Saturday, August 1, 2009

End of the Baroona (1904-2009)

Image from Waihekepedia.

One of Auckland's landmarks, both on water and on land, is now no more. They demolished the last remnant of the old ship, the Baroona, late in July. She had quite a career, in her many guises.

According to author Jim Hansen in his booklet The Saga of the Baroona (2006), the Baroona was built in Newcastle, NSW in 1904 from hardwood with kauri topsides. Her name was an Aboriginal word meaning "place far away". Work on the Sydney fish trade ended with her sale in December 1905 to the Wairoa Shipping Company of the Kaipara, and she provided a service from Dargaville to Helensville from early 1906. Her new owners were wound up in 1907 and the assets, including the Baroona were transferred to the Kaipara Steamship Company where she remained until 1912.

1915 saw her conversion to a trawler by Sandfords, now working in the Hauraki Gulf. She was laid up in 1928, then sold to George Niccol in 1933. Niccol transformed her into a two-deck ferry, and she entered the service to Motuihe Island and Ostend and Surfdale on Waiheke Island in 1934.

In 1965, after some more changes in ownership, she was sold to North Shore Ferries. Laid up at Devonport and altered at various times, the Baroona re-entered service in 1982. Her retirement loomed, however, and in 1989, she was sold to the Baroona Co-operative Trust. After this, she was leased out to Jolly Roger Restaurant Limited, which intended converting her to being a floating pirate-themed restaurant. However, after being moored in different places around the harbour, she sank in December 1994.

The Baroona ended her long career at the site on Great South Road where, in 2005, the restaurant opened on the altered ship. The restaurant closed by 2007, however, and everyone's dreams have now come to an end.

Update 24 August 2009: Images of the Baroona here, courtesy Bill & Barbara Ellis.


  1. Does anyone know if any of her was saved, signs, hull pieces etc?

  2. As far as I know the restoration team raised funds to restore her and she was up on dry land - then some unlovin G humans destroyed her. Anyone having callous parts of her now, well we all know where to find you.