NZ SCOWS GRAVEYARD
Scows are wooden vessels, almost flat-bottomed, and designed to be a large platform for carrying goods along a coastline. In the early days of New Zealand there were simply no roads at all, and everything was carried by water. In fact, there is a suggestion that the efficiency of this coastal transport system retarded development of land infrastructure, and only after the Great Depression, when plentiful, cheap labour became available, and public roading projects were in vogue, did the road and rail system become serious competitors to the coastal traders.

Scow 'May' Click on image for full size
Scow 'JANE GIFFORD'
Rebuilt by Waiuku Historical Society
All the original vessels were fitted with masts and sails, and were able to cover surprising distances. A check of the list below reveals names of vessels ending their days as far away as the Gulf of Carpentaria, in Australia, and in Papua New Guinea. In each case these vessels had made their own way there. Later, as engines became cheaply available most vessels were fitted with early petrol engines, a risky procedure by today's standards, and the probable cause of several recorded fires and explosions.

The scows were built when kauri timber was plentiful, and these small but effective shipyards were usually estabished near the shipping points for the timber that was being stripped from the bushland in the hills behind. In fact, many of the scows were designed for exactly that trade, being loaded with immense logs until they appeared to be dipping through the swells rather than riding over them.

The long list of losses on various harbour bars illuminates another factor in the existence of these remarkable craft. Their shallow draft allowed them to navigate West Coast bars and East Coast bays alike, but not always with impunity. Virtually every harbour on the west coasts of both islands of New Zealand have bars and wild surf that still regularly claims lives.

It is also worth noting that all the New Zealand built craft were constructed at or north of Auckland. This was because they were built of Kauri, and the Kauri tree does not grow naturally south of a line from Kawhia Harbour, on the west coast, to north of Tauranga on the east coast. The most plentiful and best timber was in Northland.


The following list is drawn directly from Mike Subritzky's 'Subritzky Shipping', with his permission, and with only minor corrections.
First time owners' names have been omitted for easier display;buy Mike's book!
Name
Built
Builder
Length
Beam
Fate
ADVANCE
1903
William Brown, Kaipara
74'9''
20'9''
1915, wrecked at Wreck Bay, Sydney, Australia.
ALEDA
1897
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
94'5''
24'0''
1959, foundered under tow with a load of cement.
ALMA
1902
George T. Nicol, Auckland
79'6''
25'6''
1993, now at Rawene, Hokianga. To be restored.
ALTAIR
1903
George T. Nicol, Auckland
74'3''
21'4''
1939-1945, wrecked on a reef north of Sydney, Australia.
ALWYN G.
1925
David Darroch, Auckland
66'0''
18'7"
Renamed 'SUCCESS'. See details under that name.
ANA
 
No details
 
 
1884 Wrecked on Sunken Rock, Auckland.
ANN
1897
George T. Nicol, Auckland
89'5'
26'5"
Was 'HAVOC'. 1936, converted into a barge, register closed.
ARGYLE
1897
George T. Nicol, Auckland
83'4''
23'8''
Was 'TALLY HO'. 1929, converted into a barge, register closed.
ARRAH NA
POGUE
1912
George T. Nicol, Auckland
116'0''
33'2''
Renamed 'CATHKIT' in 1912. 1993, still afloat, unseaworthy, at Electrona, Tasmania.
BEE
1891
John Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
71'8"
19'6''
1929, converted into a barge, register closed.
BITTERN
1898
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
43'3"
12'0''
1906, register closed when sold to Dutch subjects.
BRAVO
1897
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
94'5''
24'0''
1918, converted into a lighter, register closed.
BRITON
1903
Davies Brothers, Kaipara
43'7''
16'6''
1929, wrecked at Milford.
CAED MILE
FAILTE
1911
George T. Nicol, Auckland
92'6''
27'6''
Renamed 'KOHI' in 1914. See details for 'KOHI'.
CATHKIT
1912
George T. Nicol, Auckland
116'0''
33'2"
Built as 'ARRAN NA POGUE'. 1993, still afloat, unseaworthy, at Electrona, Tasmania.
CLYDE
1885
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
86'2''
22'5''
1923, stranded then broke up, Ross River, (Townsville) QLD, Australia.
COMBINE
1910
George T. Nicol, Auckland
80'4''
21'5''
1960, register still open.
CURLEW
1907
George T. Nicol, Auckland
94'3''
30'8''
1914, lost at Nambucca River, NSW, Australia.
DANDY
1901
Charles Bailey Jr., Auckland
97'0''
25'1''
Renamed 'SELWYN' in 1912. See details for 'SELWYN'.
DAPHNE
1907
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
66'9''
18'5''
Renamed 'RAHIRI' in 1926. See details for 'RAHIRI'.
DOMINION
1908
Charles D. Gouk, Auckland
67'0''
19'0''
1950, capsized off Rangitoto, rotted away in Whangarei.
DUNGARVON
1886
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
52'5"
14'3''
1932, register closed, broken up.
ECHO
1905
William Brown & Sons, Kaipara
104'3''
25'5''
1993, ashore at Picton, now a museum.
ECLIPSE
1895
George T. Nicol, Devonport, Auckland
102'3''
27'2''
1898, last known at Sydney, NSW, Australia. No other details known.
EDITH
1905
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
58'5''
17'0''
1925, converted into a barge, register closed.
ERA
1902
George T. Nichol, Auckland
77'0"
24'2''
1925, converted into a barge, register closed.
ESME
1908
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
64'5''
18'2''
1993, owned by Williams family, Hokianga. No further details.
ETHEL WELLS
1908
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
66'0"
18'5''
1975, last recorded in the Pacific Islands.
EUNICE
1902
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
110'4''
27'5''
1917, wrecked on the Wanganui Bar, total loss, crew saved.
EXCELSIOR
1893
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
78'0''
22'1''
1975, reported broken up in the Tamaki River (Auckland).
FAILFORD
1897
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
 
 
No details.
FOR SETTREE
1897
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
 
 
No details.
FRITHJOF
1885
J.W. Carr & Son, Auckland
49'7''
13'1''
1887, wrecked at Kennedy Bay, crew saved.
GANNET
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
94'4''
26'5''
Renamed 'KARAMU' in 1936. See details for 'KARAMU'.
GHOST
1879
J. Graydon, Freeman's Bay, Auckland
64'7''
19'0''
1901, wrecked at Bream Head, Whangarei .
GLENAE
1904
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
57'7"
16'4''
Renamed 'TAMAHAE' in 1928, then again later to 'LADY GWEN II'. See details for 'LADY GWEN II'.
HAERE
1903
George T. Nicol, Auckland
87'0''
25'6''
1947, went down on Parengarenga to Auckland voyage, 5 dead.
HAEREMAI
1904
George T. Nicol, Auckland
94'9"
25'8"
1906, went down with all hands, East Cape. 5 dead.
HAUTURU
1888
Augustus Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
61'2''
16'2''
1917, broken up.
HAVOC
1897
George T. Nicol, Auckland
89'5''
26'5''
Renamed 'ANN',. See details for 'ANN'.
HAWK
1901
George T. Nicol, Auckland
116'0''
30'0''
1985, afloat, restored at Kaipara, then to SE Asia.
HAZEL
REPTON
1915
H.B. Moran, NSW, Australia
106'4''
28'3''
Built for NZ Refridgerating Co., Dunedin, NZ, otherwise no details.
HERALD
1898
George T. Nicol, Auckland
83'3''
22'4''
1929, converted into a dredge.
HERO
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
79'7''
24'9''
Renamed 'HOROUTA' in 1933. 1928, lost on Flat Rock, Hauraki Gulf. See details for 'HOROUTA'.
HILDA
1891
Charles Bailey, Snr, Auckland
86'2''
21'8''
1908, wrecked at Wreck Bay, NSW, Australia.
HOANGA
1904
Harrison & de Thierry, Aratapu
104'9''
28'4''
1904, went down with all hands at Cape Kidnappers, 5 dead.
HOBSONVILLE
1894
Charles Bailey Snr, Auckland
68'6''
18'0''
1960, register still open.
HOROUTA
1905
Charles T. Nicol, Auckland
79'7''
24'9''
Previously named 'HERO'. 1942, wrecked on Centre Island, Foveaux Strait, crew saved.
HUIA
1906
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
64'8''
17'2''
1914, sold and broken up in Auckland.
IDA
1885
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
68'0''
17'3''
1923, converted into a lighter, register closed.
IRENE
1889
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
74'4''
19'9''
1962, on the hard at Kawau Island.
JANE
GIFFORD
1908
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
67'1''
18'6''
1993, afloat, seaworthy, rebuilt by the Waiuku Historical Society.
KAHU
1899
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
75'3''
19'1''
1920, lost at sea on voyage from Motiti Island to Auckland, 4 dead.
KAIAIA
1909
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
65'0''
18'5"
1936, foundered near Castle Rock, Bay of Plenty, crew saved.
KAITERE
1908
Tyler & Harvey, Auckland
46'7''
15'0''
1917, converted into a lighter, register closed.
KAPUA
1912
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
74'0''
21'4''
1936, wrecked on the Whangaparoa, crew saved.
KARAMU
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
94'4''
26'5''
Previously named 'GANNET'. 1929, register closed, rotted away on Karamurama Island.
KATIE S.
1908
George T. Nicol, Auckland
71'0''
18'8''
1942, converted into a barge, register closed.
KAURI
1879
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
80'7''
19'6''
1880, wrecked on Kawau Island, crew saved.
KAURI
1882
Alexander Duthie, Auckland
102'0''
23'0''
1910, converted into a punt, register closed.
KIA ORA
1903
W.J. & W. G. Maclow, Auckland
87'2''
24'5''
1908, wrecked on Waiheke Island, crew saved.
KIATIA
1907
George T. Nicol, Auckland
65'8''
18'5''
1975, barge, still in use in Bay of Plenty area.
KITTY
FRASER
1911
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
74'0''
21'3''
1960, broken up, St. Mary's Bay, Auckland.
KOHI
1911
George T. Nicol, Auckland
92'6''
27'6''
Previously named 'CAED MILE FAILTE'. 1993, used as a fishing boat landing, Westhaven Inlet, Nelson.
KORORA
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
121'6''
31'7''
1917, wrecked south of Tacking Point, NSW, Australia.
LADY
GWEN II
1904
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
57'7''
16'4''
Originally named (1904)'GLENAE', then (in 1928) 'TAMAHAE'. 1975, used as a fishing barge, Awanui River.
LADY OF
THE LAKE
1876
Rufus Dunning, Mahurangi
52'6''
15'8''
1920, register closed, ship eventually broken up at St. Mary's Bay, Auckland.
LAGOON
1878
William Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
72'6''
17'8''
1909, broken up.
LAKE EIRIE
1873
Septimus Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
60'6''
17'3''
1897, wrecked near Bream Tail, Whangarei, crew saved.
LAKE
MICHIGAN
1876
Septimus Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
60'0''
17'7''
1909, broken up at Gisborne.
LAKE
St. CLAIR
1878
John Darroch, Mahurangi
57'6''
15'6''
1909, broken up.
LAKE
SUPERIOR
1875
George Sharp, Pakiri
77'0''
21'2''
1891, broken up.
LENA
1905
Bailey & Lowe, Auckland
45'7''
15'5''
1957, capsized and foundered off Waiheke Island, 6 dead.
LENA
GLADYS
1910
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
63'0"
18'0''
1945, sank while under tow off Karwenwy Island, Australia.
MABEL
1882
Charles D. Gouk, Auckland
79'6''
18'6''
1922, register closed, broken up.
MAGGIE
1902
Bailey & Lowe, Auckland
62'5''
17'5''
1945, failed resurvey and condemned, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.
MAGIC
1901
George T. Nicol, Auckland
92'1''
25'4''
1921, wrecked off Inconstant Point, Wellington in a gale, crew saved.
MAKARAU
1879
George Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
73'6''
18'9''
1882, went down south of Great Barrier Island, crew saved.
MARORO
1904
Lane & Sons, Whangaroa
 
 
1908, wrecked south of Wanganui, crew saved.
MAY
1892
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
72'7''
20'8''
Renamed 'WAITI'. See details for 'WAITI'.
MOA
1907
George T. Nicol, Auckland
94'6''
30'3''
One of the better known scows; she was briefly taken over by German Naval crew during WW I while engaged in carrying timber. In 1935 she was stranded at Big Wanganui, Hokitika, a total loss.
MOANA
1895
William Brown, Whangaroa
102'5''
24'4''
1905, capsized on Mokau Bar, lost with all hands, 7 dead.
MOEHAU
1882
John Blechynden, Cabbage Bay
66'0''
17'1''
1922, converted into a barge, register closed.
MOTITI
1897
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
68'8''
17'5''
Originally named 'ORBAN'. 1944, register closed.
NGAHAU
1921
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
85'0''
25'0''
1965 (approx), sold by Subritzky Shipping to Bill Wagener for use as a gravel barge at Mt. Camel. Currently (1999) rotting on the foreshore of Mt. Camel, along with 'PEARL KASPER'.
NGAIRE
1896
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
 
 
 
NGARU
1898
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
94'5''
24'2''
1920 (approx), burned near Lanes slipway, Whangaroa.
NOR'WEST
1908
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
63'4''
17'8''
1945, failed resurvey and condemned, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.
NORAH
1883
John Blechynden, Cabbage Bay
84'5''
21'8''
1911, disappeared after owner went into liquidation, no trace ever found.
OBAN
1897
John Blechynden, Cabbage Bay
68'8''
17'5''
1927, renamed 'MOTITI'. See details for 'MOTITI'.
OLIVE
1881
John Graydon, Freeman's Bay, Auckland
74'0''
19'5''
1892, wrecked at Gt. Barrier Island, crew saved.
ONERAHI
1912
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
73'2''
21'5''
1924, suffered explosion and fire off Tairua, total loss, crew saved.
ORAKEI
1882
Sims & Brown, Freemans Bay, Auckland
49'8''
18'0''
1895, rebuilt, see 'ORAKEI' (rebuilt).
ORAKEI
(rebuilt)
1895
C & W Bailey, Auckland
68'8'
18'0''
1921, broken up and buried, Picton foreshore.
OWHITI
1924
David M. Darroch, Auckland
71'6''
22'0''
1993, afloat, seaworthy and fully restored, in Auckland Harbour.
PAHIKI
1905
David M. Darroch, Auckland
56'5''
17'1''
1975, rotting hulk in the mud at Waiheke Island.
PARIS
1892
Charles Bailey Snr, Auckland
86'5''
23'7''
1912, foundered off Catherine Hill Bay, NSW, Australia.
PEARL
KASPER
1910
George T. Nichol, Auckland
77'4''
22'0''
1975, rotting hulk ashore at Mt. Camel, Houhora Harbour.
PIRATE
1893
George T. Nichol, Auckland
130'2''
28'0''
1897, wrecked on Portland Island, Poverty Bay, crew saved.
PROGRESS
1882
William Harper, Pakiri
73'0''
18'7''
1905, wrecked off North Head, Tauranga, crew saved.
PUKA PUKA
1881
John Graydon, Freemans Bay, Auckland
64'8''
18'0''
1916, wrecked on Waiheke Island, crew saved.
RAHIRI
1907
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
66'9''
18'5''
Originally named 'DAPHNE'.1993, ashore on the hard at Blackpool Bay.
RAMBLER
1903
George T. Nicol, Auckland
82'2''
25'5''
1929, registry closed. Eventually broken up at St. Mary's Bay, Auckland.
RANGER
1893
George T. Nicol, Devonport, Auckland
80'5''
25'4''
1920, registry closed. Eventually broken up.
RANGI
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
98'0''
28'1''
1937, capsized off Motutapu Island, 2 crew saved, 4 dead.
RATA
1880
Charles D. Gouk, Auckland
80'0''
20'8''
1922, registry closed, broken up.
RELIANCE
1904
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
88'7''
24'2''
1913, registry closed.
RESULT
1882
William Brown, Whangaroa
82'8''
18'7''
1893, wrecked on Abraham's Bosom, near Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia.
RIMU
1895
John Graydon, Freemans Bay, Auckland
74'7''
20'8''
1925, rotted away in the Clevedon River, Sth Auckland.
RITA
1903
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
51'2''
16'3''
1960, registry still open.
ROVER
1893
George T. Nicol, Devonport, Auckland
84'6''
22'6''
1922, converted into a barge, registry closed.
RUAKAKA
1882
John Meiklejohn, Omaha (NZ)
75'4''
19'0''
1912, converted into a lighter, registry closed.
SCOT
1905
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
60'7''
17'3''
1942, registry closed, on sale to the Crown.
SCOUT
1892
George T. Nicol, Auckland
100'9''
24'7''
1918, lost at sea off Burnett Heads, Australia.
SEAGULL
1905
George T. Nicol, Auckland
92'3''
27'2''
1957, wrecked 16 miles off Cape Brett, crew saved.
SELWYN
1901
Charles Bailey Jr., Auckland
97'0''
25'1''
Originally named 'DANDY'. 1950, capsized crossing Mangawai Bar, broke up, 1 dead.
SHAMROCK
1893
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
83'5''
23'6''
1930, registry closed, vessel broken up.
SOUTHERN
ISLE
1901
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
92'1''
22'2''
1927, renamed 'TE WAKUTU'. See 'TE WAKATU' for details.
SUCCESS
1925
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
66'0''
18'7''
Originally named 'ALWYN G'. 1993, mussel barge at Havelock.
SURPRISE
1900
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
66'0''
23'0''
1907, wrecked on Slipper Island, 1 crewman saved, 2 dead.
St. ANNE
1899
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
64'6''
16'6''
1922, converted into a barge, registry closed.
TALISMAN
1897
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
94'5''
24'0''
1982, broken up at Nelson.
TALLY HO
1897
George T. Nicol, Auckland
83'4''
23'8''
Renamed 'ARGYLE' in 1929. See details for 'ARGYLE'.
TAMAHAE
1904
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
57'7''
16'4''
Originally named'GLENAE', then 'TAMAHAE', and finally 'LADY GWEN II'. See details for 'LADY GWEN II'.
TE WAKATU
1901
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
92'1''
22'2''
Originally named'SOUTHERN ISLE'. 1942, register closed, vessel broken up at Nelson. (Also sometimes spelled 'WHAKATU').
THISTLE
1898
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
92'1''
16'7''
1942 (approx), wrecked on Motiti Island, crew saved.
THREE
CHEERS
1902
Alfred Settree, Tomakin, NSW, Australia
91'5''
23'8''
1929, dismasted and sunk, register closed.
TOTARA
1880
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
71'3''
16'2''
1909, converted into a punt, registry closed.
TRAMP
1902
George T. Nicol, Auckland
95'9''
27'4''
1913, abandoned off the NSW coast, Australia.
TUAHINE
1905
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
59'3''
16'3'''
1975, on the hard, Pt. Chevalier, Auckland.
UNA
1883
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
72'7'
19'2''
1903, broken up and destroyed, Normanton, Gulf of Carpentaria, QLD, Australia.
UREROA
1902
Lane & Brown, Whangaroa
123'5''
29'4''
1908 Wrecked off coast south of Wanganui
VECTUS
1912
Joseph D. Brain, Tauranga
58'3''
18'5''
1922, converted into a barge, register closed.
VESPER
1902
Bailey & Lowe, Auckland
76'8''
21'2''
1993, mussel barge in the Marlborough Sounds. Normally based at Havelock.
VINDEX
1897
C & W. Bailey, Auckland
80'6''
20'8''
1939, (approx), sunk at the mouth of the Hutt River, Wellington.
VIXEN
1883
Charles Bailey Snr., Auckland
69'3''
18'8'
Renamed 'WENDELL' in 1922. See details for 'WENDELL' (also spelt 'WENDELE').
WAIKONINI
1901
Robert B. Martin, Auckland
92'2''
25'0''
1975, rotting away in Parengarenga Harbour.
WAIPU
1882
James Darroch, North Shore, Auckland
74'0''
17'8''
1904, ran aground at Takatu Point and broke up, crew saved.
WAITEMATA
1883
John Graydon, Freemans Bay, Auckland
81'4''
21'0''
1903, wrecked at Matapouri, crew saved.
WAITI
1892
John Graydon, Freemans Bay, Auckland
72'7''
20'8''
Originally named 'MAY'. 1993, barge with Subritzky Shipping Line.
WANDERER
1903
George T. Nicol, Auckland
88'8''
25'5''
Originally named 'MAY'. 1953, wrecked at the mouth of the Hutt River, Wellington.
WAR LORD
1917
J.Dent Huskisson, NSW, Australia
103'0''
26'4''
1926, stranded Nuku Nono, Union Islands as 'TEINE VINCULAI'. Abandoned as total loss.
WARRIOR
1898
George T. Nicol, Auckland
96'2''
27'2''
1906, driven ashore at Oakura Beach, Taranaki, by the tide, and broken up. Crew saved.
WELCOME
1904
George T. Nicol, Auckland
81'6''
25'4''
1916, lost on the Whakatane Bar, crew saved.
WENDELL
1883
Charles Bailey Snr., Auckland
69'3''
18'8''
Originally named 'VIXEN'. 1919, caught fire at Pahiki Island, later broken up.
WHAKAPAI
1896
David M. Darroch, Omaha (NZ)
85'9''
24'1''
1901, capsized inside East Cape Island, 1 passenger saved, 4 crew dead.
WHANGAROA
1893
William Brown, Whangaroa
119'7''
27'8''
1911, abandoned at sea, crew saved.
WILLINGA
1892
William Brown, Whangaroa
93'0''
23'1''
1908, wrecked at Port Stephen, NSW.
WINNIE
1904
W.H. Brown, Auckland
52'3''
16'0''
1904, wrecked at Kirita Bay, Coromandel, crew saved.
ZILLAH
 
 
 
 
Unregistered. No details known.
ZINGARA
1906
George T. Nicol, Auckland
128'1''
33'1''
1929, lost on the Hokitika Bar, crew saved.
Notes about measurement

The length and beam details above are given in the imperial measurement of feet ( ' ) and inches ( " ). The modern meter is 3 ft 4 inches (40 inches), give or take a fraction, thus 'ZINGARA' above, at 128'1'' was 39 meters long. Even today, distance at sea is measured in nautical miles, which are related to seconds of arc of the circumference of the Earth, and speed is quoted as knots, which is nautical miles/hr. Since nautical miles are longer than land miles, it works out that knots are nearly twice an equivalent KPH speed on land, thus 15 knots is approximately equivalent to 30 KPH.

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