Thursday, 19 June 2014

Circular Saw Line - A shipping line out of Auckland

Circular Saw Line, Henderson & Macfarlane - House Flag 

Recently watching the final episode of four in the documentary series “ Making New Zealand.”  about the Union Steam Ship Company ( “ The Southern Octopus”). reminded me of another early shipping line which came out of Auckland. A Part of the Past NZ History - Henderson & Macfarlane and their ownership of the Circular Saw Line. ( Note: There are several derivations of Macfarlane in sources looked at. eg. Mcfarlane,

Auckland in its Early Days Courtesy The British Library     Flikr

From small beginnings with a cutter Oddfellow and a schooner Lucidan in 1844 expansion of the shipping line went with the growth of the Auckland province, until the firm's merchant fleet were sailing the trading routes throughout the Pacific and Tasman Oceans. To the Australian Ports of Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Newcastle and Adelaide. The Islands and trading posts of Polynesia. As far away as China and across to America and the Port of San Francisco. Even Valparaiso on South America's western coast.
  The Tasmanian Coast near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia   Photo CRB 2014
As well as all manner of cargo, including livestock, Henderson & Macfarlane also bought immigrants to New Zealand's and other shores aboard the merchant ships.

Beginning years: The  era of Thomas Henderson, Henry Macfarlane , John Macfarlane

Co - partners in the beginning years were Thomas Henderson Snr., Henry Macfarlane and his brother John Macfarlane. Drawn together by family links of marriage and immigration to New Zealand in 1840. The names of Thomas Henderson, his wife Catherine Henderson (nee Macfarlane) and Henry Macfarlane are recorded on the passenger list of the ship  London but checking several sources has not shown the name of John Macfarlane as a passenger on this voyage of the London.

Arriving in Auckland by 1842, the three became established in what was then a small community.Thomas Henderson was first Chairman and on the first Board of Directors for the newly formed in August 1959, New Zealand Insurance Company. Also on the first Board of Trustees for Auckland, the Bank of New Zealand in June 1861.

Henry Macfarlane left Auckland for Honolulu arriving there in 1846, where he also carried on what he did in Auckland - running a hotel - also called the Commercial Hotel.

Under the management of Thomas Henderson and John Macfarlane, the Circular Saw shipping line ( Henderson & Macfarlane) increased.

Three of the Henderson & Macfarlane vessels  in this era - Gazelle, Gertrude and Breadalbane –which bought the Highland settlers to New Zealand shores and Waipu ( near Whangarei ) from Nova Scotia in the 1850's , were acquired by Henderson & Macfarlane.

The Barque Breadalbane - In The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited. Bold Century. Auckland:
The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1959.

Sailing the Pacific and Tasman had its difficulties too with shipwreck. The route along the bottom of Australia - Adelaide to Melbourne gained a reputation for shipwreck. Yet in hindsight low numbers for loss of life on this stretch of rugged coastline. Port Phillip, Melbourne at its entrance and the Bass Strait Islands of Tasmania - danger areas for the Circular Saw line sailing the trade routes to Melbourne and Tasmania.

The brig Spencer was reported shipwrecked between Cape Liptrap and Wilson Promontory on 13th January 1954. Spencer was outward bound from Melbourne to New Zealand with 28 passengers and a general cargo. Five persons lost their lives.

Coastline West of Melbourne near Twelve Apostles - Photo CRB 2014
The sea route to San Francisco also saw shipwrecks amongst the islands of the Pacific.

The brig Fanny was reported shipwrecked on 7 July 1850 at Fortuna -  A reef about forty-five miles distant from Somo-Somo, one of the Fejee Islands( today known as Fiji).

In November 1859 the launch of the newly completed barque Constance from the Bristol Shipyard of William Patterson, Shipbuilder was reported in the Bristol Mirror. ( The Bristol Mirror, November 5, 1859) The same English Shipyard and Shipbuilder that the s.s Great Britain came out of and which vessel also had immigration links with Australia and New Zealand.

Attending the launch of Constance was John Macfarlane, co- owner of Henderson & Macfarlane Circular Saw Line, Mr. and Mrs. Alger ( for whose daughter Constance the barque was named after ) Miss Edith Sheppard of Sydney who christened Constance on her launch and Mr. Sheppard.
Deck of Restored s.s. Great Britain at Bristol 1989 - Photo ASB

Constance on arrival in New Zealand was put on the San Francisco run. Well known was the master Captain John Butt - who in 2014 is known for the Shortland Hotel he established on the Thames Goldfields on his retirement from the sea.

Vessels of Henderson & Macfarlane in beginning era
First Date
Lucy Ann?mentioned at launch of Novelty by Niccols - building of a dinghy for Lucy Ann
John Bull  72 tons
Packet Schooner
Fanny 171 tons
Spencer 222 tons
Invincible 300 tons
Will o ‘the Wisp 130 tons
Clipper Schooner
Clipper Schooner
Gertrude 217 tons
Sybil 108 tons
Breadalbane   224 tons
Kate 341 tons
Clipper Barque
Gil Blas 250 tons
Constance 351 tons
Clipper Barque

The year of 1860 bought change and what could be said now an end of the first era for this shipping line. A destructive fire in lower Queen Street in May, affected also the bonded storehouse of Henderson & Macfarlane - a brick building. However it would seem reading the account in the newspaper that further damage was avoided thanks to sailors and others who doused the area with copious water. ( Daily Southern Cross, 18 May 1860 page 3 )

Henry Macfarlane died 9 June, 1860 in Honolulu. John Macfarlane died 5 September 1860. Thomas Macfarlane AKA Macffarlane (brother of Henry and John Macfarlane) was bought into the company to help run the business.

A new era..................

Reference Sources

1. Brett, Henry. “White Wings (Volume I).” The Brett Printing Company Limited, 1924.
“White Wings (volume II).” Auckland: The Brett Printing Company Limited, 1928.
Books Also online – NZETC (NZ Electronic Tech Centre) White Wings
2. The Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, Vol 2, Auckland Province. Christchurch: Cyclopaedia Company Limited, 1902. Also online NZETC (NZ Electronic Tech Centre) Cyclopaedia
3. Tony Froude ,Circular Saw Line
4. Shipping coasters, ship owners, shipping companies – lists  Koel Junction
5. Ozships
6. NZ
NZMI Index of Ships National Maritime Museum
7. Shipwrecks of Victoria
Historical records births, deaths, marriages NZ NZ BDM
9 Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand
10. Trove – newspapers Australia