1863: New ferry plies the Molyneux

The important undertaking of placing upon the waters of the Molyneux a steam vessel, adapted for river navigation, has been successfully accomplished by Captain A. Murray.

The stern-wheel steamer Tuapeka sailed from Port Chalmers at a late hour on Saturday evening, the William Miskin keeping in her company from the Heads as a precaution against any accident which might happen to the boat in the open sea.

There was a considerable swell outside, but fortunately the water was smooth and, though deeply laden, the Tuapeka went over the bar and steamed along towards the Molyneux in a style which agreeably surprised those on board of her, accomplishing the passage under easy steam, by the time of daylight on Sunday morning, without anything occurring to impede her progress or to endanger the safety of the vessel.

August 15: The river steamer Tuapeka has been successfully navigated by Captain Murray as far up the river as the Tuapeka stream, without meeting with accident or any serious impediment to her progress, notwithstanding the very unfavourable circumstances under which the passage was accomplished.

Having freight to discharge at the Molyneux township, the Tuapeka first steamed down the river to its entrance, and, after discharging cargo and coaling at the Clutha coal mine, ascended the Matau branch of the river as far as the township of Kaitangata, remaining there until Tuesday morning.

Having returned to the Ferry on the same evening, the ferry-rope was lowered, and on Wednesday the vessel started upstream.

The current in this part of the river is naturally much stronger than in the lower reaches, there being several places where he water rushes fiercely down, over and among rocks and snags, at the rate of not less than six or seven knots per hour, if not even more.

Against this rapid current, against a strong head wind, and amidst blinding snow showers which continued with little intermission throughout the whole passage, the boat steamed gallantly on, interrupted only in her progress by calls at the stations of the several settlers along the banks, at one of which she remained for the night; and on Thursday morning the junction of the Tuapeka was reached.

The journey accomplished, hearty cheers were given by the party on board; champagne liberally dispensed, a banner hoisted at the landing, and a bottle containing a record of the undertaking, deposited near at hand.


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