Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

S. S. Clansman’s Northern Run – #76

S. S. Clansman’s Northern Run – #76

For fourty-seven years the S. S. Clansman, owned by the Northern Steam Ship Company, ploughed through calm and stormy Northland waters, transporting passengers, and occasionally livestock, to coastal destinations further north.  In fog or fine weather the Clansman could be expected to arrive in Russell, Monday 8 am, where she would unload and reload, steam to Opua to take on more coal, then make her way to her first stop, Whangaroa.   From Whangaroa, the Clansman would steam to Mangonui where she would anchor overnight.  Passengers taking this northern run could book a cabin (saloon) with steward services, or, opt for the cheaper fare in steerage, with those quickest securing a sleeping spot in the lounge; the not so quick having to settle for a place on deck.  Deck passengers contended with drawbacks such as sea spray generated from the ship pitching in an easterly blow, and the smell of sheep and horses mixed with coal dust from the boiler. Still, there was a piano on board and sometimes Captain Farquhar, the Clansman’s first Captain, was tempted to share his fine singing voice in accompaniment.  On Wednesday mornings the Clansman made her way back, sometimes stopping at Matauri Bay for passengers, to Opua where she refuelled for her southern run to Auckland and Tauranga.  On her way out of the Bay, her last port of call was always Russell.  From 1884 to 1931, when the Clansman made her last run, her schedule and fares stayed consistent.  With an extra trip proving popular over summer, she was known to sometimes carry over 100 passengers.