The Wimmera was removed from her regular itinerary on a number of occasions for the purposes of undergoing surveys, repairs and maintenance, including cleaning and painting. These generally occurred in Sydney, where the vessel would be placed into Woolwich dry dock or alongside Mort’s dock in Balmain. She was also docked in Melbourne on several occasions.
Often the work of the dock workers was undertaken swiftly and at all hours, as a result the disruption to scheduled services was often minimal. On at least one occasion the work carried out was favourably reported in the press, eg:
“Some smart work was carried out by the engineers of the Huddart-Parker steamer Wimmera, and the dock hands, while the vessel was at Sydney last week. The Wimmera arrived at the New South Wales port from Auckland, at 2 a.m. on Friday, April 18th, and was floated into Woolwich Dock at 9 a.m. on the Saturday, when the steamer’s hull was scraped and painted, the propeller unshipped, and the tail shaft drawn for inspection. This latter work meant a great deal of strenuous labour by the ship’s engineers, but was completed in 27 hours. The vessel was undocked at midnight on the Sunday and departure was taken immediately for Newcastle. After loading 1100 tons of coal the Wimmera returned to Sydney, arriving there at 2 p.m. on Tuesday last, and commenced to load. This work proceeded without a stop throughout Tuesday night, and all day on Wednesday. The vessel’s departure for Auckland was postponed until 4 p.m. on that day, but owing to the great quantity of cargo offering it was just on seven o’clock on Wednesday evening before she cleared the Margaret street wharf. The Wimmera was deeply laden, her cargo including Eastern transhipments from several overseas liners at Sydney.”
Colonist, Volume LV, Issue 13713, 2 May 1913, Page 4
With the arrival in March 1908 of an even newer and larger member of the fleet, the 5770 ton T.S.S. Ulimaroa, and her entry into the Trans-Tasman service, the Wimmera once again joined the Victoria on the shorter Sydney to Auckland-Gisborne-Napier-Wellington-Lyttelton-Dunedin run.
Later that year, upon her arrival in Sydney on 9 October 1908 she was laid up in order to undergo Lloyd’s survey. The survey was completed on 6th November at a total cost of £3668 : 4 : 11, and she resumed her running in the New Zealand Trade on 11th.
THE WIMMERA’S OVERHAUL
Messrs. Huddart, Parker and Co’s steamer Wimmera, which, for the last four weeks, has been undergoing a very extensive overhaul under Lloyd’s survey, resumed her running in the New Zealand trade yesterday.
During her lay-up this popular passenger steamer’s accommodation has been entirely repainted and redecorated, and nothing that would tend to increase the comfort of passengers has been left undone.
Advantage was also taken to thoroughly overhaul the machinery, boilers etc., so, not doubt, the Wimmera will continue to add to the reputation which she already has for making speedy trips, and which have made her a favourite ship with the travelling public.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, November 12, 1908
In June/July 1912 the Westralia temporarily replaced the Wimmera while she was overhauled and underwent Lloyd’s Survey No. 2. The total cost of the overhaul and survey, which was carried out at Mort’s Dock from 17 May to 18 June 1912, was £1598 : 9 : 5. She was chipped, cemented and painted and underwent a number of repairs, including to plumbing and electrical works and to her galley. Amongst others upholstering work was carried out on her cushions and carpets, and curtains were cleaned and dyed.
In August 1913 the Riverina was placed on the Sydney-Dunedin route and the Wimmera took over the Sydney to Hobart service in place of the Westralia. This service was run by Huddart Parker in conjunction with the Union S.S. Co.’s Paloona (formerly Huddart Parker’s Zealandia). It was a service the Wimmera would provide for over 14 months.
In May 1914 she was in Mort’s Dock for cleaning and painting.[i]
In June 1914 mechanics accompanied the vessel up to Newcastle from Sydney in order to carry out necessary repairs in her engineroom.[ii]
[i] Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (Sydney, NSW : 1891 – 1954), Thursday 28 May 1914, page 4
[ii] The Mercury, Tuesday 23 June 1914, page 4
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021