Timeline

Steam Ferry Toroa Timeline

1923 Tenders close for new DSFCo ferry

1923 11 October Tenders close for the Devonport Steam Ferry Company’s new ferry to be constructed alternatively in wood and steel.

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1924 G.T. Niccol contracted to build new ferry

1924 January George Turnbull Niccol of St Marys Bay contracted to build a ferry for the Devonport Steam Ferry Co. on the model of The Peregrine. Triple-expansion…

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1925 New DSFCo ferry Toroa launched

1925 28th April The launch of the new ferry from George Niccol’s St Marys Bay shipyard. Named Toroa by Mrs J. Fotheringham, daughter of Mr. Ewen…

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1925 Trial run to Browns Island

1925 7th July         Toroa’s trial run to Brown’s Island reported in the Auckland Star. Mr. Matthew Scott was Master, in the presence of a number…

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1925 Toroa put to work

1925 12 July Toroa commences work on the Auckland–Devonport run, running opposite SS Makora and taking over from SS The Peregrine. Ferry steamers at the Auckland…

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1927 Collision with cable ship

1927 16 June Toroa collides with the cable ship Iris in very heavy fog, after avoiding the cargo steamer West Calera. Damage to flagstaff (then stepped on…

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1928 Fast passage from Devonport

1928 17 October Quick ferry passage A report in NEWS OF THE DAY in the Auckland Star, 17th October, 1928: “A remarkably quick passage was made this…

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1930 1YA receiver installed, and removed

1930 A wireless set installed, enabling passengers to listen to 1YA, an Auckland radio station, but after a number of complaints – it interfered with conversation…

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1936 Ferry company livery changed

1936 Toroa overhauled and the hull repainted, the Devonport Steam Ferry Co. having changed from a light blue hull to the new livery of dark green…

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1937 Major overhaul; corrosion damage

1937 July In a major overhaul during annual survey, Toroa refastened with new galvanised steel planking bolts, the originals having suffered severe corrosion from galvanic action…

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1939 War-time numbers

1939 With the outbreak of the war, registration numbers issued to commercial ships working around New Zealand. Toroa’s number 2203 was painted on the lower bulwarks…

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1941 War-time blackout

1941 10 March Official war-time blackout required the cabin windows to be painted blue and all outside lights extinguished. Blackout test carried out.

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1941 Toroa stranded

1941 12 May   Toroa stranded 200 yards from Devonport wharf – floated off next morning.

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1941 Collision with ferry Kestrel

1941 30 May Toroa in collision with sister ferry SS Kestrel off the corner of Queens Wharf.

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1944-45 Coal shortages

1944 & 1945 War-time shortages of coal become so severe that ferry services are threatened.

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1947 Jammed reversing gear

1947 4 January Toroa’s reversing gear jams and she strikes the wharf, damaging bow and bulwarks. [During later restoration of the reversing engine, it was found to…

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1947 Another stranding

1947 2 August Toroa again stranded.

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1949 Collision with jetty

1949 10 May Another collision with jetty. Flagstaff destroyed, bulwarks and rudder damaged.

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1948 Collision with cargo ship

1948 22 July Toroa in collision with a cargo ship, damaging her bulwarks and cabin top.  During the later restoration of the cabin top, evidence of…

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1950s Rudder protection at berth

1950s  Chafing pieces fitted to Toroa’s rudder to prevent damage when ferries were tied up at night. They were later removed.

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1959 Harbour Bridge opens

1959 30 May The opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, spelling the demise of many of the ferry runs, particularly the end of the vehicular ferry service. …

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1960 Canberra and collision with wharf

1962 May    The berthing of large liners at the Auckland wharves could often cause the ferries problems and this day was no exception. Toroa was making her…

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1960 North Shore Ferry Co

1960 December     The ferries Takapuna, Makora and Toroa taken over by Leo Dromgoole’s North Shore Ferries Ltd., and  continue on the Devonport–Auckland run. Joined in 1961…

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1963 Another collision caused by tug sternwash

1963 20 February         Approaching her berth at Auckland, Toroa was caught in the wash of two tugs berthing the liner Imperial Star and hit…

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1974 Makora decommissioned

1974 SS Makora decommissioned and her place taken by the ferry Kestrel.  Makora was later to be broken up and buried in the St Mary’s Bay…

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1976 Marine radios to be fitted to the ferries

1976—1980 Radios to be fitted to the ferries The installation of marine radios in the ferries promoted after several mishaps and a ferry grounding in fog. …

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Toroa’s last run

1980 8 August   Toroa’s last morning on the Devonport run, then the final voyage of her working life to the double-ender Death Row in St Marys…

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1981 Fullers to take over North Shore Ferries

1981 March           George Hudson, founder of Fullers at Auckland, takes over the ferries from North Shore Ferries Ltd. with the intention of recommissioning both Kestrel and…

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1981 Ferries scrapped & buried; Toroa rescued

Ferries The Peregrine, Makora, Takapuna and the vehicular ferry Korea scrapped.  The ferries were stripped of engines and fittings, cut down to the lower deck line…

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1985 Toroa Preservation Society formed to save Toroa

1985 21 March A group of interested parties form the Toroa Preservation Society to save Toroa, the last of the double-ended steam ferries, from the ship breakers.

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1986 NZ Maritime Trust purchases Toroa

1986 7 February    New Zealand Maritime Trust purchases Toroa  George Hudson, owner of North Shore Ferries Limited,  sell the ferry to the New Zealand Maritime Trust (Trustees are…

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1988 Toroa slipped for inspection

1988 1 August      Toroa slipped at Marine Steel slipway in Hamer St for hull inspection and anti-fouling. After the inspection, members of the Toroa Preservation Society Inc. produce…

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Toroa moved to Birkenhead

1990 25 February       At the order of the Ports of Auckland, Toroa moved from Westhaven to settle at the Birkenhead Wharf on the North…

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1993 Toroa a film set for Shortland Street

1993—1995 Toroa a Shortland Street film set Moored at Birkenhead Wharf, Toroa  becomes a set for  in the television series Shortland Street, produced by South Pacific Pictures. 

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1995 Ferro pontoons for floating dock

1995 Ferro-Cement pontoons The Toroa Preservation Society  planned to build eight ferro-cement pontoons, employing Task Force Green workers, to raise the ferry out of the water and…

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1998 Toroa sinks at Birkenhead

1998 1 June        Toroa sinks alongside Birkenhead Wharf during a severe storm with high winds from the southwest. Exactly what happened was not…

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1998 Toroa refloated on second attempt

1998 21 June        Unsuccessful first effort to raise the Toroa with the Port Company’s floating crane Hikinui—as a result of insufficient lifting capacity and gear failure…

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1998 Pontoons completed, ready to lift Toroa

1998 October     The ferro-cement pontoons complete and assembled, ready to lift Toroa from the water for restoration of the hull.  

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1998 Toroa returns to Devonport; search for restoration site

1998 24 December Toroa moved to a new berth at Stanley Bay wharf. 1999 A substantial and prolonged but ultimately unsuccessful effort by the Toroa Preservation Society…

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2001 Toroa brought ashore at Henderson in a triumph of Kiwi maritime & engineering ingenuity

7 May 2001 Resource consent granted by Waitakere City Council to establish Toroa on Radio New Zealand land by the radio mast at Selwood Road, Henderson….

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2001-2008 Establishment; conservation plan; wheelhouses; fundraising

2001-2008 Establishing on site; the conservation plan; restoring the wheelhouses; fundraising; the first new ribs An intensive period of fundraising and design and infrastructure preparation for…

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2009-Present Renewing Toroa’s steel skeleton; acquiring the big timbers

2009-Present Renewing the steel skeleton; bringing in the timber The first set of new ribs installed in the boiler room; fabrication of floors and reverse frames…

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Steam Ferry Toroa Timeline