Sunday, 31 October 2021

Dr Daniel McCambridge, MD, 1830-20/6/1872.

By Electric Telegraph

Dr Daniel McCambridge died this afternoon from internal injuries and broken ribs, caused by a fall from a horse last Sunday night, while he was on his way to see a patient.  -Evening Star, 24/6/1872.


By Robert Valpy Fulton, M.D,



Naseby, the county town of Maniototo, began its existence with a few shanties and huts when the goldfields were discovered in. 1861, and here as elsewhere was the mushroom growing "canvas town," a source of wonder to all in the neighbourhood. Previous to this, the various stations in the locality —Puketoi, of Murison's; Linnburn, of Greig and Tnrnbull's; Highfield, of Comberg and Douglas; Taieri Lake, of Phillip's and Seal's (afterwards Gairdner and Main's) Maniototo, of Chapman's; Patearoa, of Buchanan's (previously Valpy's); Eweburn, of Maitland's, and many miles further away Galloway, Earnscleugh, and Matakanui, had their homesteads, and their outlying huts, but rivers were difficult to cross — there were as yet no boats or punts, and even the usual shanty where drinks of a kind could be bought for a shilling a nip, had not yet arrived. Naseby is on the northern end of the Maniototo Plain, and lies at the foot of the Mount Ida Range, about 100 miles from Dunedin by railway; it stands well up at an elevation of about 2000 ft above sea level; possesses a clear, bracing climate, and long before the idea became prevalent throughout the province that this place was an ideal one for sufferers from the "White Man's Scourge." Dr Alex. Hunter, of Dunedin, when visiting a very bad surgical case in the neighbourhood in 1864, expressed the opinion that the country at the Hogburn or across at Hamiltons was where some day should be erected hospitals or homes for consumptives. Consider the Hogburn goldfield, the miners' tents and shanties in the near neighbourhood; the stations mentioned, with others further on at St. Bathans, Ophir, and Rough Ridge: the "rushes" to Hamiltons and Blackstones Hill and elsewhere, the shepherd's huts scattered and out-flung among the mountains and passes: the Taieri River in flood a serious and highly dangerous obstacle; ranges covered 10 to 15 feet with snow; the "burns" in the district (so named by some facetious surveyor of J. T. Thomson's entourage, Sowburn, Kyeburn, Wedderburn, Hogburn, Eweburn, Fillyburn, Houndburn), streams when in spate no small puddles to be waded through; roads few indeed; bridle tracks leading every where; when waggons found a passage or heavy "draughts" struggled through the country "leads of clay" but dignified with the name of roads becoming speedily bogs; and we see that the trials of the first medical man to settle in the district must have been indeed great. A bleak, often windy district; heavy drifts of snow in the passes and gullies over which the tracks wended; no hope of getting anywhere save on horseback or on foot; 10, 20, 50 mile trips not bv any means infrequent, and into this district, and to this class of practice came Daniel McCambridge in 1861. With the great rush of diggers he came to the Hogburn, and tried his luck with shovel and cradle, but was soon selected and persuaded, more or less peaceably, to practise the gentler Arts of Healing. The pay may have been better, this we very much doubt; but the exchange from gold-digger to general practitioner was, we are certain, no easement of mind or body, and that we shall soon make clear to our readers.

McCambridge, an Irishman, from the County of Antrim, was born in 1830, took his M.D. Degree at Dublin University, and after serving several years as a naval surgeon in the Crimean and Mexican Wars, came to New Zealand when the gold discovery was first announced. The story is that as a rough looking digger in courduroy breeches, and blue flannel shirt, bearded like the pard, hands calloused, feet encased in heavy clay-be-smeared top-boots, seeing a man carried past his claim evidently seriously injured, he made an angry ejaculation at the way the bearers handled the sufferer. He was immediately challenged, amidst a volley of oaths, "what the ____ do you know about it." He speedily showed what he knew, and was at once pounced upon by a Committee of Public Safety, or some such organisation got up on the spur of the moment, and begged, persuaded, or compelled to give up his gold seeking, and to administer First, Second, and All the Time Aid to the Iniured. Whether he was offered a subsidy or guarantee we know not, but of this our readers may be sure, the rough diggers of those days were men, first and last, sympathetic to a degree, ready to give their last ounce of gold or pound of flour to anyone in genuine distress. Thus began the career of Daniel McCambridge, the young, strong, sturdy Irishman, at the Hogburn in 1862. It will be seen that the terrible hardships, the fearful exposure, the same self-sacrificing devotion to the ailments and injuries of others, the same readiness to respond at all hours, and in all seasons had the same tragic result in his case as we have described it in that of Halley, of Tuapeka, and 10 years, a mere span of 10 years, was sufficient to lay low that powerful frame, to quench that dauntless spirit, leaving nothing to show for all that he bad done but a plain grey stone with its pitiful tale: "Died from injuries received while in the discharge of his duty." He was a big burly man, fair-haired, fullbearded, as was then the fashion, sturdy, broad-shouldered, and strong; weighing 16 stone, he was no light weight for the work he faced. A cultured and well-educated gentleman, not by any means rough or uncouth, his knowledge of medicine and surgery was really good. Many the rough trip he had, to cross the Taieri River at Ryan's Crossing (where the bridge is now), was most risky, none dared to ford or even try to swim it if a certain tussock, which was a landmark, was submerged. The gullies and tracks were often many feet deep in snow, the snowfall on the level often six inches deep, on the hills, or in the passes it might be anything. The air clear and the frosts intense, McCambridge's journeys were a veritable trial to a man of the strongest constitution. In the first few years of the diggings there was no hospital, and the doctor had to care for his patients as best he could in their own scattered homes. Many lives were lost through the impossibility of the doctor's giving them the constant attendance and supervision which a nearby institution would provide. Finally a man was brought in from Mount Buster, badly frost-bitten; and there being no recognised accommodation for him, a committee, headed by Mr James Brown, collected a sum of money; a room was secured at the Ancient Briton Hotel, and was utilised for this; and any other cases which might, and in time, did come along. Mr R. F. Inder thus describes his early recollections of this incident: "As accidents were frequent in those days, and most of the miners unmarried, living in huts and tents, often alone, sickness or accident was a very serious matter. The Miners' Relief Fund Committee was formed, and they arranged with the hotelkeeper of the Ancient Briton for a room, and his wife to act as a nurse for such cases as occurred. On one wet and stormy night I was sent (being then a small bov) with a message to this lady, and was directed to the billiard room, where there was only one table. The walls of this room were seven feet high, the ceiling of course higher, following the pitch of the rafters half-way up. A game was in progress, and the room was crowded, and I have a distinct recollection of the unpleasantness of the atmosphere being thick with tobacco smoke, etc. Hearing a violin being played at one end of the room, I went to investigate. In a recess, with only a curtain to separate it from the billiard room, was a bed, and propped up in it was a miner known as 'G. Sharp,' who used to act as musician at concerts and dances. He had some time before met with an accident by which he had broken his leg, and laid out some hours in the cold before he was discovered and brought in. In spite of all this, he made a good recovery, and lived for many years after. He was known to many a schoolboy as the owner of a donkey which had been left behind by a circus, and was always known as 'G. Sharp's.' A few years later, a number of the residents began to agitate, and were successful in establishing the present fine hospital, which admirably serves its purpose. Dr McCambridge was the first surgeon in 1870, and was succeeded by Drs Dick, the two brothers Whitton, Jeffreys, Church, Macknight, and others. The work done by McCambridge made its mark upon him, and aged him speedily. When he had to go to Mount Buster Diggings he had to ride through very rough country up to the level of the Mount Ida Range, at an altitude of over 4000 ft. At this height he had to travel for over a mile and a-half, following the crest of the range before descending the steep face to his destination some 2000 ft lower. This crest was the place from which Sergeant Garvey rode in a heavy snowstorm, when he met his death in the winter of 1863; he followed along the range and took the wrong spur against his companions' advice, and rode down into the much broken country of the watershed of the Otamatakau, a tributary of the Waitaki, instead of bearing to the right into the watershed of the Kyeburn, a tributary of the Taieri. Here he got into deep snow, and was found dead a few days after, with his horse near him, both frozen stiff. A cairn was erected in the neighbourhood to his memory. . . . On one occasion, Dr McCambridge was called to Taieri Lake Station, and as the story has been told by the late J. J. Ramsay, we repeat it. It is constantly referred to throughout the district as Heaney's Ride, and will be handed down for centuries as one of the many instances of heroism performed by those rugged pioneers, any one of whom was willing to risk life and limb when he heard that a fellow creature was stricken unto death. Heaney's Ride was a great one, and we have no wish to detract from an entire acknowledgment of Heaney's grit, and pluck, and endurance, but what Heaney did once, Dick and McCambridge did probably half a dozen times a year, and they shortened their lives to a mere span by their constant attention to the wants of others. To the layman Heaney's ride is unique, to the doctors of those inclement plains and mountains 50 miles one night, 30 the next day, 60 the third, and so on, was their ordinary work, and none so interested as to tot the miles up, or to discuss their frequent and perilous journeys. Heaney had a long and trying experience; from Taieri Lake Station to Hyde was a comparatively simple matter, thence as far as the Crossing near what is now Kokonga, was a succession of broken, steep, and jumbled spurs, a nasty and dreary piece of road; the crossing itself, difficult, and dangerous in bad light, being rough and full of loose boulders; then a gradual ascent, and a long trying crest of the hill for many miles exposed to a cold, bleak south or south-west wind before finally coming down to Naseby or Hogburn. Thus J. J. Ramsay, to the Maniototo Early Settlers' Association: "The scene, Taieri Lake Homestead. Main, the head shepherd lay sick unto death. It was winter time, snow everywhere, and no doctor nearer than Naseby, 36 miles distant. The manager of the station (Mr Chisholm) selected Jimmy Heaney, the groom, to go to Naseby for the doctor. Mounted on his nag, Jimmy set out. Picture his task, 36 miles through snow lying everywhere, no tracks or roads, and the air freezing you to the bone. Add to that a tumble from his horse owing to his falling in the snow, and a sprained ankle as the result, and you have saddled Jimmy with a fairly decent handicap. But every bit of Jimmy's little cantankerous body was grit, and he landed in Naseby on time. To get Dr McCambridge to come was the work of some time, but at last they started on the outward journey. Warned by his experience coming up, Jimmy was anxious to make haste slowly, but not so the doctor, who galloped away at a reckless speed, and as the result got a spill and a broken limb some miles down the Kyeburn Road. On coming up to him, Jimmy secured the horse and managed, though but a wee chap, to lift the 16-stone doctor on, and trudged back to Naseby when, after a long delay, consequent upon attending to the injured man, Dr Dick was obtained, and the second attempt to reach the Taieri Lake successful. Jimmy had ridden 72 miles, that would try a man of herculean endurance, and he sought his bed at once. Scarcely had he got there, however, before Mr Chisholm excitedly came to him saying that unless he could go again to Naseby for the necessary medicine, Howe would certainly die. Jimmy naturally demurred, but when it was pointed out to him that there was no one else who knew where to go to, he at once rose and said: 'Well, sor, if Isaac Howe is to die unless I go, I'll try it.' And try he did; the 72 miles was repeated, the medicine brought, and Howe's life, for the time, saved. Such is the story of Jimmy's famous ride." In all, Heaney travelled 36 miles to Naseby, six miles out to Kyeburn where McCambridge fell, and six back to Naseby, then with Dr Dick to his patient at Taieri Lake, and then to Naseby and back with the medicine; altogether a notable journey for a layman, and one which has become history. On this occasion McCambridge seriously injured himself, sustaining a severe fracture of the leg, but under the skilful hands of Dr Dick he recovered. Two years later, when riding out on the same road, he came to one of the outgates where dogs were tied and left for days, as was then the custom to act as protectors or guardians of the flocks of sheep at cross roads. This was a cruel custom, which we think has largely been discontinued. The dog jumped out suddenly and startled the doctor's horse, which shied and threw him heavily against the gate, fracturing several ribs, and causing penetration of the lung with resulting septic pneumonia. This proved fatal within a few days. The following reference appeared in the Mount Ida Chronicle of June 21, 1872: — "A more Dainful duty than that which we now have to perform has not since our advent here been our province to record. We allude to the death of Dr Daniel McCambridge, who expired yesterday at his residence about 4 p.m. On Sunday night last, Dr McCambridge was called upon to attend suffering humanity at Hyde, and with that general kind-heartedness for which the deceased was celebrated, went on his errand of mercy notwithstanding the heavy fall of snow and the severe frost which covered the ground. Between Naseby and Kyeburn (near what is known as Sander's gate), through some mishap, up to the present time unexplained, the doctor was thrown from his horse, the fall resulting in the breaking of several ribs and the infliction of external as well as internal injuries, to the effects of which he succumbed on the afternoon of yesterday. The loss which the place has suffered by the death of Dr McCambridge will not easily be supplied. For a number of years the only medical practitioner in the district, there are few who have not something to say of his humanity, urbanity, and ability. We cordially endorse what is said by many: 'A good man has departed. Peace be with his ashes.' Dr McCambridge leaves a wife, but no children." 

June 28. 1872.—" Funeral of Dr McCambridge. The people of Naseby have always shown respect to the memory of the dead, and the funeral procession of Sunday last, on the occasion of the interment of the late Dr McCambridge, exceeded all that have heretofore taken place in the district. At two o'clock the streets were filled with people desirous of paying their last tribute of respect to the departed, and over 400 mourners followed the remains to the grave." 

The memorial in the Naseby Cemetery ist of plain Oamaru Stone, and bears the following inscription:— "Sacred to the memory of Daniel McCambridge, Esq., M.D., who departed this life at Naseby, by a fall from his horse, while in the discharge of his duties. Erected by his sorrowing widow, in token of affectionate remembrance of a faithful and loving husband. When memory pours the silent tear, And seeks the friend, who once was dear, The kindred friend, too quickly fled, Too early numbered with the dead."  -Otago Witness, 5/10/1920.

Naseby Cemetery. "When mem'ry pours the silet tear, and seeks the friend who once was near, the kindred friend too quickly fled, too early numbered with the dead."

Daniel's widow, Agnes, remarried (I believe but am not sure) and died as "Mrs Hugh McDonald."

Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

Dr John Dick, MDQUI, 1846-20/9/1874


The following statement of the life and last days of the late doctor, was given by the Rev. J. McCosh Smith at the Presbyterian Church, Naseby, on Sunday evening last: — 

Dr. Dick studied at Queen's College, Belfast, and graduated at Queen's University, Ireland. Such were his zeal and energy as a student, that he was able, at the end of his curriculum, to graduate in all the branches of medical science. The highest degree, M.D. (which is generally left over till another year), was taken by him at the same time. While attending the classes required in order to his graduation, he also attended a class on the microscope, which, in his estimation, gave him a decided advantage in many cases which, in the course of his practice, came under his notice. Such also was the state of his proficiency, that the Professors of his College urged him to enter for the Medical Fellowship; and, when he was refused admittance, by the examining body on account of his youth, they did everything in their power to have the objection, so trifling, removed. The labor, so mountainous, implied in proficiency so great, was compressed within the short space of four years. Nobody at all acquainted with the full range of medical science could be astonished to hear that his health gave way under this herculean effort. This break down took him from the world, and gave him to Naseby. Two years and a half ago he came among us, a perfect stranger. He soon made himself known, and, though located in this mountain village, his fame has spread far and wide.

In medicine he was most successful. He seemed to diagnose diseases intuitively, and to lay his hand instinctively on the medicine which wrought the cure. He drove from the system diseases of long standing, and inveterate in their existence, as by a charmed power. In surgery he has proved himself a master. This was his favorite subject, and he rose like a giant to an operation. Possessed of great skill, a steady hand, and an inexhaustible amount of patience, nothing ever came to him amiss. Any thing that ever had been done, and any thing that never had been done, he was equally ready to attempt; and his courage was in such a manner sustained by his skill and caution, that he invariably succeeded.

In obstetrics he took a pride, and he has left many a mother to bless his name, and to mourn his loss.

But his professional skill was even surpassed by his devotion to his patients. He watched them night and day, anticicipated every new phase, and prevented rather than cured. By day, by night, he thought of those under his care, and was most assiduous in his attendance. Nothing was allowed to interfere with their interests. He sacrificed society, pleasure, ease, and even health for them. In him they had a friend as well as a physician. 

We speak of him now as a friend.   Some have two chambers in their heart: one for intimate, and one for outside friends. If there were two in his heart, the division between them was scarcely perceptible. He opened and admitted all. In his department he had his charges, as every man must have, but whoever came and acknowledged his inability, had as ready and good treatment as any other. The needy had in him a true and a liberal friend. But we speak not so much of this sort of friendliness, as of the general interest in all. His genial manner, his affable habit, and his ready hand, won his way to the hearts of all. He was constantly thinking, devising, advising, and laboring for the welfare of all. There is no man whoever came in contact with him and left him without being the better. 

We speak of him now as an elder. — Shortly after his arrival in our midst, it was your pleasure to elect him, and my duty to ordain him, to the office of elder. At first he shrank from the responsibility. After much thought, he at last consented, and entered most fully into the interests of the congregation. We shall miss him as a doctor, as a friend, and as an elder. To say what he was and did in all those capacities is too much for me, and not expected by you. You all knew him, and the savor of his life will not readily pass away. His name will be dear to Naseby, as long, at least, as the present generation survives. 

The end came unexpectedly, and suddenly. When he came here he was in feeble health, but he soon recovered himself, and appeared as healthy and as robust as any. He seemed to think he was over it. He had been face to face with death before; and, should his end come, he expected it to come from the same cause which was then at work. Hence the statement of his dying bed — "This is a strange death: I am not acquainted with this form of it." The end came, and it was not taken to be the end, until an hour or two before the he was taken ill on the Tuesday, and he passed away on the Sabbath. Tuesday night was the worst of his illness. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — weary days, but no danger anticipated. On Saturday night he seemed better, and, up to within two or three hours of his death, he himself did not think he was in any danger. The end was unexpected. It was also sudden. A change for the worse came at twelve on Saturday night. During all the time he was never left alone, night or day. His friends, whose names should be mentioned, were most assiduous in their attention — doing their utmost from first to last. He was able, up to the last, to prescribe for himself, and almost gave the last prescription with his dying breath. He was sensible, and altogether himself to the last. When the end did come, it admitted of no delay. It is impossible for me to describe the last scene, of which I was partly a witness. He awoke from a stupor which had lasted only a few moments, looked around him, and up, and laid his hand upon his chest. After a few moments (when he seemed to be collecting his thoughts, and realising the position) he called Mr. Thomson, and told him that the end was near; gave a few directions about his affairs; said how he loved his father and other relations; and how he loved those near him, and how he loved you all; a few more words, in which he spoke of his God and Saviour, and of his hope of Life. At last, looking with intense interest upwards, as though penetrating a region hitherto unknown, he said with all the sincerity of his soul, "I am going to Heaven, I am going to Heaven; good-bye! good-bye!" then, taking up the words of the twentythird psalm, the great stranger passed into unconsciousness, each word as he passed coming from a greater and a greater distance, We kissed him at his own request, and we lost him, and what was our loss was his gain. We will all mourn the loss many days. He had so wrought himself into my own soul, that laying his body in the dust seemed like laying my own there. But there are two sides — a bright as well as a sad one. Let us gaze upon the bright. Let us seek to follow him. There are those who say, Peace and safety, and then sudden destruction cometn upon them, as travail upon a woman with child. Be not among those: rather among those who hear and obey the will of Christ. "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."  -Mount Ida Chronicle, 3/10/1874.

We notice by the Bruce Herald that Dr John Dick died at Naseby last week, after an illness of five days, during which he sometimes suffered intensely. His complaint was inflamation of the bowels. He visited the patients through his illness, there being no other doctor there. He visited up to Saturday night, but got gradually worse all Sunday. He spoke sensibly to the last, and died before seven. There is universal grief at his loss. His supposed age was twentyeight years, and he was from the north of Ireland.  -West Coast Times, 5/10/1874.

Naseby Cemetery.  The epitaph reads: "Though only thirty months in Naseby, he endeared himself to all by his kindly disposition and his devotion and skill in the practice of his profession; and this monument is erected the tribute of sorrowing friends."

Saturday, 30 October 2021

From Dunedin to Tuapeka by Steam, 1963, including the later career of the stern-wheeler which completed the voyage.

News of the Week

We notice that the new stern wheel steamer Tuapeka, which has been specially built for the navigation of the Molyneux, is advertised to make her first trip on Saturday next, the 20th inst. The performances of this pioneer of the Molyneux river navigation will be watched with some anxiety by all interested in the opening up of the inland water communication of the Province.  -Otago Witness, 25/7/1863.

Considerable interest was manifested to-day at Port Chalmers, on the occasion of the first trip of the stern wheel steamer Tuapeka, recently built at the Port, and intended for the navigation of the Molyneux, command of Captain Murray. Aroused by her peculiarly powerful steam whistle, numbers congregated on the jetty to see her set out, and a party of ship captains and others accompanied Captain Murray during the short run he made down the Bay. The slight trial she made was most satisfactory. She fully realised the expectations entertained of her unusual rate of speed, and was found to steer with a readiness and an accuracy which surprised every one unaccustomed to the action of stern-wheel boats. This was particularly noticable by the quickness with which she was brought round at the end of the short passage made, and when the vessel was being brought alongside the jetty under the skilful handling of Captain Murray. Subsequently, during the forenoon, she proceeded to Dunedin, where her outfit will be completed, the run to town being made with the same superior speed, but with a speed which she will yet excel, it having been found necessary occasionally to ease her on this experimental trip. On both occasions enough was seen of her powers to satisfy all that she is thoroughly adapted for the peculiar navigation for which she is intended.  -Otago Daily Times, 29/7/1863.

The river steamer Tuapeka, already reported as having arrived at the Molyneux Ferry, has since been successfully navigated by Captain Murray as far up the river as the Tuapeka stream, without meeting with accident or any serious impediment to her progress, notwithstanding the very unfavorable circumstances under which the passage was accomplished. Having freight to discharge at the Molyneux township, the Tuapeka first steamed down the river to its entrance, and, after discharging cargo and coaling at the Clutha coal mine, ascended the Matau branch of the river as far as the township of Kaitangata, remaining there until Tuesday morning. The passage down stream, as may be imagined, was made at a rate of speed which astonished the many spectators on the banks of the river, though to avoid the dangers of snags or sandbanks, it was frequently necessary to proceed under easy steam. Having returned to the Ferry on the same evening, the ferry-rope was lowered, and on Wednesday the vessel started up stream. The current in this part of the river is naturally much stronger than in the lower reaches, there being several places where the water rushes fiercely down, over and among rocks and snags at the rate of not less than six or seven knots per hour, if not even more. Against this rapid current, against a strong head wind, and amidst blinding snow showers which continued with little intermission throughout the whole passage, the boat steamed gallantly on, interrupted only in her progress by calls at the stations of the several settlers along the banks, at one of which she remained for the night; and on Thursday morning the junction of the Tuapeka was reached. The journey accomplished, hearty cheers were given by the party on board; champagne liberally dispensed, a banner hoisted at the landing, and a bottle containing a record of the undertaking deposited near at hand. Of the whole trip thus far, a full account by our reporter, who accompanied the boat will be given in an early publication.  -Otago Daily Times, 15/8/1863.



The old familiar adage relative to the disposition of time and. tide to wait for no man, has been adapted for modern use by being converted into the simple couplet

" Time, tide, and train 

For no man will remain."

but, for local application, it would be necessary to add to the list the coaches of King Cobb, and the latest "idea" — the steamer Tuapeka. It is from this disposition to move on, and somewhat from the erratic course pursued by the Tuapeka before reaching her destination on the Molyneux, that your correspondent is only now able to report fully upon the important and fortunately successful scheme of opening up the navigation of this really noble river. With the preliminaries to the enterprise of developing the capabilities of the Molyneux, by placing on its waters steamboats fitted for its navigation, the readers of the Daily Times, I presume, are already pretty fully acquainted, it is an enterprise which must, even to the pioneers of European civilization in Otago, have suggested itself as most desirable and some day to be achieved, but the "sinews of war" were wanting until the time when the fortunate discovery was made that, concealed under the waters of this same river and its tributaries, were those very sinews in the substantial form of good gold, diffused to an almost fabulous extent. On this discovery and its sequence — the attraction to the country of a numerous mining population — the project became developed into an absolute necessity, and it was in view of this necessity that the Provincial Government, encouraged by a subsidy the offer of Captain A. Murray to place upon the Molyneux a vessel capable of being navigated as far up as the locality of the gold field which was at the time in highest repute. In compliance with this accepted offer, Captain Murray, who had previously owned and commanded river steamers in such similar countries as Oregon and British Columbia, and more recently in South Australia, made arrangements for the introduction to these waters of one of his Murray river boats, the Settler, but, in anticipation of her non-arrival, placed upon the stocks at Port Chalmers the vessel since named the Tuapeka, and which has now accomplished the journey as far as her proper destination. — the river from which she derived her name. Built by Mr Isbister, fitted with engines from Messrs Fulton, of Melbourne, and furnished with iron-work by Messrs Ritchie and Easton, she was made as complete as possible in the details of her peculiar construction, and after performing the duty of a seven days' wonder at Dunedin and Port Chalmers, proceeded to sea on Saturday week, the object of mingled fear and hope as to her safely crossing the Molyneux bar, and subsequently accomplishing the service for which she was designed. 

It was eleven o'clock at night when the Tuapeka left Port Chalmers jetty. Usually at this hour the bar-parlours of the Port hostelries are more patronised by the population than its muddy streets, and this was the more to be expected on an evening when the cold might well be a caution to forms of life considerably more impervious to its influence than young snakes. But the Port Chalmerians took a paternal interest in the new boat, recognising her as not only the first but a very creditable effort of local resources and local skill, and the paternal instinct drew them in numbers to the pier when her hoarse whistle gave the signal for departure. It happened that at the same time the steamer Lady Barkly, purchased by Government for service in the North, was setting out for her destination, and, with the flash of their lights, the escape of steam, the blowing of whistles, and the cheering of the crowd, there was something like a touch of the melodramatic in the farewell given to the two boats. After passing the shipping and reaching the Heads, there was an interchange of whistling with the Wm. Miskin, and of double-bass shouting between Captain Lowden and the pilots on shore, which resulted in the Miskin following the Tuapeka as a convoy in case of accident, and in the "doucing" of the pilot's lights after the information had been conveyed that no boat was required. Over the bar, and out into the open sea, there was a very perceptible difference of motion, in sustaining which the Tuapeka was, on the affirmation of Captains Murray, Lowden, and Macdonald, understood to be ''doing bravely." to be "going over it like a little duck,' a simile which was no doubt, based upon intimate acquaintance with the habits of that variety of aquatic bird, but which was not so very apparent to the uninitiated or the squeamish. A similarity to ducks was more obviously developed by the same motion in its effect upon the landsmen on board, who insisted upon walking on the upper deck until, at least, Dunedin lights should be seen, and who did so with a great variety of gesticulation in the effort to preserve their respective centres of gravity. During this time the Wm. Miskin drew kindly alongside now and again, and inquiries were made if all was right, a creditable desire for information on the part of Captain Wilson, which was usually acknowledged by the answer, "All serene." Continuing in this condition of serenity, and steaming slowly on so as to time her arrival at the bar, the vessel passed along a coast line — much of which would, no doubt, have been interesting had it been visible, but which, as it was, was only suggestive of a few problems such as might be dealt with by the Dunedin Debating Club. Problem No. 1 Within what space of time may a new lighthouse be expected to be seen on Tairoa Head? No. 2 —Ditto, with reference to Cape Saunders. No 3 — Did Captain Cook really represent a channel as existing in the Ocean Beach? It was not long, however, until these questions, et hoc genus omne, gave place to the more immediate question as to the best position for the encouragement of sleep and the avoidance of squeamishness — a matter which unfortunately remained a problem till morning, when the Nuggets and the banks of the Molyneux were seen looming in the distance, amid the haze of heavy showers driven furiously on by a strong south-west breeze, against which the little vessel gallantly steamed. A very serious change of weather had ensued, but, luckily, by the time it had attained its climax of risk to a vessel so constructed as the Tuapeka, she was abreast of the long spit of sand which forms a grand barrier between the Molyneux and the sea; in a very few minutes more had reached the bar; and, having made the sharp turn necessary to take the true course, was soon over the line of breakers, and into the smooth waters ot the Molyneux basin, to the considerable gratification of those in charge.

The bar of the Molyneux is not the choicest morsel of coast sailing, but suffers somewhat more from the possession of a bad name than of real demerits. It is very generally said, too, that, even such demerits as it has, might be lessened by judicious operations, such as the blasting of rocks which interrupt the fairway, and some other improvements upon its natural condition. As described, it is only capable of admitting steam vessels drawing eight or ten feet at high water or half tide, and this, of course, not at all times on account of the prevailing surf, but, between the entrance and what are known as the Nuggets,there is, perhaps, as fine a roadstead as there is on this part of the coast of New Zealand. The regret at the natural inferiority of the harbor entraace is enhanced even on the first glimpse of the splendid basin of water formed inside by the confluence of the two branches of the Molyneux — a sheet of water as great in area as Dunedin Bay, and incomparably preferable to that bay by its greater and more regular depth. On entering, the Tuapeka ran right alongside the bank, at the termination of a piece of macadamized road, known by courtesy in the meantime as Pendennis-street, which street is intended to form the centre thoroughfare in the upper or business township of the Molyneux. The site selected for this township, so far as present appearances go, is a most miserable one, not so much on account of its position, which is probably the best, as on account of the swampy character of the ground. There are settlers in the vicinity who within late years have gone all over the ground in a whale-boat, and during the recant floods some of the few inhabitants have been under the necessity of imitating the Venetians; but there is no saving what wonderful transformation may not yet be effected by such operations of dyking and embanking, as have been so successful in retrieving many thousands of valuable acres in some of the eastern counties of England. As it is, some slight change has been initiated by the construction of sluice drains, and by the elevation of the edge of the bank, which was just parallel with the water when the Tuapeka moored alongside; the ground might be still improved and the settlement of the place encouraged. Already several large stores have been erected — the principal being those of Mr K. L. Begg, Mr Brewer, and Mr A. U. Begg; the meanest building on the ground being the exaggerated tea-box in which her Majesty's Customs are collected. More in the vicinity of the river's entrance, the first selected township is situated — and a very pretty situation it is - occupying part of some gently-rising ground, which, in all probability, will be chosen for the suburban homes of the merchants of Molyneux City as the present hamlet may possibly be called when it becomes the depot for the vast and valuable district which the river intersects. Contiguous to this, additions to the township have been laid off on private property, the sections finding a ready market so far, and still higher up is a fine stretch of rising ground on which is situated, amidst pleasing surroundings of bush and open parterre, the residence of Mr E. L. Begg. Skirting the upper end of the business township, the Puerua stream flows into the Molyneux, after traversing some low swamp land, and the pretty undulating country which surrounds the township, having sufficient fall in its passage to make it of value as a power for driving grain or sawmills. The next tributary to the great basin which consitutes the harbor is that branch of the Molyneux known in Maori as the Kaou, and flowing on the south side of Inch Clutha, It is this branch of the river which the Tuapeka ascended, the distance by it being considerably shorter than by the Matau; and, moreover, the navigation of the latter is so impeded in its upper reaches, though its current is less, that the possibility of its being traversed by the steamer in the meantime is very doubtful. Breasting the current of the Kaou, the Tuapeka steamed on, opening to the view a wide stretch of level country, the carse or strath land formed by the periodical overflow and deposit of the river. Though on the Inch there are some pretty patches of bush, in one of which the Maori Kaik is situated, the left bank of the river is destitute of timber, and the vast expanse resembles more a stretch of Illinois prairie than any other description of country, the abundant flax rather enhancing the illusion by its resemblance, in length and colour, to the prairie grass. Some distance further on its true New Zealand characteristics are, however, made apparent — first, by a few straggling cabbage trees, and then by so strong a muster of these peculiar specimens of vegetation that at a distance their appearance may not inaptly be compared to that of a regiment of gigantic grenadiers. But they are less a relief to the comparative monotony than is the native village. As the Tuapeka passed, and drew to the edge of the stream the wondering inmates ot the huts that were half-concealed among the trees, the picture of the Kaik was one which would be a gem in any photographist's portfolio. At this point the river preserves a comparatively straight course, but is soon diverted or divided into different channels by a succession of small islands covered with low Manuka scrub. It is here naturally, that a foretaste of the difficulties of the navigation is obtained, and though Captain Murray has an instinctive appreciation of the course of even the most intricate channel, and quickly calculates the strength of the '"pinches" to be gone over, it was well that he was accompanied by Captain Turnbull as his pilot. At one place, by the presence of a large snag, the channel is narrowed to fifty feet, this snag and some others in the vicinity of the Ferry being the most serious impediments to the navigation of the lower part of the stream, though there is otherwise a great deal requiring to be done to render it as free and open as is now to be desired. For a considerable time the schooner Clarendon has been employed in the work of raising snags, but she is admittedly a very inferior appliance for the service, and it will only be by the assistance of ths steamer, or by the use of some description of lighter more adapted for the purpose that much good can be effected. In the meantime Captain Murray only desires that the snags should be buoyed, relying upon the marvellously quick steering powers of his boat, and his own undoubted skill, to save her from the dangers which they apparently present. In the vicinity of these islands (one promontory of which was, by unanimous consent, distinguished as "Lowden's Grief," in honor of the circumstance of Captain Lowden having been here "stuck up " in the Oberon, by snag or sandbank), the first glimpse of cultivated country is obtained. On the one bank is the homestead of Mr Bowler, a gentleman who has the reputation of being a spirited improver, and on the other side the farm of Mr Shaw, who has done a great deal to embellish his place by the acclimatization of English trees, fruits and flowers. Still further up are the fine farms of the Messrs McNeil, situated more above the level of the stream than are the others, and immediately past them, the first glimpse of the Ferry township is obtained. On an exceedingly cold raw afternoon, as this particular one happened to be, the few scattered houses of which the township consists, made, perhaps, a less favourable impression than under a bright sky; but what it lacked in aspect, was made up for by the warmth of reception accorded to Captain Murray and his vessel by the assembled inhabitants. Before reaching the township, thus early in sight, a long detour has to be made against a stiff current, and amongst snags, and by the time the vessel reached the landing-place, all the local population was there, those possessing fowling-pieces — I think I may say positively to the number of six — firing a feu de joie as the steamer approached, which feu de joie was also enhanced by the village blacksmith firing, as I am reliably told, a stunning shot from his anvil, and from several fifty six pound weights, loaded for the occasion.

Notes of the trip, as far as the Tuapeka, and of a short run on the Matau branch of the river, I reserve for another publication.  -Otago Daily Times, 17/8/1863.


(Continued from August 22.) The few scattered houses which officiate as a township at the Molyneux Ferry cannot be said to constitute the most pleasant resort for the stranger. A slight acquaintance with the locality, however, reveals its possession of a few sources of entertainment which are by no means to be derided. It is exceedingly entertaining, for instance, to know that locomotion in and around the township is occasionally attainable only by the use of a boat or on horseback, the river line is intruding the waters of the Molyneux in rather close proximity to the thresholds of the inhabitants It is exceedingly entertaining also to watch the crossing of loaded punts, by what is certainly an ingenious application of the current; and, as an intending passenger, to be told that the construction of these punts is as close an approximation as possible to the construction most likely to ensure the ocurence of an accident — an item of information which future visitors to the Molyneux may not receive, as a change for the better has already been inaugurated. It is scarcely less entertaining to look across the river, and to find Balclutha, suggestive by its name of no end of Highland associations, to be a township consisting of Cobb and Co's stables, situated at the foot of a slope neither very simple in its character, nor yet very gentle, and contiguous to a piece of country apparently as little favorable to the growth of a township as nny locality on the river banks. These sundry sources of entertainment are enhanced by being realised on a morning when it is blowing and snowing with a determination auguring very indifferently for the realisation of that pleasure which, under any other circumstances, must be derived from a trip on the Molyneux. It required all the soothing influence of easy boots on this particular morning to inbue those on board the Tuapeka with the true spirit of the pioneer, and there was certainly no cavilling at the necessity which existed for Captain Murray running down stream before proceeding to his destination. It is exceedingly pleasant travelling, even to be going up the Molyneux in the Tuapeka. There is no travelling in Otago half so pleasant, quite apart from the achievements of "breasting the current," "annihilating distance," "overcoming tbe elements," and so on. But, going down stream, with a current of, say, six knots an hour, and the steamer going twelve more, is by far the better realisation of the desiderated feeling of the present day. It is remarkably jolly. Of course the jollity of the thing may be interrupted by such a coincidence as fouling a snag in the shape of some big tree skulking below the surface; but Captain Murray has a tact in detecting these, and in circumventing them which would restore the confidence of the most timorous. If a snag is seen a-head, as it usually is when there is no strong wind to disturb the water, the vessel's bow is kept almost straight for it so straight that the friendly passenger is tempted to suggest that she is bearing down upon it rather closely; but the only reply vouchsafed is "O. K." (which, being translated, means "all correct"); and the steamer keeps on her way, until her bows are apparently only a few feet from the snag. "'Hard-a-port," or "hard-a-starboard," is the turn then given to the wheel, and the stern pays off to a safe distance from the source of danger. It is in these sudden quick movements that the steering powers of the boat are put to the test and not less to the experience and tact of the pilot, whose education is very distinct from that of an ordinary "shell." By giving the snag too wide a berth the vessel might be run on to another, or on the bank, or by the stern coming in contact with the impediment, a vacuum might be created which, considering nature's abhorrence of the same, and the proximity of water to some depth, might not be altogether convenient. But a better preventative of these risks is the entire removal of such interruptions to the navigation, and that once effected, there are few streams in the southern hemisphere which could compete with the Molyneux in its facilities for traffic

After passing, in this manner, the few difficulties which exist below the ferry, cargo was landed at several homesteads along the banks, the vessel merely rounding to, and steaming "quite slow" until the goods were discharged, or the head-rope is made fast for the time to such simple moorings as a flax root or a cabbage-tree, and, when the goods are discharged, it casts off, and away the vessel steama, turning in the stream without the use of ropes or spring-lines on any occasion. Tide or landing waiters not being provided in these native wilds, there is the same free and easy discharge and embarkation of goods as on the rivers and railroads of America, and it was impossible during this frip to resist the thought that, if there is on the Molyneux the same appreciation of classical associations as among the Americans, the day may not be very far distant when the nucleus of a city destined to rival the ancient Mistress of the World may be represented by three bags of potatoes and an undressed pole surmounted by a board bearing the name of "Rome," or when "Athens," similarly indicated, and populated solely by the proprietor of a grog shanty, will become the emporium of one case of gin. In the States, this connection of the classics with commerce, and of the sublime with the ridiculous, is a pleasing feature of the rural mind. Passing with a quick turn out of the Kaou and into the Matau branch of the river, the steamer in short time reaches the jetty which Mr Lewis, the lessee ot the Clutha coal-field, has erected at the end of the tramway by which he has established ready communication with Coal Point. As fuel, the Tuapeka uses wood and coal together, her consumption of both being very trifling, and to test their value some tons of the coals here obtained were taken on board, and the vessel proceeded up the Matau as for as the township of Kaitangata. Had time permitted, and had enthusiasm in the cause of science and the Daily Times not leaked out at one's finger ends, like Bob Acres' courage, as rapidly as the caloric escaped from the same digital extremities under the influence of cold and snow, a visit would have been paid to this coal mine, but, under the circumstances, it was agreed upon by those on board that an examination of the coal would be most wisely made as near the steamer's furnace as possible. It may be stated, however, that the seam of coal from which this supply was obtained is of the unusual depth of twenty feet, and, that though the outcrop, which necessarily came first into use, gave indifferent promise of their quality, the coals now wrought are, as experienced on this trip, really well adapted even for steam purposes. Being less dense than the Newcastle or English coals, the quantity consumed and the steam produced are of course not in the same proportions, but still their steam-producing powers are sufficient to make them one of the most valuable of the resources of the Clutha district. It is significant, also, as to the probability of their greatly extended use, that many of the settlers in the neighborhood, now that facilities exist for their conveyance, obtain considerable supplies for domestic purposes, though firewood is here not so much a want as it is in many other parts of the Province. In the working of this valuable seam, some difficulty was at first experienced in consequence of the ready accumulation of water, but this has lately been to a great extent overcome; and the operation of blasting, which the thickness of the seam permits of goes on more freely; the coals being brought to the beach on the tramway referred to, in connection with which a stationary steam engine has been placed upon the ground, although not yet brought into use. 

The Matau is a branch of the river which, by the picturequeness of its surroundings, by its easier navigation wnere it is navigable, and by the more general settlement of its banks, has advantages in some respects superior to those of the Kaou. As a set-off to these, it has, however, the fault of being exceedingly tortuous, and of being literally closed in at its upper extremity by an army of snags. At its lower end, and in the vicinity of Kaitingata and the balloon (a patch of bush, so called from iti resemblance to the shape of a balloon) there is easy and pleasant sailing, the currrent being trifling, and each curve of the stream presenting some new picture to delight the eye. It was so far unfortunate that throughout this trip by the Tuapeka, the country was pressnted under a very unfavorable aspest; the five days occupied in moving hither and thither on the Molyneux being about the severest that Captain Murray may expect to experience in Otago. Still, with this drawback, the man would be very hypercritical who would dispute the natural attractions of this neighborhood, or deny the pleasures of the excursion, even though his feet and fingers should have threatened fiost-bite, his nose become a filter, and his appetite for the "best brands" being immoderately intensified. Much of the beauty of this neighborhood is due to Nature; the picturesquely vavied contour of the ranges, the intermingling of bush and open country, and the winding stream — the resort of flocks of wild fowl — constituting an oasis among even the general attractions of the district. And upon these natural resources several of the settlers — Mr George Maitland and others — have considerably improved: establishing homesteads in choice situations, and enlivening the scene by the erection of pleasant Swiss cottages in the midst of appropriate surroundings. In these situations, wild duck and other water-fowl were, not long ago, so numerous as to satisfy the most verdant of Cockney sportsmen; but the "march of intellect" has inconvenienced them considerably, and we were only able to catch a glimpse of a few flocks, as the hoarse whistle of the steamer awoke the dormant echoes of the hills. One handsome bird which frequents the banks is the white heron, a bird that is described as somewhat shy, meaning, I presume, that is averse to an acquaintance with small shot, which it would, in all honesty, be a shame to use. The stream itself, it is said, abounds with eels and a small sprat-like fish, the former retiring far into the soft sludge of the river banks and the contiguous swamps during the winter season, and there remaining in a state of coma. Such at least, is the belief of an old settler who kindly treated us to a dissertation on their domestic habits. In addition to these, the stream, about halfway to Kaitangata, conceals the remains of Captain Cook — not of course, the celebrated navigator, but an immense snag, which by some strange process of reasoning, has been distinguished by that name. There are on the Molyneux some "fellows of infinite jest," who gratify their fancy, in the description of snags, by employing such appellatives as Captain Cook, Rob Roy, Mons Meg, and others similar. Of all his class, Captain Cook is the most formidable, 

"Yet lies he there, 

And none so poor to do him reverence," 

or so rich as to do what might serve a better purpose — to insert into his trunk a few pounds of good blasting-powder, and blow him into smithereens. Arrived at Kaitangata — a township only represented at present by the house of Mr De Costa, but very promisingly situated — the vessel was moored for the night, and next morning the return journey was made, without yet one alleviating circumstance in the character of the bitter weather experienced. There were hearty spirits on board, however, some of whom warmed themselves by aiding to ship cargo at the beach, and alongside the ketch Pryde, laden with timber and iron for the Government jetties at the ferry. Others proceeded ashore near the Maori kaik, with the intention of visiting a Maori reputed to be well "posted" in the navigation of the stream towards Tuapeka, which was to be undertaken on the following day. The ambition of the Maories to possess the absolute comforts of life is described as being less strong than their desire for its luxuries, and the cottage visited was certainly an illustration of the perverted taste. Luxury there was in the form of black and oily cutty pipes protruding from the lips of two rather "winsome lasses," and one of the visitors was eloquent in his description of their relish for stewed eels and manuka tea. In the shape of comforts, a bedstead had once been acquired, but was now destitute of either bottom or bed clothes, and there the inventory of the furniture must cease, the remainder, it would be charitable to assume, being at the nearest pawnbroker's. At the request of the party, an old Maori paddled off in his log canoe — a suggestive contrast to the steamer close by - for the purpose of procuring the reputed navigator, who subsequently came on board, but his good wife had misgivings that he might get drowned, or "get too much drunk;" at any rate he did not accompany us. Passing, on the banks, numerous reminiscences of the late floods, in the form of palings, water-wheels, and the disjecta membra of stores and shanties, the steamer returned to the Ferry late in the evening, and was held in all readiness for a start to the Tuapeka on the morrow.  -Otago Daily Times, 24/8/1863.

The Tuapeka's story, as told by the "special reporter" is one which has not appeared, despite plenty of searching, in "Papers Past," my main source of material.  To find it will require a visit to the Dunedin Public Library for access to microfiche and probable eyestrain headache, when I have the time.

The "Tuapeka" became a fixture on the lower Clutha for many years, until -


During the heavy gale which sprung up on Wednesday afternoon, the Clutha river steamer Tuapeka was struck by a heavy squall near Coal Point, and sank in ten feet of water, where she now lies moored head and stern under the bank, her upper deck being a mark at low water. —Bruce Herald.   -Evening Star, 24/7/1873.

We gladly learn from the Clutha that there is every prospect of the steamer Tuapeka being soon afloat and plying in her old trade.  -Bruce Herald, 2/12/1873.

Sales by Auction

WEDNESDAY, 17th DECEMBER, At 12 o'clock. 



are instructed by the Victoria Insurance Company to sell by auction at their Rooms, Manse street, on Wednesday, 17th December, at 12 o'clock, 



Terms at sale.  -Otago Daily Times, 12/12/1873.

The steamer Tuapeka, which years ago traded in Dunedin harbour, where she was known from her peculiar whistle as "the donkey," and, from her stern wheel, as "the wheelbarrow," was yesterday offered for sale by Messrs McLandress, Hepburn, and Co.; "as she now lies on the banks of the Molyneux.'' The highest bid was £675, at which sum she was passed in on account of the underwriters.  -Otago Daily Times, 18/12/1873.


Wanted till noon on Wednesday, 21st inst., for Repairing and Launching the steamer Tuapeka, now lying on the left bank of the Molyntux. 

Specifications to be seen at the Offices of the Victoria Insurance Company, Manse street, Dunedin. 

The lowest or any tender not necessarily accepted.  -Evening Star, 13/1/1874.

From a private telegram we learn that the steamer Tuapeka, lately sunk at the month of the Molyneux, River, and raised by Messrs Jackson Bros., of Port Chalmers, has been effectually repaired and relaunched by Messrs Bassett and Mason on behalf of the underwriters. She is reported to be as staunch and strong as ever, and steamed up the river to Balclutha without the slightest hitch.   -Otago Daily Times, 17/2/1874.

Intelligence was received in town last night, we believe, to the effect that the stern wheel steamer Tuapeka had again sunk in the Molyneux on Wednesday. This steamer had only received a thorough overhaul, consequent upon the effects of a previous immersion at the beginning of the year, and was then considered to be about as good as ever.  -Otago Daily Times, 12/6/1874.

Owing to the lowness of the Molyneux river of late, the raising of the steamer Tuapeka has again been successfully completed, under the direction of Captain Tyson and Mr Robert Mason, of Castle-street, Dunedin, who was sent down for the purpose by Captain Russell, agent of the Insurance Cos. When raised it was found that there were two holes in her bottom, one 2ft. long by 11 inches wide, the other not quite so large. Captain Tyson and Mr Mason marked the snag on which she ran for the purpose of getting it out. The steamer is to be built up into airtight compartments to prevent wreckage by the same means. The trade of the river is at this time considerable in coal, grain, and sundries. The cost of raising this steamer, in both accidents, has been upwards of L700. Much credit is due to the energy of the parties engaged in the work, who report her timbers in good order and sound.   -Bruce Herald, 30/6/1874.

The steamer Tuapeka is a most unfortnate craft. She has again taken up her old quarters at the bottom of the river. When proceeding down the Kawau branch yesterday forenoon, and when opposite Mr Griffith's, she struck upon a snag and immediately filled with water. .An attempt was was made to run her ashore, but was only partially successful. She now lays with her bows on the beach, and her stern under water. She had on board at the time of the accident 200 bags of wheat and potatoes.  -Clutha Leader, 27/8/1874.

In December it is reported that a new hull was being built for the Tuapeka but it seems that the steamer did not rturn to the river. At the end of the month references are being made to the "late" Tuapeka.  In March, 1875, all outstanding claims against the steamer are being called for.


Balclutha, April 27th, 1875. The navigation of the Lower Molyneux has once again been attempted in earnest, and upon this occasion with every promise of proving a most unqualified success. The old Tuapeka steamer, which used to ply spasmodically up and down the river upon such occasions as whenever public pressure was brought upon the Government so as to induce them to subsidise their efforts, has been finally dismantled and the machinery transhipped to a new boat named The Balclutha, owned by Mr G. F. Reid, of Dunedin, and built here at Port Molyneux, by Mr Robert Mason, who also designed the vessel after an original plan of his own, and one which experience gained on the Molyneux suggested. The Balclutha made her trial trip on Monday last, and after steaming up to Kaitangata, where she took in a large quantity of coals together with 80 tons of cargo, making, with a quantity of railway sleepers, which she previously had on board, a total of some 150 tons, she steamed up the main branch of the Molyneux to Balclutha, where she arrived in the evening. The steamer behaved splendidly, and was turned round in her own length, while she can also be run sideways on to the banks, so that passengers only have to jump from her bows on to the shore. With her large cargo on board her draught of water was only three feet. The Balclutha will trade further up the river as far as the Greenfield Station, and probably to the Tuapeka Mouth, 30 miles above this place. 

The Molyneux here presents a very different aspect from what it does at the Dunstan; it must be at least a quarter of a mile wide, and bordered by some of the most magnificent pasture lands it is possible to imagine. The great flat of the Molyneux is all low lying, and the river forms several islands — that of Inch Clutha is about ten miles long by two broad, and contains some magnificent farms. The growth of the pasture lands is extraordinary, and the cattle cannot eat it down. Crops of oats yield from seventy to eighty bushels to the acre, and the farmers sell their produce readily to Dunedin speculators; their market is absolutely at their very doors. Besides Inch Clutha their are several other small islands, beautifully wooded and highly picturesque. Those near the sea are apparently well stocked with pheasants, and they may be frequently seen flying to and fro between their island homes and the main land. Where the waters of the great river discharge into the sea is a sight worth seeing. There has evidently been a great estuary at one time, but the overwhelming power of the rollers setting in from the great Pacific Ocean, has beat up a large sandspit like an enormous embankment almost across the whole length of its mouth, keeping the river back towards the land until the whole volume of the water is collected almost up into a corner, when it further defies the thunders of Old Neptune, and enters by a narrow channel into the old sea god’s kingdom. Far out to sea may he distinguished the brown hue of the waters of the Molyneux, which appear to refuse for a long time to blend themselves with the emerald green of the ocean, an evidence of the body of water discharged by the father of New Zealand rivers. The current here runs about four miles an hour, and its strength is such that, although the river rises and falls with the tide during the last six miles of its course the sea water never enters, and right up to the bar where the two aqueous elements embrace each other the water is as fresh as at the Dunstan; and, I am told that in very calm weather it may be dipped up in scarcely a brackish state for some distance seaward. In cases when the river is very low the water inside the bar as far as Port Molyneux may be a little brackish, but this very seldom occurs. Mr Reid’s steamer, The Balclutha, must prove a very valuable addition to the commerce of the Lower Molyneux, and cannot fail but to open up a very valuable trade. Farmers by her means are placed in direct communication with Dunedin, as Mr Reid’s steamer the Lady of the Lake runs in conjunction with her. I do not generally agree with the principles of Government subsidies, but if Mr Reid continues his boat on the river, so that her services are of important public benefit, he should after a stated period be entitled to some special recognition of his services. For a single-handed enterprise it is something considerably beyond the common.  -Dunstan Times, 7/5/1875.


"Early Balclutha" in the Otago Witness, 21/9/1920. (1) Courthouse and police station. (2) Presbyterian Church. (3) Algie's baker's shop. (4) First schoolhouse. (5) Ferry house. The stern wheel paddle steamer, Tuapeka, which plied between Port Molyneux and Tuapeka Mouth, with Captain Murray in charge, is seen moored to the jetty.

I do not know (yet) whether steamers attempted trade further upriver than Tuapeka Mouth.  But I have found an account of a pleasure trip beyond it.  It shows a river whose navigation - at least going up - would have taxed any steamer physically and made the cost of fuel prohibitive.

A Trip Up River in a House Boat.

It is now close on 30 years since Messrs Hartley and Riley, in a small boat, essayed the navigation of the Clutha River as far up as the Dunstan. Their boat was a suitable one, and carried six men all told. The voyage took six weeks. Knowing this, it will probably be readily conceded that Messrs W. S. Pillans and H. J. Day, of Balclutha, undertook a task of no mean magnitude when they started to navigate the river as far as the Teviot (Roxburgh) in the first-named gentleman's house-boat, a craft 17ft long and 5ft 6in beam. Owing to the size of the house, which contains two comfortable bunks with an extension table between, which can be reduced or enlarged at pleasure, nearly the whole of the boat is taken up, and effective rowing is out of the question. The voyagers, therefore, were dependent upon the wind to enable them to sail, and when it failed there was nothing left but to track by means of a stout rope, the strength of which, by the wav, was fully tested during the journey. As many people know, much has been written and said about the practicability of opening the river for steam navigation to the Teviot, and about two years ago Mr G. M. Barr, C.E., was appointed to examine it and report as to what was necessary to effect this desirable end. Messrs Pillans and Day unfortunately omitted to obtain a copy of Mr Barr's report; and consequently had not the benefit of his observation. They came to the conclusion, however, that very great difficulties are in the way of satisfactory navigation at present, and that a large expenditure of money will be necessary to remove them, and even then they doubt if the river beyond Tyson's sawmill could be made a commercial success unless punctuality and safety can be well assured. The danger to steam navigation lies in the rapid current and the extremely dangerous rocks, which are numerously distributed all the way up the river. The rocks can be avoided going up, but coming down with the current it is not so easy. To illustrate how rapid the current is — whilst it took Messrs Pillans and Day nine days to get to Teviot they returned in 10 hours.

The following extracts from their log may prove interesting: —

Saturday, 21st February. — Left Clydevale Station at 10.30 a.m., and sailed on to Rongahere (Rankleburn), about two miles above Tuapeka Mouth, reaching there at 5 p.m. A charming little spot this, just in the bend of the river; wooded hills coming down on both sides close to the water, the river running silently between. Made fast on a small beach; heard a wild fowl cry during the night, and in the morning picked up a dead petrel lying close to the boat. Quite a number of settlers about Rongahere, which possesses a public school attended by 25 children. Settlers very anxious to see regular steam communication with Balclutha, in which case they could grow some produce and get it to market. At present they are destitute of roads.

Sunday, 22nd February. — Left Rongahere at 11 a.m. with very light wind. Reached Tyson's sawmill, between two and three miles above Rongahere, at 1.30. Kindly treated by Mrs Tyson and Mr Dunlop. Started after dinner, Mr Dunlop accompanying us as far as the first rapids, about two miles further on. Got through them without difficulty, wind having freshened. Second rapids two miles up. Here met with our first mishap. Standing across the river struck a sunken rock heavily, causing the boat to leak badly, and brought up shortly afterwards for the night. So far we have sailed all the way, but intend to start tracking in the morning if there be no wind. River, from Balclutha to Tyson's sawmill, is good. See nothing to prevent the steamer Matau becoming a regular trader, Tyson's sawmill should furnish timber cargoes. Mr Tyson very anxious that steamer should run, and we see no reason why she should not.  (Tyson's mill was on a site with good access to timber and water power, but very bad roads) River presents no greater difficulties than it does to Tuapeka Mouth, where the Matau has already been. Water from Tuapeka Mouth to Tyson's is excellent, with the exception of short piece from the mouth to Rongahere; the river runs straight between the hills, and no obstacles. Hillsides very pretty, covered with large manuka scrub and young birch trees, which are singularly like macrocarpa. Many native pigeons and kakas flying about, offering plenty of sport when the shooting season begins. Locality is reached by way of Lawrence; distance about 15 miles. Much struck with the absence of rabbits along the river banks; scarcely any to be seen.

Monday, 23rd February. — Reached the Beaumont to-day, and were comfortably entertained by Mr Nash, of the hotel there. The work to-day has been of a very arduous character, tracking all the way to within a couple of miles of the Beaumont, when the river opened out and we were able to sail. The roar of the rapids has been in our ears all day, and in many places it was hard work to haul the boat along. We consider that it would be a most hazardous piece of navigation for the Matau. Were told of the wreck of a dredge while being taken down. It struck on a rock and was broken up. Country has opened up somewhat: several small flats with good crops on them, but small area; hills very rugged and bare. Towards Beaumont there is more open country, and we saw some excellent fields of wheat and oats, tired with our day's work.

Tuesday, 24th. — Made Kilpatrick's claim to-day. Harder work than ever. Channel at this point quite impassable, owing to the fierce rush of water. Tracking all day; one ahead with the towing-rope, the other at the steer oar or overboard pushing the boat up. In some places the fall so great that it seemed like pushing the boat up a perfect 'step' of water. Hands getting sore, and work beginning to tell on us. Been in the water more or less all day. Several times took us all we knew to hold the boat, the rush was so great. Boat leaking badly, causing inconvenience. Another series of rocks just ahead of us, indicating more rough work for to-morrow.

Wednesday, 251h. — Got to the Island Block to-day, and were most hospitably entertained by the managing direetor of the Island Block Company, Mr Rawlins, C.E., and his genial assistants — Messrs Preust and Greene. Much interested in the claim, which is worked day and night in a very complete manner. The water for the claim is taken from the Talla, Fruid, and Minzion Creeks at an elevation of 800ft, and the force at the claim is so great that it spouts stones, nearly as big as a man's head, and earth up through the jet elevator at the rate of a ton a minute. It is satisfactory to be able to say that Mr Rawlins' skill and enterprise is meeting with the reward it deserves, in the shape of splendid gold returns. We might mention just here that since our return we have heard that Mr Rawlins has been given the sole management of the Island Block Extended Company Claim, and we feel sure, from what we saw at the Island Block, it could not be in better hands.

Before leaving the Island Block we saw the claim in full swing at night by means of the electric light. No one could imagine the magnitude of the work and the weirdness of the scene from a mere description. The enormous paddock, sunk to a depth of 15 or 20 feet below the bed of the Clutha, made as light as day, the three men working the water, directing the nozzles, causing earth and boulders to vanish as by magic, the men's giant shadows on the walls of the paddock, and the rush and roar of the water through the pipes must be seen, and heard to be appreciated. Pandemonium is its only parallel.

Thursday, 26th. — Left the Island Block at 9.30 a.m. Encountered a succession of rapids and broken water between it and the Minzion Burn, where we brought up for the night, having negotiated four miles of the worst water we have yet seen, Thoroughly knocked up. Bad water ahead for about half-a-mile. Hands so sore with towing decided to get help over this bad bit. 

Friday, 27th. — Engaged J. McGrath to help to track for a mile or two, and found him a valuable ally. After going about a mile the wind sprung up, and carried us right on past Dunbarton rock. Proceeding onwards we reached the outskirts of Roxburgh township before dark, and our journey terminated. 

Saturday,. 28th. — Spent the forenoon in Roxburgh. Inquired vainly for Roxburgh fruit. We were told ultimately and in confidence that we could buy Roxburgh fruit cheaper in Dutiedin, and we decided to wait till we got there.

Before leaving, had a friendly visit from Messrs Whiting, Haines, and Mitchell, two of them old acquaintances, and they remained with us until we cast off on our return journey. We left Teviot at noon, and shortly aftewards hoisted our sail to a fair breeze. Mount Benger, Moa Flat, the Ettrick Burn, and Millers Flat were passed, in quick succession as we raced through the best water of the whole trip. Dredges came in sight and were left behind before we could take a good look at them. 

Dredging for gold appears to be a thriving industry, judging from the number of dredges at work on the river and others being built. Of the latter we saw three — two wooden and one iron — in various stages of construction.

Coming in sight of the bend above the Minzion brought to our recollection the troubles of the upward trip, as we tore and plunged through the waves, sometimes taking the water in over the bow of the boat. What occupied all our strength and nautical ingenuity for several hours going up was safely passed in a few minutes going down, and before long the charming landscape down the river from the Island Block was in sight. Very soon, too, we reached the landing, having done in exactly 26 minutes a distance that took 10 hours two days before. Scrambling up to the house, we found our friend Mr Greene. He handed us over to the tender mercies of the Celestial Charlie; who quickly made us a cup of tea and provided other good things. Leaving messages of remembrance for Mr Rawlins and Mr Preust, an hour afterwards saw us again afloat. Passing the dredge moored a short distance above the Talla Burn, we sped on, catching a glimpse of Mr and Mrs Stevenson (who had kindly supplied us with milk and eggs going up) on their little farm at the month of the Talla Burn. A wave of a handkerchief, and they were out of sight, and shortly afterwards Kilpatrick's claim was seen. Owing to the number of channels through the rocks at this point, we decided to adopt a line of safety, and lowered the boat through with our towline, fearing that the current might otherwise take command of us, and dash the boat on the rocks. Twenty minutes concluded the job and saw all hands aboard again, and away. Twenty minutes brought us in sight of the Beaumont, with our clever little friend Tatty Fraser standing on the bridge, and waving her hand and smiling as we passed through underneath. 'Goodbye Tatty,' and we were out of hearing. Proceeding onwards we looked for Mr Eliott, who had been kind to us going up, about his farm, but he was not to be seen. On we went, driving and plunging through the first rapid below the Beaumont, and in it we came to grief, for the boat crashed on to the top of a sunken rock, and in an instant had swung broadside on, with our house almost flat in the water. We just had time to make a grab at our life-belts, when a surge came which lifted us off the rock into deep water below, and a strong sweep with the steer oar put us right again, and away we went once more. But it was a nasty experience, involving as it did the closest shave we had to a struggle for dear life in an extremely uncompromising place. Had it not been for that most opportune surge the chances were that this veracious account would not have been written. Be that as it may, however, satisfying ourselves that the boat was not seriously injured, fresh dangers soon obliterated the past, and to the inspiriting strains of 'Our Jack's come home to-day' we threaded our way through the rocks and rift at racing speed. At Paul's rocks we stopped for half-an-hour to go ashore and pick up two heavy trolly wheels for Messrs Tyson and Dunlop. The wheels on board, we started again, with a head wind, paddling our way to the sawmill, which we reached at 7 o'clock — six hours and a-half, deducting stoppages, from the Teviot. Mr Dunlop was soon with us offering hospitality, and we decided to stay the night. 

In the morning we took advantage of the mill crane to hoist the boat out of the water to enable an examination of her injuries to be made. Fortunately these were light, and she was soon in the water again. Starting with a fair wind Clydevale was soon reached, just as the good people were going to church. We were sorry to miss seeing Mr and Mrs Mitchell (who were at church), as we wished to renew our thanks for their kindness to us; but a storm was brewing, and we were anxious to get home. Taking the middle channel of Ecclefechan we literally dropped into plain sailing below, and finally reached our destination at half-past 1, or three hours and a-half after leaving Tyson's mill. And so ends the story of our trip.

When asked by our friends whether it was a pleasure trip, we shake our heads but say yes; for truly our minds are filled with many pleasant recollections. The kindness and exuberant hospitality of the dwellers by the waterside must be experienced to be fully appreciated; anyway it sunk deeply into our hearts. And perchance when our worthy imitators essay the task of going up the Clutha in a boat, our lately-made friends will remember the two men in a strange looking craft who passed by in March of the year eighteen hundred and ninety-one.  -Clutha Leader, 20/3/1891.