Perserverance-HarbourThe upper reaches of Perserverance Harbour, Campbell Island, are viewed to the south-west from Lyall Ridge. The scientific station is to the left of basalt Beeman, the hill in the centre foreground. (photo: Tony Veitch)



Association Officers 1975 - 76

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

Richard Lovegrove

Secretary   Treasurer
Tony Bromley   Bill Hislop
Committee   Honorary Members
Paul Frost   M. Butterton
Peter Shone           H. Carter
Tom Taylor   Capt. J. F. Holm
David Leslie   I. Kerr
Noel Caine   C. Taylor
 Bob McVinnie   H. W. Hill
Tony Veitch    

 Newletter Editor
Peter (Pierre) Ingram

"The Islander" is the official quarterly bulletin of the Campbell-Raoul Islands' Association (Inc.) and is registered at the Post Office Head­ quarters, WELLINGTON, for transmission through the Postal Services as a magazine. All enquiries should be addressed to: The Secretary, CRIA (Inc.), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON. Contributions to the bulletin should be forwarded to the Editor, CRIA (inc), G.P.O. Box 3557, WELLINGTON, and subscriptions to the Treasurer. Current membership rates are $3 per annum.


 1975 Annual General Meeting: was held on Saturday 20th September in the Lecture Hall at the Meteorological Service's head office in Kelburn. The necessary quorum of 15 was reached and the first members' business for two years was successfully conducted.

Annual Film Evening: also on the 20th was well attended, over 60 people being present. The new B.B.C. documentary, 'Extinction’ proved very popular and was immediately followed by an informal talk by Sir Robert Falla in which he discussed the ability and non-ability of- certain native birds to adapt to changing environments.

Bob Thomson's 'Vostok 900' was followed by 'Fifty Four - Forty south', or the frigate 'Tutira's' 1950 visit to Campbell and Macquarie Islands, and Nationa Film Unit's 1970 'Once Upon an Island' a contemporary view of Raoul Island.

Honorary member, Captain John F. Holm presented the Association with a copy of his new book 'Fair Winds and Rough Seas' which is a history of the Holm Shipping Company and was released by Reed's in mid-September.

A pleasant evening was terminated over supper in the staff room where once again the island plaques were on display.



Considerable discussion has arisen over the last few years as to how the Ministry of Transport might handle the future servicings of Raoul and Campbell Islands. Not only was the ever-faithful 'Holmburn' aging, but its parent company was obviously about to be absorbed into a complex shipping group which might have little business tolerance in the annual requests of the department.

The first armchair choice lay in the Navy's 'Endeavour', a small fleet refueler that has now been returned to the country of its birth. The static naval budget could no longer hold her with the advent of the replacement frigates. But at the time she was favoured through having adequate accommodation, a cargo hold forward of the bridge and a central well-deck which housed the massive fueling tank and pumps. The Navy's ability to adapt to our requirements is always understood to be an overnight afair and her fuel pumping facility looked like an advance to bulk storage ashore and the demise of the awkward 44 gallon drum.

However, all was not lost as the Navy acquired the Government's 'Moana Roa’. Here lay a ship of rare comfort which had adequately pampered her passengers over the years in the Cook Island - Rarotonga to New Zealand milk-run. Certainly our light tonnages would create a little excess freeboard for the Southern Ocean, but concrete was an excellent trimming device. But after her initial survey, she was whisked off to the United Kingdom to be extensively refitted to take over the task of the elderly survey ship 'Lachlan’.

The armchair pundits then swung their attention to the graceful ex-trader recently bought by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, M.V. 'Tangaroa’. As if to escape the Ministry's shadow, her hold space was quickly reshaped into laboratories and an extensive scientific programme drawn up which would carry her over the coming servicing period. Nothing appeared to be left now on the coast, although an isolated comment was reserved for the rotund little ferry, 'Wairua’, which plied the Foveaux Strait area, and it was wondered if the Stewart Islanders could do their Christmas shopping early so that the department might have a loan of her for a few weeks.

The launch 'Acheron' therefore came forward as an odd contender as 1975 loomed*. She had done well in the Auckland Islands area with the Wildlife people and had done her proving voyage to Campbell during May 1974 (Vol 2, No 11). Although she sustained superstructure damage on the latter trip which caused everyone some concern, it was proven that the Southern Ocean would never break her kauri and hardwood back. So she has received the commission to service the islands for an indefinite period.

Perhaps we have come full circle. The days of the ketch 'Ranui', and the schooner 'The new Golden Hind' are closely to be repeated. Our older members have always looked back with nostalgic satisfaction to the days when they buffeted their way to and from the outlying islands. The majority of members have little contribution when they reflect on the comfort of the 'Holmburn'; and appear to be soon sandwiched by a growing minority that once again know what small boats are all about.

* M.V. 'Holmdale' was never in the running. Although she had her accomodation extended to take an additional 6 bunks, a ruling by the Merchant Service Guild eliminated her use for any form of passenger carrying.



The 1973/4 Officer in Charge (Raoul) Geoff Charlton, wrote to me in November of last year with complaint about certain comments contained in the September editorial, "Safety and the High Seas." I subsequently wrote to him at length, explaining my reasoning and promising explanation in the next issue, which he had requested. Unfortunately there has been a considerable time interval between the two issues.

His first point related to the final paragraph, "Unfortunate and unofficial reprimand has also been placed on the officer in charge in permitting the full crew to remain in the hostel area while their craft was in such a dangerous position". He rightly states that he received no reprimand concerning the incident. The sentence was poorly constructed. I was referring to unfortunate and unoffical "comment" made to me by a number of Wellington members concerning the officer's decisions. I in turn defended Mr Charlton by stating that, "The judgement on this latter point may well be unjust, as no-one knows whether or not a warning to the skipper was ever passed."

One of the aims of this editorial was to point out the high cost to Government (or the taxpayer) of the rescue operations which must follow. The MOT official, with whom I discussed the 'Moeroa' incident, had no knowledge of any payment being made by the crew towards their recovery to New Zealand. Mr Charlton informs me that such payment was made, "approximately $1500".

It is certainly very much to the credit of the crew that such payment has been made and the record lies amended by this issue.



Any Information: regarding the successful finding of the wreck 'General Grant,’ on the west coast of Auckland Island would be welcomed by the Editor. It is known that the R.V. 'Acheron' sailed from Port Chalmers on the 12th January, 1975, with the search party under the leadership of Commander J. Gratton (R.N.). His three fellow divers were Kelly Tarlton, Malcolm Blair and John Dearling. They experienced ten days of good weather while carrying out their successful mission before returning to Dunedin. Also, does anyone hold any photographs of the 'Acheron' that could be reproduced in 'The Islander' ?


After all these Years: a replacement for Campbell 's aging 'Aurora' may soon be seen in Perseverance Harbour. It has been suggested that a double ender of 20 feet and capable of 10 knots might fit the slot. Shades of the DERs' jolly boats, perhaps?



This final installment of Ian Kerr's history brings us up to-date with the varied happenings on the sub-antarctic island. Well, almost up to-date. The article was compiled in the early 1960's, but contemporary types who know what follows, possibly have little or no knowledge of the postwar development and movements that took place. So it is still all good gen. It is with some pleasure that I announce in these pages that all Ian's hard work has been accepted for publication. He mentioned this to me just before departing overseas recently and I will have more information on this aspect in the next issue.


Once more, the future of Campbell Island was uncertain. The Government would not again allow private enterprise to take charge, so the alternative to abandonment was continued occupation by officers of the Government.

The Meteorological Service had expanded rapidly with the coming of the air age in the thirties, and the demands of aviation and the War had led to the development of new forecasting techniques which leaned more heavily than ever on the availability of weather data from widespread observing stations. The forecasters of the New Zealand Service had had experience of the value of the Campbell Island reports and were most reluctant to contemplate their loss. The value of weather forecasts, let alone Campbell Island's contribution to their success, is impossible to assess, nevertheless it is believed that if the availability of weather reports from Campbell Island means that only one or two forecasts a year that would otherwise have been seriously wrong are correct instead, the cost of running the station is justified. In addition, Campbell Island occupied an extremely important place in the world network of Ionosphere stations. It was not too difficult, therefore, to persuade Cabinet to approve the proposal that the station be kept going for another year. Later, a second year was approved and soon the station was accepted as permanent.

Administration remained the responsibility of the Works Department until 1951, but in that year it was decided that control of the two stations at Raoul and Campbell Islands should be transferred to the Civil Aviation Branch of Air Department. Much of the administrative work was taken over in July and full responsibility was assumed by the Branch on 30 November. Any apparent strangeness in the choice of the Government Department to control these islands is explained by the fact that the New Zealand Meteorological Service (was) also a Branch of the Air Department.

In 1954, there was a further change in the status of the island. As early as 1908, the Otago Institute and Wellington Philosophical Society, and later the New Zealand Native Bird Protection Society had urged the Government to declare both the Auckland and Campbell Islands as Reserves. Adams Island was so declared in 1910, the whole of the Auckland Islands in 1934, but it was not until 16 September 1954 that Campbell Island was gazetted as a Reserve for the preservation of flora and fauna. Successive leaders have since then been appointed Ranger. The list of the leader's official designations is now quite imposing. He is also Postmaster of what was, when it opened, New Zealand's most southerly Post Office. The opening date was 1 September 1952 and the mail brought out in October consisted of 15,000 letters, mostly for philatelists.


In the same year communication with New Zealand was greatly improved by the installation of radio-telephone equipment. Opened on 16 September 1952, the new circuit not only provided a channel for more effective consultation between the leader and the administration in Wellington but banished much of the sense of isolation. Members of the parties could now speak to and hear the voices of friends and relatives in New Zealand. It also freed the Post Office of the need to supply trained radio operators.

In the post-war years, as in the sheep station days, difficulty has been experienced from time to time in providing suitable shipping. For the first few years, the 'Ranui' was used for servicing and the policy of keeping her at the island in case of emergency was continued. After two trips in 1948, in March and August , the 'Ranui' was found to be unsuitable for further trips. The Navy was asked to assist again and for the next three years the servicing was carried out by the frigates of the Royal New Zealand Navy . The first trip was made by HMNZS 'Kiwi' in December l948. The 1949 visits were made by 'Pukaki' and 'Tutira'; the latter also visited Macquarie Island. In 1950, 'Pukaki' again made the trip and in September, HMS 'Veryan Bay'. In April 1951, the servicing vessel was the 'Kaniere' but, soon after, and unfortunately just as the Civil Aviation Branch was taking over the reins of control, difficulties were again encountered. The Korean War was engaging most of the Navy's attention and the Navy Office advised in October that no vessel could be spared for the November servicing of the islands. However, after fruitless enquiries had been made for alternative shipping, the Navy re-considered and dispatched the 'Lachlan’ to Campbell Island in November 1951.

Early in 1952, the Navy Office informed the Civil Aviation Branch that it could definitely provide no ship that year. The cost of using the 'Matai' was prohibitive and the 'Ranui', considered again was deemed unsuitable. Private firms were approached and the Holm Shipping Company became interested. Negotiations took some time, but, at last, the 'Holmburn,' predecessor of the present ship of that name, left Dunedin on 20 July for Campbell Island. This first of many servicings by the Holm Shipping Company was not a very happy one. The 'Holmburn' arrived at Campbell Island on 23 July and began unloading but on 25 July the wind rose to gale force with gusts to 80 knots. A small dinghy was lost and the surf boat with a new tractor for the island got out of control, drifted down the harbour and grounded at de la Vire Point. The wind continued through the next day and the surf boat broke up but the tractor was secured. The weather then improved and most of the stores were landed before the 'Holmburn' departed on 31 July.

After the ship's departure the party at the island did extra ordinarily well to salvage the tractor. With inadequate equipment, in bitter winter weather and on a difficult shore the tractor was first dragged out of the water, repaired on the spot and finally brought over rough country to the camp. The leader, C.P. E. Sewell, was later awarded the Coronation Medal in recognition of the good work done in this year.

The 'Holmburn' made another trip in 1952 and two more in 1953. Passengers in March 1953 included the Minister of Defence, the Hon. T. L. MacDonald, and the Assistant Director of the Meteorological Service, Dr R. G. Simmers.

Early in 1954, the old 'Holmburn' was sold and new tenders for servicing Raoul and Campbell Islands were called. The successful firm was the Tasman Steamship Company and their 'Viti' arrived at Campbell Island on 9 December 1954. Unfortunately a member of the incoming party, C. G. Clear, had become ill and as the long-distance diagnosis was appendicitis, the 'Viti' had to return with all speed to Bluff with the discharge of cargo uncompleted. She returned to Campbell Island, however, and completed her task without further incident.

The following year the 'Viti' was not available and the Tasman Steamship Company had no other ship. The Holm Shipping Company once more came to the rescue and has held the contract for the work ever since. The vessels that have been used are the 'Holmlea’, the tragic 'Holmglen’ and the new 'Holmburn’.

On the servicing of November 1953, the experiment of taking supplies for twelve months instead of six months was tried. It was intended, if the experiment was successful, to service only once a year in future and this policy has been followed ever since. However the annual servicing has been supplemented in several years by air drops from aircraft of the RNZAF and in the last few years, by the ships of the United States Navy supporting the American Antarctic bases.

Mid-year air drops were attempted in 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 and also in 1960. Hastings aircraft were used for the first three, a Dakota for the 1957 flight and a Bristol Freighter for the last. All were successful except the one in 1956. On 23 August that year, conditions were poor and the drop was attempted in turbulent conditions from 2000 feet. The first three cannisters found the target, but the fourth fouled the tail-plane. The pilot immediately climbed out on full power and the cords broke free 20 or 30 minutes later. The Hastings returned to Taieri at reduced speed.

The first ship of the United States Operation Deep Freeze to visit Campbell Island was the USS 'Greenville Victory’ in December 1955. The ice-breaker, USS 'Glacier' followed in February 1956. In the following summer and each summer since a United States destroyer has been stationed some 450 miles south of Campbell Island to provide meteorological information and radio facilities for aircraft flying between New Zealand and McMurdo Sound (This aspect of Deep Freeze has now been discontinued and no ships now patrol this station- Ed.). On it’s voyages between the ocean station and Dunedin the destroyer, USS 'Brough,' USS 'Petersen' or USS 'Wilhoite’, has often called at Campbell Island. The welcome given their visitors by the New Zealanders and the generosity of the Americans can be well imagined. The New Zealand Government also has cause to be grateful to the Deep Freeze Commander for his willingness to allow his ships to take additional stores and men to and from the island. Finally, on 8 March 1960, a new milestone in communication with Campbell Island was reached. A helicopter from the ice-breaker, USS 'Atka' flew in mail and some stores, took a man off to the ship for minor dental attention and then back to the camp.

The New Zealand Antarctic expedition ship 'Endeavour' has also called at the island with men and supplies. Early in 1947, the Works Department drew attention to the need for re-building the camp or constructing a new one if occupation was to be permanent, and planning for permanent establishment gathered momentum slowly in the next few years. In 1949, R. A. Ewing of the Meteorological Service , and L. Clifton went down to examine and report on possible sites for the station. The existing site had been chosen so that it could not be seen from the sea or easily from any part of the harbour (wartime Tucker Camp- Ed). Its seclusion made in unsuitable as a meteorological station and it was certain that the Meteorological Office at least, if not the living quarters, would have to be elsewhere. One of the requirements of the site was that it should be possible to release hydrogen-filled balloons from it successfully. It was hoped to send radiosondes aloft regularly to probe the upper atmosphere. Clifton and Ewing favoured an area in the vicinity of the old sheep station on the western shore of Tucker Cove but, after consideration of reports by Government architects and engineers who visited the island in the next few years, and the recommendations of expedition leaders, the site under Beeman Hill with outlook down the harbour to the entrance was decided on. In view of the distance of this spot from the old camp it was also recommended that a whole new camp should be built at Beeman Cove.

Cabinet approval for the construction of a complete new station was finally obtained in 1955 and the 'Holmlea', 'Grenville Victory' and 'Glacier' in December 1955 and January 1956 took in materials for the preliminary work which was done by the 1956 expedition members under the leadership of P.G. Poppleton.

A month before the 'Holmlea’ sailed a Sunderland flying boat Made the second successful landing on Perseverance Harbour on 11th November 1955. The Captain was Flight Lieutenant R. Weston and the passengers were officials concerned with the planning of the new camp. The main construction party and 450 tons of pre-fabricated buildings and equipment were taken down by the 'Holmglen' early in November 1956. A month later the 'Holmglen' returned for the carpenters and found the job well in hand. The buildings were completed in 1957 in time for the beginning of the International Geophysical Year and were formally "opened" by the Director of the Meteorological Service, Dr M.A.F. Barnett, in November 1958.

In the sheep station era there was no way of communicating with the mainland, so if any man fell ill or met with an accident there was nothing to be done but administer elementary first aid. Curiously enough there is no record in this period of any serious illness or mishap. In the years since the war, on the other hand, there have been several cases calling for urgent action. The first of these occurred in 1946.

Appendicitis was the diagnosis when the ionosphere observer E. I. White's condition was reported on 29 April. Arrangements were immediately made to send down a Catalina flying boat. Flight Lieutenant Tuckett was the pilot and the passengers were Dr L. M. Berry and Sister G. L. Hammond of the Wellington Public Hospital and Leslie Clifton as guide. No aircraft had ever landed at either Campbell or Auckland Islands, but fortune favoured this first hazardous attempt. The catalina flew from Wellington to Bluff on the thirtieth and, with the weather forecast still favourable, took off for Campbell Island at daybreak the next day. Three hours flying above cloud brought Campbell Island up on the radar screen, 40 miles distant. Cloud covered the hills down to 300 feet but the tops of Mount Honey and Mount Paris were visible. After circling the island the aircraft broke cloud to the southeast. There was little wind but Flight Lieutenant Tuckett, anxious to have ample room if immediate climbout was necessary, touched down near Davis Point and here, so close to the open sea, an uncomfortable swell was running. However, they were safely down and taxied up the harbour which the 'Ranui' had patrolled to clear of obstructions, and anchored in Tucker Cove. It took an hour and a half to confirm Sorensen's diagnosis, to decide that an immediate operation was not necessary and to carry the patient down from the camp and board the aircraft. In the meantime the weather had begun to deteriorate but the take off was not impeded. The run was made down the harbour and the Catalina was airborne just past Shoal Point. The flight back to Bluff was uneventful.

Five years later, in October 1951, the leader, T.P. Hammond became seriously ill from an abscess in the neck. Again the Royal New Zealand Air Force was asked to help. A Catalina was flown down from Suva on the eighth and left Wellington on the ninth, shortly after midnight. In command was Flying Officer D.F. Clarke, D.F.C., and on board was the RNZAF Director of Medical Services, Wing Commander A.H. Marsh (Vol 2, page 275- Ed). The island was picked up on the radar screen at 9.15am, but lost again in sleet and hail. The attempt was called off at 12.30pm and the aircraft returned to Bluff after being in the air twelve hours. The next day the second attempt was made; the island was sighted and a run in attempted, but extreme turbulence prevented a landing. Several members of the crew were injured; one suffered a broken rib; and the plane was lucky to escape serious damage when an anchor broke loose. The attempt to reach the island by air was then called off and much to the chagrin of the Air Force, the HMNZS Kiwi was dispatched from Dunedin on the eleventh and took the patient off on the fourteenth.

Symptoms of appendicitis were again reported in December 1954. This time, as already recorded, the victim was a member of the ingoing team on board the Viti. She had to interrupt loading and make a hasty return to Bluff.

The next mishap was to B. J. Perkinson in 1956. He met with an accident on 7 July which caused internal injury and immediate repatriation was considered necessary. This time the Administration was able to charter the Union Steamship Company's Karamu which was at Bluff. She left with an Invercargill doctor at 2am on 9th July and returned with the patient on the twelfth. By a strange coincidence the last Union Steamship Company vessel to visit the island, 35 years earlier was also a Karamu.

Another event, which fortunately did not have serious consequences, occurred in the early hours of 24 May 1960. This was the tidal wave, or tsunami, associated with the Chilean earthquakes. It reached Perseverance Harbour about 4am and the water was estimated to have risen about ten feet above normal. It carried away part of the jetty and flooded and damaged the waterfront buildings. The power plant, housed in one of these, was submerged and put out of action for a time. The most serious result was the loss of a number of drums of lubricating oil which were washed away. The incident recalls a similar one 1877 recorded by J. I. Thomson of the Benclough.

Scientists engaged in fields other than meteorology and radio propagation have maintained their interest in Campbell Island. Four small expeditions have spent some time on the island since the war. The first of these was a group of physicists from Christchurch who visited the Snares and Auckland Islands as well as Campbell Island in the Ranui in 1948. Their object was to take magnetic observations for comparison with those obtained by the 1907 expedition.

The next visitors arrived in the last day of 1951 in the Danish research ship Galathea. The main objects of this expedition were to explore the abyssal depths of the oceans and the bottom fauna of tropical, coastal waters but the fauna of isolated islands were also of interest, hence the six day visit to Campbell Island. Accompanied by Dr R. A. Falla, the Danes were permitted to collect four or five sea elephants, a sea lion and specimens of birds. The Galathea, incidentally, was no stranger to New Zealand waters; she was formerly HMS Leith.

The third expedition was also foreign but two New Zealanders accompanied it. It was led by Dr Alfred M. Bailey, Director of the Denver Museum of Natural History and was transported from Dunedin to Campbell Island by the USS Brough. The American party stayed there for six weeks, longer than any previous expedition except the French Transit of Venus expedition of 1874. A comprehensive collection was obtained for the Museum, as well as a film record of the flora and fauna. The results have been handsomely published in a work in which J. H. Sorensen of Wellington collaborated with the Denver scientists.

Finally, a group of New Zealanders under Dr Godley spent several weeks in January 1961 studying the ecology of the vegetation and animals. The team, which travelled in the Endeavour included zoologists and botanists from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Massey College, the Dominion Museum and Canterbury University. The object of two members of the expedition was to examine the sheep population. Except for the release of three Cheviot rams in 1953, no fresh blood had been introduced into the flock for over thirty years and the evolution of the stock in these circumstances is of considerable interest.

In addition to their primary duties, the resident expedition members undertake many others in the cause of science. One of their most regular tasks is the banding of birds and observations of their nestings and breeding. Other tasks have included recording sightings of whales, at the request of the National Institute of Oceanography of Great Britain, obtaining soil samples for the Soil Bureau, livers of sheep for the Department of Agriculture and plants and seeds for Otari Plant Museum in Wellington. The Director of the Otari Museum, W. B. Brockie, was so keen to collect and observe, himself, that he volunteered to serve on the island as meteorological observer. After training he did, in fact spend six months there in 1947.

The list is not yet complete. To it may be added the recording of aurorae, the collection of rain-water samples, tide-gauge and seawater temperature readings and the reception of special radio signals transmitted from Scott Base for the purpose of measuring the absorption of radio waves by Aurora Australis.

It will be seen that life is not likely to hang heavily on the hands of the expedition members. In addition to the routine scientific observations, there are the ordinary camp chores and maintenance in which all share. Among the chores is the cultivation of the vegetable garden. That there is a garden that provides fresh green vegetables for several months of the year is due to the perseverance in the early years of J. H. Sorensen in the early years and later to the enthusiasm of Dr R. G. Simmers of Wellington (also Association Honorary Members Henry Hill and Herb Carter of Wellington who still continue the work today - Ed). Seedlings grown in Wellington are transplanted to shallow metal trays about the end of August and by the time they are taken to Campbell Island in November the plants are fairly large and hardened. The 12 plants in each tray are separated from one another by strips of galvanised iron. When they reach Campbell Island the plants and blocks of soil are inserted in the prepared garden plot without disturbing the root system. Results have proved most satisfactory.

For relaxation and exercise, excursions are made from time to time to all parts of the island. These are for the purpose of making biological observations, killing sheep for the larder or photography which is the number one hobby of most of the expeditioners. we have now brought the story up to the present day in which the island has at last found its place in the world. It will probably never again be uninhabited but is unlikely to be the home of a permanently settled community and private enterprise will not return. The island's role is that of a natural laboratory and observatory of no mean importance in the eyes of the scientists of the world. (Concluded.)


Tucker Cove StationTHE TUCKER BOX: Once the ultimate in southern comfort, it housed the Cape Expedition from 1941 and post war staff until 1957, the year the Beeman Camp was established. ( photo: Tony Veitch )



Before we came to Raoul we had been told that we were severing our contacts with the outside world for 12 months, to live an isolated existence. Believe me its like Queen Street on a Friday night. When we arrived we found that we had 8 members of the Forestry Service and Wildlife camping on Low Flat, and naturally they were frequent visitors to the hostel, evenings and weekends. The navy ship HMNZS Waikato arrived a week after we did, and whilst the helicopter was being utilised by the Wildlife for spraying noxious plants, we called upon the services of the navy divers to recover sections of our building from the tide at Fishing Rock.

The new building (43 tons of it) is changing the face of the village area. It will house the mechanic's shop, carpenter and plumber's shop, spare parts, generator room and a cold store. Its quite an impressive construction, being over 2000 square feet in area. Needless to say the old buildings it replaces will be demolished in due course.

Our first visiting yacht was the Siga, in November. A young German couple, Sigi and Dieter, spent a couple of enjoyable days with us. It was John Wilkinson's (Swordedge) birthday, so we were already equipped with an excuse for a party.

The navy ship Tui arrived on the 10th December to take the hunters away, and we finally had the island to ourselves. Christmas came next and it was celebrated in grand style, with roast suckling pig and all the trimmings to go with it, lots of booze, and a sked with all the boys on Campbell Island just to make sure they were enjoying themselves as much as we were. No worries.

Our main, project for the year was the new workshop complex. The old D7 was resurrected to level the site for the footings to be dug. With a lot of creaking and groaning and the replacing of tracks, she finally gave us something like a reasonably level site. Work went quite smoothly on the building, with the odd bit of arguing on certain points by our learned staff, and by April we had what appeared from the outside - a large empty building. We were only required to complete the shell, but as the materials and labour were on hand, we concreted some of the floors and put in the dividing partitions. At the moment we are engaged in putting in the approaches. This necessitates the cutting out of a bank and carting away a few hundred cubic yards of filling. The weather is the main drawback. We have had a particularly wet year so far and it has made ground conditions rather unworkable.

Our second yacht, the Mentini, called in on the 2nd January, and lo and behold, two bikini clad females came ashore for us all to oggle. They were an Australian crew delivering the yacht to Aussie for the Admiral's Cup Trials.

We had quite a long period without visitors, the next boat being the HMNZS Canterbury, which took off our O.I.C., Senior Met and the guy who supervised the erection of the new building. In their place we got one Senior Met in the form of Chris Jackson (Emanuel). He brought with him a hacking cough, and enough flu germs to infect the whole island which he did in due course. Either the M.O.T. have got to put replacement officers on Somes Island for quarantine or we are going to shift the Met Office onto Meyer Island. The mechanic took over as O.I.C. and now with a crew of only 10 of us, we have settled back into something like a routine.

The storm we had in February gave us plenty to do, the torrential rains brought down slips and trees on the main road and all around the island, and it took a couple of weeks to clear them and put up new fences.

May was a great month for visitors. On the 2nd, the Whangarei yacht Tainui II called in - on the 7th, the Mari from Florida arrived, then the Realm, a 52 footer from Whangarei came on the 24th. And the trimaran Ariel on the 29th, but she unfortunately lies wrecked on the boulder beach about 500 yards west of Fishing Rock. The crew had a rough trip from Great Barrier Island, and it took them 21 days to make it to Raoul. They were very tired and glad to be on dry ground again. Against our advice and a warning of bad weather approaching, they decided to sleep ashore. Our Met Officer on night shift notified them twice of the worsening weather, but no move was made by the crew. When we tried to get them to the yacht in the morning, they couldn't get back in their dingy and it was that bad we couldn't even launch the station boat. The skipper of the Ariel said that he had two anchors out and the yacht would ride it out O.K. This it did for about 36 hours, when the wind went from the N.E. to N.W. Then during the next night she dragged anchor and we had the job of looking for her. She was in the small bay west of Fishing Rock with the port pontoon missing and the bottom ripped out of the main hull. A few days were spent by everyone salvaging what we could from the wreck. Very little was lost really in the way of possessions - it was just a case of drying the things out. The boat of course was a write-off.

A lot of past teams on Raoul must have wondered what it would be like to have females living on the island with them. Well, we were fairly fortunate in as much as they could curse and swear as good as us, so language was no barrier. They don't like to greet the day much before 10 am and during the period they are mobile they require 3 or 4 showers. The washing machine never stopped until the day it broke down, and our hot water resources were taxed to the limit. I put them on the house mouse and cooking roster, but as regards other jobs around the place, we got on better with them out of the way. The skipper though, gave us a hand with earth works around the new building and made a start on painting the crane on Fishing Rock and was quite happy to muck in with the rest of us. Thank goodness we haven’t got a team of university students here for a crew this year.

Anyway, to continue with events, they liked sunbathing and swimming in the nude, so our boys, when they didn't go and join them, had a certain amount of distraction to keep their minds off work. There was a certain amount of mixed feeling about the usefulness of females on the island, and apart from a privileged couple, we came to some sort of agreement, that if there are not enough to go around you might as well have an extra dozen of beer and continue looking at the girlie magazines.

I think our mid-Winter swim will go down, in the history of Raoul. I can't find any record of it ever being a mixed nude swim. (Eat your hearts out you Campbell guys.) Tommo, our cook put down a hangi on the beach, and we made merry until after midnight. I think some of our younger members have certainly had their minds broadened in the last few weeks.

The Toa Moana called in on the 27th June to collect our castaways and deliver some engine oil to us. As usual it was blowing a gale and the seas were very rough. Bing, our technician, and myself loaded 2 passengers and half their gear in our 12 foot boat Chunder, and battled our way out to the ship. We got them onto the ship O. K., but loading the 46 gallon drum of oil into our boat was a work of art. The drum was swinging like a giant pendulum, and on the first attempt at lowering it, it landed on our side and pushed us under. We shipped a lot of water, but managed to load it after a few hairy attempts. We headed back for the Rock, and Bing picked up the hook on the crane first go. Just as well as I don't think the conditions would have given us a second chance. The water was emptied out and the second load put in and away we went again. The wind had increased and a massive swell was breaking at the crests. Three times on this trip the boat left the top of the waves, became airborne and landed in a trough. The ship didn't seem to be giving us much lee, so it was with difficulty the passengers made the Jacob's ladder hanging from its side. We collected some goodies from the ship, bailed out 6 inches of water and headed off home.

It had taken us two hours to make the change over and I think Bing will agree it was an experience that will take a long time to forget.

Peace is once again restored to the island, but it will be short lived. On the 24th July we have 6 hunters and 3 Lands and Survey guys arriving on the Canterbury. At the time of writing this, we still have four months to go. It should look quite a sight at the annual servicing, with the Holmdale, the Acheron and the Tui all anchored off Fishing Rock.

At the moment we are drawing lots to see who will be the lucky fellow driving the crane when we swing Bart and the other two inspectors ashore in the basket. (Some guys here are actually offering me money to get their name put on more than one ticket for the draw. Good luck Bart, you'll need it.)

John Coates, Mech & OIC, Raoul Is.

(Many thanks for your informative newsletter John. The spirit of adventure has not been dormant on Raoul this year and you have filled some gaps we have often wondered about - Ed.)



Thinking of things contemporary, we have a stack of notes collected over the year which had better go into print:

l) Island Staffing: 1974/5. Those that went out to the islands at last servicing were:


Peter Frazer Officer in Charge Whangarei
Garth Thompson Cook Dunedin
John Coates Mechanic Paeroa
Warren Bingham Telecom Hamilton
Rex Foreman Farmer Masterton
Tim McArthur Maintenance Nelson
Stephen Borland MOW Building Nelson
John Wilkinson Senior Met Wellington
Peter Kelliher Met Obsever Paraparaumu
Ray Verhaart Met Observer Masterton
Simon Norman Met Observer Ashburton
Tim Packer Met Observer Christchurch

Returned to New Zealand by the frigate Canterbury during April were Peter Frazer, John Wilkinson and Stephen Borland. John Coates took over as OIC, Chris Jackson (ex-Campbell Deep Freeze 1974/5) took over from John Wilkinson and Stephen Borland has completed his building programme.


Rolf Kern Officer in Charge Taupo
Andy Woodall DSIR Kaitaia
Hugh Anderson Ionosphere Wellington
Wayne Mantell Telecom Christchurch
Neil Postleweight Cook Wairoa H.B.
Michael Meskimmon Mechanic Wairoa H.B.
Peter Wood Senior Met Invercargill
Andy Fraser Met Observer Invercargill
Christopher Jackson Met Observer Wellington
John Grueber Met Observer Christchurch
Tony Edney Met Observer Wellington
Alan Yule Met Observer Wellington
John Walton Carpenter Auckland
Linwood McCosh Plumber Picton
Alex McFerran Electrician Christchurch

Rolf Kern was delayed by sickness and went down by USCG breaker Glacier on 21/12/74. Also travelling with him was Tony Edney to replace John Grueber. John returned on the Glacier via McMurdo to arrive in New Zealand on 2/1/75.

2) Building Programme:
Raoul - Stephen Borland's 100 x 24 feet building to replace the 'village' is complete. Inside are four Lister diesels with 12 KVA rating each, plus the electrical, mechanic and food stores. Somewhere in there to is a 200 cubic foot McAlpine deepfreeze unit. The farm is to be 'dismantled' over the next two years, the maintenance officer being phased out at the same time as the farmer, at servicing 1977. Wildlife is to get the woolshed but eventually will have an annex parallel to the hostel annex now in existence.

Campbell - The dining room now caters for 22 at a single sitting in an extension which pushed out the south wall of the lounge. A 12 bed annex now ajoins at split level to the old annex. The new cool store now contains a 200 cubic foot freezer.

3) Airdrops:
Raoul - Bristol Freighter on the 15th March '75 with 1000 pound.

Campbell - Bristol Freighter on the 9th and 10th April '75 with 4500 pounds in a successful 2 day drop.

4) Shipping:
MV Holmburn sold to the Guan Guan Shipping Company of Singapore, during April and will leave Auckland as the Golden Summer. Holmwood also went to the same company in 1972. ML Acheron with building materials and inspection party to Campbell 21st to 25th February 1975. Acheron will have to carry personnel for the 1975 servicing with Holmdale bringing up the rear with the 'goodies'. Yacht Valya was at Campbell on 24th February 1975 under the skippership of solo expert Annette Wilde.

5) R.&.C.S.C.:
Bart Wilkie's helping hand George Guy (ex MOT Stores Section) didn't stop long - from September '74 to early February '75. Promotion carried him off as Stores Officer to Regional Office, Wellington. Bart's big recruiting drive ran in the columns of all the major newspapers from Wednesday 23 April for several days. So predominant was the entry that NZBC picked it up and interrogated Administration Officer (Met) Bill Craig on the 6 pm news to gain further insight into the whys and wherefores.

6) Salaries & Allowances:

  1974-75 1975-76
Officer in Charge $6078 $6868
Cook $4596 $5193
Ionosphere Obs   $6147
Technician   $6147
Mechanic R.I. $4534 $5331
Mechanic C.I. $5204 $5331
Farmer $4982 $5630
Maintenance Officer $4059 $4740
Meteorological Obs by grading by grading
Raoul Is Married $965 $1117
Raoul Is Single $845  
Campbell Is Married $1445 $1673
Campbell Island Single $1325  

7) Member:
George Poppleton (Campbell '55 & '58) and wife Hera are now in Wellington, at the Fire Service College, The Parade, Island Bay, Phone 836-459. Says George, "Any islanders can expect the welcome and hospitality we extended at Tokoroa. Always a bed and no notice needed - just arrive." ( Thanks George - Ed)

8) Trick or Treat:
Fortunately turned to the latter for the Meteorological Services Director of Facilities, Wally Wilkins, when he travelled to Campbell Island during February of this year on M.L. Acheron. With a crew of five and four passengers, the 76 foot wooden motor launch left Port Chalmers on Friday 21st and returned from Perseverance Harbour on Tuesday 25th. Wally's calming of the SW swell with a 20 knot NE breeze is an old professional gimmick of reorientating the isobars at the right moment.



Mr H.C. 'Cap' Hansen an American boat designer, was in New Zealand recently to see his 'special' vessel, the M.L. Acheron. The Acheron was built to his design in Dunedin. The vessel is ‘special' to Mr Hansen because, although he has drawn plans which have led to the building of 18,000 boats throughout the world, he says of the Acheron, "I think that she's the best boat I ever designed. There's no other boat like her in the whole world." Mr Hansen has been designing boats since 1900, and this is his most recent. It is owned by a Dunedin businessman, Mr A.J. Black, and is used mainly for ocean research work. The combination of Kauri for the planking and Australian hardwood for the frames make the Acheron unique, Mr Hansen said. "If we had Kauri growing in the United States, we could build boats better than any in the world. She'll last for 200 years, you know."

He comes from Seattle, and at the age of 83, could not resist the visit to this country to see his final creation in the water. He learnt the art of boatbuilding from his Norwegian born father in Washington, starting when he was only eight. A partial stroke left his right hand paralysed shortly after he had completed the Acheron design in 1971, and he has not been back to the drawing board since. Of the 18,000 boats around the world built to his designs, there are more than 700 in Russia alone, and hundreds more in the United states and Europe. While his designs have ranged from huge container ships to fishing boats, he has preferred to draw plans for commercial vessels of 70 to 80 feet. His son Don accompanied him on his 'sentimental' journey to New Zealand.
(More details of the launch appear on page 248 of Vol 2, No 11 -Ed)


Notes on the Baggage Boy Holmdale: may be of interest at this point. With an overall length of 218 feet and gross tonnage of 911, she is powered by a 1250 bhp German diesel. Built in Martenshoek, Holland, by Bodewes Scheepswerven for the Holm Shipping Company in 1961 (as was Holmglen II and Holmburn II), she entered service the following year on the New Zealand coast , graduating to the Onehunga - Rarotonga run in 1967. A photograph of her and Company history appear in Vol l, No 11, page 6. (Details from 'Fair Winds & Rough Seas' Kirk '75)


FURTHER PROOF: that man's unceasing quest for knowledge persists with him until the end, is seen in an educational road sign erected by the Automobile Association (Raoul). The unwary motorist on the island's M1 who spins out to his doom, is informed that the road is indeed "WET WHEN GREASY."


Evening Post: 2 July 1975

The possibility that they might be charged for their passage and a month's enforced stay on Raoul Island was the first news from home for a wrecked trimaran's crew members when they arrived in Wellington early this morning in the Government ship Toa Moana. The party comprising three New Zealanders - Isabel Marshall of Auckland, Marie O'Shaughnessey of Napier and Nigel Heard of Wellington - and the trimaran's owner, American Harold Gelnaw, had only the clothes they were wearing and little personal gear.

They lost practically everything when their vessel went down. Mr Gelnaw was particularly despondent. A mariner with several year's experience, including single-handed sailing, his 35 foot Ariel was uninsured.

The trimaran left Auckland on April 25 and the crew's seamanship was really put to the test when the vessel ran into a storm two days out. "We were worried a bit at first - probably most about the capabilities of the Ariel - but these were unfounded. She was a good seaboat and Mr Gelnaw had years of experience, including single-handed sailing behind him," said Miss Marshall. A period of calm followed the storm and then came another storm. It took the vessel more than a month to reach Raoul Island. It anchored off Fishing Rock at 9 am on May 29.

Eager for the feel of dry land under their feet, all four crew members rowed ashore about noon after leaving the trimaran securely anchored. But when they tried to return in the evening, they found the weather had worsened again. "A strong rip was the main trouble and we nearly got washed away," Mr Heard said. Attempts to reach the vessel were abandoned and the party spent the night on the island. Another attempt was made next morning, but again failed. The wind increased all day and at 4am on the third day the wind changed to a northerly. Anchors, however, were set for westerly and they did not hold. Slowly the trimaran dragged towards the shore and ended up on the rocks.

With no other means of transport available, the four crew spent a month marooned on the weather station island. They were told at one stage a ship could be diverted to take them off, but they would have to pay the charges. "But we were broke. We spent all our money provisioning the ship," said Mr Heard. The staff on the island were great," said Miss Marshall. ''There was no work for us, we just spent the days swimming and tramping."

Finally they were told that the Toa Moana from the Cook Islands would be arriving to take them off. She was making an unscheduled call to unload a drum of oil, urgently needed to keep machinery going. They finally left Raoul last Thursday. But before doing so they had to sign an indemnity form said Mr Heard. This said that they would be allowed off (Raoul Is ) if they ultimately paid all costs. And the news that they might be charged - even for the passage was not a good homecoming. " I’ve nothing against the crew of the ship, they were wonderful," said Miss O' Shaughnessy. “They went out of their way. It's the Ministry of Transport we’re upset about." At an early stage they were told they might have to stay on board until the money was paid. Commenting on the possibility of paying for their keep and transport Mr Heard said: "We're really browned off - they said we might not be allowed off until we had paid up - especially when we had to sleep on the floor of the saloon."

A Government official who visited the ship on her arrival however, said that the party would be allowed off the ship. Although there would be no charge for their stay on the island they would, however, be billed for their passage to Wellington. Miss Marshall said that they had never made a passage in a yacht before. But that was how Mr Gelnaw preferred his crew members. He had stressed that personality was more important than experience which would be picked up in due course. He proved correct as within a few days they were adept at handling and navigation. A previous crew had left the Ariel at Auckland and Mr Gelnaw advertised for replacements.

But if things seemed bad for the three New Zealanders they were even worse for Mr Gelnaw. He was confronted by Government officials including senior Customs men. The problem was that he had not prepared a re-entry permit into the country. The US Embassy, however, was informed immediately of the position and Mr Gelnaw, clad in jeans an old jersey and cap and jandals, was driven to the Terrace headquarters by obliging Customs officers to tackle the necessary paperwork. He said that he was too upset to speak about his experience and would not comment at all on the loss of his boat.


The following article from the Department of Lands & Survey is a quite interesting summary of the:


The greater part of Raoul Island (2827 ha) is a reserve for the preservation of flora and fauna which the Department of Lands and Survey is responsible for administering in terms of the Reserves and Domains Act, 1953. The reservation does not extend to the 111 ha Meteorological Station and farm on the northern side of the island. It is the primary object of management of such a reserve to maintain it as far as possible in its natural state. To achieve this it is a general policy to preserve the native flora and fauna, ecological association and the natural environment and as far as possible to exterminate introduced flora and fauna.

Goats are believed to have been liberated on Raoul some time between 1836 and 1842 when, prior to reservation, an attempt was made by Europeans to settle the island. With the encouragement of Wildlife Service of the Department of Internal Affairs, staff of the Met. Station have over the years hunted and destroyed goats on the island and accounted for as many as 4,000 animals between 1956 and 1966. In 1966/7 an expedition backed by Ornithological Society of N.Z. visited Raoul and estimated the goat population to be about 3,000. Goat tracks were found in plenty through the somewhat impenetrable undergrowth of the Reserve but were of little use to men with packs. Goats, on the other hand, found the conditions so much to their liking that evidence was even seen of a nimals climbing 12 metres or more above the ground , up sloping pohutukawa trunks, to feed on foliage.

Mr D.V. Merton (Fauna Conservation Officer of the Wildlife Service) in making a report as a member of the expedition, said, goats had so modified the Island and vegetation that only the less palatable species of plants were still regenerating successfully and that the main canopy species - the Kermadec Pohutukawa, was threatened. This depredation of the vegetation in turn diminished wildlife habitat. Mr Merton urged a policy of extermination. It was considered that the rarer plant species could be saved if a positive effort was made soon enough to exterminate the goats from the island, and additionally, that the characteristic composition and appearance of the Island's forests could be largely maintained. It could also help the native plants compete with exotic types which are less palatable and therefore spreading at the expense of the original vegetation.

In 1970, the Outlying Islands Reserves Committee (the Inter-Departmental Advisory Committee) considered the Merton report and recommended that the Department of Lands and Survey adopt as a policy, an extermination programme for goats on the Island. As the department responsible for the control of noxious animals, the N.Z. Forest Service was called in to arrange a special goat survey and two of its officers undertook this task towards the end of 1970. They classified the overall goat population as moderate, and reported that the lowest densities were found in areas readily accessible to Met Station staff, and confirmed the findings of the earlier expedition about the consequences for the Island's vegetation. They also found evidence of slightly accelerated erosion in the very steep country, consequent on the goat damage. The two officers put forward a detailed proposal firstly for controlling, and if possible as a result, to exterminate these introduced animals. Arrangements were subsequently made for the NZ Forest Service to commence operations towards the end of 1972 in cooperation with officers of the Wildlife Division, and the Department of Lands and Survey.

Part of the first hunting team's time was taken up with establishing fresh water caches and forming a track system to enable access along the main ridges of the island. Goats were found to prefer steep bare faces along the northern and eastern coasts and also the high steep ridges with a northerly aspect. Their ability to negotiate extremes of terrain made them difficult for dog and hunter to follow on the coastal bluffs of the Island.

A tally of l,286 goats was recorded by the Forest Service team, with the help of other expedition members who were also engaged in a cat control programme. Survivors of the goat population were estimated at about 1,200. A strategy was proposed of a small party hunting sectors of the island in alternate periods, allowing goats to settle down and come back into areas already hunted before they were hit again.

A follow up expedition went to the Island early in 1973 and accounted for a further 627 animals. Again the problem of getting at goats on the bluffs was a stumbling block and led the NZFS officers to believe that complete extermination would be very difficult. An aerial operation appeared to be the only method likely to be anywhere near successful in achieving this objective. During the current years expedition the opportunity was taken by a Senior Forest Service officer to carry out an aerial reconnaissance to assess the nature and extent of the effort required to achieve complete extermination. This was undertaken by courtesy of a Wasp Helicopter from HMNZS Canterbury.

Evidence seen of goat tracks indicated that the surviving animals were using the coastal bluffs areas quite extensively. The 1974 expedition, comprising of Wildlife Division, Lands and Survey and Forest Service personnel will return from Raoul in December. In the mean time, the Outlying Islands Reserves Committee is giving its attention to the logistics for this next stage of the campaign which hopefully will include an aerial shooting operation.

References: Merton. D.V. 1969: "The Ornithological Society of N.Z. Kermadec Islands Expedition." Sykes , W.R. 1969 : "Goats and their effects upon Raoul Island's vegetation." Proc. NZ Ecol, 1969, 16:13-16. Various: Reports by officers of NZFS on goat control operations, Raoul Island. (Received from: Dept L & S, 13 Nov. '74)



In a one day stop over at Campbell Island on the lst February, '71, the 'Explorer' disembarked 75 passengers for a wildlife tour of the Perseverance Harbour area. A barbeque was turned on by the Campbell Boys, who were in turn invited aboard ship for cocktails. The Lindblad Explorer sailed at 8pm.

1971 Aboard Lindblad ExplorerSOUTHERN COMFORT, 1971 STYLE: A happy gathering aboard the Lindblad Explorer for cocktails. (photo via: Derrick Laws)

Back Row , left to right - Brian George, Neville Brown, Bill Stewart, Bruce Means, Eric Woodward (partly hidden, and the chap in front of him is an unknown), owner Lars Lindblad with his wife in front, then Bruce Bernstein, Derrick Laws, Mark Crompton, Brian Monks, Keith Herrick and Lindsay Barker. Only three can be identified in the front row: Keith Masters ( left, MOW electrician), Peter Scott (centre, now Sir Peter and son of Robert Falcon Scott), and Francisco Erize (right, Argentinian ornothologist).

The MS Lindblad Explorer is the floating proof of Lindblad Travel (Inc) and was commissioned in December 1969. With a gross registered tonnage of 2500, she can carry a maximum of 92 passengers. Twin MAK diesels provide 15 knots from 3800 hp, her dimensions being 250 feet over all, 46 width and 13 draft. The hull is ice strengthened and roll stabilized.


NIMBLE: "(Captain) Copland, however, noticed there was no one there to let go his (forward) backspring so, undeterred and with the engines still going slow ahead, he leapt from his bridge down to the top of some deck cargo, down on to the deck, down on to the wharf, and let go the line himself. He bounced back to the bridge by the same method and and continued his manoeuvre, rather to the utter astonishment of the Harbour Board linesman who had just arrived to let the ship go." "Fair Winds and Rough Seas", Kirk.


by Allan A. Kirk
published AH & AW Reed, 1975

It is with some pleasure that I can now finally record the arrival of this book which deals most fully with the three generations of Holm and their shipping enterprise in New Zealand and Pacific waters. Author Kirk unfortunately died before the publication date, an elusive point in the calendar which slowly crept ahead as negotiations with Reeds' continued.

The compilation has not been without difficulty. Certain papers from a previous author had been lost, time was taken when Allan Kirk diverted to 'Express Steamers of Cook Strait' (1968), his unfortunate illness was to follow and as Captain John Ferdinand Holm nautically puts it , “a large portion (of material) was stowed in the lower hold under a pile of dunnage that I have been collecting and meaning to sort for many years." These events, I feel, do have their effect on the overall continuity within the book.

The history of the company (or companies: Holm Shipping Co and Holm & Co) is quite complex, where in the last forty years the Union Company has gained entry and modern business ideas have been cleverly manipulated by John Holm. It is not intended that any of these aspects should be examined here, but I do think the book's latter chapters on these matters could have been reconstructed to present them in a clearer light.

The author is also rather heavy handed with employee back slapping which occupies about a third of the book. Undoubtedly the company did experience an extraordinary degree of team spirit throughout its history and the three generations of Holm have in turn provided excellent qualities of leadership. But I did find it disappointing to desert the sea-going functions and adventures of the ships at a point only halfway through its pages. Certainly more is to follow, but they are snippets hidden within a full dress staff parade. Consequently, I would have liked to have seen a few staff pictures dropped in favour of more ship photography. For example, there are only distant shots of the Holmlea II and Holmglen II although there are finer ones available ( 'The Islander', Vol 1, No 11, page 10).

But then it is stated on the cover that it is "the story of the Holm Shipping Company" and by the author's decision we must abide. If the reader is to be so shipping orientated, then he will find reward in an excellent fleet list and highly comprehensive index, two items which show that author Kirk was a true shipping historian. This alone would be adequate reason for "Fair Winds and Rough Seas" to appear in my library.




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