The Fo’c’sle Museum Aboard TSS Earnslaw
We went to visit the fo’c’sle – short for forecastle or the pointy bit cabin, once crew’s quarters, there we found the on board museum of this incredible Lady of the Lake, the TSS Earnslaw or Twin Screw Steamer Earnslaw. On the wall was her official number and registration tonnage, just as we have to display ours. Beez ON – official number is 91474 and her net-ton is 14, tiny by comparison.
Her lovely port and starboard navigation lights.
We looked at her substantial rivets on the wall and her sturdy wooden floor.
The “Bourden” Gauge, a new one on us, uses a semi-circular tube to which the medium to be measured is connected. Changes in pressure cause the tube to expand or contract, this movement is transmitted to a pointer. A scale shows the pressure or vacuum reading. We then spent some time looking at the wonderful photographs on the walls, thank you to all those who donated them, giving us this look back into the history of the ladies of the lake.
The Screw Steamer Victoria – ex Yarra River, Melbourne, arrived at Lake Wakatipu in 1863, renamed Venus in 1874.
The paddle steamer Antrim launched in 1868.
The launching of the Jane Williams at Town Creek, Queenstown in 1872, later she was renamed Ben Lomond. Sadly, she was scuttled in 1952. Loading passengers and freight.
Lake Wakatip Mail advertising the steamers in 1877.
The Lake Wakatipu Steamer Fleet in the 1920’s. The Mountineer, 1872. The Ben Lomond, 1879 and the TSS Earnslaw, 1912.
The paddle steamer Mountaineer being launched at Kingston in 1879. She had to be refitted after a major fire.
The paddle steamer Theodore launched on Lake Wanaka in 1881. The cutter Mystery II launched in 1882 at Queenstown Wharf.
The Ben Lomond berthed at Queenstown after her major refit in 1885.
The paddle steamer Mountaineer at Kinloch in the 1890’s and in Queenstown with Eichardts Hotel in the background.
Passenger Launch Thelma on Lake Wakatipu in 1910.
TSS Earnslaw being prefabricated by John McGregor, two triple expansion steam engines being assembled, Dunedin 1911.
TSS Earnslaw’s reassembly at Kingston at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu, 1911. Her hull complete and ready for launching.
The wheelhouse and final fittings to the promenade deck - 1912.
About to commence her maiden voyage to the head of the lake and invited guests on the 19th of October 1912.
Captain J.B. Robertson at the helm for her maiden voyage and the crew.
TSS Earnslaw seen at the steamer wharf in Queenstown in 1916, grand outfits on the punters.
TSS Earnslaw on the slipway at Kelvin Grove being surveyed and repainted in 1944.
Queenstown can be proud to boast the oldest working, full sized, stationary, fire tubed boiler in New Zealand. The engines and boiler of the Wakatipu paddle steamer, the Antrim, are still used today to haul the TSS Earnslaw up the slipway at Kelvin Grove. This coal fired boiler celebrated its 100th birthday on the 1st of September 1993. When the Antrim was built in 1868 a wood fired locomotive type boiler was installed which was replaced by a coal fired boiler and it is this system which is used on the slipway today. In 1920 the fifty six tonne paddle steamer was dismantled and the engines and coal fired boiler were removed and taken to the slipway, where they were geared to a winding drum winch, this new haulage system was used for the first time when slipping the TSS Earnslaw in 1922. Every two years the heart of the Antrim pulls the TSS Earnslaw on to dry land for an inspection of her plates, the actual process of hauling her can take up to four hours, the hull is then cleaned and checked by the Ministry of Transport Surveyors.
Early 1960’s truck being loaded onboard, likely headed for Glenorchy.
Sheep, cars and visitors arrive at Mount Nicholas Station. Sheep were a common cargo before road access to high country stations.
Loading wool and grain, also a bulldozer at Mount Nicholas Station.
TSS Earnslaw unloading a car and freight at Kinloch, the starting point for the famous Routeburn Valley bus tour.
TSS Earnslaw undergoing a major refit in 1984.
TSS Earnslaw in Beach Bay returning to Queenstown, as she still looks today.
ALL IN ALL A WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS