GAIRLOCH, steamer: When on a voyage from Onehunga to Kawhia, Raglan, and Wanganui, with general cargo and timber, the steamer was wrecked at 11.40 p.m. on January 5, 1903, on Oakura Reef, three miles north of Cape Egmont. The sea was smooth, but the weather was very thick at the time of the casualty. The crew, numbering 20, remained on board until daylight, and then left in the boats, landing on the New Plymouth Breakwater. The Gairloch struck the rocks about a quarter of a mile from the beach. Her hull was badly pierced, and she soon became a total wreck. The Court of Inquiry found that the vessel had no patent log in use, and that the master trusted to his experience in estimating the speed. The master had committed an error of judgement in hugging the land so close on so dark a night. The court ordered the master’s certificate to be suspended for three months, and he was to pay Â£10 towards the cost of the inquiry.
The Gairloch, No. 87,524, was a steel, twinscrew, three-masted steamer of 373 tons gross and 211 tons net register, built at Glasgow in 1884 by Messrs. Blackwood and Gordon and her dimensions were : length 164.9 ft., beam 23 ft., depth 8.7 ft. Her engines were of 85 h.p. The Gairloch was owned by the Northern Steam Ship Company, and was the first vessel the company had lost by wreck. Captain Arthur Henry Austen was in command of the steamer. Among some of the mishaps experienced by the Gairloch were the following strandings:-Waitara River bar, May 18, 1887; North Wall, at entrance to Waitara River, May 18, 1887; North Spit, Wanganui River, September 23, 1889. On each of these occasions she was under the command of Captain Findlay McArthur, who was lost in the schooner Wolverine in November, 1899. (See plate 50.)