedings on behalf of the men, and Mr W. J. Sim, of Messrs Duncan, Cotterill and Co., on behalf of sundry creditors. The majority of the men went north on Saturday evening to connect with the steamer for Sydney.  -Press, 17/10/1921.

The wooden steamer Broxton was docked yesterday for cleaning and overhaul. Her subsequent movements are not yet announced by her agents.  -Press, 27/10/1921.

There is much speculation in Lyttelton regarding the future movements of the wooden steamer Broxton. It was surmised that she will be used in the Newcastle coal trade, but the latest rumor is that she is to go to the East, where she may be sold.   -Evening Star, 28/10/1921.

Captain Broadhouse has been given command of the large wooden steamer Broxton, at Lyttelton, and Mr H. Holm, of Wellington, is chief engineer. It. is believed that the vessel will load wool at Wellington, for the United States. It is also stated that she may coal at Newcastle for Java.  -Poverty Bay Herald, 4/11/1921.

Smoke from the stack of the big wooden steamer Broxton yesterday morning showed that after many months of idleness she was at last getting steam up. Enquiries elicited the information that steam was being got up to permit the boilers and valves to be surveyed, and that it is likely the vessel will be in commission in a week or two.   -Press, 14/1/1922.

After being laid up in Lyttelton for the past seven months, the wooden steamer Broxton, said to be the largest wooden steamer afloat, has been sold, and may be expected to sail shortly for Australia (says Thursday’s Press). The vendors are Broxton, Ltd., Christchurch, and the purchaser is Mr John G. White, a Sydney shipping agent. Mr H. B. Bridge, one of the directors of Broxton, Ltd., stated yesterday that the vessel had been disposed of at a satisfactory figure. 
The Broxton has had a chequered career since her arrival in Australasian waters. She was chartered by the Blackball Coal Company to carry coal from Newcastle to New Zealand ports. She made the first trip to Dunedin and the second to Lyttelton. On that occasion her departure from Lyttelton was held up owing to trouble over the census returns, the captain haring at first refused to fill in the papers. The Customs Department therefore refused to grant the ship her clearance papers, and the captain was finally compelled to furnish his census returns. On her arrival back at Newcastle the vessel was unable to get a cargo owing to the coal shortage. For 71 days she lay idle at the New South Wales port. This was undoubtedly her undoing, as the cost of maintaining the steamer and crew, for over two months, during which she did not earn a single penny, ran the ship into debt. Part of this debt she was still owing when she arrived on her second trip to Lyttelton. Her American owners were apparently unable to finance her further, and she was later arrested for debt. On September 26 she was sold by public auction to a Christchurch syndicate for £6200. The syndicate was later formed into a private company under the name of Broxton, Ltd. In the securing of a freight, however, the new owners were doomed to disappointment, various factors, including the shipping slump, operating against them. The sale which has just been completed will take the vessel out of their hands, and incidentally free another deep-sea berth in the port.   -Otago Daily Times, 18/3/1922.

 It was stated on Thursday on good authority that the wooden steamer Broxton, the sale of which was reported on Wednesday, is to be used by her new owner as a hulk for copra (says the Christchurch ‘Press’). The sailing date of the vessel from Lyttelton is not yet announced.  -Evening Star, 18/3/1922.

It was announced on Friday that the disposal of the Broxton has not yet been finally decided upon (states the Christchurch Press). Her new owner, Mr. John G. White, of Sydney, who purchased the vessel for use as a copra hulk, has now placed the vessel under offer to the Union Steam Ship Company for use as a hulk.   -Poverty Bay Herald, 29/3/1922.

Our Christchurch correspondent advises that the big wooden steamer Broxton, recently purchased by the Union Steam Ship Company for conversion to a coal bulk, leaves Lyttelton on Tuesday for Port Chalmers.   -Evening Star, 1/4/1922.

The steamer Broxton, which is to be converted into a hulk at Port Chalmers, is not by any means the first vessel to be so altered at the Union Company's repair works at Port Chalmers. Several vessels have been dismantled for hulk purposes, and several have been refitted after a period as hulks, to resume active service as ocean traders. The Rothesay Bay was the last vessel prior to the Broxton to be dismantled at Port Chalmers. The most recent vessel to be refitted at Port Chalmers for active service is said to be the Antiope, which was subseqently destroyed in South Africa by an outbreak of fire on board. The Broxton, although she does not have the extensive top hamper of ships, consisting of masts and yards, will, nevertheless, take some time to have the alterations carried out, as her propelling machinery will have to be removed.   -Otago Daily Times, 4/4/1922.

Efforts to obtain a freight for the wooden steamer Broxton at Lyttelton proved unavailing, and on Monday the owners, the Union Company, decided to take the steamer to Port Chalmers. When a call was made for a crew for the vessel a number of unemployed seamen seemed ready to take work, but they intimated through their delegates that they wanted £5 for a three days' run and £1 a day for every day over that, in addition to their passage money back to Lyttelton, as well as subsistence money. The company stated that they would not pay more than the agreement rate, which was stated in the Seamen's Union agreement as follows: — "When a ship is placed in commission, or for the purpose of some emergency, or for an excursion over a number of days, for a period of less than one month, each deck hand (except 0.S.) shall be paid 14/ per day, ordinary seamen 10/ per day, and each engineroom and stokehold hand 16/ per day." 
When the men intimated their unwillingness to sign on for about 30/ the Union Company secured a full crew by taking a number of deck and engineroom officers from the Wahine and Kurow, as well as officers awaiting orders, with other members of the company's permanent staff. The new crew comprises a captain and two officers, three engineers, six firemen, three greasers, two trimmers, ten able seamen, one boy, two stewards, and two cooks. None of the crew are members of the Seamen's Union. When it became known that a scratch crew had been obtained, seafarers seemed rather surprised at the rapidity with which the Broxton had been manned.  -Auckland Star, 4/4/1922.

The large wooden steamer Broxton, which was recently purchased by the Union Company, left Lyttelton for Port Chalmers on Tuesday under command of Captain P. J. Foster. It is not the intention of the Union Company to convert the vessel into a coal hulk just yet. She will be fitted with ballast tanks at Port Chalmors and then dispatched to Nauru Island to load phosphates.   -NZ Herald, 8/4/1922.

Credited with being the largest wooden steamer afloat, the Broxton, acquired by the Union Company some 12 months ago, is now being converted into a hulk at Port Chalmers.  -Poverty Bay Herald, 30/12/1922.

The following clauses in the Standing Committee’s report were agreed to: Your committee recommends, with respect, to the communication from the Union Steam Ship Company offering to sell s.s. Broxton for use at dock entrance, that the engineer be asked to submit alternative estimates as follows; — Estimate of total cost if the s.s. Broxton is utilised; estimate of cost of constructing a new wharf; estimate of cost by adding to the present system of dolphins.   -Otago Daily Times, 26/5/1923.

Mr McDonald moved the adoption of the following clause in the Standing Committee’s report: —“That, with respect to the communication from the Union Steam Ship Company offering To sell the Broxton for use at the dock entrance, that, subject to arrangement with the Union Steam Ship Company, the Broxton be docked and examined by the engineer and harbourmaster, and that they submit a report to the next Standing Committee meeting.” Captain Sundstrum said that something would have to be done. In view of the urgent necessity he thought that they should secure the Broxton. If they sank the Broxton it would make the entrance to the dock much safer. She was built of soft wood, but under the water she was of sounder wood. He thought that she would last 15 or 20 years. There was only one question, and that was whether the bottom of the harbour was suitable for the sinking of the vessel. It was pointed out that the question before the board was only whether the Broxton should be docked for examination. Captain Sundstrum said that he was explaining the reason for purchasing the Broxton. Mr McDonald said that he did not think the board should charge for the use of the dock for the Broxton. Mr McDonald’s suggestion was agreed to. The Chairman explained that the board was not in any way committed to the purchase of the vessel. The recommendation was then adopted.   -Otago Daily Times, 30/6/1923.

The hulk Broxton went into dry dock this morning at Port Chalmers for inspection with a view to her being used in improving the fairway to Otago dock.  -Evening star, 17/7/1923.

A proposal that the Otago harbor Board should purchase the steamer Broxton for use at the dock entrance was rejected. The following motion was adopted:— "That the engineer and harbor-master report on the advisability of erecting a hard-wood wharf in a line with the Otago dock entrance; the construction to cover a period of three years, but as much as is required to assist vessels in and out of dock to be proceeded with as soon as possible; also that an estimate of the cost and plan be submitted."  -Poverty Bay Herald, 3/8/1923.

The Standing Committee reported as follows on the dock wharf: — “Consequent on the heavy cost to erect a timber wharf, your committee recommends that no further action be taken in the matter of the erection of this wharf, also that the offer of the Union Steam Ship Company to dispose of the Broxton be declined.” The report was adopted.   -Otago Daily Times, 3/11/1923.

Quite a number of the Union Company's old steamers that have been relegated to the anchor chains at Port Chalmers are to be broken up in the near future. Amongst the list of condemned vessels are the following: Pateena, 1212 tons, built in Glasgow in 1S83; Te Anau, 1623 tons, built at Dumbarton in 1879; Monowai, 3433 tons, built at Dumbarton in 1890; Paloona, 2793 tons, built at Dundee in 1890; Tarawera, 1004 tons, built at Dumbarton in 1882; and the Moana, 3915 tons, built at Dumbarton in 1897. Most of these steamers have been in the passenger trade. The old steamer Broxton is already in the hands of the shipbreakers, while the Te Anau and the Pateena are to be dismantled prior to meeting their end.   -Auckland Star, 29/3/1924.

An interesting proposal that came before the Standing Committee of the Harbour Board yesterday in that the board should purchase the hulk Broxton at Port Chalmers and sink it in such a position as to provide a safe entrance to the dock. A report on the matter is being obtained from the board’s engineer and from the harbour master, and a decision will be readied at the board’s next meeting.  -Otago Daily Times, 24/6/1924.

 —It was decided to approve of the estimate. It was decided to instruct the engineer to draw up plans and specifications for building a wharf at the entrance to the dock at Port Chalmers. It was agreed to take no further action in regard to the purchase of the Broxton, the vessel which was to have been sunk and utilised to form a breast work at the dock.  -Otago Daily Times, 22/7/1924

THURSDAY, 21st AUGUST, At 12.30 o’clock. 
At Rooms, Manse street. 
Now lying at Port Chalmers. “THE BROXTON,” LARGE WOODEN STEAMER, 
From which Boiler, Engine, and Fittings have been removed. Substantially built in American Timber. Very suitable for Store Ship or Hulk. 
PARK, REYNOLDS (LIMITED), are instructed by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand (Limited), to Sell the above by auction on Thursday, 21st August, at 12.30 o’clock. 
The Broxton can be inspected at any time as she now lies at Port Chalmers.  -Otago Daily Times, 6/8/1924.

Messrs Park, Reynolds, Ltd., submitted to auction at their rooms yesterday the large wooden steamer Broxton, which has been lying at Port Chalmers for about two rears. There was a small attendance, and the first offer was £50, and after some persuasion the auctioneer elicited a bid of £60. As further offers were not forthcoming. Mr S. K. Sleigh (manager of the Union Steam Ship Company, which owns the vessel), bidding as vendor, offered £195, but the ship was passed in at that figure.    -Evening Star, 22/8/1924.

THE STEAMER BROXTON. The engineer reported that he had examined the Broxton, and had found that no timber had been removed which materially affected her stability, so far as the board was concerned. He recommended that the offer of the Union Company be accepted. The company has made a free gift of the vessel to the board. It is understood that the board proposes to sink the Broxton and use her as a protection in the channel in the Lower Harbour.   -Otago Daily Times, 31/1/1925.

The hulk Broxton, which was taken from Port Chalmers yesterday and beached at Carey Bay, slipped out last night and drifted on to the bank off the Port Chalmers pilot-house. She was towed back and moored this afternoon.   -Evening Star, 4/9/1925.

six rust-covered hulls. 
Bound for “rotten row.” The term may not be quite correct so far as it concerns the future disposition of six well-known units of the Union Steam Ship Company’s fleet which have occupied idle berths at the Port Chalmers wharves for some years past, but it is the term generally used by those connected with the sea and ships, states the Otago Daily Times.
The steamers which are about to change their place of residence, so to speak, are the Atua, Navua, Tarawera, Moana, Mokoia, and Paloomi. They are to be removed from their snug berth to moorings in what is known as the cross channel, near the powder magazine, .just below Port Chalmers. They will be moored three abreast, how long they will remain there cannot be said, but the days of active service for two or three of them have probably gone for ever.
Six rust-covered hulls moored in such a conspicuous stretch of water will bring back memories of the past to many — memories of pleasent- voyages made around the New Zealand coast, to Australia, and to all parts of the Pacific. The Tarawera, which made so many voyages in the inter-colonial and coastal passenger services; the Moana, once the spruce mail boat in the San Francisco and inter-colonial services; the Atua and Nuvua, which carried large numbers of passengers between Auckland and the South Sea Islands; and the Mokoia and Paloomi, so well known in the inter-colonial and coastal passenger services of only a few years ago, will all swing idly side by side in fair weather and foul. 
The Monowai, another favorite old vessel, which has practically ended her active life, and which now presents a battered and forlorn appearance as she lies at a berth at the Bowen pier, will not be removed. Material from the Monowai is being removed and utilised, in connection with ship repair work at Port Chalmers. It will only be a matter of time when the old Monowai will be but a skeleton. 
Another vessel which has been somewhat of a blot on the scenery at Port Chalmers is the old steamer Stella, once the spick-and-span Government lighthouse ship. She has been lying at an idle berth opposite the railway statiou for several years, and her rusted appearance indicates that the old ship is fast deteriorating. The Stella will also be removed to the open water. Her resting-place will be Carey’s Bay, alongside the hulk Broxton, once a large wooden steamer built in America. It is understood that the seven vessels are being removed to open water on account of the increased harbor dues.  -Poverty Bay Herald, 20/10/1925.

View across Carey's Bay, Port Chalmers.

View across Carey's Bay with the hulks of SS Stella and SS Broxton in the left foreground. There are boatsheds in the centre, with Port Chalmers in the distance. A woman is standing left foreground, probably the photographer's wife Laura Godber. Photographed by Albert Percy Godber in 1926.  Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library.

The question of providing a swinging basin at Carey’s Bay was ordered to stand over. The board adopted, without discussion, the recommendation of the engineer to remove the Broxton and Pateena from their present sites, utilising the former as a temporary substitute wharf at the entrance to the dock, and the latter as a temporary groin at Curie’s Point.   -Evening Star, 27/2/1926.

A peculiar and decidedly unsatisfactory position has arisen over the fate of the wooden steamer Broxton, and the matter is likely to provide material for keen discussion at the meeting of the Harbour Board to-morrow night. For years past there have been complaints about the entrance to the new dock at Port Chalmers and masters have asserted that in certain weather conditions it is not safe to take their vessels in. On account of a sloping reef of rock near the entrance it has been impossible to drive piles there, but the board had two dolphins erected, and securely tied. In the opinions of some this was a device that could be improved upon, and the Harbour Board, acting on the advice of its engineer, strongly supported by Captain Coll Macdonald, who has had long experience of docking ships, decided to sink the Broxton in such a position as to make the entrance quite safe.
In pursuance of this decision the dolphins were removed, and over 1500 cubic yards of sand was deposited by the dredge in order to make a bed for the Broxton. While the work was thus proceeding a notice of motion in the following terms was sent in by a member of the board, Mr T. Anderson: — “To preserve the future policy of the board in the Lower Harbour, and as the Broxton has not to date been removed, such proposed removal be deferred, as the state of the hull, being built of green, sappy timber, she is not by any means suitable for the purpose intended, and the board erred in removing the dolphins: that the acting-engineer be requested to submit a report as to the Broxton’s suitability; and further, if it would not, in the interests and policy of the board, be better to take her to sea and burn her on the outside beach, constructing a concrete wall, well anchored, in place of the dolphins removed.’' 
This prodigious sentence was no doubt intended to mean a complete reversal of the board’s policy in the matter, and as a consequence work on the Broxton was stopped early this week pending the board’s review of its decision. The question of who had authority to stop such a work agreed upon by the board was inquired into by several members without a satisfactory answer being obtained, but it was eventually learned that the work had been stopped by the secretary and the acting-engineer. In the absence of the newly-elected chairman (Mr J. M. Dickson, M.P.) on parliamentary duty in Wellington, no one could be found to play the role of acting-chairman, and eventually a telegram was despatched to Mr Dickson yesterday asking for his approval of the action of the board’s officers. In the meantime the work is at a standstill. The new dock entrance is unguarded, and should the board receive any emergency call to dock a damaged vessel it is questionable whether it could respond without taking grave risk. The whole position is not one that reflects credit on the management of a board entrusted with the conduct of exceedingly important public affairs.  -Otago Daily Times, 24/6/1926.

In reference to tho hold-up in connection with the sinking of the wooden steamer Broxton alongside the fairway to the new dock at Port Chalmers, it seems that several attempts, of which the Broxton scheme is the latest, have been made to facilitate the docking and undocking of vessels. Alongside the fairway a shelf of rock protrudes above the bottom surface to an extent likely to cause damage to the bilge keel of a vessel were she to swerve from the fairway in the docking process. Vessels are apt to swerve though the handling of them be of the most careful kind. It was as a precautionary measure in case of swerving that structures have been erected above the shelf of rock. The first such structure towered about 30ft above the water, but it lacked the essential factor of pressure and resistance, and a bump from a docking steamer toppled it over. The next structure was in the form of dolphins braced to the adjacent foreshore. The dolphins rendered good service, but were recently removed to provide sinking room for the Broxton, for whose accommodation a clay bed has been prepared by dredge 222, at a cost of about £500. It is considered that the Broxton would fill the bill as a “bumper” for a period of ten to twelve years, at the end of which time her soft-wood hull would be decayed beyond the stage of usefulness. At one time a concrete structure was thought of, but the cost, when estimated, was deemed excessive.   -Evening Star, 24/6/1926.

Sunk at the dock fairway is the latest and last experience of the dismantled steamer Broxton. A production of war exigency, the Broxton has had a varied career during the few years of her existence. She was built in America to carry food to the Allies wheh the submarines threatened to cut off their supplies. Being an emergency job, she was not constructed with the facilities for despatch which are regarded as indispensable to the commercial trader, and after the war she soon proved unprofitable for trading purposes. A syndicate bought her at Lyttelton as a speculation, and then sold her to the Union Steam Ship Company, who had her dismantled and the machinery removed at Port Chalmers. Reduced thus to the status of a “sheer hulk,” she was not then easily disposed of. The heavy timbering of her internal structure rendered her unsuitable for even a coal hulk. She was thrown on the scrap heap of rotting old hulks down the harborside. A few days later a very high tide floated her out of that graveyard of buried sea romances, and she drifted one night all over the Lower Harbor like a shrouded ghost of the might-have-been. Next day she was captured by a tug and returned to Carey's Bay, a wire hawser being put out to bridle her impatience. She remained there until a clay bed was ready for her alongside the fairway to the new dock, where she was sunk yesterday afternoon in 17ft of water. The salvage tug Dunedin pumped in the water to sink her, and to-day she was sitting upright to serve as a fender for steadying ships about to enter or leave the dock.   -Evening Star, 1/6/1926.

The Moana was towed from Port Chalmers yesterday and sunk at the Mole. For several weeks past a favourable opportunity has been awaited, for success depended on fine weather, ebb-tide and smooth water. Those three factors combined to make yesterday morning propitious for the safe disposal of the old liner. While awaiting such disposal she had sunk near the wharf, and after being refloated had been ballasted with sand to prevent her from turning turtle. Those difficulties had been overcome and the Moana was on an even keel when the tug hauled alongside yesterday to take her for her final tow. After pulling out from the dock entrance dredge 222 made fast alongside with the Dunedin a towline ahead. A light easterly wind and ebb-tide prevailed as the three vessels proceeded down the harbour. The harbour master (Captain McLean) and the Harbour Board’s engineer (Mr Wilkie) were on board the Moana directing operations. Captain Duncan and Captain McDonald, the Harbour Board’s pilots, were in attendance, the latter in charge of the pilot launch, which acted as tender at the Mole. 
The trip down the harbour was uneventful, and as is not unusual when seafaring folk foregather for a few spare minutes, ships and shipping were discussed. 
“The romance of the sea is a thing of the past,” observed an experienced seafarer, laconically. "Romance of the sea, huh,” observed an unsentimental sailor. "I never saw much romance in a slab of salt-horse and a pannikin of doubtful coffee, for a meal. Romance, eh! Of course you had a pantile biscuit with the afternoon tea you never got, if you like to call that romance.” 
“But the cost of living was lower those days,” was the rejoinder. “I should jolly well think so. And the cost of labour, too. Two-ten to two-fifteen a month, to keep your wife and family. And when you came back after a 10 months’ voyage, and picked up a paper to see when the next ship was sailing, the first thing that struck you in the eye would be an article by some longshoreman, headed; ‘Is the British Seaman Deteriorating?’ Wasn’t it romantic? It is just as well if the romance of the sea be a thing of the past." 
“Belay that yarn,” said another member of the party, “and read the twentyseventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. It is a storm at sea, to the life, and just what would be done to-day in a storm at sea accompanied with misadventure.“
"Misadventure, nothing.” chimed in a more youthful member. It is the mystery of the sea that counts. Don't you think these old ships feel sad and lonesome? You just take the case of the old Broxton lying there at the dock with a heap of coal on her back. She was built in America and flew the Stars and Stripes. Don’t you think she feels lonely? Why one night before they sank her she was that restless and lonely she broke adrift, and in the darkness of the night tried to make friends with the fishermen hauling their nets on a sandbank of the harbour. She followed them around the harbour. In one fishing boat there was a young Scottish immigrant not long away from the heather. Maybe he felt homesick himself. He leaned out of the boat and patting the old Broxton on the nose, said to her: "Puir wee lamb, you're homesick and lonely. I’m sorry for ye.'" 
"Stow that tack," said another of the party. “Let us talk sense. We are now passing Acheron Head, if you care to know, and it was called after H.M.S. Acheron, the first steam warship to visit this harbour, and she was a paddle steamer. No screws in those days. But she was manned by men who knew their bit and did it. The Acheron charts are still used. That was the romance of the sea, if you like. Nowadays we send them up to the Islands in the winter time in case they catch a cold. Of course, they miss the football season, but then there is cricket and bowls. If you ask me, the romance of the sea and the making of charts are gone to Fiddlers Green or thereabouts."
The discussion, which was disclosing marked differences of opinion on the alleged eccentricities of seafaring, now became more general. It was declared to be doubtful if there was any romance anywhere until years afterwards. Romance was mostly, it seemed, a matter of time and some imagination. One man said it was mostly a matter of income, but that suggestion was not popular. You could not listen to the song of the sea from a gramophone, nor thrill to the glory of a sunset if you were blind — even if you were worth thousands. The lilt of saltwater was not a matter of words. 
Presently the discussion turned to the end of the Moana, and everybody seemed to have a good word for her. One man said he saw her, on her maiden voyage or thereabout, as flagship of a regatta in Sydney Harbour. Crimson funnel, green and gold hull, smart and handsome, she was a picture. The centre of a fleet of yachts resembling a flock of seagulls, the Moana was a proud ship in the flush of her youth that day. He was proud she had “Dunedin” emblazoned on her counter. Then others present recounted similar incidents in the life history of the ship that was now being towed to her last resting place. How she had steamed unbeaten across the Pacific and proudly flaunted the New Zealand ensign as she entered the Golden Gates of San Francisco Bay, was referred to by one of those present. For years she had carried mails and passengers to and from America. In the intercolonial running she had won her share of public favour. After the war, with the changes then taking place, the Moana did not fit into the new conditions, and consequently she had been laid up on the idle list at Port Chalmers for several years past. When a ship has been out of commission for a time, the question arises whether or not it would pay to recondition her. Several issues are involved. The Moana did not emerge amongst those regarded as economically worth reconditioning. She was dismantled, her fittings and machinery sold, and the hull disposed of to the Harbour Board. 
“Stand by to let go that line,” was a loudly-voiced order that brought everyone to attention when the “tow” had passed Harrington Point and was halting in the open water between the Mole and Taiaroa Heads. The Moana was swung round bow inshore, and the tug’s line was thrown off. Dredge 222 remained alongside and manoeuvred the Moana to a site marked by buoys alongside the Mole. The ebb tide carried the Moana broadside on to the rocky portion of the Mole beyond the old woodwork, and right astern of where the Pateena was sunk a few years ago. Everything being in readiness for sinking, the covers were taken from a series of holes previously cut in the side of the hull. A charge of explosive was fired in the fore hole, and the old vessel quickly began to droop by the head. Presently the water was rushing in through all the holes in the sides and in 15 minutes the Moana was on the bottom, with a sharp list outwards from the stonework of the Mole. The water rose to within a few feet of the rail on the port side, to which she listed. At highwater a portion of the deck would be awash. The whole operation had been conducted without mishap or delay, and the Moana now lies with the Pateena and the Gertie at the Mole. 
The Moana was built by Denny Bros., of Dumbarton, in 1897. Her tonnage was 3915, length 350.4 ft, breadth 44.1 ft, depth 32.6 ft. Her port of registry was Dunedin.  -Otago Daily Times, 1/11/1927.

TENDERS (specially marked “Tender for Cleaning and Tarring "Broxton") will be received up till Noon, FRIDAY, 22nd February, 1929, for the Cleaning and Tarring of the Hulk "Broxton," at Port Chalmers. Specification and conditions of contract may be seen at the Engineer’s Office, where forms of tender may be obtained. 
The lowest or any tender not necessarily accepted.
J. RENTON, Acting Secretary. 
Dunedin, 16th February, 1929.  -Evening Star, 16/2/1929.

The hulk Broxton, which occupies permanent moorings near the entrance to the Otago dock, was pumped out by the tug Dunedin yesterday. The bulk was afloat shortly before 11 a.m., and she was placed in dry dock during the afternoon. The hulk will receive a coat of tar, an operation which will occupy several days. When completed the Broxton will be moored in her original position, the hull being again filled with water.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/3/1929.

Dear Dot—While reading through Dot s Little Folk's page I noticed where Mother's Sunny Boy and his brother went fishing down at Port Chalmers. I can just imagine how pleased they were when they received their first tug. We are very keen on fishing at home, especially my young brother, who is only eight but is a promising fisherman One calm evening my father, cousin, and myself decided to go for a "bite," so packing our rods and bait, which was raw bacon, we sallied forth. When we arrived at the Broxton, which is the name of the old coal hulk we were fishing from, we unravelled out rods. We didn't choose a very good fishing ground, for all around the hulk kelp kept twisting around our rods and proved very annoying. "Dad! Dad! Quick! I've got one," I exclaim, and dad comes running to feel my rod. "Good girl, so you have," he says, and gives me a pat on the back for my work. I pulled up three red cod, and my cousin got one and a baby crayfish, which caused great delight when pulled up. Other fish we have caught are butter, pig, Maori, and straightjacket, which are very small and no good for eating. Well, Dot, I shall close now, with kind regards to the Little Folk and your own dear self.
TOSSY TWO SHOES (Port Chalmers)
[I see you are a fishing enthusiast, Tossy Two Shoes. Those who go in for this sport all seem to find it very absorbing, and many are the stories lold about the wonderful catches that are made.— DOT.]    -Otago Daily Times, 7/8/1939.

The "Broxton," seen at its last resting place.  Hocken Library photo.

Second Century Promises Great Progress
Staff Reporter.  These two jobs are expected to be completed in 1952. Next on the priority list will be a timber breastwork at the entrance at the Otago dock to replace the hulk Broxton. -Otago Daily Times, 17/6/1950.

The "Broxton," in place near the dry dock, bottom right.  Hocken Library photo.

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