The rebuilding of the historic trading scow, Jane Gifford, took another big step forward at Warkworth yesterday , with a celebration starting at 1100hrs and lasting well into the night.
Part of the ceremony was the presentation of the Ships' Voice - a bell donated by the late Peter Dawson, who found a suitable bell in a ship chandler's shop in Greenwich, UK and had it suitably engraved with both the Jane Gifford's name on the outside and his own inside the housing. The bell complies with the requirements of the Shipping and Seaman's Act and has its unique certificate as to it foundry, location and date of casting plus a certificate that the bell conforms to all the requirements relating to the carrying of a ship's bell.
The Jane Gifford is one of the two scows in operation in Auckland. the other, the Ted Ashby is operated out of the National Maritime Museum in downtown Auckland.
The Jane Gifford will be based in the Mahurangi and Kawau Bay and one of her tasks will be to work with the Mahurangi Action Plan to replant and restore the Mahurangi coastal areas. In this regard she will be ideal capable of carrying a variety of cargoes, as scows have traditionally done - from livestock, to road metals, kauri logs and general supplies. Scows were floated in on a rising tide (typically there is about 10ft of tide in the region) and left to ground on the falling tide, usually on a mudflat or soft sandstone seabed.
Scows of the Jane Gifford type were built in the Mahurangi and Omaha regions, but also in Auckland. The northern end of the North island of New Zealand is typified by numerous shallow harbours often of an estuarine type. This allowed the scows to venture a considerable distance 'inland' to transport goods in and out of rural areas. A ready supply of kauri timber meant that it was relatively easy to build scows close to the timber source. However as kauri is now almost imposible to procure, the jane Gifford was reconstructed using H3 treated pine, twice dried.
Up to four boatbuilders have been engaged on her reconstruction. Of the original timber really only some of the bottom planking and keelson remain. She has been altered to accommodate modern survey requirements including the addition of extra bulkheads and the like. Accommodation remains rudimentary, with a head in the bow and and enclosed area in her stern.
The 70ft long scow is expected to be able to carry up to 60 people.
Sail-World's camera was there for the launching and re-dedication ceremonies.