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Sister ship of Hoihow I

Type Cargo / Passenger.
Gross Registered Tonnage 1,424 grt. 919 nett.
Builder Scott & Co. CD. Yard No. 200.
Delivery date Dec 16th 1880.
Hull Iron, Clincher construction.
Decks 1
Length 248.0 ft.
Width 31.0 ft.
Depth 24.25 ft.
Passengers Deck.
Engine Builder Greenock Foundry Co.
Engine Type Steam, compound inverted.
Engine cylinders 28".dia. 56".dia.
Engine stroke 3.5 ft.
Engine Power 160 nhp.
Engine RPM 70
Propulsion mode Single screw.
Speed 10 kts.
Rigged Schooner.
Displacement 3,032 tons
Deadweight 2,032 tons
Bale capacity 87,120 cu.ft.
Block coefficient (Cb) 0.713
Condenser cooling surface 1.491 sq. ft.
Steam expansion ratio 5.9
ratio_of_air_pump_capacity_to_lp_cylinder_volume 18.5
ratio_of_sw_circulating_pump_capacity_to_lp_cylinder_volume 19.3
Boiler 2, Oval.
Boiler pressure 70 psi.
Boiler dimensions (total) 14.83 ft.H x 10.5 ft.W x 9.75 ft.L
Heating Surface (total) 2,485 sq.ft.
Grate Area (total) 97.5 sq.ft.
Steam space volume 746 cu.ft.
Fuel coal.
Furnace 2 per boiler
Furnace dimensions 3'0" dia. x 6'6" long.
Draught Natural.
Propeller Right hand, 14ft. dia. 17ft, pitch
Propeller blades 4
Propeller formation Solid.
Propeller material Cast iron.
Launched Nov 18th. 1880
Original owner J.S.Swire.


1880 - 1883. Operated by Coast Boats Ownery.

August 24th. 1919. While on a voyage from Hankow to Shanghai, with a cargo of beancake, became stranded then capsized in the Hukwang channel of the Yangtse River, 20 miles below Hankow. The vessel declared a total loss.


During 1883-1884, the Tamsui along with the Changchow and Hoihow I made the first C.N.Co. voyages to New Zealand, the main northbound freight being coal.

TAMSUI 1882.

Tamsui was the first CNCo vessel to call in Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald. 4th August 1882. Arrivals.-August 3rd. Tamsui (s.), 919 tons, Captain Whittle, from Hongkong. July 11. Passengers-For Sydney : 9 Chinese. Another new steamship also arrived from Hong Kong yesterday in the Tamsui, which left that port on July 14. On the 16th a severe typhoon was encountered off the north end of Luzon Island. Enormous seas broke over the vessel, clearing everything moveable from the decks, the tempest lasting for ten hours. Squalls and southerly winds were afterwards had to the Equator, which was crossed on July 24. New Ireland was passed on July 26, and thence to the 30th strong southerly winds and high seas were encountered. Afterwards moderate but variable winds were had until sighting the land on 2nd instant at Richmond Heads. Light winds prevailed from that point to arrival. The Tamsui was built by Scott & Co of Greenock for Messrs John Swire & Co of London. Her dimensions are – Length 250 feet; beam 31 feet; and depth 23 feet. She was engined by the same firm; her engines being built on the compound surface condensing principle. They are 160 horse power, and it is stated that the Tamsui is capable of going at an average speed of 10 knots per hour when required. She proceeds from this port to Melbourne with the bulk of her cargo. Imports: Tamsui (s ), from HongKong 4306 half–chests, 1461 boxes, 18 packages tea, 10 packages silk, 159 packages matting, 1000 bags rice, and the larger bulk of cargo for Melbourne

The Argus, Melbourne. 9th August 1882. The Tamsui which arrived yesterday morning, is from Foo-chow with new season’s tea. Of this she has brought close up to 36,000 packages. The Tamsui is a comparatively new vessel, having been launched about the end of 1880. She was built and engined by Scott and Co, of Greenock for the China Steam Navigation Co. of which Messrs Butterfield and Swire are managing directors. The owners had her built specially for their coasting trade in China, in which they have 10 steamers employed at present. In addition to these they have five large steamers constructed on the American river boat principle. Four of the latter trade on the Yang-Tse and one on the river of Canton. Six new steamers are also in course of construction for the company. Four of these are to be larger and swifter than any in the fleet, and the other two are to be twin screw boats for the Tien-Tsin trade. The new boats are to be of 256 horse power nominal, and are to steam l8 knots. The Tamsui is the first of the company’s steamers which has been here, but there is talk of their visits being periodic. The Tamsui is 250ft 2-10s in length, her beam being 31ft 8-10s and depth of hold 28ft. Her gross tonnage is 1,424 and the net register 919 tons, and her carrying capacity is equal to 1,800 tons. The loading and discharge of cargo is carried on mostly by hand labour instead of steam on the coast, and, curiously enough, with quite as quick results. The freight is taken in and out at large side ports and there are convenient stages whence the packages are passed from, hand, to hand with surprising rapidity. So quickly is the work accomplished that a steamer like the Tamsui can be discharged in 12 hours and loaded with equal despatch. The hull of the Tamsui is on the cellular principle or double bottomed, for water ballast. The engines are of the compound type, surface condensing, and with inverted cylinders These are 23in and 56in respectively, and have a stroke of 42in. The engines are of 160 horse power nominal, and on a consumption of 14 or 15 tons of coal per day a speed of 10 knots is obtained. The bridge deck and the captain’s quarters are well forward, and in a large and roomy deckhouse aft there is accommodation for some six or eight saloon passengers. The tween decks can be easily arranged for the accommodation of a large number of Chinese passengers, if required. The Tamsui, like the Douglas, which was here recently, is a marvel of utter cleanliness, and looks as if she had just left the builder's hand. Captain Whittle, who is in command, reports leaving Foo-chow on the 9th ult, and Hong Kong on the 14th . At the latter port he was delayed for 24 hours in consequence of a typhoon raging in the vicinity. In passing Luzon on the north end of the Philippines, the steamer was caught in a typhoon, the worst of which lasted for 12 hours. There was a terrific sea which sent its spray high over all, but no damage was done. The Tamsui all through behaved admirably being a good sea boat. Strong westerly winds with a heavy sea and squally weather were met with for three days afterwards. New Ireland was passed on the 26th ult, and thence strong SSE monsoons with a head sea prevailed for a few days. Moderate weather followed until arrival at Sydney on the 3rd inst. After discharge of cargo there, the Tamsui left for Melbourne at 5 p m on the 5th inst, and entered the Heads at 2 a m yesterday. Strong W and S W winds were encountered until rounding Cape Howe whence the passage was marked by fine weather. After being cleared in the bay, the Tamsui went up the river to the new wharf at the south bank of the Yarra, and abreast of the new shed recently erected by the Harbour Trust. Captain John Whittle of the steamer Tamsui, states that on passing New Ireland on July 26, he took observations, and he is strongly of opinion that the position assigned to the island on the latest Admiralty charts in too far to the eastward by about 15 miles, that is, on a rough estimate.

The Argus. 11th August. 1882. In notifying the arrival of the steamer Tamsui, from Foochow, in " The Argus ' of Wednesday last, attention was called to the peculiar manner in which cargoes of Chinese merchandise were stowed and discharged from this vessel, and others of a similar description. Hand labour and conveniently placed stages were the only essentials requisite, and without the aid of steam a cargo of from 1,600 to 1,800 tons could be put out in 12 hours. This style of doing business was brought into operation when the Tamsui was taken alongside the new warehouse erected by the Harbour Trust on the south bank of the Yarra The packages of tea were passed out at large side ports on to slides and right into the warehouse without any intermediate cartage or trucking This has its own advantage apart from the matter of expense, for the packages pass into the shed as clean as they leave the vessel, and are not exposed to all weathers. The tea brought by the Tamsui has been discharged in what is known as warehouse order, that is without spot or stain or blemish of any description and in as clean and thorough order as when delivered on board at Foo Chow. The Tamsui went along side the shed on Tuesday, and discharging operations were commenced the same afternoon. The work was carried on during Customs hours on Wednesday and yesterday, and the last of the tea will be out today, so that the steamers cargo of close on 1,700 tons will have been discharged in 30 working hours. The stevedores, Messrs J K Collins and Co have certainly exerted themselves to secure despatch for the steamer and have demonstrated what can be done here in the way of handling cargoes. It is fit that mention should be made of the great convenience afforded by the new shed erected by the Trust, for if the steamer had been obliged to depend on the ordinary shed accommodation it would have taken quite a week to have got rid of the cargo The Tamsui proceeds hence to China again to take her place in the coasting trade.

The Melbourne Argus. 14th August 1882. Imports: Whampoa, from Hong Kong, via Singapore, Port Darwin Queensland ports, and Sydney;-. 257 boxes, 50 cases, 50 packages tea, 222 bags rice, 120 cases oil, 10 boxes rice flour, 28 packages paperware, 200 rolls matting, 2 cases silk, 11 cases porcelain, 3 bundles rattans, 202 packages chow chow from Hong Kong . 9 half chests tea, 120 bags black, 140 bags white pepper, 149 bags sago flour, 150 bags pearl sago, 404 bags tapioca, 14 bags tapioca flour, 14 packages spices from Singapore , 1,284 mats sugar, 80 bags coffee from Brisbane. Included in the manifest of the Whampoa, from Singapore, is the following consignment - 40 tons tapioca and sago, in bags –Jas. McKENZIE and Co.

10th August 1882. Tamsui departs Melbourne in ballast for Newcastle.

14th August 1882. Tamsui arrived Newcastle, 24th August 1882. Tamsui departs Newcastle for Shanghai with a cargo of 1400 tons of coal. It may, (or may not) be of interest to note that on the day of departure there were 7 ships, 34 barques, 4 brigs, 3 schooners and 4 steamers lying on port at Newcastle, most waiting to load coal.

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