The Union Steam Ship Company was proud of the 1,727-ton Rotomahana, and with good reason. The 15.5-knot ‘Greyhound of the Pacific’, as she was dubbed, was the first seagoing passenger ship built of mild steel, and the first to be fitted with bilge keels for stability. Her raked funnels, masts and the sharp bowsprit were the embodiment of speed and style. The Rotomahana paid her way on the Tasman service between New Zealand and Australia, but so did slower ships that cost little more than half her building price, so no similar ships were built.
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Private collection, Gavin McLean
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