PHOTOGRAPHY by donhammondimage


   The S.S."FINGAL"

              The  little "Fingal" was the first steamer to come to the Port of Awanui. She was ideally suited to the river
           trade, drawing only 6' 4".  Built originally for Mr. A. McGregor in Auckland 1879 she was acquired by the
           Northern Steamship Company in 1881 and commanded by Captain Norbury.  Goods for Kaitaia, Ahipara and
           surrounding districts would come to Mangonui by coastal steamer and then be transhipped to the "Fingal" for
           delivery to the Awanui Wharf.  The Awanui River, although deeper in those years, was very narrow and gave the
           shipping of the day no end of trouble. The most difficult of the many tight bends was aptly named the "Devils
           Elbow".  For the Master of the "Fingal" the problem was compounded by the fact that the bows of the little
           steamer were sharp and her turning circle wide.  The idea was to keep the vessel at speed so she would
           answer to helm and then to put the wheel "hard over" as she approached the bend. All too often these actions
           would prove inadequate and the little ship would plough into the bank of the channel and remain fast. It was
           not uncommon for the Master to send the Deckhand over the side to a neighbouring farm to borrow a spade
           and large jack to encourage the "Fingal" back into the channel. Not surprising that the journey from Awanui
           Heads, although only 10 mile, could sometimes take two or three days to complete !

                                      The SS."Fingal" worked the Awanui run for a number of years and was
                                                     eventually broken up in Auckland in 1909.