One of New Zealand’s most unique tourist attractions has been given the all clear after making it through last month’s earthquake unscathed.
The Edwin Fox, which sits in dry dock on the Picton foreshore, is one of the world’s oldest surviving ships, having taken immigrants to New Zealand and Australia from Great Britain.
Staff at the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum had feared the 163-year-old ship may have been damaged by the 7.8-magnitude quake.
However, following an inspection by experts it was given a clean bill of health.
Museum manager Karen McLeod says she was anxious the ship she fondly refers to as “Eddie” had been damaged.
“Immediately after the earthquake I headed down here with my torch to check he was OK. I didn’t get on board as it was dark but from what I could see there didn’t appear to be any damage.”
“Experts have since come through and are quite happy about the condition it’s in. We have wondered how it would do in a big earthquake and now we know.”
The 630-tonne ship sits under cover on Dunbar Wharf and, along with the accompanying visitor centre, attracts around 7,000 visitors a year.
The Edwin Fox is the 9th oldest wooden ship in the world and the last surviving wooden ship which brought immigrants over from Great Britain.
A new addition to the museum is a converted boatshed at the visitor centre which houses a catering area where visitors can buy refreshments. The room is also available for hire for functions and meetings.
Karen says the Edwin Fox is one of Picton’s “best kept secrets.”
“I’m very fond of the boat but when I first came to Picton I never even realised it was here.”
“When I first saw it my eyes just became wide open. I felt guilty it had been here all this time (and I didn’t know about it).”
The ship has been in dry dock and preserved since 1999, and is under the care of the Marlborough Heritage Trust.
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