THE NEW ZEALAND MARITIME RECORD
|The iron hulled Barque RAUPO
Peru 1876 Louisa Craig 1907 Raupo 1916
Displacement: 710 gross and 683 tons net
1876 Thursday, August 17 Launched shortly after noon by Miss Robertson, daughter of the managing owner, as the Peru at Kinghorn, Fife, Scotland by Messrs John Key & Sons of Aberdeen for James White Robertson and others of Dundee. She had been built to class 100 A1 at Lloyds under special survey.
After the launch, she was taken in tow by the Fiery Cross and moored in the Kirkaldy Dock to be fitted out.
1876 October 9 Under the command of Captain James Craig, she commenced her maiden voyage to San Francisco via Cape Horn with 1,000 tons of coal.
1877 April 6 Arrived at San Francisco (below) and loaded general cargo and ballast for Vancouver.
1877 June 15 Sailed from Vancouver for Buenos Aries.
1878 June 8 Arrived at Hamburg, where Captain R. Smith took command.
1880 November 1 Arrived at London, where Captain William Beaton took command. She was then chartered by the Shaw Savill Company and loaded general merchandise for Auckland, which she reached after a 112 day voyage via the Cape of Good Hope.
1881 September 26 Arrived at London after a 90 day voyage from Auckland via the Horn with a cargo of wool, copra, Kauri gum and Manganese ore.
1883 June 21 At Rotterdam.
1885 March 16 Returned to Rotterdam via Newport, Buenos Aires, Rangoon, Rio de Janiero, Talcahuano and Falmouth.
Peru at Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
1887 After calls at Wellington and Port Chalmers, she was chartered to the New Zealand Shipping Company while at Napier, from where she daparted for London on November 22.
1888 Right: thirteen year old Arthur Edward Buggs' father died and his mother remarried. It was decided to enrol him aboard the Marine Society training ship, Warspite, moored at Woolwich Reach on the Thames in 1887 and he joined the Peru the following year.
1888 December 8 Departed from Wellington on a 102 day voyage to London.
1889 November 14 Departed from Townsville for Gisborne under the command of Captain William Beaton Orr.
1889 November 21 Her forefoot was dented and ten plates set in when she ran aground on rocks off Silloth Island in the Whitsunday Passage, 1020 kilometres North of Brisbane.
1889 December 12 - 21 Repairs were completed at Auckland for £750.
The Court of Enquiry found the Mate, who had been drowned subsequent to the stranding, guilty of negligence, while Captain Orr was blamed for not exercising sufficient care in such dangerous waters and close to the shore; also leaving the deck at a time when an hour would have put the barque past the rocks which she struck. The Captain's certificate of competency was returned, but he was ordered to pay costs.
1890 January 24 Sailed from Gisborne on a 95 day to London with 3,050 bales of wool valued at £44,000.
1893 February 4 Arrived at Timaru in ballast from Wellington, where Captain James Luke took command. While master, he was often accompanied by his wife and their three children
1894 March 24 Departed from Port Chalmers with 3,575 bales of wool for London.
1899 January 12 Arrived at Auckland with cases of oil from New York.
1900 November 11 Arrived at Calcutta from Mauritius.
1901 November 22 Arrived at Newcastle-on-Tyne 116 days out of Chile, where Captain Watts took command.
1903 Captain Herbert John Colley appointed master.
1906 July 14 Reached Falmouth after a 173 day voyage from Adelaide via South Africa and then laid up at Preston for four months.
1906 November Towed to Liverpool and while there the Court Sessions at Edinburgh ordered her sale. She was sold to Joseph James Craig of Auckland for £2,025.
1906 December 27 Departed London on a 100 day voyage to Nelson.
1907 May 12 Arrived at Nelson where Robert Kennedy (above), who had commanded the Constance Craig, took command from Captain Colley. He would be her master for the next fourteen years. Captain Kennedy was justifiably proud of his new command and under his capable direction she quickly established a splendid record in inter-colonial waters. He was an excellent seaman and as far as his ship's owner was concerned an outstanding master, the consistent good performances of the barque being a reflection of his ability. However his irascible nature, his habit of discrediting his officers and standing their watch at the slightest provocation deterred many from sailing under him.
1907 June 12 Following discharge at Nelson, 200 tons of sand ballast were taken aboard and she sailed for Hokianga to load timber for Sydney. While there she was renamed Louisa Craig in honour of Mr Craig's mother, a name she carried with distinction during the next decade. The hull was also port painted which further extolled her beautiful lines and transformed her into not only the prettiest of the Craig Family, but indeed the most striking sailing ship owned in Australasia.
From Sydney she went on to Newcastle where 1,100 tons of coal were loaded. At the departure buoy she was battened down for sea and with clearance papers in order was towed to an offing. Once clear of the Hunter River sail was sheeted home and the barque set off in pursuit of the James Craig, which had left two hours earlier. Braced up hard on the port tack, the Louisa Craig bowled across the Tasman Sea with the watch standing by the topsail halyards in readiness to lower the yards to passing squalls.
The caption on the back of a photograph taken by J. Dickie indicates London to Melbourne in 74 days. San Francisco to Auckland in 31 days - 213 nautical miles per day average, usually slower and poor sea boat!
During the next decade she made thirty voyages in the Tasman trade, serving the ports of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle in Australia and Hokianga, Kaipara, Whangerei, Auckland, Thames, Lyttelton and Bluff in New Zealand.
1912 Willie Sanders (Lieutenant-Commander William Edward Sanders VC DSO) was second mate on the Marjorie Craig and had one voyage on the Louisa Craig to get him back to Auckland. On a postcard he said that he thought she was "a leaker and was a bit iffy" (she would out last all of the Craig sailing ships). He then signed on as first Mate of the Joseph Craig and was aboard her when she was wrecked inside the Hokianga Bar.
1915 April 17 The Louisa Craig, the last of J.J. Craig's sailing ships was sold to George Herbert Scales of Wellington for £6,500.
1916 June Renamed the Raupo, she sailed from Auckland for San Francisco via Tahiti with a cargo of Kauri gum.
1916 November 12 Arrived at Lyttelton with 23,357 cases of petroleum products, 53 days out of San Francisco. In the subsequent two and half years, she would make a further five round voyages to San Francisco carrying Hemp North and Benzine to the South.
1919 September Departed Auckland on her last voyage across the Pacific.
1920 March Arrived at Auckland with case oil from San Francisco.
1920 May 20 Arrived at Sydney with a cargo of timber from the Bay of Islands.
Subsequently made six voyages from Picton and Wellington with a cargo of coal for Newcastle.
1921 October 20 Arrived at Wellington, where she was laid up at anchor in the harbour.
1922 March Sold to the Canterbury Steam Shipping Company for use a coal hulk at Lyttelton.
Raupo departing Wellington at the beginning of her final voyage to Lyttelton
1937 "Down at the wharves of Lyttelton's hillside port lies an old iron hulk at what is officially known as No.3 East; drifting idly out to the end of her mooring ropes to drift slowly in again and bang against the wharf - a drab hulk whose stern bears the letters Raupo. A colourless shell stripped of all her former glory, her wheel gone, spars gone, ropes and rigging and topmast, with mere bare stumps remaining of her once proud poles; grimy, empty and neglected. But she sometimes draws an interested glance as a relic of the spacious days of sail, when ships were things of grace and beauty, white clouds of sail cutting through the azure ocean...
Once this shell of barnacle encrusted iron bumping against an uninteresting wharf was a proud windjammer with a wide, black line running round her side, with white sides below that and her ports painted black against the white plates; with white lifebuoys hanging round her stern rails, her anchor over her bows, three straight masts towering skywards with white bellying sails, and a name for being as good a vessel as she looked. Scots built in the seventies when sail was still useful to commerce, she traded in many waters and 'strange lands across the sea', bearing several different names, until the Canterbury Steam Shipping Company bought her soon after the first World War for the useful but ignoble life of a hulk to coal its steamers...
Her rear mast is gone and the stateroom astern, once adorned with fine carven timbers, is a mass of ruin. Here were found rotting lifebuoys, safety rockets, old ships' books and engineers' logs from steamers of her old company and an old chart of the Waitemata Harbour depths in the early days.. Climbing down the broken companionway into the stateroom, the purchaser's agent spoke of the ghosts peopling the shadows beneath the Raupo's decks, and standing there one could picture the ghosts of old sailormen haunting its holds and cabins. I thought of the cries and sounds and stories that would unfold if all the words ever spoken aboard her were to speak again, if we could strike the right wave-length to catch the vibrations echoing down through the years. How we would have heard the gale screaming through the rigging out overhead as she rounded the Horn in a storm of crushing waves and freezing waters; and the soft lapping of the warm waves of the South Seas; and the dramas enacted aboard as they brought her safe home across the seven seas, had the dead spoken again.
But the dark shadows were still and silent and all we could hear was the lap-lapping against her sides of the waters of the Te Whaka Raupo - the Raupo Harbour, as Lyttelton Harbour is for her so aptly named - and the bump as she grated against the wooden wharf. What is to become of her remains to be seen, whether she shares the fate of the old Breeze lying half ashore out by Godley Head or joins the sad collection at the dumping ground behind Quail Island, or is sunk at sea..."
However it was to the acetylene torch she fell. The hull was cut to the water's edge and her remains barely afloat, were towed across the harbour and beached on Quail Island.
Thus ended the career of the Raupo ex Louisa Craig ex Peru surely one of the most notable sailing ships of her size and era. She had witnessed in part the brief reign of the lordly clipper ship and the introduction of the large carrier, then their demise as steam ships came on the scene. In Australasian waters she had been given a new lease of life, prolonged by the advent of war until recession hastened her end. Throughout these forty-five years the small barque had given sterling service to her owners until finally serving in the ignominious role of a coal hulk for a further fifteen years a wonderful tribute to her designers and builders who could never have envisaged the full and interesting career that was to be hers.
Over the past twenty five years, her sister ship, the James Craig has undergone a comprehensive restoration by the Sydney Maritime Museum and has been recommissioned for excursion type voyages. Sadly, the James Craig has not been restored to her original Craig Line livery, but she is often open to the public at the Wharf 7 Maritime Heritage Centre adjacent to the ANMM
Below: Australian maritime artist, Oswald Brett's painting of the James Craig signalling her number to the steamer Time
Thanks to Jean Bennett and also to Marcus Castell (specialist in Maritime Books) for bringing it all together.
New Zealand National Maritime Museum
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