Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Planing and Shaping Timber


Note: This post continues from earlier Steady progression of work on the Lighter

Hours are spent working the Norfolk Island pine timber that has been milled and delivered to build the replacement lighter. Dean Burrell chooses the next plank to be worked.

 

The plank is shaped to the curvature of the hull.


When satisfied that the plank is ready for further treatment, it is placed in the steamer for final shaping.

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Compliments of the Season to all



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Steady progression of work on the Lighter


Note: This post continues from earlier Norfolk Island Lighter

Work steadily progresses on the building of the Norfolk Island Administration’s new lighter. The lighters carry cargo from ship to shore and are an important part of Norfolk Island’s infrastructure. Building commenced in late August.
Right hand profile - bow to stern
Left hand profile - bow to stern
Left hand profile - stern to bow
Carvel planking, the traditional method where planks are affixed edge to edge, is clearly shown

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Coffin Shed



James Montford “Monty” Christian was a Radio Signaller with the New Zealand Army.  His family history records that Monty was stationed throughout the Pacific during World War II.  It is during his time on Norfolk Island, in the Pier Store, that Monty is impressed with a supernatural experience. 

This Christian family can trace their ancestry to John Christian, born in 1776, married to Marjery (nee Gell) of the Isle of Man.  They haven’t identified an immediate connection to ‘our’ Christian family, however it is most likely there is a cousin connection there somewhere.  Monty’s nephew John and his wife Sharyn Christian from Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand paid us a visit at the museum and showed us the papers documenting his family’s history.  In amongst this information is Monty’s Norfolk story.

He says, “I would be stationed in the Coffin Shed on night shift watching for the approach of the enemy – the Japanese warships”.

The Coffin Shed he refers to is The Pier Store, located at the end of Kingston Pier.  The Pier Store was built in 1825 as a Commissariat Store (Government Store) it has had a variety of names and purpose over the years.   
The building has been continuously used since 1825.  After the Pitcairn Islanders settled here it became a customs store on the ground floor and part of the upper floor was used as a coffin room.  Later it was used as a store for lighterage equipment, old crank mill machinery and pallets of beer until it became part of the Norfolk Island Museum in 1988.

This is the poem that Monty wrote whilst on night shift in the Coffin Shed, December 1941.

While on duty I’m quietly sitting
Ghostly forms around me are flitting
Up and down and all around the coffin room

And then sometimes when I’m nodding
I can hear their footsteps plodding
Ghostly faces peering at me from the gloom
All around me forms are lying
Some are groaning some are sighing
And some are crashing around me on the floor

Oh I long for my fears to banish
As they come and then they vanish
Treading lightly to the gloom beyond the door

Oh feel I want assistance
As I see them in the distance
Dancing lightly on the shadows by the fire
And their ghostly eyes are gloating
As their forms come gently floating
Rising upwards to the roof and even higher

And the time was quickly slipping
I could hear their footsteps tripping
All around the room with ne’er a pause
And my hand was on the trigger
As I saw a ghostly figure
Saying loud in accents clear I’m Rufus Dawes
And my heart neigh stopped beating
At this unexpected meeting
When around the chimney corner I saw
Scores of convicts now departed
So very soon I started
Gently tripping very quickly through the door

So I’ll wait till day is dawning
An in the early morning
I be leaving all these ghastly forms to you
And the guard that’s here tomorrow
Will all find to their sorrow
That the things that I’ve been telling them are true

Obviously Monty was familiar with the classic convict novel ‘For the Term of His Natural Life’ written by Marcus Clarke.  The character Rufus Dawes was the pseudonym name taken on by Richard Devine, to protect his mother’s infidelity secret.


James 'Monty' Christian and Sharyn Christian

John and Sharyn Christian are pictured on the Pier Store veranda.  Thanks for sharing this poem with us.  I think you’ll find a number of us on Norfolk today can relate to Monty’s ghoulish fear in the Pier Store.  

Janelle Blucher                         

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Norfolk Island Lighter


Note: This post continues from earlier Salvage and Restoration

A visit to the Lighterage Depot sees Dean Burrell fitting the second carvel, the fastening of planks edge to edge, gaining support from the frame and forming a smooth surface.

                                    
 The keel is again chiseled by hand to ensure an accurate fit of the plank.

                                    

 Chiselling, planing, sanding - each step is meticulously carried out.



Once the plank is removed from the steamer and moulded to the frame, Dean then completes the laborious task of fitting it to the lighter.
When the carvel is secured in place, it is again inspected to ensure absolute accuracy.

These steps will be repeated again and again, as the lighter project progresses.

 
Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Salvage and Restoration

 Building of the new lighter continues at the Lighterage Depot at Middlegate, Norfolk Island.

Thousands of dollars worth of burnt fittings, thought to be completely destroyed, were salvaged by Glen Williams and painstakingly restored. The following photos clearly record the before and after as Glen displays pieces of the damaged fittings and then the restored pieces which he paints with several layers of undercoat.


 
 
 






 Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Steaming and Malleability

The planks for the clinkers and carvels are fitted, removed and shaped with chisels, then softened to enable them to be moulded to the curvature of the lighter from bow to stern. This is done by enclosing each plank into a steamer - a metal box with an attachment through which an engine pumps steam onto the plank. The wood softens as the steam heats the fibres. After several hours the plank is removed and again fitted to the hull, moulded and clamped to the frame. Once cooled and the shape is assured it is again removed and undercoat is applied to each plank before it is finally attached to the frame, glued, hammered and clamped into place.
  
 

 The steamer is located in the yard outside.
 
 One or two planks are placed inside.

 The engine is checked and turned on... 


 
 to send boiling water to the steamer through an attachment on the top.
  
 Steam slowly rises from the steamer ...

 ...and builds in volume as the hours pass.
 
The softened plank is then carried inside ...
 

 ... and again fitted to the lighter.  Note the steam rising from the wood.

 
 After fitting and cooling the plank is again removed ...
 ... and undercoat is applied to each piece prior to final placement.

Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We Will Remember Them


These photographs are from the World War I Album of Gordon Stuart Watt taken at El Arish and the Sinai. Wattie's service in WWI is detailed as proceeding abroad as No. 13/2628 on the 9th of August 1915 with the NZEF Auckland Mounted Rifles. He was promoted to Signal Sergeant on 19 April 1919 and awarded the Military Medal along with the 1914/15 Star; General Service Medal and Victory Medal. At the end of the war Gordon lived on Norfolk Island with his wife. He was the company Secretary/Auctioneer of the Norfolk Island Co-Operative Dairy. He also built “Mokutu” at Steeles Point which still operates as tourist accommodation today.