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Half model of the tug THERESA WARD

Date: c 1900
Overall: Height: 300 mm, width: 1030 mm, depth: 175 mm
Medium: Wood, glass, mirror, metal, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Elizabeth Musgrove, Robert A D Brown and James Casey Brown
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00049276

User Terms

    Presentation half model of the steam tug THERESA WARD in a glass and wooden case, consisting of a half model of the tug and a mirror to provide the illusion of the complete vessel.
    SignificanceShip models such as these, a half builder's model with a mirror backing, are quite rare in good condition. Half models were created before a ship was built to assist in the planning of a vessel's design, and were often later presented to the ship's owner as a display item. These skilfully crafted models are replicas of their full scale counterparts and provide important information relating to the design and build of individual vessels. This particular model also serves as a reminder of the extraordinary service of THERESA WARD, a tug that was once owned by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
    HistoryTHERESA WARD was a well-known and remarkably long serving steam tug. The tug worked the New Zealand port of Bluff Harbour for nearly thirty years from 1900 until the late 1920s before crossing the Tasman in 1933 to new owners Wallace and Co. in Sydney. The tug served them equally well until 4 January 1960.

    The tug had its work cut out for it in the early 1900s. Bluff Harbour, on the Foveaux Straight at the southern end of New Zealand's South Island, was regarded as one of the most dangerous harbour mouths in the world.

    A New Zealand newspaper, the Grey River Argus, noted the 'christening' of the tug on 23 November 1900 when it belonged to Sir Joseph Ward;

    'A Day at Bluff. Invercargill, November 21. At Bluff harbour this afternoon, with some ceremony, Miss Eileen, daughter of the Hon. Mr Ward, christened the new tug, 'Theresa Ward' just arrived from England. In the afternoon the Postmaster-General formally opened the Government Building at the port, which contain Post and Telegraph, Customs and other Department offices and later a procession was formed by the residents and visitors, the bands, volunteers, lodges and marched down the old Point road, now improved and named Ward Parade. After speeches, Mr Ward declared the parade formally open to the public. This evening the Hon. gentlemen is being entertained at a banquet by the residents of Campbell town in honor of the day's doings.'

    Sir Joseph Ward (1856-1931) was chairman of the Bluff Harbour Board from 1883-1888 and briefly again in 1893. He remained a member until 1917. He was Mayor of Bluff from 1881 - 1886 and again from 1897-98 before becoming Prime Minister (Premier) of New Zealand (1906–12, 1928–30).

    In 1883, then 27 year old Joseph Ward married 17 year old Theresa Dorothea De Smidt, who was apparently known for her beauty, elegance and extravagant hats.

    Premier Ward often used his tugboat for political campaigning voyages. According to the Poverty Bay Herald, 7 December 1911;

    '...Sir Joseph Ward made a valiant endeavor to reach Stewart Island on Tuesday night, with the object of addressing his constituents there, and essayed the trip across the Strait in the tug THERESA WARD. The vessel got to the entrance of the harbour, but found it impossible to negotiate the mountainous seas in the Strait. The tug had therefore, to turn about, and make for the Bluff, which she reached yesterday morning. It is said that if Sir Joseph had persisted in crossing the Strait the boat would never have weathered the storm.'

    The tug proved its worth following the grounding of the whaling ship CA LARSEN near Stewart Island in 1928. It was also briefly in the Bluff to Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island ferry service.

    Although the vessel was described as 'aging' in 1933, it proved useful for its new owners Wallace & Co Tugs for another 20 years. The Wallace Tugs company was well known in Port Jackson and Port Kembla during the twentieth century.

    In the ship model case, a plaque reads;

    Screw tug THERESA WARD built by J P Rennoldson & sons, South Shields. Owners James Wallace and Co ltd., Sydney, NSW. Dimensions 117' x 22' x 12' 6"

    This suggests either the original ship builder's half model from 1900 was cased and re-displayed by Wallace when the tug was purchased, or the plaque was added to the case by Wallace and Co when the vessel was purchased around 1930.

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