The Wimmera‘s first arrival at the Gisborne Roadstead was on 16 January 1907 and her last visit on 6 June 1918 – only weeks before her final voyage. Visits to Gisborne were made by the Wimmera and her sister ships on their coastal voyages between Auckland and Wellington and return – hence the large number of approximately 177 visits overall to the port.
Together with the larger steamers of the New Zealand Shipping Company, the Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company,and the Tyser Line, which all made Gisborne a port of call, the vessels of Huddart Parker had to anchor in the bay, in the Gisborne Roadstead about a mile from the breakwater, and be tendered by lighter and steam tugs.
“The town [of Gisborne] lies at the head of Poverty Bay, on the west bank of the Turanganui River. It is the capital, trade centre, and port of what is known as the Poverty Bay District, and is prosperous town, with a population in January, 1912, of 8,481 inhabitants.”
“The river is celebrated as the place where Captain Cook first landed in New Zealand. A monument to mark the spot has been erected, and was officially unveiled on the 8th October, 1906, by the Hon. J. Carroll.”
Although improvements were made to the Inner Harbour, by 1912 only vessels up to 240’ long and drawing 14’ could discharge their cargo at the wharf. This precluded not only the Wimmera but all the intercolonial mail steamers that regularly called on the run between Wellington and Auckland and vice versa.
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021