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Line barque Louisa
Craig sailing up the
Northern Wairoa River to Kopu.
Oil on board (800 x 600)mm
With the distinctive peak of Tokatoka in the background, the Louisa Craig has not far sail to her berth at Kopu, below Dargaville. The Northern Wairoa river forms part of the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is, I believe, the largest complex of enclosed inland waterways in the Southern Hemisphere with arms stetching far into the back country. This enabled seagoing sailing vessels to access the sources of native timber, mainly the massive kauri, which used to clothe the surrounding hills.
The Kaipara has a notorious bar and once inside sailing vessels had to negotiate fast tides and shoal water for long distances, so steam tugs were available, and usually necessary, to assist the sailing ships. On April 30, 1912, Captain Kennedy displayed his seamanship skill by sailing the Louisa Craig up to Kopu. This was rarely done and then only by smaller vessels. Later that year he repeated the feat, and again the following year.
The iron barque Louisa Craig was built as the Peru in1876 for J.W.Robertson, esq. and others of Dundee by Messrs John Key & Sons, Abden. She measured 183ft. in length, 30ft. beam, 710 gross tons and 683 net. Captain James Craig, later owner of Craig lines, was the first master on her maiden voyage to the west coasts of North and South America, then to Buenos Aires and back to the west coast, home to Falmouth for orders and then Hamburg. Captain James Craig handed over command to Captain R. Smith who sailed her round the world, to Adelaide, Valparaiso, Talcahuana and back to Europe, arriving in August 1979.
During the next twenty seven years, under various owners, part owners and masters she traded world wide making a number of voyages to New Zealand.
In 1906 she came under the flag of J.J.Craig Ltd. and was placed in the trans-Tasman trade. In 1907 her name was changed to the Louisa Craig and she was re-painted in the line's livery of painted ports, black bulwarks and grey hull. This accentuated her lines and she was generally admitted to be the most beautiful and striking ship in Australia. She made thirty voyage in the intercolonial trade and one to the Pacific Islands under the ownership of J.J.Craig and then, in 1916 she was sold to G.H.Scales of Wellington and placed in the trans-Pacific trade to the west coast of North America. After her first voyage Scales changed her name to Raupo. She remained under ownership of G.H.Scales until 1921 when she was laid up in Wellington. In 1922 she was sold as a coal hulk and towed to Lyttelton. After years as a coal hulk she was gradually cut down to the waterline for her iron, and then, in 1937, she was towed to Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour and beached.
Prints are available.