SS TOROA - 2005 to 2008

Posted by on 20 September 2013 | Comments


Toroa's two wheelhouses rebuilt by Colin Brown Shipwright and returned to the Selwood Road site.  About 300 hours work by Colin Brown, Colin Davidson and apprentice Josh Hawke went into the restoration, using traditional methods.  

toroa wheelhouse2

The wheelhouses' solid sills or deck-logs of 150mm x 100mm kauri -- cut to the curve from straight timber -- were replaced by sweeps that were already curved because they came from a giant Coromandel kauri tree stump. No glue was used – the timber members were locked together with dowelled mortise-&-tenon joints. as the builder George Niccol had done in the original construction.

 The restoration of the wheelhouses was funded by a grant from the Waitakere Licensing Trust.


Work begins to establish a method of bending frames for the central engine-&-boiler space of the hull.  Attempts to cold-bend the steel frames using a press were undertaken by Marine Steel and by VT Fitzroy at the Devonport Naval Dockyard, however the bulb angle insisted on bending just as much sideways as in the proper plane. A section rolling machine developed by Andrew Macbeth suffered the same problem, but later proved perfect for bending steel-angle deck beams.  The Dockyard subsequently lent the Society a number of cast-iron dog-slabs and ADM Contractors Ltd. set up to hot-bend the frames in the traditional way but using a large oxy-acetylene torch instead of a furnace to provide the heat.

Further difficulties were overcome in making the tight bend in each frame each side of the keel and the first complete frame was bolted into the hull at the end of 2008.

bending the steel frames

Andrew MacBeth of ADM Contractors Ltd. and volunteer Brian Claney bending a steel frame in an early investigation into the method.  Photo: Toroa Collection                                                     

first new steel frame fabricated and fitted to the hull

new hull frames installed

Photos: Toroa collection

all aboard

Western Leader, January 9, 2009

2008 December  
New hull frames installed into the centre portion of the hull. The rusted steel bulkhead at the back of the picture has not yet been replaced.