Thursday, November 15, 2012
History of the Earnslaw
October 1912 was the centennial of the steamship TSS Earnslaw's service on Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand's South Island. To mark the occasion a weekend of celebrations took place, and we were fortunate enough to be there for part of it.
This is a lovely part of the country, and it's always a treat to see the Remarkables, especially with a dusting of snow:
Before the road along the Queenstown side of the lake was completed, the Earnslaw provided a vital link between Queenstown and Glenorchy, as well as the farms along the lakeshore. These days the Earnslaw mainly serves visitors wishing to experience the area from the water, but for this special weekend a renactment of those earlier voyages was made, all the way to Glenorchy and stopping at Walter Peak and Mount Nicholas stations on the way.
The trip took the whole day, and was quite an occasion. A good number of passengers (including us) dressed up for the occasion, and a band played on the upper deck. Many of those on the voyage had used this service years ago when they lived in the area. We met a lady who had been the cook at Mount Nicholas station a fair few decades ago, and was making her first return visit in quite some years.
What looked like the entire population of Glenorchy, along with several hundred visitors, turned out to greet the Earnslaw on her first visit in years. The locals went on a short cruise while we wandered around on shore. Here's the Earnslaw on her way back into Glenorchy:
It was a privilege to be part of this wonderful day.
I rather expect the Earnslaw to make an appearance in a future book. It's a fine way to travel, and has been so for a century now.