Category Archives: Rangitata

A love note from the Rangitata

This photograph of the SS Rangitata is a recent addition to my collection. I certainly didn’t buy it for the condition because it has a rather nasty crease all the way across the centre, but for the rather nice message on the back, and also because the style of the back is the same as that often used in my study of “HGK”* postcards. This would appear to be a very slight variation on back style “G” without the publisher overprint on the left hand side, and with the slight difference of a small dot printed between the words “POST” and “CARD”. Perhaps this is an earlier printing of the back, with later printings losing the dot?

The message on the back reads as follows:

The ship which took me so far away from you (physically). Every good wish for a very happy Xmas. I wish I could be with you darling. All my love Robert

*The initials “HGK” stand for Henry George Keyse. According to my research, Henry, a barber working for the New Zealand Shipping Company, was on board the Rangitata for at least three voyages in 1940. I have not been able to find any records of his voyages during 1941 or 1942, but in 1943 he was aboard the Rangitata on the voyage from Gibraltar to New York, still working as a barber (and photographer), aged 62. At this time he had been working at sea for 37 years.

I am assuming that this postcard was bought on board the Rangitata from Henry’s barber shop (which also sold souvenirs), and that the photograph was taken and printed up by him on pre-printed postcard photographic paper.

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Rangitata passenger list and the Bounty Bible

The latest passenger list to be added to this website is for the Rangitata‘s voyage to New Zealand on 24th February, 1950 (you can access this from the drop down “Passenger Lists” menu at the top of this page).

The photograph here shows Nursing Sister, Enid Jones, who made many voyages on the Rangitata from 1946 to 1957. I’m not sure who the man on her left is, but at a guess, he could be Surgeon, J. M. Pinkerton (note the stethoscope in his pocket).

One of the passengers on the 1950 voyage was Adrian Hobbs, assistant secretary to the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. He was collected at Pitcairn Island following his month long visit after delivering the restored bible from HMS Bountyread more.

Rangitata – 1st July, 1960

The full passenger list for the Rangitata‘s voyage which left London on 1st July, 1960, bound for Wellington, has been added to this site: Click here, or use the drop down menu “Passenger Lists” at the top of this page.

If you’re interested in owning an original passenger list, please have a look at my eBid auction page. Half of the sale price will be donated to Cancer Research.

Collectables – Remuera Bell

IMG_0089IMG_0091This rather nice souvenir ship’s bell was certainly made between 1911 (when the Remuera launched), and 1940, and at a guess I would say it is 1930s or perhaps a little earlier. I am confident that it is before 1940 because that is when the Remuera was torpedoed by aircraft off Scotland (on 26th August) and sunk. She had been sailing as part of a large convoy.

IMG_0090 IMG_0092The following quote is from Ordeal by Sea – The New Zealand Shipping Company in The Second World War 1939-1945 by Sydney D. Waters (published 1949):

On her last voyage, the Remuera sailed from Wellington on 12 July 1940 for London, with one of the largest cargoes she had carried during her long career but without passengers. … At about 9.15 a.m. on 26 August, the convoy was crossing the entrance to Moray Firth and was about fifteen miles north of Peterhead, when the first attack was made by a single German aircraft, one of whose bombs missed the stern of the Remuera by about thirty yards. At 9.35 a.m., an attack was carried out by torpedo-carrying aircraft off Kinnaird Head. The Remuera opened fire on one aircraft but its torpedo struck her on the port side.

Donate-LemonSouvenirs like this were sold by the ship’s barber. The printed passenger list for the 13th October, 1938 voyage of the Rangitata explained that,

“An experienced barber is carried for the convenience of passengers. A scale of charges for hair-dressing &c., and a price list for certain articles has been approved by the Company and will be found posted up in the Barber’s Shop. The barber is authorised to stock souvenirs, &c., on his own account – the price of which is not controlled by the Company.”

Hairdressing-Saloon

Henry-Keyse-by-Jennifer-Toombs

Henry Keyse, the barber of the Remuera, painted by Jennifer Toombs

This advertising card (above), known to be in use during a 1926 Remuera voyage, shows the large range of products stocked in the Hairdressing Saloon, even including ‘materials for fancy dress’, which would have been very useful for the passengers’ entertainment on the long voyage.

It is an extremely sturdy metal item that has lasted well for more than 75 years. I would be interested to see how many of today’s souvenirs survive in years to come.

Remuera-(from-1923-album)

The Remuera, from a 1923 photo album (probably a real photo postcard)

Rangitata collects Parkin Christian

The complete passenger list, and some of the crew listing, has now been added (click here) for the voyage of the Rangitata from London on 13th April, 1956. Although he was not on the passenger list, Parkin Christian was picked up from Pitcairn Island, en route for Norfolk Island, by this ship.

ParkinStampsOct2011

Read more about another passenger on this voyage, Sir John Smith-Dodsworth, who settled in New Zealand on arrival in 1956: Obituary

NEW: Rangitata, 13th October 1938

HowToAccessI’m pleased to announce that another complete passenger list has been added to this blog. Passengers listed on the voyage of the Rangitata in October 1938 may be found by clicking on the “Passenger Lists” drop down menu at the top of this page. You can then click on the appropriate group of dates, in this case 1920-1949, or look for the pop out menu on the right and select the actual page required.

It takes a long time to type in all the names from the passenger list, and then check them, and there is no charge for access to this website. If you think it is useful and you would like to encourage me to continue this work, please give a small donation to Cancer Research by clicking THIS LINK. Thank you. At the time of writing £226.50 has been raised. The minimum donation is £2 if donating in Sterling.

Also just added is the crew listing for the Rangitane‘s voyage which left Wellington on 14th April, 1955. I do not have the passenger list for this voyage.