Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
82 Boating New Zealand April 2014 VINTAGE PERSPECTIVES HAROLD KIDD 82 W ho on Earth was W J Quelch?” you ask. William James Quelch was well-known in Auckland in his day as the owner of many fine yachts and launches. Born in London, Quelch came out with his family as a baby to New Zealand in 1874 on the sailing ship Dorette, later Waimea. The family settled in Onehunga, Auckland. By 1891 William’s father, also William, had set up in business in Pitt Street, Auckland, as a “wire worker and bird seller”. William and young W J were both avid bird-fanciers, particularly racing pigeons and parrots, and imported and exported live birds. W J was also a keen musician and became bandmaster of the First Battalion (Newton) Band by 1900. However it was W J’s wireworking skills that led him by degrees to become a prominent manufacturer of wire-woves, the almost universal bedding mattress of the first half of the 20th century. Living in Parnell and later in Ponsonby in the 1890s, he became infected with the yachting craze that ran deep in all Auckland marine suburbs. Little is known of W J’s first yachting experiences but, in October 1910, Progress magazine reported that Collings & Bell had just put in the water their third launch to his order, the 30-footer Waihiri, fitted with a 10hp Doman marine engine. Waihiri was followed in 1911 by Dorothy, again by Collings & Bell, a smart raised-foredeck flushdecker in the latest style, this time a 35-footer with a 12hp Doman engine. Dorothy was named after In the first half of the 20th century, at least 14 yachts and launches passed through the ownership of bird fancier W J Quelch. WJ Quelch One man and his boats “ REGULAR_Vintage perspectives_April14.indd 82 18/03/2014 8:56:33 a.m.
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