Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Memories of a Queenstown Holiday Oct 1913

Travelling in a 'birdcage' carriage compartment on the original
'Kingston Flyer' from Lumsden to Kingston. Taken October 1913

My impending holiday, which includes the popular mountain holiday resort of Queenstown New Zealand, reminded me of an historic old photo album of 24 images belonging to my Grandmother which captured her own holiday to "The Cold Lakes" in October 1913. These unpublished photos give a good idea of how much Queenstown has changed over the last 99 years!

The album carries the simple inscription "Photos by 'Boss', With good wishes from Charles Loveday, Oct 1913". Mr Loveday's photographs clearly show him to be an accomplished photographer. I cannot ascertain if this gentleman is also the husband of the unknown lady pictured above however all do appear to have travelled as one group.

Set among the mountains on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the tinted photos used in this blog at least give an indication of the beauty of Queenstown and surrounding lake and mountains however the historic sepia photos hardly do justice to this idyllic although now rather busier tourist resort.

The 'Kingston Flyer' and crew at Kingston Railway Station.  The locomotive
 is one of the famed "K" class American Rodgers locomotives allotted to
 this run, being renowned for their good turn of speed. The half
"birdcage" carriage is just behind the engine tender.
[Photo credit : NZ Railways Publicity]

The journey started by pony and trap to Winton Railway Station thence by train to Lumsden to catch the famed "Kingston Flyer" for Kingston at the south end of the lake. A 1920's tourist version of the "Kingston Flyer" still travels between Fairlight and Kingston. Interestingly, the scene above was re-created in the year 2000 with K92, one of the original 1878 Kingston Flyer locomotives. Even more surprising is that no less than three of the flashy 'Yankee' [American Rodgers] K class locomotives of 1877-78 vintage survive, two being in working order. From Kingston the journey continued by Government lake steamer to Queenstown, a sailing time of just under two hours.

The Paddle Steamer "Mountaineer" at Queenstown Wharf.

Three New Zealand Government owned passengers steamers serviced the lake passenger trade, being the "Ben Lomond" at 82.8 feet length (formerly the "Jane Williams") launched in 1872, The Paddle Steamer "Mountaineer" (pictured above) at 125 feet launched in 1879, and the "TSS Earnslaw" at 165.58 feet launched in 1912. The "TSS Earnslaw" still steams on Lake Wakatipu, putting in 14 hour days 7 days a week, not bad for a centenarian! This can be attributed to the very pure lake water which has helped to preserve her platework and (original) boilers plus the love and care lavished on her generally. The "Mountaineer" was dismantled for mine sweeper parts in the Second World War and the small and rather unpopular "Ben Lomond" ["The Ben"] was stripped of serviceable parts and her hull sunk in 600 feet of water in Kingston Bay in 1952.

My Grandmother and her companion reading in "Queenstown Park with the
new twin screw steamer "TSS Earnslaw" launched in 1912 visible at rear.
Taken October 1913.

The main attractions of Queenstown were not just the lake but also the Remarkable Mountains and the "Queenstown Park" [Government Gardens] which appear, judging by the photo above, to have still been in development.

"The Remarkables", as viewed across the small lake in "Queenstown Park".
Snow had fallen on the mountains the day before.
Taken October 1913  

A tinted view of "The Remarkables" from a period postcard produced
by the New Zealand Tourist Department

Queenstown Bay as viewed from the Park. Queenstown Hill is at right while
the valley in the centre leads through to Arthur's Point and Skippers with
Coronet Peak in the far background. Taken pre 1909.

Queenstown Bay as viewed from the Park. Ben Lomond peak towers behind
the township with the original steamer wharf at left. Taken pre 1913

My Grandmother (at left) and her companion standing on Queentown Hill
overlooking the township and lake. Walter Peak is the large mountain to
right of centre and Cecil Peak at left. "Queenstown Park" [Government
Gardens] is the wooded peninsula reaching out into the lake at left.
Taken October 1913.

A view of the township at the foot of Queenstown Hill. The Remarkables
are at right in the background. Rossford House which provided private
accommodation is at far right surrounded by a white picket fence.
Taken October 1913.

Rossford House, Queenstown. Private Bed and Breakfast is certainly
nothing new. Taken October 1913.

The paddle steamer "Mountaineer" leaving Queenstown Bay, the wharf
and small but attractive ticket office are at right. Pre 1912

The walking track at the end of "Queenstown Park". In December 1913 two
marble plaques on the large rock at right were unveiled in memory of the ill-
fated Antarctic explorer, Sir Robert Falcon Scott.  Walter Peak appears
to right of centre across the lake in the background. Taken October 1913

A small waterfall below the Queenstown Waterworks.
Taken October 1913

A rabbiters hut on the outskirts of Queenstown made of canvas and old tin.
Taken October 1913.

A pony and trap on the Frankton Road heading towards Queenstown.
Cecil Peak  towers in the background. Taken October 1913.

The outlet of Lake Wakatipu into the Kawarau River at Frankton, looking
south west. In 1926 the Kawarau Falls dam was built across here in an
effort to stop the outflow of water to enable alluvial gold to be mined.
Backflow from the Shotover River downstream made this plan an
expensive failure. The dam, which carries a single lane bridge,
remained in use until January 2018 when a new bridge opened.
Taken October 1913.

The historic suspension bridge spanning the Kawarau River, opened 1880.
This bridge remained in use until 1963 and now hosts a popular bungy
jumping operation. Taken pre 1912

Mr Loveday has described this as "The Queenstown - Glenorchy Track".
Taken October 1913

Our final view is of Mount Crighton, about 10 kilometres from Queenstown

Bibliography :

- All images (except the "Kingston Flyer" at Kingston) are from my own collection and may not be used for any commercial purpose without my express permission. 

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