Memories of Toroa and the Auckland ferries

Preserving and keeping alive the steam ferry heritage of Auckland is more than looking after the artefacts—big ones and little ones, from the Toroa to a Devonport Steam Ferry Company ticket. The history is important—what happened and what it signified. And the history is much richer than the official written record, as comprehensive and interesting as that might be. The experiences and memories of people provide the narrative that keeps the heritage alive.

This Memories part of the Toroa website is a column for all with ferry associations to tell their stories. Please contact us if you have a story to tell, your own or from earlier generations.

Were you, or anyone you know, a ferry commuter to and from work or school? A wharf-jumper; a euchre-school regular; a mother with babies in the Ladies’ Cabin, avoiding the smokers and the card schools? A crew member—skipper, deckhand, engineer or stoker? Did you maintain the ferries as shipwright or engineer? Were you a child allowed into the wheelhouse and to steer for a while? Were you there when a ferry ploughed into the end of the wharf; got lost in fog; ran aground on a mud bank? Have you photographs or memorabilia of steam ferry days? Do you know the whereabouts of gear and fittings from the passenger ferries? If the answer is yes to any of this, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch.

Our first story was published in Memories magazine and comes via the late Jim Sullivan’s ‘As I Remember’ segment of Sounds Historical that used to run on National Radio on Sunday evenings.

There are more stories in the pipeline, and we are looking forward to hearing yours.

Heading picture: One of Toroa‘s nameboards, donated by the family of the last engineer in the ferry’s working life. We know the whereabouts of one other board—who can find the other two?  Photo: Robyn Mason, Toroa Collection