Until March 1908 the Wimmera was primarily employed on the horseshoe run between Melbourne and Sydney. In July 1912 she returned for a single visit before reverting to the Northern New Zealand run. From November 1914 to February 1917 (at which time she paid her final visit to Melbourne) she operated on a (modified) run.
The highest number of passengers to arrive in Melbourne by the Wimmera was 247 in October 1915, followed by 232 in July 1912 and 209 in March 1906.
The highest number of passengers to depart from Melbourne by the Wimmera was 243 in January 1905, followed by 220 in January 1906 and 210 in February 1908. Her lowest number of passengers out of Melbourne was 34 in October 1914.
In each of 17 months in which she arrived in Melbourne she recorded between 100 and 191 passengers per month. In each of 22 months she recorded between 50 and 97 passengers and only in two months did she record below 50. In the remaining 119 months she either did not call at Melbourne or recorded no passengers.
In each of 44 months over the period November 1904 to February 1917 the Wimmera disembarked approximately 4616 passengers in Melbourne, or an average of 105 passengers per month/visit.
By comparison, from the time of her first arrival at Sydney in November 1904 until her final visit in June 1918, the Wimmera conveyed over 19,400 passengers to that port alone from domestic and New Zealand ports. The highest number of passengers conveyed to Sydney on a single voyage was approximately 256 in June 1905 whilst the lowest number of passengers, when carried, was in March 1918, with only 25. On only two occasions did she arrive in Sydney without passengers and this was in July 1912 and February 1917.
On 7 July 1912 she arrived in Melbourne from Wellington via Bluff and Hobart. After this voyage she was then to resume her usual running in the NZ trade between Sydney and Auckland and northern NZ ports and was scheduled to depart Sydney on that service on 17 July. After debarking her passengers which included 150 new immigrants that had arrived in in Hobart on board the White Star liner Ionic, the Wimmera proceeded direct to Sydney on 9 July. It was the first of only two occasions on which the Wimmera carried no passengers to Sydney and the only occasion that she was ever navigated directly between these ports.
It is estimated that the Wimmera carried tens of thousands of paying passengers in her lifetime – as well as the odd non-paying passenger.
The Paying Passenger
In terms of costs, the price of a ticket for travel aboard a Huddart Parker steamer of course, varied depending on the route and distance and class of travel. Price increases also occurred over the period that the Wimmera operated. As examples, prospective Saloon passengers wishing to join the Wimmera for any leg of her horseshoe route voyage in 1905 would be expected to pay the following single and return fares:
A Steerage passenger would be required to pay the following single and return fares on the same route:
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021