Sir Joseph George Ward (Premier of New Zealand)

In addition to being a visitor aboard the Wimmera on the same two occasions as Premier Richard Seddon, in February and May 1905, Sir Joseph George Ward, was also several times a passenger.

In March 1905, Ward, who then Minister of Transport and Minister of Industries and Tourists, visited Australia with his wife, Lady Ward. They were passengers aboard the Wimmera during her voyage from Bluff to Hobart. It was also during this voyage that the Wimmera made one of her infrequent visits to Milford Sound. A young passenger, William McKeon, then aged .., also experienced this particular excursion and his recollection is recorded elsewhere on this site.

Nearly two years later, when Ward was Prime Minister, he was once again on board.

Sir Joseph left Auckland for Sydney on the Wimmera on Monday 28 January 1907. It was the first leg of a trip to London where he would attend both the Navigation Conference and the Imperial Conference of Premiers. His departure from Auckland was “…witnessed by a number of prominent townspeople, and when the steamer began to move from its berth the assembled spectators gave him three hearty cheers. The round of cheering was renewed in honour of Lady Ward.”

On Ward’s subsequent return home to New Zealand aboard the Maheno in June that year the ship passed the Wimmera en route to Sydney…

When the steamers Wimmera and Maheno met in mid-ocean on Monday, the Huddart-Parker vessel, which was bound from Sydney, hoisted the signal “Welcome back to New Zealand” in honour of the Premier, who was on board the Maheno. The Maheno, at Sir Joseph Ward’s request, hoisted “Thank you,” and blew her whistle in reply, the ships’ companies cheering each other as they separated.

On one further occasion, in June 1908, the Premier joined the Wimmera in Wellington for the short coastal journey to Gisborne for an official visit. The vessel arrived in port at 4.30am on the morning of the 13th June and Ward was met by a delegation including the town’s mayor and the chairman of the local county council.

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