Association Officers 1970 - 71

Air Vice-Marshall A.H.Marsh C.B.E.

Peter Ingram

Secretary   Treasurer
Richard Lovegrove   John Caskey
Committee   Honorary Members
Ed de Ste Croix   M. Butterton
Bob Rae           H. Carter
Robin Foubister   H. Hill
Tom Taylor   I. Kerr
Ian Bailey   C. Taylor
Dave Thorp    
Dave Leslie    
Ralph Hayes    


Is a new column through which readers may contribute to the Newsletter. The necessity for this facility was suddenly brought about recently when four fellows came forward with knowledgeable rectifications to printed 'fact' in the 9th and 10th issues. They also went on to provide additional information which is forever welcome. I have moulded these facts into a general article in this issue, as I do not think these lads knew that they would be going into print, but the more concise quotes appear as originally written.

Comes with the 12th Newsletter which goes to post before the 1971 AGM. The final quarterly issue for '71 will be in the new format suggested in the 10th Newsletter and will possibly go under a Vol.2 No.1 title with page numbers being progressive through the following eleven issues. That is Vol. 2 will need an elapsed time of 3 years to compile - so stick with us.

Is thoroughly recorded in the quarterly bulletin 'Antarctic', the official journal of the New Zealand Antarctic Society. Normally of some 40 pages, complete with excellent photographs and maps, the bulletin covers a wide range of subjects, many of which will be authoritative and technical descriptions of the small headlines and articles we see in our local newspapers from time to time. Of interest to the Campbell boys is the good coverage of the sub-antarctic islands - Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie and Campbell all being covered in the recent March edition. In conversation with V.E.Donnelly, the Society's Treasurer, he states all are welcome for membership, that the annual subscription rate of $2.50 is due for a boost to a possible $3.00 because of increased printing costs. Interested North Islanders should make application to the Wellington Secretary, Frank O'Leary, P.O.Box 2110, and those in the cooler latitudes, to Christchurch Secretary, Mrs E. Croft, P.O. Box 404.

with a Holm ship as a predominant part of the backdrop, usually creates a temporary interest amongst expedition members in this carrier company. Fortunately I was able to quickly compile an article on the Holm Shipping Company with the co-operation of their Head Office in Wellington, but only half of the facts are presented in this issue. A successful and long-established company can hardly be dismissed in a 1700 word article – so I plan a Part 2 to contain a fuller contemporary history perhaps covering this last decade only, in a not too distant Newsletter.

has been an annual event for the Association since its formation, with the difference that we always borrow our films and use someone else's roof and equipment to drastically reduce the financial overhead. After Saturday night, the 17th of this month, the Committee will once again be offering its heartfelt thanks to the Embassies and Libraries that provided the films, and the N.Z.Meterological Service that provided the roof and the equipment which made the Fourth Annual Film Evening possible. For those that make the occasion, it is a successful little evening (7.45 to 10.30 pm)with a supper provided by an energetic Committee (once again to reduce that old bogey, financial overhead).

This year's FILM EVENING: 7.45 pm, Saturday 17th July at KELBURN.

Our photograph in the last Newsletter raised authoritative notes from Charlie Taylor (Rotorua) and Ivan Larson (Dunedin). Seems Chas clicked the shutter:

"The photo is one I personally took in May, 1948, on my first of many trips to Raoul. The vessel at anchor is the 'New Golden Hind', not 'Golden Hind'. The distinction is quite important as there happened to be another " 'Golden Hind' registered at the time the 'New Golden Hind' was seeking registration, just before the start of the 2nd World War… At the time the photograph was taken, Captain Cole was the vessel's skipper and Mr Clarke (or Clark) was 1st Officer. It fell to the lot of these two deck officers to take watches in turn for often up to 5 days and longer at a time under all conditions of weather and circumstances… The remainder of the crew comprised Rarotongans as seamen, cook,etc., and two New Zealanders as engineers".

Ivan made a good stab at trying to identify the photograph's diminutive creatures but these names could be in part error due to the earlier date of May ‘48. He goes on to say:

"Shortly after this photo, the lattice boom was replaced by a wooden boom and the winch motorised with a single cylinder National diesel and a Ford gearbox and clutch. This worked quite successfully until about November 1950, when the winch rope parted and the crane ran down the rails and into the drink… In 1950 there was the remains of a dingy in the crater. It had been used to ferry the pump and motor for the water supply from the razor back ridge just off Nikau Bluff 'round to directly behind the Low Flat (North end Blue Lake- Ed.). Number 8 wire was used as a fox to lower the equipment down…. The motor in the crater was a National single and the pump a double action reciprocating type."

It does sound as if the National for the pump was the same engine as supplied for the winch. It was a wonderful old motor that would start on sniffing an oily rag, then bang the hours away on an absolute minimum of fuel. If that flywheel had ever slipped off, it would still be circling the crater today.


Rats have been making their rather disgusting mark over the years in the Kermadec Islands - they create rather than deserve a place in Raoul's history. In Newsletter No.9, I briefly wrote in Chapter 3 ('By Way of a Living') that "the brown Polynesian rat was disappearing, but he was being replaced by the grey shipboard rat that disembarked from visiting whaling ships", the period being middle 19th century. Danged if I wasn’t picked up by the experts - and rightly so. My sketchy knowledge of the rodents of Raoul comes from an ancient conversation with Roy Bell and the facts have mellowed with my mind over the years.

Let us make note of what Don Merton (Internal Affairs, Wildlife) has to say: "Kiore (Polynesian rat)were abundant up until 1921 when the Norway rat from the wreck of the 'Columbia River' got ashore. Both species are present (on Raoul)". Bill Sykes (D.S.I.R., Botany Division) still has some doubts, but supplies some interesting sidelights: "The only thing is that this change probably did not occur in the early days of European settlement. If Don Merton is right in attributing the wreck of 'Columbia River' in 1921 to the arrival of brown or Norwegian rats on Raoul the 'change over' must be fairly recent. Incidentally, I have never heard that the grey rat (Rattus rattus) has ever been found on Raoul. Wild- life consider that the rats that plagued the Bells in Denham after they arrived were all Polynesian rats. They have also suggested that these may be of post 'Lady Penrhyn' introduction. I am very doubtful and consider that it is much more likely that early Polynesians brought them to Raoul and Macauley. Anyway, T.F. Cheeseman says Lieut.Watts saw rats on Macauley. One can say that the early whalers or first settlers probably introduced rats. If they had I should have thought that grey or brown rats would have been the ones, and in that case the Polynesian rats (assuming that is what they were) would not have swarmed into the Bell's camp in Denham Bay, because the more vigorous grey or brown ones would have killed many of them off by then. Probably no-one can say much more on the problem at this date ..."


Bill's letter sent me off at the gallop to the Turnbull Library the other day with a note of reference to examine two certain volumes of Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. Enough information is contained in the two papers presented by that old worthy s. Percy Smith, that an article will appear soon in our Newsletter devoted to volcanic activity on Raoul Island since 1814. Yes, 1814 is the date first recorded, so an amendment is needed in Newsletter No.9 under the heading 'The Kermadec's Historical Milestones’. So few of us know about this eruption, that I feel pressured to reveal the facts now.

Smith's paper was read to the Auckland Institute on the 5th August 1895 and was based on an extract from the Sydney Gazette of 17th September 1814, which in turn was compiled by an eyewitness. The ship involved as the platform was Captain Barnes' 'Jefferson'.

"Leaving the island on the 27th February (1814), it was afterwards frequently in sight until the 9th March when at a distance of 6 to 7 leagues (approx 2 miles), a thick cloud of dark smokey appearance was observed above it the whole day, and shortly after midnight, a flame burst forth, which rose to an excessive height, and filled the atmosphere with a strong, fetid and an almost suffocating vapour, which was felt on board, though then at a distance of seven leagues. Captain Barnes returned to the island within two months for the purpose of wooding as before, and found the appearance of the place entirely altered and that an 1sland occupied the spot where so short a time before he had found 45 fathoms of water. It is about 3 miles in circuit, kidney shaped at its outer edge, nearly forming a line with the heads or opposite points of the entrance of the former bay, which lays North and South; and has a bay of its own fronting the ocean, and is covered with a coarse grit. On the near approach of the ship's boats, the water became very warm, and at length became intensely hot. It was still smoking and was then evidently an unquenched mass. Its position is not mid-channel, but extends considerably more towards the North shore than the South. A passage through the opening of the North side would be impracticable, owing to the numerous rocks which are scattered through it, but in the South seems rather inviting to vessels in want of temporary accommodation, with a safe anchorage."

W.D. Campbell of Sydney who was responsible for sending the extract to Smith stated•••• "which seems to have been largely a local terrestrial upheaval, probably bursting into eruption when the crust of the earth was relieved of the superincumbent weight of water." This can be easily understood as the only alternative would have been to have a pile of cinders some 300 feet high. James Reed, Raoul's first European settler (1836-45), as a ship's officer, stepped ashore on this doubtful island and reported it quite hot to the feet. No wonder.


Don went on to jolt me with the news that Captain John Watts was the European discoverer of Raoul Island when passing through the Group in 1788 - rather than D1 Entrecasteaux in 1793 as popularly believed. I cannot click with this line of thought. Watts entered the Group from the West at about the halfway point between Hacauley and Curtis Islets - which are his names by discovery of this section of the Group. On the same day he turned South and examined the Curtis Islets, L'Esperance Rock being invisible to him due to earth curvature. The following day, 1st July 1788, they set sail for Macauley arriving offshore in the early afternoon and spent several hours on the island before sailing from this point for Tahiti. In my frequent trips to the top of Raoul's Houmoukai (1694), I have only seen Macauley from this peak on rare occasions. A surface wind of a mere 10 knots can raise sufficient salt to more than halve the necessary 75 mile horizontal visibility required to see the Island.

On page 273 of the first volume of D'Entrecasteaux's voyages, published in Paris in 1808, he states: "we saw to the West a second rock (that) we believe is the same one which is found in English charts under the name of ‘Curtis Island'. Almost at the same time we sighted an islet which in the same charts is called 'Macauley Island'." It was much later on this day, in fact, at sunset, that they suspected they could see a further island to the North, their position being some 40 miles distance from rtaoul. The charts showed no such island just as they had ignored L'Esperance.

I have seen a vague reference in a cyclostyled circular issued by the Department in 1950's to Watts being the European discoverer. It stated: "According to Elisee Reclus, however, the Kermadec Islands were discovered by Lieutenant Watts, perhaps in 1788, or by Watts and D’Entrecasteaux together in 1793." In the same publ1cation, Captain Raven of the 1Brittannia" becomes Captain Rawson, a point which has confused others in the past.


In reply to your other remarks, Don: Captain H.B. Sterndale has a report in the Journal of the House of representatives (A-4, 1884)in which he states that over 200 Tokelau natives…. "all died as did half the unfortunate settlers and their children." Although S.Percy Smith the Assistant Surveyor-General, had qualms on the accuracy of Sterndale’s statements, he transferred this information to his own work, 'The Kermadec Islands: Their capabilities and extent,’ from where it was extracted to form part of a short history for departmental use in the 1937 Aeradio report. James Cowan, one of New Zealand's best known historians, in his book ‘Suawarrow Gold' (1936), states ••• "she (the ship) left more than a hundred dead on the beach besides the many who had died on the ship." The actual number of Tokelau natives buried on Raoul must therefore still remain a mystery.

Yes, James Reed came from New Zealand with a Maori wife as recorded in Newsletter 6. Captain Denham's 1854 survey encompassed the whole of the Kermadec Group, not just Raoul Island as indicated in 'Milestones'.


by Fergus B. McLaren (Reed, 1948)

With Mr N. Shirtliff1 s salvage expedition preparing to sail on the chartered Wellington fishing vessel, 'Picton', in October of this year for the Auckland Islands, I re-read McLaren's accurate little yarn (109 pages) to refresh myself on the historical details of these islands which are just that little less bleak than Campbell. Shirtlliff joins a rather long line of adventurers who wish to relieve the 1,100 ton 'General Grant' of its burden of gold it took to the bottom of the ocean at the base of the western cliffs in May of 1866. I would be loath to lay a bet as to the degree of success this latest expedition will have, because although the 'General Grant' secures her treasure more tightly with time, one doesn't know what electronic gadgetry the 1 Picton1 might have stowed below.I wish them well.

I reviewed this book of McLaren's all too briefly in one of our first Newsletters. I mentioned his writings were based on a subject chosen for his M.A. thesis, so that the eventual story that Reeds had published twenty three years ago, was no 'flash in the pan' to satisfy journalistic appetite. It is one of these 'complete' history books that commences with the very first human happening and terminates at time of writing (1936) - made possible by the island's convenient isolation, size and climatic disadvantages for lengthy occupation. The three main ingredients for the 130 year span are sealing, shipwreck and, of all things, colonization.

The Auckland Islands, discovered on the 18th August, 1806, by Captain Abraham commanding the 400 ton 'Ocean', have been responsible for nine shipwrecks from 1833 to 1907, the 'General Grant' becoming the most famous over the years with its valuable cargo. But it is the latter topic, colonization, which was the most extraordinary adventure that befell these Islands.

Charles Enderby was successful in obtaining a 30 year lease of the Auckland Islands at $2,000.00 per annum for the purposes of establishing a shore base to support British whaling in the southern ocean. At the time he was ready to sail south with his team of migrants, the number of British whaling ships had dwindled from 94 to 36 as the Americans had increased from 430 to 730, all within a decade. Although Enderby had- subleased to another company, he went along with the sanction of the Queen's Commission as Lietuenant Governor and on the 4th of December, 1849 they came to Port Ross and set about the construction of the town of Hardwicke, so called after the Earl that controlled the operating company. With colonial thoughfulness, they set the residentlal Maori population (ex Chatham's, 1842) to work for them and within three years had a town of eighteen houses on a street half a mile long, numerous work shops, slip and jetty, barracks and flagpole and a battery of four cannon to protect their interests. Forty five horned cattle, two hundred and sixty sheep with fifty lambs struggled about in the scrub as a hundred pigs bulldozed locally for roots. There were five marriages, sixteen births and four deaths contributed by their 390 members over a period that could only be termed four years of economic disaster. Enderby's enthusiasm failed to wane and in a 19th century Caine Mutiny, he was forcibly removed to New Zealand, a tragic end for a man who had been feted by public dinner and function in London so few years before. McLaren's work is undoubtedly a worthy contribution as one of the many chapters of New Zealand's brief history. My only criticism is minor - his writing has the patronizing tone of book authors justly proud of their country's pioneering efforts. This, of course, is merely common to the period when modern day soul searching and criticism of ancestral methods was rarely entertained by the reader. Sir James Clark Ross's visit of 1840 to the islands would make today's conservationist's knuckles whiten, but to McLaren it goes for the record and not the reprimand. For members interested in the sub-antarctic islands, this book is thoroughly recommended.




For almost twenty years the bright green funnel which signifies a 'Holm boat’ can be seen briefly during the year from the cliffs of Raoul and the tussock of Campbell. To the expedition member it is indirectly a vision of that one way ticket to a month's leave of civilised joys or a new view of a sheet steel structure which he has watched rotate against the sky for the last four days. The ships involved annually from 1952 have been the ‘Holmlea’, ‘Holmglen' and the two ‘Holmburn's (see table) and an isolated visit from the ‘Holmdale’.


The Holm Shipping Company has been welded together by the hard work and business know-how of three generations of the Holm family - since full ownership of their first vessel in 1889. The weld in this small company holds today when the modern methods of merger and receivership have opened the seams and sunk the individuality of similar shipping lines. Diversification has led to representing over thirty major overseas companies within New Zealand. Apart from maintaining their own fleet of five modern ships, they are also responsible for the operational control of two other New Zealand companies that found the going too tough. But the Holm ships have had their knocks over the years - any small shipping line that can claim it hasn't, has bypassed fate with a series of happy coincidences.

Ferdinand Holm arrived in New Zealand late in 1868 as an able seaman on Captain W.R.Williams' ship 'Anne Melhuish’. He was the son of Johan Holm, a small ship owner of Arboga near Stockholm and a sea captain as all other Holms had been in living memory. Ferdinand's shipping interests were in sail and with the exception of the steamer 'John', his purchases were made accordingly. First full ownership Came in 1889 with the 517 ton American barque 'Genevie H. Tucker', a ship that was to spend a decade of trade across the Indian Ocean to Africa and the sugar producing Mauritius Islands. The 'Helen Denny’, ex Shaw Savill and Albion, took over from the 'Genevie' when she retired to hulkins, and carried on the African trade until a similar retirement came in 1912 for the iron clad barque. The steel barquentine 'Titania', was Ferdinand’s last purchase but was lost on a Noumean reef soon after the outbreak of the World War, the French having suddenly decided to extinguish the service offered by its lighthouses.

Ferdinand passed on in 1917 and the business was taken over by his son Captain Sydney Holm, the company having its office in ·Wanganui. The steamer 'John' was joined by the ‘Kylebeg’ in 1921, and its renaming to ‘Holmdale’ introduced the ‘Holm’ title system to all the ships that followed - with the exception of the 'Progress' which had been on charter since 1924 before purchase in 1927. Poor 'Progress' had been brought into the world in 1882 as a steam dredge for the Oamaru Harbour Board. During the war she made an unsuccessful bid at being a three masted schooner and in 1922 was re-engined as a coaster. In 1931 she broke her tail shaft and lost her propeller outside the Wellington Heads. A following southerly gale drove her ashore off Sinclair Head with a loss of four crew members. The German ship 'Argus' was purchased in England in 1931 and renamed ‘Holmglen', and served the coast until sold to the New Hebrides Trading and Shipping Co. in 1951. She foundered under her last owners in April of 1967 within these Islands. The first 'Holmlea’ was Richardson & Company's ‘Parera',which in turn went to Australian owners as the ‘Kiama’ in December 1949 and suffered a similar fate off the coast of New South Wales.

Every four to five years another ship would come forward to serve the company. During 1940 the Westland Shipping Co. sold their interests in the Chatham Islands trade to Holm and with it went the S.S. ‘Tees’. As the 'Holmwood', she was but a few hours out of Chathams on 25th November 1940 when she found herself surrounded by three German commerce raiders, 'Orion', ‘Komet', and ‘Kulmerland’ , the latter two in the disguise of Japanese freighters. The 29 passengers and crew were removed and the 546 ton ‘Holmwood’ sunk by gunfire. The New Zealanders were joined by 303 passengers and crew of the NZSC’s ‘Rangitane’ two days later when she was savagely attacked by the trio 300 miles east of East Cape. All were disembarked at Emirau Island from where they returned to New Zealand. The 'Port Waikato’ was chartered from the Watchlin Shipping Line to fill the gap left by ‘Holmwood’ and continued on her duties until 1959. The ‘Port Whangarei’ under similar charter, and the 'Holmlea’ were released from the wartime Government requisitioning in 1944 and the former joined the company as the ‘Holmburn'. The ‘Holmburn’ had been launched in Germany in 1906 for Argentine owners as a 508 ton coal burner with the romantic title of ‘Favorita Dona Catalina’ for service in the River Plate estuary. She subsequently served under the names ‘Newston’, ‘Marie Kothe’, ‘Mars’, ‘Marion Sleigh’, ‘Port Whangarei’, KG-28, ‘Holmburn’ until in 1954, under her Noumean owners as the 'Jacques Del Mar', she ran aground at Lord Howe Island and was a total loss.

The Dutch coaster 'Speedwell' arrived in New Zealand under the command of Capt.s. Holm in 1950 and was renamed 'Holmlea' after her counterpart which had been sold to the Australians the previous year. She stayed until April of 1967 when Athol Rusden of Fiji bought her for the New Hebrides trade. As the ‘Wallisian’ she ran ashore on the Nukutolo Reef and became a total loss to her new owner on the first voyage. In 1952 came the 'Holmwood’, the first vessel to be built to the company's plans. Then the ‘Holmglen’ in 1955, 'Holmburn' in 1958 to replace the ageing ‘Port Waikato’ and 1962 saw the ‘Holmdale’ - all four new from the Dutch yards that could cut the Clydeside price ticket by a third. Captain John Holm was now the managing director since the retirement of his father, Sydney Holm, in 1952.

The ‘Holmglen’ was to tragically founder 18 miles out from Timaru 24th November, 1959. In gale force southerlies she suddenly heeled to port and sunk with her full crew. With increasing work on the Lyttelton - Onehunga run, it became necessary in 1962 to back the 'Holmburn' with a chartered ship from Richardson & Company. This was the ‘Turihaua’ which under later purchase became the ‘Holmbank’. But in September of 1963, she rode up on the rocks near Akaroa and sank, fortunately with no loss of life. In June 1964 as a rationalisation measure the coastal trade, Holm and Co. took over from the Canterbury Steam Shipping Company, its interest in the trade from Souh Island ports to New Plymouth, and for thls purpose purchased from the Wanganui Shipping Co., its 391 ton motor vessel 'River City' which was renamed 'Holmbrae’. In return, the Wanganui trade which had once been the centre of the Company's operations became the preserve of the Canterbury Company. Although very suitable for a shallow river port like Wanganui, the ‘Holmbrae’ proved rather small when the New Plymouth service was extended to Raglan and Onehunga, and in 1966, she was sold to Captain Rusden and renamed 'Paul Markson' for trading in the New Hebrides.

From May 1965, the ‘Holmburn’ commenced sailing from Onehunga to New Caledonia via Norfolk Island, and the 'Holmdale' in April 1968 also became a 'blue water' ship, sailing to Rarotonga to fill part of the gap created by the withdrawal of the Union Company's Pacific ships. The Danish ship ‘Magga Dan’ was chartered to help in the latter role, and then acted as a tourist ship to the Antartic in the following summer months. 1965 saw the company purchase the former French West Indian inter-island vessel, 'Commandant Milliasseau', and renamed it 'Holmpark'. During 1969 the ‘Holmpark’ was removed from the Lyttelton - Onehunga route and chartered by United Salvage of Australia, had a gantry fitted over the bow to lift the cut sections of the wrecked USSC's inter-island motor vessel 'Wahine' - resting on its side in the entrance to Port Nicholson since the storm of April 1968. Due to the long duration of the project, it is unlikely the ‘Holmpark’ will be returned to the coastal trade. The Company's final addition to the fleet at the time of writing is the third ‘Holmlea’, which as the roll on- roll off ferry 'Seaway Princess' was purchased in 1969 to share USSG 'Maori's' greatly increased daily work load since the untimely end of 'Wahine'.

This brief history has been written to give members a concise record of the Company's ships. To go into the business skills and complexities created by three hard-working generations over the last 90 years is well 0 beyond the writer, but the reader may rest assured that many other ships have been efficiently involved in the Company's operations, as well as an air force squadron. May they have the opportunity to continue to serve the Department for many more years.

Pierre, 29/5/1971
( mainly abridged from 'HOLMSHIP’, an official Company history.)

The Company's vessels may be easily distinguished by their green funnels, which are the perpetuation of a humorous incident when Captain F.Holm advised his opposition on arrival in New Zealand with the s.s. ‘John’ that he would paint her funnel green to signify 'Holm' rule. Originally this green was a very dark almost olive green, but since the arrival of the present ‘Holmdale’ in 1962, the standard colour has been changed to a brighter leaf green. The hulls of the ships are painted grey with white upper works and corn coloured masts and derricks. The House Flag is quartered with a white cross, and a white 'H' in the upper left canton which is red, as is also the lower outer canton, the other two quarters of the flag being green.


Purchase Type Name Trade Route Disposal Date
1880 barque Malay trans Tasman shares sold 1885
1885 barque Kentish Lass trans Tasman lost at sea 1890



Genevie M Tucker

NZ/Aust to Africa

for hulking




Helen Denny

NZ/Aust to Africa

for hulking





NZ coast

laid up










Holmdale (ex Kylebeg)

NZ coast





Holmwood (ex Forest Home)







purchased for:






NZ coast




motor vessel

Holmglen (ex Argus)

NZ coast





Holmlea (ex Parera)

NZ coast





Holmwood (ex Tees)

NZ to Chathams

sunk by gunfire



motor vessel

Holmburn (ex P.Whangarei)

coastal and Pacific




motor vessel

Holmlea (ex Speedwell)

NZ coast & Met.Stations




motor vessel

Holmwood (new)

NZ coast

in service



motor vessel

Holmglen (new)

NZ coast & Met. Stations

lost at sea



motor vessel

Holmburn (new)

Pacific & Met.Stations

in service



motor vessel

Holmdale (new)

NZ coast and Pacific

in service



motor vessel

Holmbank (ex Turihaua)

NZ coast




motor vessel

Holmbrae (ex River City)

NZ coast




motor vessel


Holmpark (ex Commandant Milleasseau) NZ coast

in service



motor vessel


Holmlea (ex Seaway Princess)    NZ coast (roll on/off)

in service



The four Holm ships involved in present and past servicings



HOLMGLEN was delivered new from Holland in 1956. She was lost tragically at sea off Timaru in 1959. HOLMLEA was the Dutch coaster 'Speedwell' purchased in 1950 and served until 1967 when purchased by Rusden.
Holmburn Holmdale
HOLMBURN arrived new in 1958 and is the largest ship at 245 feet. Her cargo capacity is 1,000 tons. HOLMDALE also Dutch built was purchased new in 1962. Overall length is 218 feet with a cargo capacity of 1,200 tons.

( All photographs are by courtesy of the Holm Shipping Company )


by Pierre

As our new column 'Members' Comment,' deals at length with historical notes on Raoul Island, I did not like to ignore Campbell completely so have drawn on a further chapter of Ian Kerr's work. His earlier installments have appeared in Newsletters 3 (Discovery), 5 (Sealers of the Early Years), 7 (Balleny and Biscoe)and 10 (The Legend of the Lady of the Heather). Ian has produced about twice as much in writing to what I will ever muster on the Kermadecs, so that I draw on his tome without the slightest twinge of conscience - and save a gallon of midnight oil to meet this Newsletter's deadline.



Exploring expeditions of the nineteenth century were sponsored by both private firms and Governments. The merchants were interested in discovering new lands or seas where articles or beasts of commercial value might be found. In the early part of the century, as we have seen, their captains made notable geographical discoveries but, as scientists were rarely carried, they contributed little to the advancement of the natural sciences. The national expeditions on the other hand, were frequently undertaken as a result of the petitions of scientific and learned Societies and included in their personnel nominees of these Societies. The members of two of these expeditions spent some time on Campbell Island and our earliest descriptions of its geology and of its flora and fauna were published by them. The first of these was James Clark Ross' expedition of 1840-42 and the second a French expedition to observe the transit of Venus in 1874.

The first accounts to give an idea of the appearance and character of the island were, however, published a considerable time before those of Ross and his surgeon, Hooker. A French expedition under the command of Louis de Freycinet left Sydney in January 1820 and on the seventh sighted Campbell Island. They did not attempt a landing although one of the several English convicts who had stowed away at Sydney assured them that there was a good anchorage with a mud bottom in the Southeast of the island. Freycinet doubted this man's veracity, however, as he had spun some tall yarns about the place; stories of the savages who lived there and of tigers. (This may have been a language difficulty. Some sealers called sealions, seatigers, and males of the species were sometimes fierce). The report of the expedition paints a vivid picture of a mountainous desolate island ("in vain did we look for traces of vegetation"), whose shores were everywhere pounded violently by the sea. The ships of the expedition hastened by on their way home but one of them, 'L'Uranie' was wrecked a month later at the Falkland Islands. Dumont d’urville in his Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde of 1834 also describes the island but he never visited or saw it; his description was taken from Freycinet.

About 20 years later the scientists of three nations succeeded in rousing their Governments' interest in antarctic exploration. The expeditions that resulted were the well known ones of Dumont d'Urville, Wilkes and Ross. Ross' chief stimulus was interest in the earth's magnetic field and the desire to ascertain the position of the South Magnetic Pole. Gauss, the great mathematician, had calculated its probable position as 66 South, 146 East in the neighbourhood of Adelie Land. Ross was interested, therefore, in the same sector that Balleny had recently explored. He learnt in Hobart that he had been forestalled by dIUrville and Wilkes and so he determined to push South on a course Far East of the area explored by the French and American expeditions. Accordingly, he laid course for the Auckland Islands where he stayed for 3 weeks before moving on to Campbell Island.

The island was seen early on 13th December 1840. Ross had been advised to use North East Harbour, but, not liking its exposure to Northeasterly winds, he bore away for Perseverance Harbour whose heads were entered at 10.30 am. Sail had to be reduced on account of "the strong gusts of wind which came down from the high lands with astounding force; the more dangerous from succeeding the light and baffling winds that occupy the intervals between squalls." It took the ships, the ‘Erebus' and the 'Terror', four hours of hard work to beat up the outer arm of the harbour. Rounding the point into the inner harbour, the 'Erebus' ran aground but hawsers were run out to the shore and the ship was worked off. Immediately afterwards the 'Terror' grounded at the same point at the top of high water. Stores had to be landed and some of her water discharged to enable her to be floated off on the next tide. The four days at the island were spent in replenishing the water, seine fishing without success, exploring and surveying the harbour. Messrs Tucker and Davis and Ross himself carried out the latter task, the soundings taking two days to complete. Magnetic observations were also taken while zoological and botanical specimens were collected with tremendous zeal by Joseph Hooker, David Lyall, and the expedition's other surgeon, R.McCormick.

Signs of the occasional occupations od sealers were noted by Ross. There were some huts on both sides of the cove north of the 'Erebus' anchorage, probably Tucker Cove, and by the side of a stream in the northwest corner of the harbour, Camp Cove. There were also "graves of several seamen who had evidently been employed in the seal fishing and among them that of a French woman who had been accidentally drowned by the upsetting of a boat in the harbour." The woman1 s grave may have been Elizabeth Farr drowned when Hasselburgh's boat was upset in November 1810. Thirty years is a long time for an inscription in wood or stone to remain legible in such a climate, but the 'Perseverance' remained in the harbour nearly three weeks after the accident so there was time for a fairly permanent job. Also to be set against this theory is the difficulty of imagining a mis-spelling of Elizabeth Farr that could have led Ross to call her a French woman. In the next few months the great discoveries for which the voyage is chiefly remembered were made. The ‘Erebus’ and the 'Terror' were the first ships to sail the open waters of the Ross Sea and their men were the first to behold the majestic mountains of Victoria Land. In this and the following summer Ross approached nearer to the South Pole than anyone was to do for sixty years. The expedition spent a third summer in the Antarctic and then sailed for home bringing an era to a close.

In two days of collecting at Campbell Island the young botanist Joseph Hooker, afterwards to achieve eminence in his field and a knighthood, identified between 200 and 300 species with the able assistance of David Lyall. Descriptions of them appeared in the magnificent Flora Antarctica. In his introduction to the section of this volume that deals with the Auckland and Campbell Islands, Hooker says:

"The remoteness of these islands from any continent, together with their inaccessibility, preclude the idea of their being tenanted, even in a single instance, by plants that have migrated from other countries, and still more distinctly do they forbid the possibility of man having been an active agent in the dissemination of them. On the contrary, the remarkable fact that some of the most peculiar productions are confined to the narrowest limits is a strong argument in favour of a general distribution of vegetable life over separate spots of the globe. Hence, it will appear that islands so situated furnish the best materials for a rigid comparison of the effects of the geographical position and the various meteorological phenomena on vegetation, for acquiring a knowledge of the great laws according to which plants are distributed over the face of the globe.”

This admirably sums up the reasons that have drawn scientists of many succeeding generations to its shores; the reasons that have made the study of its flora and fauna of absorbing interest.

Of the 200 to 300 species collected at least 66 were flowering plants (the number had been brought up to 118 by 1909). On the basis of a comparison between his Auckland and Campbell Islands' collections, Hooker advanced some tentative conclusions, although he was careful to point out that the islands could not be regarded as sufficiently explored to justify finality. It was fairly clear that the flora of the two island groups visited could be considered a continuation of that of New Zealand differing only in that it is more typical of the antarctic region. The species found in Campbell Island but which had not been found in the Auckland Islands were almost all typical of a subantarctic climate, some being confined to the island and others previously considered peculiar to the southern extremity of South America. In fact, the number of species of flowering plants common to Fuegia and Campbell Island was, remarkably, as high as one-sixth of the total number of species collected at Campbell Island.

During the next twenty and more years, there were no great expeditions to the southern seas and New Zealanders were much too busy settling down in their new home to worry about isolated, inhospitable islands. The first description of the geology and of the flora and fauna of the island furnished from the observations of a New Zealand visitor, was given by Mr Armstrong who accompanied the ‘Amherst’ on its cruise in 1868. His account was read before the Wellington Philosophical Society by James Hector. Twenty-five rock specimens had also been brought back from Campbell Island by Armstrong. After describing the specimens, Hector concluded by saying "…there must be a considerable variety in the geology of the island, which is a true rocky island, and not a mere volcanic mass, built up by submarine eruptions."

A few years later, the French chose Campbell Island as a suitable place from which to observe the Transit of Venus in 1874. This was the first opportunity that there had been to follow the passage of the planet across the face of the sun since 1769 when Cook's first voyage to the Pacific Ocean had been made with the same object. The astronomers' interest in this phenomenon lay in the fact that if the time at which Venus crossed the face of the sun could be accurately measured from several points on the earth1 s surface, the distance of our planet from the sun could be calculated. The 1769 observations had not led to a satisfactory result and now the astronomers were going to try again. Unfortunately, the 1874 observations were also a failure as were those made in 1882. The method was finally abandoned and a better one found. As far as the French expedition of 1874 to Campbell Island was concerned, the accuracy of their observations could not be questioned for the simple reason that there were none. This was a pity for the French had made very thorough preparations. A special committee of savants, most of whose names are now to be found on the map of Campbell Island, was set up by the French Academy of Science and its members worked assiduously for over two years to ensure the success of the expeditions. Three observation points were planned in each hemisphere. Many places were considered in the Southern Hemisphere and the final choice fell on Noumea, Saint Paul in the Indian Ocean and Campbell Island. M Raynal who had visited Campbell Island ten years before and W3.S now an employee of the Municipality of Paris assisted the committee with an account of the place. Unfortunately Raynal had been seriously ill all the time he was at Campbell Island and it is clear from the minutes of the meeting at which he spoke that Campbell and Auckland Islands were confused in his memory. However, it seems that the decision to go to Campbell Island was virtually final before this and Raynal's misleading evidence probably had little bearing on it. Doubts about the suitability of the island were expressed later but other nations were in the field and France had little choice at this stage. The Ministry of Marine made available M. Bouquet de la Grye of the Hydrographic Office as scientific leader of the Campbell Island party, and, M. M. Watt and Courrejollesas assistants. M. Filhol of the Museum of National History also joined the expedition. They were to be transported from Sydney by a naval vessel of the New Caledonia station.

A year before the transit, F.R.W.S. 'Vire' of 1625 tons, commanded by Captain Jacquemart spent almost a month at the island, from 28th November to 25th December 1 873. His officers and men made a thorough survey of the coastline and the harbours, erected a platform for the transit equipment on the headland between Camp Cove and Garden Cove; and constructed a path from there to the beach. They also made a garden and planted potatoes and other esculent vegetables. It was reported that penguins, seals, albatross and rats abounded but that there was no trace of pigs. The depot placed there five years before by the 'Amherst' was intact. The main expedition in the same ship with Jacquemart again the naval commander reached the island in September 1874. The first decision was not to use the site prepared the previous year but to establish the camp and observatory in Venus Cove. Preparations went on steadily but were marred by the serious illness of one of the men, P. Duris. He died of typhoid fever on 22nd September and was buried on the point opposite Venus Cove where the platform had been erected the year before. A tombstone, inscribed, and an iron cross were placed over the grave, which Captain Fairchild tended for many years.

All was ready on the important day but it was cloudy and the sun was sighted only briefly at the beginning of the transit. The time was not wasted, however, for the expedition was well equipped to carry out general scientific work. M. Filhol published a comprehensive account of his studies which, he said, were directed to finding alliances between New Zealand and Campbell Island fauna to suggest the greater extent of New Zealand in former times. His final conclusion seems to have been that Campbell Island had never been connected to a continental mass. It is interesting to remark here that no sooner was the belief of the eighteenth century geographers in a great southern continent shown to be unfounded than the scientists of the nineteenth century began to speculate about and try to prove the existence of such a land mass in a long past epoch. Returning to Filhol's account, we find an interesting description of his first impressions and experiences on landing. The low vegetation covering the ground was delightfully soft to the feet at first. Moss yellowed all the old branches of the scrub and twined around the young shoots. It seemed, to start with, that one could stride over the ground with ease but soon one was hindered by the network of stems and roots, then moss clung to the boots and, after a few paces, one had to sit down to rest. Even sitting down soon became uncomfortable because, in spite of the steepness of the slope, the vegetation held a great quantity of water.

Naturally, the weather comes in for its share of comment. M.Blanchard summed up the expedition's weather records in the words ‘In spite of the absence of extreme cold, what a miserable climate is Campbell's.' Filhol afterwards spent some time with F.R.Chapman in Dunedin where he left some of his specimens. In the next fifty years New Zealand scientists carried on the work begun by Hooker and Filhol. Visits were facilitated after 1881 by the regular voyages of inspection made by the Government steamers.

(slightly abridged, 21/6/1 71)




Article received by Radio-telephone from Ron Craig, Officer-in-Charge, Raoul Island -

After many months of spasmodic water shortages the problems are now being overcome. Rats apparently have a hearty appetite for the alkathene pipe, and the portions that were left above the ground have now been mostly buried. Cattle with pieces of stone stuck between their hooves don't help matters either when they stand nonchalantly on the pipes. It is thought that one or two of the punctures may have been caused by indiscriminate use of an ice-axe on occasions.

A set of Admiralty Steps has been completed at the Boat Cove landing jetty. The steps are removable and intended mainly for use in the event of a medical evacuation. One helper on the project was doubled up with mirth on more than one occasion at the exasperation of a co-worker upon losing cold chisels in the tide. Not to be daunted however, the job was finished at the expense of a knife-steel.

On the lighter side a "Caterpillar Carnival" was held in the lounge one evening, over an eighteen inch course. After enticement with crumbs of food and gentle prodding with matchsticks, the race was declared a non­ event. It was difficult to assess who derived the most entertainment - the cat, the caterpillars, or the guys.

Birthday parties are always a welcome relief in the camp routine and may take many varied forms. Ian Lavin celebrated his 19th with a barbeque. Ian would be a strong contender for the youngest Expeditioner to ever go to the islands. Bob Huck and Bob Taylor tried their hands at the custard pie throwing contest - facing each other 4 paces apart. With due pomp and ceremony the contestants arrived on the marked out pitch, accompanied by their "seconds" and a lone piper playing a Scottish Lament. The cook presented the contestants with 4 pies each on a silver platter and the duel was on. The resultant mess revealed that- Bob Taylor had a narrow victory.

On 27th February a message was received from Kelburn advising that smoke had been observed coming from Napier Island. Frequent observations were made through the theodolite and binoculars but nothing untoward was observed. Subsequently a correcting message was received advising that Mathew Island was the place referred to - about 900 miles distant from Raoul Island.

March was one of the wettest months on record with Raoul receiving 24 inches of rain - almost half the average annual rainfall. This no doubt had a significant bearing on the bumper crop of passion fruit, and jars of preserved pulp have been sent on to Campbell Island and Scott Base. The Denham Bay Lagoon has filled up and water is lapping to within 6 feet of the rest-hut.

The United States Ice-breaker "Burton Island" visited Raoul and laid in supplies and a back-log of three months mail. The ship sheltered in Boat Cove while the helicopters transported supplies. With visibility less than one mile and the cloud base under 200 feet this exercise was commendable.

The South Korean fishing vessel "Nam Hae 217” sheltered at Raoul during rough weather. Readers may recall in an earlier Newsletter that this was one of three ships that arrived at Raoul together in October 1969.

An earthquake estimated at six on the Richter scale closed the financial year at 2340 M. Subsequent swarms of tremors, (the latest on 20th May), reveal that Raoul hasn’t given up yet.

H.M.N.Z.S. “Endeavour” made its fourth visit to Raoul during the current expedition year. As it will be the last call for the ship an appropriate ceremony and presentation was held. Commander Peter Silk has made many visits to both Raoul and Campbell over the last seven years.

A National Film Unit cameraman aboard an R.N.Z.A.F.aircraft flew over Raoul to re-take the aerial sequences for the Raoul film which is going through the editing stage. No release date has been made yet.

A substantial concrete kedge-anchor with a heavy length of chain attached, has been laid at Fishing Rock. It is hoped that several of the Whangarei­ Noumea yacht race competitors may avail themselves of our top-class marina facilities on their return trip to New Zealand.

Members of the Expedition have purchased a cinemascope lens for the movie projector. The lens will be presented to the island. (It is gestures such as this that augur well for the benefit of future expeditions - Ed.)



Once again it is time to write another epistle, and like the other members of the staff here on Campbell, I wonder where the time has gone to. We are well past the half-way mark of our stay on this semi-outpost;estimate of the mid-point was 17th April and it was duly noted and celebrated with another one of Bryan George's most excellent dinners. Even the best of our eaters were beginning to lag a bit, but after a few rests and breathers, the repast was successfully demolished. A fairly successful evening was held on 7th March for the benefit of our two departing Met.Observers, Mark Crompton and Mike 01 Donohue, the eight members of the wildlife party and the 2 technicians, Eric Woodward DSIR, and Keith Masters, MOW. Eric and Keith and the wildlife party had been here since 30th January.

During the evening a wedding present was presented to Mike 01 Donohue who was to be married on 1st May. This event has now taken place and once again we wish him and his wife the very best for the future. A fine dinner was laid on by Bryan, which really amazed our guests by its variety and quality.

The "Endeavour" arrived on the Island on 10th March bringing us supplies and mail. It was once again rumoured that this was the "Endeavour 1 s last trip to Campbell Island but we shall just have to wait and see whether or not this is fact. Aboard the "Endeavour" was an NZBC TV film team from Christchurch who put on record the whole day's happenings. Everybody was able to get in on the act and from reports received from friends and relatives in New Zealand it was very good. Nobody won an Oscar, but everybody was pleased with the good image that was painted of Campbell Island, even though it was straight off the cuff without any opportunity for a dummy run. Members of the expedition party turned out on the "Aurora" and followed the "Endeavour" to the harbour entrance. The long journey back was stimulated by a few bottles of wine. The journey was a little erratic towards the end, but we all arrived back at camp safely.

Approximately 7 weeks after the visit of the "Endeavour" an airdrop by an Orion of the RNZAF took place. This turned out to be a rather spectacular event. The first load broke free of the parachute and the boxes plummeted straight into Tucker Cove. Recovery of these items was quite a game.

Many hours were spent leaning over the side of the boat peerinb thro'ugh glass bottom boxes. Some films were among the items and when these were sighted Neville Brown, our Senior Met dived over into about 20ft of water and recovered them. These then had to be washed in freah water and dried. Due to the efforts of all, the films were saved and restored to good condition.

Work has been progressing steadily and a big slice of the work programme has been completed. A temporary culvert was laid under the marsden road to feed the peat water tank. This was done in very heavy rain so needless to say the job was completed as quickly as possible.

The new roof complete with guttering was fitted to the food store as part of the Station Works Programme. Some safety modifications have been carried out on the shower in the hydrogen filling shed. A non-slip ramp has been installed for easy access. This is something we hope never has to be used. Another safety item was the fitting of a safety frame to the Oliver tractor. This safety frame was manufactured in N.Z. and sent down here. Once again we hope the safety frame is not put to the test, but it does give our drivers more confidence when using the tractor over uneven ground.

March and April were a couple of months for many trips away from camp. Bull Rock and North West Bay were the most popular. Mt Honey was climbed by a party of 9 people as we very often had before the "Endeavour" arrived in March, and it was very pleasant sitting at the summit consuming some beer and surveying the rest of Campbell Island.

Several trips were made to the Albatross colony on St Col and after sitting on 138 nests the parents have now flown away and abandoned the chicks. Under the supervision of Keith Herrick the chicks are now in the process of being banded.

Part of the fence, used for containing the sheep over one half of the Island was flattened by sea elephants over at Tucker Cove, but has now been repaired.

We are now getting into the bad weather period with mid-winter's day just around the corner, and I am confident that the future will be just as pleasant as the past. 2 Chess matches are at present under way with Scott Base and after about 15 moves both games are still in the balance.
Derek LAWS



A party of 22 comprising members, wives, girlfriends, converged on the River City the week-end after Easter. After waterproof clothing and lifejackets had been donned, the group boarded the three boats. Twin Holden Monaro V8 motors shattered the early dawn, and the convoy moved upstream in formation sending ripples across the glassy surface. Small groups of ducks were unperturbed by our presence and seemingly flew off the bow-waves.

Civilisation trailed behind the wake, and occasional farm homesteads dotted the landscape, with rows of poplars resplendant in their golden foliage. Frequent stops were made to observe points of interest - a farm house on the West side of the River served by an elaborate cableway system to the road (and garaged car) on the East bank. Several Maori dug-out canoes were seen at their moorings and most were still in daily use. Barges for transporting sheep and cattle across the river to facilitate access to markets adopted many shapes, some up to 40 feet long. At one point a mob of sheep were being held in a temporary netting yard on the riverbank. A ten foot dingy with outboard motor was used to ferry them across, eight at a time, to grazing on the opposite side.

About twenty-five miles upstream from the city we saw the last evidence of the tidal effects on the river. By now the width of the River had narrowed considerably. and multi-coloured goats could be observed foraging down to the waters edge. On exposed cliffs above the river we saw hard papa rock with oyster shells embedded in it.

On past Athens to Koroniti, one of the larger Maori settlements on the River. Here we landed for coffee and refreshments. On a slight plateau a hundred feet above the river, an elderly Maori was busily reconstructing a scale size meeting house that had been dismantled and transported by canoe from its original site further up the river. This area is extremely rich in Maori history and the scene of some pitched fighting, although the pa was never taken in battle.

Like a little oasis we came upon Jerusalem, and one of James K. Baxter's disciples bathing nude in the River. This was obviously a regular occurrence and greetings were exchanged.

At Pipiriki we left the boats for refuelling, and cooked sausages over an open fire. For an hour all were able to discuss the highlights of the exhilarating trip.

From Pipiriki we jetted up a further ten miles to see scenes of repeated beauty, with native bush descending down steep banks right to the water line. Here the engines were switched off and the three boats drifted slowly along with ninety eight feet of water beneath us. This brief pause would be one of the highlights, but technology and the modern age gave us thirty cylinders to shatter scenes such as this. With a roar we were off down over the rapids, past the trees, farms, goats, and tied up at the city jetties as the sun slipped into the sea behind the bustling city we had forgotten for a day. A trip recommended to anyone visiting Wanganui looking for unspoiled scenery and a new experience in boating.




Congratulations to Tony Veitch who celebrated his twenty-first birthday on Raoul Island, 4th February.


For the first time in many years it was noted that the positions of Officer-in-Charge on each of the islands was re-advertised (31-5-71) in newspapers. Maybe the discontinued 2ZB publicity every Sunday afternoon is lar5ely responsible for the marked decrease in applications for several of the positions.


The classic of philatelic mail - a letter addressed,

His Excellency,
The Governor,
Kermadec Islands,


As Raoul was fairly close to the Appollo 14 splashdown point, a N.Z. philatelist asked for 300 stamped envelopes from the Kermadecs to send to his stamp-collecting friends in the U.S.A.


A Blue Heron made an appearance on Raoul at the end of April, and frequented the farm and Bells Ravine.


Best wishes to Ian Johnson (Tokoroa), with wedding plans set down for the beginning of August.


Doctor Janet Brown added twins to her family recently - grandchildren!


1971 Annual General Meeting scheduled for Saturday 2nd October, in the Lecture Room, Kelburn Weather Office at 2.00 pm, followed by the Reunion Dinner in the evening. Make your plans now, tickets limited to 120 people. Prices $10 for non-financial members and $9 for financial members.


G.P.O. Box 3557,

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