HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

20 January 2017

Auxiliary Schooner Maclaren King..

New Guinea crew for the schooner Maclaren King, built at Huskisson in 1923 for Papua New Guinea for the Anglican Mission.
A small local built schooner with quite a story to tell.  Many of the fine vessels built at Huskisson have gone on to become part of the rich and exciting maritime history of this country,  the Maclaren King’s story is one of service and close encounters…
462-MacLaren-KingaOn the banks of Currambene Creek just before the launch.
The 'Maclaren King' at anchor in the fiords of Tufi, pictured looking down from the side of the fiord. A Papun canoe is alongside. The photograph was taken whilst 'exploring, looking for a new site for a station'
State Library of South Australia.OH 456/1

Work of Mission Schooner.

Captain F. C. Renneis, master of the auxiliary schooner Maclaren King, which carries mails and stores to Anglican mission stations on the north-east coast of Papua, arrived In Sydney by the Macdhul yesterday.

Captain Rennels has combined the duties of master and engineer on the Maclaren King for 11 years. His crew is composed of two half-castes and six natives. The Maclaren King's traverse, which contains many reefs still uncharted, is frequently hazardous during the hurricane season-from December to March. The schooner has grounded twice, on uncharted reefs.

On one occasion, the Maclaren King saved the lives of seven natives. Their boat had capsized in a river, and they had been swept four miles out to sea. The natives, Captain Rennels said, had been alternately floating and treading water for 13 hours before they were picked up.

Captain Rennels is accompanied by his wife, who was engaged in mission work for several years, and his four-year-old daughter, Betsy.


BISHOP'S ESCAPE. Maclaren King bombed by Japanese April 30.-1942.
While rerurnnig to the mission schooner, Maclaren King recently, after visiting outlying districts, an 'Anglican Bishop of New Guinea,  bishop Strong, was machine-gunned by a Japanese 'plane. Although he was not hit, his brief case and prayer book were riddled by bullets. The Bishop,  was approaching the schooner in a small launch when a seaplane flew low overhead.  It aimed a bomb at the schooner, but missed. it then machine-gunned the native cew who had jumped overboard. The seaplane dropped two more bombs, but again missed the schooner.  Then, however, it raked the boat with machine-gun fire. All the natives escaped Injury,  meanwhile the Bishop had turned his launch towards the shore and had just reached the beach when he and the native crew of the launch again were attacked by the seaplane.  Racing into the bush they flung themselves down to escape the machine gunning.  Eventually the plane flew off,  but the Bishop and his natives remained hidden in the bush all day for fear the machine would return.  That night the Bishop took the schooner out of the harbour and saw no more of the Japanese. The Bishop said his missions would carry on their work what ever happened.  All the men and women workers would remain at their posts. They could not desert the natives at the first sign of danger.  The missions were performing magnificent work in calming and steadying the natives in threatened areas.

Continue reading about the Maclaren King and her many adventures.

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