Among the many tons of produce reaching New Zealand ports from Australia were grapes from South Australia, apples from Tasmania and onions from…. Unfortunately not all of the exported fruit reached their overseas market in … than best quality. On more than one occasion cases of the fruit or vegetables were considered … and were … as in 1908:

“One hundred cases of oranges and apricots which arrived [in Auckland] from Sydney by the Wimmera were condemned as being affected with fruit fly.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 15 December 1908, p8


In 1908 an embargo against the import of grapes which had previously been imposed to keep diseased fruit out of New Zealand was lifted. Although the import from other than Commonwealth countries still remained, Australian grapes were now permitted to be shipped despite discontent and concern from local Auckland growers who considered that the move “…would be disastrous, and would lead to the introduction of phylloxera and the fruit fly.”

“The first shipment [of Australian grapes] under the new regulations arrived by the Wimmera on Wednesday, and were sold the same day at auction, realising from 5d up to 7d or 8d per lb. The consignment is said to have come principally from Maitland. The quality was somewhat disappointing, but it is believed better samples will come along next week from Adelaide. Better prices are available here for better grapes. In any case the Wimmera’s lot are selling rapidly in the shops at an average price of about 9d.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 5 February 1908, p6


A shipment of peas…


“One hundred and sixty-four cases of Australian cherries were landed at Wellington from the Wimmera yesterday. They had been transhipped from the Moeraki at Dunedin to expedite their being placed on the local market.”

Evening Post, 24 December 1909



WELLINGTON, February 1908

The first shipment of South Australian grapes by the steamer Wimmera from Melbourne averaged 8d. to 10d. per pound. Of 97 cases of pears from Melbourne the fruit in 82 was rotten at the core through the action of the Codlin moth, and was condemned. It is expected that some very stringent regulations will shortly be gazetted in regard to the importation of fruit from countries in which the fruit-fly has been found.

The Mercury, Tuesday 25 February 1908, p3


The Wimmera came alongside yesterday with a shipment of 12,315 cases and 10,604 half-cases of Tasmanian apples. Opening prices will be announced today.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 17 March 1914, p11

Loading apples, Hobart.

WELLINGTON, October 17.

Captain Wylie states that the trip of the Wimmera from Sydney was the roughest she has ever experienced. The vessel was hove-to twice. About 500 cases of fruit were washed overboard, and fifteen merino flock rams, consigned to Messrs Wright, Stephenson and Co., Dunedin, were killed. Mr Stead’s horses on board arrived in good condition. The ship did not suffer damage except for the carrying away of part of the railing.

Star , Issue 9061, 17 October 1907, Page 3


For some few years past small shipments of Tasmanian apples have been made to the East Coast of South America, and the trade seems to be expanding. To May 9 this year (says the “Hobart “Mercury”), upwards of 7,000 cases were sent, and the Huddart, Parker liner Wimmera, which left on that date for New Zealand, took about 6,000 or 7,000 cases more for transhipment to the mail steamer Corinthic, which will discharge at Rio de Janeiro. Tasmanian apples also find their way to the extreme North-West of America. Recently 1,000 cases were shipped for Alaska. The market there, however, is very limited. The fruit has to be sledged for a considerable distance.

The Advertiser, Tuesday 14 May 1907, p10

An Auckland message states that the Huddart-Parker steamer Wimmera, which arrived from Sydney on Sunday, brought a shipment of 798 cases of fruit for this port. On the consignment being landed yesterday, it was discovered that about one hundred cases of oranges and apricots were badly infected with the fruit fly, and were immediately ordered to be destroyed.

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LIX, Issue 9248, 15 December 1908, Page 4

From time to time representations have been made to the various shipping companies regarding loss of fruit in course of transit by pilfering, damage by water, and by rough handling. A communication, which was read at the meeting, from a firm of fruit agents at Wellington, bore testimony to the care that is now being exercised by shipping companies in the carrying of fruit. It stated that the shipments to hand by the Wimmera, from Sydney, comprised 2500 cases; that the vessel made an excellent run across the Tasman Sea, and land the fruit in fine order. Their representative was a passenger, and they could not allow the opportunity to pass without commenting upon the extreme care which the officers exercised in respect of position, handling, etc. The weather was fine during the trip, but, apart from this , every precaution was taken to have a sufficiency of tarpaulins at hand in case of wet weather. During night time a man was placed specially on watch to see that no pillaging occurred, and a large electric light was brought to bear on the cargo. This information afforded considerable satisfaction to the growers present.

Australian Town and Country Journal, Wednesday 20 September 1905

© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021

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