All aboard for 100th birthday


Descendants of TSS Earnslaw’s foreman builder Jimmy Alcorn prepare for the steamship’s 100th birthday re-enactment voyage today. 

Alcorn’s grandson Jim Sands (left) is pictured with his wife Madeleine, daughter Karyn Sands and her partner Michael Marsh, all of Auckland. 

Jim’s mother Bessie travelled as a baby on the Earnslaw when the ship was first launched on Lake Wakatipu in February 1912. 

It’s expected Ross Williams, the grandson of the Earnslaw’s designer Hugh McRae, will also be on board today’s voyage from Kingston to Queenstown.

After the Earnslaw docks, she’s to be greeted by Prime Minister John Key and a large crowd including about 600 children in period costume. 

Joining the week’s centenary celebrations has been Queenstowner John Taylor’s veteran Fiat 52B, which was also built in 1912. 

“You see the Earnslaw and you see a modern boat and while you see improvements, it’s not so noticeable as with the motor car,” Taylor says. 

The Fiat will also join a fleet of pioneer motor vehicles, dating back to 1899, which will be on display at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort this Sunday. 

Meanwhile, descendants of Queenstown pioneers will be coming to the resort this weekend for two 150-year reunions. 

About 110 descendants of Richard Cogar Bryant and 200 descendants of brothers Frank and Dan McBride are expected. 

A Richard Cogar Bryant Memorial will be unveiled at Queenstown’s One Mile this Saturday morning.