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Mansion house, Kawau Island
Mansion House, Kawau Island in the early 1900's.
Watercolour  (730 x 520)mm

The original part of Mansion House was built between 1845 and 1847 and was initially the house of the manager of a copper mine nearby.  In 1862 Governor Sir George Grey purchased the property, enlarged the house and introduced a variety of plants animals to the island, among them zebras and kookaburras, monkeys and wallabies.  The wallabies and kookaburras still survive although there are steps to eliminate the wallabies which destroy many native plants.  Mansion House and the Copper Mine are now part of the Hauraki Maritme Park.

Thirty of so miles north of Auckland by water the beautiful cove and grounds became a popular venue for yachties and excursionists brought by steamer in the early days.  Today ferries bring tourists and visitors from the mainland five miles away and also from Auckland.   The steamer in the background was the Ngapuhi, a Northern Company vessel, which made summertime cruises all around the Gulf.  The yawl is a well known Auckland yacht Viking, built by Charles Bailey in the early 1890's.  She is still sailing today.  In the foreground is a mullet boat or mullety.  These were originally centreboard fishing smacks which operated out of Auckland.  They were and are, with their large spead of canvas, exciting boats to sail and nowdays the old-timers and newer fibreglass versions race regularly and once a year race to Mansion House.  The mullety crews had a reputation for hard sailing, hard drinking and rather disassociated themselves from the Royal Yacht Squadron types who sailed the larger vessels such as the Viking.