The Steam Tug Lyttelton II

A Lyttelton Heritage Gallery


Registered Name - Lyttelton II
Built - 1938
Builder - Lobnitz & Company Limited
Yard No. - 1014
Lloyd's Registry No. - 1171392
Current Port of Registry - Melbourne
L.O.A. - 34.97    Metres (123 feet)
Beam - 9.5 Metres (31 feet 4 inches)
Draught - 4 Metres (12 feet 3 inches)
Gross Tonnage - 303 tons (308 tonnes)
Displacement - 593 tons (604 tonnes)
Engines - Two coal fired, 6 cylinder triple expansion steam engines.
Speed - 12 Knots

Ship's Log

1938 - Built and engined by Lobnitz & Company Limited of Renfrew, Glasgow.

(Photo: John Newth 1000 x 529 px) 

Specialising since the 1850s in the construction of  dredges, floating docks, fishing boats, tugs and workboats, Lobnitz built the similar Awarua for Bluff Harbour in 1932 (below Right) and the almost identical William C Daldy (below Left) for Auckland  in 1935 at a cost of  £30,499 delivered. See links below for more about the William C Daldy.

(Photo: New Zealand National Maritime Museum  360 x 224 px)           (Photo: Peter Ballantyne  340 x 196 px)

Lobnitz also built the tug Otago (1955) for the Otago Harbour Board and the dredge Peraki  (1960) for the Lyttelton Harbour Board (believed to be still working out of Manila as the Angelita IV).

1939 - February 27 - Departed Glasgow for Lyttelton.

1939 - June 8 - Arrived at Lyttelton after a 107 day passage. 

Sydney Wigglesworth served as Second Mate  on the delivery voyage of one of the last coal fired steamers built for a New Zealand owner.  As Lobnitz included delivery in their price it's likely that Sydney was a Glaswegian in their employ at this time, 38 years later he was living at Auckland.

1940 - Dec 29 - The 6,000 ton inter-island ferry Rangatira ran aground at Pigeon Bay near the entrance to Lyttleton Harbour. Refloated about 3 pm with help of the tug (below).

 (378 x 138 px)

1963 - Aug - Voyage to Port Chalmers to assist the damaged Paparoa into the dry dock.

1963 - Sep 21 - Stood by the motor vessel Holmbank (below) when she broke her back on grounding in Peraki Bay on the Southern side of Banks Peninsula.

(Photo: Eric Bissmire   365 x 342 px) 

1965 - Aug - New Zealand Marine News announces that the tug is to have her coal fired boilers converted to oil burning next year.

1977 - The Lyttelton Harbour Board's replacement tug Godley begins service.

1980 - Nov - The last working steam tug in commercial service in New Zealand is laid up.

1981 - Mar - Sold for NZ$16,000 to the Pittswater and Broken Bay Steam Ship Preservation Group of Sydney to undertake display and cruise work.

1981 - Apr 21 - Departed Lyttelton for Sydney, the last coal fired steamship to cross the Tasman Sea.


Departing for Sydney, 21 April, 1981   (Photo: Charles Begg   507 x 204 px)

1981 - May 2 - Arrived Sydney.

1987 - Sold to Bay Steamers Limited and laid up at Berth 20 in the Victoria Harbour at Melbourne. Renamed Victoria.


The current location is on the Southern part of the harbour/river, slightly NW of the North Wharf Rd & Piggott St corner 
Elevated view (1024 x 681 px) and map (555 x 350 px)

1996 - The International Steamship Register reports that reconstruction and restoration of the vessel commenced.

2004 - Reported as being in dismantled condition.

2005 - April - Leigh Doeg is reported to have been in charge of the restoration of the Victoria (Lyttelton II)

2005 - Nov - The Maritime Heritage Association of Victoria reports the hull to be in very poor condition.

"It is likely she will have to be scrapped unless a real prospect of significant funds and interest in repairing the vessel is found in the next few months. This would be a great pity as the ship’s spacious engine room is a great example of later coal fired installations."

 2006 - January - Charles Begg of Christchurch constructs a 1:38 scale working model of the tug, see links below for the model's site.

(263 x 139 px)

 2006 - April 17 - A photograph of the vessel is taken and published on the Internet the same day.  

Lyttelton Heritage, which monitors the 'net for new images relating to the community, adds the photograph to its archive and places a descriptive comment on the photo's  web site, where communications relating to the subsequent  development of this Log are published.

 Port, bow to main deck housing, 1024 x 681 px, 17 April 2006

 (1024 x 681 px)

2006 - May 20 - Mugley of Melbourne photographs the exterior of the vessel for Lyttelton Heritage as part of a preliminary evaluation for a possible return of the tug to her home port for preservation. 

Starboard, bow to funnel, foredeck, mast, forepeak gangway, housing
(1024 x 681 px)

 Port, aft three quarter, less stern, engine roof hatch, aft housing
 (1024 x 681 px)

 Port, bow to davit
(1024 x 568 px)
 Port, bow to funnel
(1024 x 681 px)
 Port, bow to housing bulkhead, forepeak gangway, foredeck
(1024 x 681 px)
 Bow, mooring, location
(1024 x 643 px)

 Starboard, bow three quarter, vintage tug Wattle aft
(1024 x 745 px)
  Starboard, bow to funnel, foredeck, mast, forepeak gangway, housing
(1024 x 681 px)

 Starboard, bow to funnel
(1024 x 681 px)
Recent photos by Mugley of Melbourne
2006 - May 26 - Communications confirm that the vessel is now owned by Leigh Doeg.  Mr Doeg also owns the former Circular Quay to Mosman ferry Lady Kell of 1970, now named Victoria Star and running harbour cruises at Melbourne. It's understood that he's pleased to learn of a possible return of the tug to Lyttelton as there were plans to scrap her within two months.

2006 - June 4 - Excerpt from a communication pertaining to the vessel's fate; 
"A chum’s eldest decided to get married yet again.  She chose the church at Lake Tekapo for the ceremony and they flew in from Miami for a couple of days.  They’d heard that Lyttelton was reminiscent of the Northern California coast, so went over and promptly fell in love with the place.  Creating a new residential price record, they bought a landmark property after lunch and then flew out for the Honeymoon.  The wider family now uses it as a vacation home.

To cut a long story short, over yet another extensive lunch we talked about buying some more of Lyttelton, proposing to begin with the Port Company and using it as a vehicle for wider community investment.  Lyttelton II‘s engine room could have a made an interesting feature in a revived Passenger Terminal.

However, in a bout of post-prandial complaisance, we under-estimated the natives.  An even remoter and rival Port Company, with a stake in the local outfit, put paid to our plot, fearing the consequences that our investment might have upon their own revenues.  So, sorry to have to say it, but we no longer have much use for 300 tons of scrap Steel.  It looks as though the old gal’s last voyage will be to Newcastle after all, but we’d still like to get some last photos of her innards for the local archives."

Bay Steamers Maritime Museum Lyttelton II site 
1935 Lobnitz Tug William C Daldy  at Auckland

 Unusually, Lobnitz not only constructed ships and built their engines, but also made the Telegraphs.
(664 x 712 px)