Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

The corridor lounge on the port side of the Captain Cook. 

The Captain Cook brought assisted immigrants to New Zealand via the Panama Canal from 1952 to 1960.  See Wikipedia entry and community contributions below for more information.

Community contributions

166 comments have been posted about Lounge on the Captain Cook immigrant ship

What do you know?

Malcolm Greig

Posted: 03 Nov 2018

To Helen Blanchard (nee Duff).

Got my geography slightly confused. On each trip to NZ the first port of call was Balbao on Curaçao where the ship took on fuel. A short two day trip then took us to the Panama Canal where we would proceed through the canal to the Pacific Ocean followed by the longer leg of the journey to Wellington, NZ.

Malcolm Greig

Posted: 02 Nov 2018

For Andrew Morrison.

I was an Assistant Cook on the voyage when the young Nurse jumped from the after deck. The Ship’s Carpenter was walking across the after deck when he saw her clinb the safety rail. He threw a lifebelt overboard. The Bridge were alerted, it took about a mile and a half to bring the vessel to a halt whereupon the Duty Crew launched the Duty Boat which was on the davits on the port side of the ship. They went back to the scene where they found the young lady in the water surrounded by dolphins. The dolphins were surrounded by sharks. A safe rescue was completed and the voyage continued to New Zealand.

Malcolm Greig

Posted: 02 Nov 2018

This is in answer to Heather Blanchard (nee Duff). My name is Malcolm Greig, I was an Assistant Cook on the Captain Cook when you sailed on her.

The Panama Canal operates 12 hours east-west followed by 12 hours west-east. Depending on what time we arrived at Balbao we would either have tied up or joined the traffic going through the canal. If we went straight through the Canal we tied up at Panama City.

Any more questions you can get in touch via my daughter Lindsay.

[email protected]

Morag Hamilton, nee James

Posted: 30 Aug 2018

I was 8 years old when we sailed from Glasgow on the SS Captain Cook, via Curacao, Panama Canal, and was introduced to John Christian at Pitcairn, by Jas Cook, the skipper, and was on the bridge when we came into Wellington harbour in 1953. Because my dad had been in the Navy during the war, we were placed at the Purser's table, and the Captain took a shine to me. I have the menu from the last evening, signed by captain and crew.


Posted: 27 Jun 2018

Late in 1957 my mother Mrs. Tebby van Kuyk and my two sisters were taken from Jakarta to Amsterdam by the 'Captain Cook'. Were do I find more details about this journey, as well as about the ship herself?

Heather Blanshard (nee Duff)

Posted: 04 Jun 2018

We left Glasgow on New Year's Eve 1953 and arrived in Wellington in early February 1954. I had my 4th birthday on board. I was wondering if anyone knew the exact arrival date, and also the course the ship took. I remember hearing about Curacao and Pitcairn Island. Was there a stop at Balboa?

Colin Wilkin

Posted: 26 May 2018

My late wife Janet Liddle Wilkin nee Banks came out to

New Zealand on the Captain Cook on it's last voyage I believe.

They had lived in Musslebourgh in Scotland.

Janet was with her Father George Morrison Banks her mother Helen Thompson Banks nee Thompson and her sister Marion Thompson Banks and brother Thomas Fairney Banks.

Janet was 18 Marion 16 and Tom 13 years of age.

They came out to NZ as assisted passengers to live in Ashburton where Helen's sister Pearl lived.

George who had worked in the paper mill in Musslebourgh came out to work at the Ashburton Hospital as a Cleaner where he finished up in charge of Clotheral's Cleaners in Ashburton , Janet had a job at the post office in the telephone dept, she was told in no uncertain terms to talk English as she had a broad Scottish accent, and Marion had a job at the Ashburton Hospital as a hospital ward maid, Tom went to school in Ashburton.

On the way out the weather was very hot so all of the ventilation fans on board where used including one that was not normally used because of the condition of the fan ventilation duct which was rusted out in places, and Tom being a inquisitive boy stuck his finger in one such hole and promptly cut the end of his finger off with the fan blade just inside, because the accident happened on the Northern side of the Equator they would have had to travel back to England to get compensation, so were not compensated for the loss.

Apparently the vent had not been repaired because the ship was to be scrapped after this trip.

Sorry to say all of the family have passed on now.

Anyone how remembers this family can contact me via [email protected]

Linda Cartmell

Posted: 19 Mar 2018

I sailed age 24 with my two small daughters 3 years and 20 months on the 10th February 1959 from Glasgow having travelled by train from Preston.
My husband had gone ahead the previous September after joining the RNZAF. He flew on a Hastings via Iceland, America ,Canada, Hawaii along with other servicemen including Graham Kerr the Chef.
Am sure they had a better time than I did.
I had never been to Scotland and it was so dark in Glasgow can't remember anything much about it but I do remember sailing along the Clyde and the last workmen we saw shouting that they hoped we were good sailors!
My cabin was on A deck.
Very dark and just a Hessian curtain at the door.
I seemed to spend all my time guarding my small girls and chasing after them.
The youngest had been able to walk but lost the use of her legs ,the older one continually ran ahead. I truly never thought I would get them both safely to the destination without one or both over the side
Certainly apart from getting to the life station once ,it was beyond me to get my life jacket on then struggle with theirs. Eventually I gave up trying. No one seemed to miss me.
Meals were difficult .
I ended up eating with the children and not bothering with the adult mealtime.
Many previous comments I can appreciate. The constant Scottish songs on the Tannoy system ,
Washing clothes in salt water, the crew rigging up a makeshift tarpaulin for the little ones to swim in, herrings for breakfast, the rapid spread of measles etc through the ship.
The Canal was an experience as so many have mentioned. It would have been the Suez had it not been for the blockade earlier.
We had to miss the Pitcairn Islanders coming out with their baskets because of the sickness which was a pity. I was looking forward to that.
Apart from the rough weather and resulting sea sickness there were some highlights .
The silvery flying fish were a delight ,something etched in memory,which almost made up for the more uncomfortable aspects.
The ship was obviously not in good shape but eventually made its way to Wellington.
I think we may have sailed into the harbour at night. I can remember the twinkling lights on the hillsides, and on the morning of the 18th March that was the first look at NZ with the different coloured roofs of the houses in Porirua.
It was delightful and a huge relief.
Life in NZ turned out to be great.
Perhaps a culture shock at first.
No TV and strange pub rules like the six o'clock swill and the earthquakes ,but great never the less.
A good move.

Andrew Morrison

Posted: 07 Mar 2018

I have recently been researching my father's time in the merchant navy , and have found people requesting information about the TSS Captain Cook.My father joined the Glasgow based Donaldson Line in 1949 and sailed on many of their ships , such as the Corinaldo , Dorelian , Gracia , Carmia , Cortona ,Laurentia , mainly to Canada and Argentina.Between the 8/12/52 and the 23/3/54 he was 1st engineering officer on the Captain Cook taking immigrants out to New Zealand , from Glasgow. I have seen photographs of him on the Captain Cook , including one of him pictured with a portable iron lung which he designed and built on board in order to keep a sick passenger alive till reaching NZ.He received a write up in the British medical journal the Lancett for this.He also remembers a young nurse who through herself overboard , and having to turn round and trace there route back to pick her up , which they managed to do.My father who left the navy in May 1954 went on to work in engineering consultancy around the word.As a family we lived in Brazil for two years as part of his job.My father , Murdoch Morrison is still alive aged 92 and living with my mother in Ayr in Scotland.

Geraldine Hughes

Posted: 03 Mar 2018

To Kirsten Turley and Graham Naylor, thank you both for your messages. Graham, I have always thought we arrived in April! So not sure what to think now. Kirsten, I would love to somehow make contact with you regarding your mother's diary of the voyage. My email is [email protected]