A brief news item appeared in the Evening Post of 5 December 1912. The expectations of the New Zealand public would have been dashed had they rightly expected a new aeroplane to appear in New Zealand skies for the “monoplane” was none other than the racehorse “Monoplane”. Similarly “M. Don Meux” was not a French aviator as one would expect but another four-legged equine racer by the name of “Don Quex”.
The Observer reported the following on the matter:
‘The Rotorua “Times,” feeling possibly as if it were awarding a Christmas present to New Zealand, exclaims in headlines:–“Monoplane for New Zealand. The Wimmera is Bringing It. A Treat in Store for New Zealanders.
Sydney, Dec. 4.—The Wimmera has sailed for New Zealand with the monoplane Donquex on board.” Very curiously the sub-editorial imagination in all the other New Zealand papers saw no soaring airships in the cable skeleton, and so just headed the item:–“Horses for Auckland. Sydney, December 4.—Monoplane and Don Quex were shipped to Auckland by the s.s. Wimmera, which left to-day.” Which seems to fill the bill. It is a severe disappointment, however, that the Rotorua “Times” par. is not the true interpretation. A few airships wouldn’t be unwelcome even if there were fewer racehorses.”
Observer, Volume XXXIII, Issue 14, 14 December 1912, Page 16
Nonetheless, an aircraft was cargo and its pilot a passenger on the voyage of the Wimmera from Auckland to Sydney and Auckland to Napier in 1913. Aboard was the Bleriot monoplane of American aviator and showman Arthur B. ‘Wizard’ Stone plus the motor vehicle of Australian motor racing enthusiast Percy Cornwell.
The wheeled varieties of transport were also conveyed on a number of known occasions. These included the world touring Hupmobile in 1911 and other motor cars. At least one bicycle was imported from New Zealand to Tasmania on the vessel’s arrival in Hobart on 24 November 1905. A ‘motor bicycle’ was also carried to…
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021