"S.S. Alice"

Rotorua Museum

All information on this page is reproduced with the kind permission of Don Stafford from his book

"The Founding Years in Rotorua"

The SS Alice was the first mechanically powered vessel on the lakes. Built and operated by J.M.Logan of Auckland, she soon became the first of a fleet owned by Messrs Boord and MacDonald.

Bay of Plenty Times 2-12-1889: "....the steam launch destined to ply on the waters of Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti has been launched at the ship-building yard of Mr H.Logan, North Shore, and gives every satisfaction. The little vessel has been named Alice. The rate of speed is ten knots per hour. In length she measures 36 feet over all, and 32 feet on the keel, her beam is 5 feet 7 inches, and her draft is only 2 feet 3 inches. She is about four ton displacement, diagonal built of kauri with three thicknesses, and knees of pohutukawa. Her engine was made by Henry Marks and Co., of Arch Hill. Her boilers by Seagar, of Albert Street, Auckland are multitubular in design, made of steel with a pressure of 100 lb to the square inch. The engine works at 309 [?] revolutions per minute and cuts off steam at half stroke which reduces the consumption of coal to about 10 lb per hour. Her gunmetal propeller has a pitch of 3 feet 6 inches. Plenty of room is afforded about the engine. The Alice is comfortably and conveniently fitted up with seats for 25 to 30 passengers. There are awnings fore and aft of the engine room. Mr James Logan, for whom she has been built will run her on the lakes and we have no doubt that during the tourist season she will do a good trade."

The Alice spent the first year of her life plying only on Lake Rotorua under the command of her proprietor and owner, J.M.Logan, who in March 1890 purchased the house of George Hansard in the township and became a Rotorua citizen. Business was good for Logan during 1890 and he was kept busy running excursions, mainly to Mokoia Island. On a number of occasions the hope was expressed that the government would attempt to clear the Ohau Channel and give Logan access to Lake Rotoiti. In 1891 the Alice did negotiate that waterway and enter Rotoiti for the first time. The date of that trip was 17 March and on board for the memorable journey were the Govenor-General, the Earl of Onslow, Countess Onslow, Lady Scott, Captain Guthrie, the Hon A.J.Cadman and a number of others. Crossing Lake Rotorua the Alice safely negotiated the channel, the govenor and ladies of the party, however, walking overland between the two lakes. Once on board again the Alice was taken the length of Rotoiti to Tapuaeharuru, where the govenor and members of his male party disembarked to begin a visit to the Urewera Country via Te Teko. Alf Warbrick, who was to accompany them as guide, was waiting with saddle and pack horses. The Alice then returned to Rotorua with the rest of the group.
  During May, the same Alf Warbrick began negotiations with Logan for the purchase of the Alice on behalf of Francis Moss Boord of Auckland. On the 29th of that month the sale was completed for 320 and F.M.Boord began an association with Rotorua that was to last until his death in 1955.


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