Category Archives: Remuera

Collectables – Serviette (Napkin) Ring

A very popular souvenir produced for sale to passengers on the Remuera was the serviette or napkin ring. These don’t appear to have been in use on the ship, but just produced for sale along with many other items including teaspoons, lighters, goblets, vases, table lamps, bottle openers and even embroidered cushions. The souvenir shop must have been bulging at the beginning of each voyage.

The website RMS Remuera shows a further four designs of serviette rings, dating back to at least 1926.

 

3rd Class Dining Saloon

Very early postcard view of the 3rd Class Dining Saloon with no sign of serviette rings

1st Class Dining Saloon

Another postcard, this time showing the 1st Class Dining Saloon. The serviette rings are seen inserted in the glasses. Would they have done this in rough weather I wonder?

Advertisements

Remuera brings Pitcairners to London (1923)

The following very interesting newspaper story was published in the UK in 1923. I would love to know more about the Chinese shop opened on the island about that time!


Western Daily Press, Bristol, Wednesday August 22, 1923

NO SMOKING OR SHOPPING

VISITORS FROM PITCAIRN TELL STORY OF LIFE ON ISLAND

RemueraTwo of the natives of lonely Pitcairn, in the middle of the Pacific, have just arrived in London on board the s.s. Remuera on what is proving the greatest adventure of their lives. They are Elliott Christian and Skelly Warren, who have taken advantage of an invitation given by Captain Cameron of the Remuera, to go on a voyage into the outside world.

Christian, who is a big man standing over 6ft., is a great-great-grandson of Fletcher Christian, who founded the community.

“You must not think that Pitcairn Island is an undesirable place,” an interviewer was told by the two travellers yesterday. “It is not true that because there is no drink and no tobacco smoking that the island is a dreary place in which to live.

GLORIOUS REPAST
“Just listen to this: Breakfast consists of porridge, which in Pitcairn slang is a ‘mush,’ yams and pancakes made of yams and grated bananas.

“The second and most important meal of the day can only be described as a glorious repast. A typical menu is chicken, boiled or roasted, vegetables, and three varieties of native beans, salad fruit and baked sweet potatoes, fish and bread. There is nothing dull in that, is there?

“The population of Pitcairn at the last census taken by the ‘king’ of the island, who is nominated annually by popular vote and holds office for one year as resident magistrate, showed a total of 172 people, all of whom are admitted members of the Seventh Day Adventists, a creed which they adopted in 1888.

“Housing arrangements are very complete. There are 25 houses, all built of wood, but very commodious. Each house consists of a living room and a number of bedrooms. The dining room and kitchen are separate, and stand a little way apart from the main dwelling.

“There is also a school and a church. Education is on broad lines. English is taught, and all the islanders read and write well, and, indeed, take such a keen interest in the doings of the world as recorded in the newspapers they obtain from passing ships that not long ago they started a clothing fund on behalf of ‘starving Russia,’ but difficulties of transportation caused that project to be reluctantly abandoned.

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
“Trading with passing ships is an occasion of surpassing interest, but the verb ‘to profiteer’ is not in the vocabulary of the islander. About 200 oranges, 80 bananas, 20 lemons, and 10 limes can be obtained for 18s, but at the same time the Pitcairn Islander will not bargain. He sets his price, and you may take it or leave it.

NO SHOPS
“An enterprising Chinese who opened a shop on the island was given such a hostile reception that he very soon cleared out, and the Pitcairn people are not likely to permit of a repetition of the experiment.

“Our wives are spending all their money on finery and other trash,” they declared.

“Since the opening of the Panama Canal the island has been brought into closer touch with the world, and so up-to-date is it that a wireless receiving set has been installed. Unfortunately, however, at present no one knows how to work it and it will be necessary to impart some technical knowledge before broadcasting concerts will help to enliven the glorious evenings of the Pacific Sea.

“Everything in the way of food is grown on the island, the only things that it is necessary to import are cloth, soap, and kerosene, and in exchange for these things dried bananas, arrowroot, and a species of fungi beloved by the Chinese is exported.

“The only ‘foreigner’ on the island is an American, who, after being shipwrecked, settled down and lived such a happy life among the people that he is now determined to stay there until he dies.”

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)

Looking for Miss Halpin

TrunkLabelCU

Despite the fact that it is easy to jet off to exotic locations these days, there is something fascinating about vintage luggage. One reader of this blog recently purchased the trunk illustrated here, and they would like to learn more about its history.

Remuera---hand-colouredWho was Miss Halpin, and when was she travelling on the Remuera? How old was she? Did she travel alone? Was it a one way ticket?

There are many websites with passenger lists, but I have not been able to find her yet. One free site is FamilySearch, where I have found six results for “R Halpin” in relation to New Zealand Passenger Lists. Sadly none of these link to the Remuera. If you would like to have a look, just click here to see my saved search results.

Here are some more photos of the trunk. Please let us know if you find her.

 

S.S. Remuera voyage in September 1923

I’m very pleased to announce that I have finally finished typing up all the names for the voyage of the Remuera, from Southampton to Auckland, on 20th September, 1923.

This voyage is of particular interest to me because I have a very rare, privately printed book, written by a passenger on this voyage. The book carries a fairly long and very interesting description of the Remuera‘s call at Pitcairn Island, which I will be reproducing in a book which will be available from the Amazon Kindle Store. More details will be announced in a future post.

EveningPostOct27-1923Two other passengers known to be on this voyage were not in the printed passenger list. They were Pitcairn Islanders Skelly Warren and Elliot Christian, returning home from a trip to London. Their story was covered by The Evening Post, Saturday, October 27th, 1923, and may be read online by clicking here (story is “Seeing London – Pitcairn Islanders’ Big Adventure”).

Click here to visit my Amazon author page.