House boat, Wanganui river circa 1900


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House boat, Wanganui river circa 1900

by Stereoscopic Society of New Zealand 2023-12-26 23:20

The Wanganui river (Whanganui) was a popular tourist destination in the 1800s, paddle-wheel steamers taking passengers on three-day trips with over-night accommodation provided in either a river side guest house or on a specially designed floating houseboat.

George Rose; publisher; circa 1900; Melbourne

The House-boat, Wanganui River, New Zealand: moored in a gorge near the junction of the Ohura River, circa 1900, Melbourne, by George Rose, George Rose. Purchased 1999 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (O.022073)

River houseboat at the edge of the river bank with two men on the shore. Printed narrative on the verso of the card:

The delightful spot where the Houseboat is moored is 26 miles below Taumarunui, near where the Ohura River, one of Wanganui’s largest tributaries, joins the main watercourse by falling in over a papa ledge. Many of the streams falling into the Wanganui have cut gorges through the papa rock right down to the level of the river. In some cases the tributary streams have not yet excavated their canyons, but fall over steep banks and ledges. "Papa" signifies anything broad, flat, and hard, and is applied by Maori to flat clay-rock, but has come to be applied by Pakeha to any kind of clay-rock whatever. The Houseboat has a dining saloon, social hall, smoking room and lounge, and promenade decks, and is fitted with electric light, bathrooms, and lavatories. This floating palace forms an ideal holiday resort, combining the charm of an open-air riverside picnic with the comforts and attention of a first-class hotel. It affords accommodation to travellers up and down the river. On the down journey lunch is here partaken of, and on the up journey, taking two days from Pipiriki to Taumarunui, the night is spent on board. The upper deck contains the dining room, social, smoking rooms, etc, and the lower deck provides two-berth sleeping accommodation for about sixty persons. The Houseboat is the property of Messrs A. Hatrick and Co., of Wanganui, who control the tourist trade on the river. They also possess a large, modern hotel at Pipiriki, and provide a fleet of eleven steamers, specially built in England for the tourist traffic. The steamers travel from Wanganui to Taumarunui, the terminus of the Main Trunk Railway, connecting in this way with Auckland and Rotorua.

(from TePapa website)

I’ve cleaned up and coloured the original black and white stereoscopic image. The original can be viewed at the Te Papa (museum of New Zealand) website
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