W.H. Orbell

14th March 2005, 06:35
Does anyone know of the current whereabouts of the former Timaru Harbour Board dredge W.H. ORBELL.
Built by Simon Lobnitz, Renfrew, Scotland in 1962 as a self propelled bucket hopper dredge, she was converted in 1976 to a Trailer Suction Dredge and as such was the largest such dredge owned in New Zealand. She was of 1,513grt on dimensions of 79.76m x 12.22m x 4.115m.
She was sold in 1988 and towed to Thailand (I think) and was renamed L.M. TREASURE. When I last heard of her she was dredging in the Bangkok area, but that was about 10 years ago.

14th March 2005, 07:51
Interested to hear that she might still be going strong.Again an old press cutting from the time (sorry for the Sellotape again,Ron) of her departure from the Clyde.
If I remember correctly she was a turquoise (?) colour originally.

14th March 2005, 08:30
Throughout her life with the THB, she had a grey hull with a rather cacky (spelling?) blue-grey upperworks. She had a red and black funnel up until about 1973/74, when the red was changed to green in recognition of the South Canterbury Rugby team winning the Ranfurly Shield! (Team colours were green and black). They only had the Shield for about two weeks, but the funnel colour stayed.
Her conversion from Bucket dredge to Trailer-suction was done in Whangarei, despite some rather stiff competition from overseas yards. It was a major job - she left Timaru in February 1976 and returned in August, almost to the day when she had arrived from the Builders yard.

Jan Hendrik
10th April 2005, 13:23
The "Pelican", see different thread, also worked in Timaru for few years and she probably replaced the "W.H.Orbell" at the time.

This must be the first ship in the world having the colours or logo in the funnel from a sportsteam...well, that is if you call rugby a sport of course.

Doug H
11th April 2005, 00:47
Jan: I wanted to check your gallery for something and it seems to have disappeared. For some reason you are not on the list when I click "Members Galleries". Can you explain?

Jan Hendrik
11th April 2005, 01:59
Doug, I am simply there.

Jan Hendrik, there is a "Jan" and a "Jan H", this is followed by my name.

11th April 2005, 02:13
The "Pelican", see different thread, also worked in Timaru for few years and she probably replaced the "W.H.Orbell" at the time.

This must be the first ship in the world having the colours or logo in the funnel from a sportsteam...well, that is if you call rugby a sport of course.
The W.H. ORBELL was indeed replaced by the PELICAN.
This came about when the ports of Timaru, Tauranga and New Plymouth decided to combine their dredging workloads, retiring their three existing dredgers and putting the work out to international contract. This was won by the New Zealand Dredging Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Royal Volker Stevin Group of the Netherlands.
They subsequently relocated the PELICAN to New Zealand, but that is a story for another thread.............
The W.H. ORBELL was retired on 22 December 1987 after 25 years of service to the Timaru Harbour Board. Her last 11 years were as a trailer suction dredge and as such she became very well known in most NZ ports on charter work.

Jan Hendrik
11th April 2005, 11:28
Yes David, I know there is quite a story involved. Thanks for the info.
The Volker Stevin Group was taken over by Ballast Nedam/Ballast Westham group and they in turn merged with van Oord , actually I cannot follow it anymore.
The Dutch being world leaders in dredging (and Belgium too) they have often worked together in joint venture situations.

I supervised many dredgers in the 60's and 70's of which the largest newbuilding Group is located in Kinderdijk (nearby Rotterdam), the yard is called IHC and still very active with the construction of dredgers.
Famous names like Costain Blankenvoort (Anglo-Dutch), HAM, Westham, Boskalis, van Oord, etc.

I was also very much involved with the newbuilding of the dredger "Brisbane" at NQEA Cairns and have 1000 photos or more, shall post few some other time.
Also the design was Dutch and their supt came from Holland too, but basically it was the Brisbane Port Authority which further modified the design to their requirements and now operate this vessel, to date the largest dredger ever built down under.

11th April 2005, 11:45
I shall look forward to seeing those pics. Has Brisbane still got the older dredge - the name escapes me at the moment.
Some more details about the ORBELL (she was always known as that). When converted everything forward of the bridge (from frame 40) was new. The forebody was designed by Eken & Doherty of Sydney and the dredging plant by Propulsion BV of Leiden, Holland.
She was somewhat underpowered and in 1981 she had new Yanmar diesel engines fitted and in 1983 a pump unloading system for reclamation work was fitted. She was quite versatile and she was well utilised around the country.

Jan Hendrik
11th April 2005, 11:59
Good info David.
Yes there is the smaller dredger, I have to find out.
I remember there was a small green painted (yes....I did) dredger Walton, Watton , something like this, then she burnt out at the dockyard in Brisbane, but was restored.

Yet I have also been on board their other small dredger only 2 years ago and do not remember the name. Pretty old and crappy vessel.
Painted grey topsides and decks.
There are still more dredgers around like Kunara, have to do a bit of investigation.
You now keep me working here....Will ask my ex colleague in Brisbane.

11th April 2005, 12:07
I remember there was a small green painted (yes....I did)
Are there any ships your Company didn't supply paints for???
You now keep me working here
Just so long as you don't start charging us Consultants fees......

Jan Hendrik
11th April 2005, 12:49
Did you mean the Sir Thomas Hiley.
Don't think that one is still alive.
There was a small dredger called "Wombat", I remember, but as said , have to do more work on this.
In Brisbane companies like Dredeco (Belgian) and Condreco (Dutch), joint ventures, were very active, they also did the new airport many years ago and they especially brought in a special dredger from Holland which later went to Hong Kong to work on the airport out there.

Jan Hendrik
12th April 2005, 04:57
David, some more info . In 1989/1990 NQEA built the dredger AMITY and hopper barge JOHN OXLEY for Queensland Cement and Lime which in turn got a contract from the Port of Brisbane Authority.
Indeed once again I was very much involved and have heaps of photos which I will post in due course.
Also trying to find out what happened to these ships as there was an AMITY refurbished at Forgacs in 1995 and this one was working in Brisbane few years ago replacing the JUNO (do you mean this small dredger?), yet she is stated at 65 m in length and 16 m in breadth.
The AMITY ex NQEA was 81 m in length and had an overall breadth of 14 metres.
N.B. AMITY N 1237 and JOHN OXLEY N 1152, NQEA , Cairns Qld

13th April 2005, 11:38
Did you mean the Sir Thomas Hiley.
Yes, that was the one I was meaning. I did see her in Brisbane (from a distance) in Nov 2000, she was berthed at the wharf near the drydock.
I was browsing through an old BPA Annual Report this morning and came across an account of her years work. She certainly used to get around - Bundaberg, Gladstone, Weipa, to name just a few of the ports she dredged at.

Oh, dear - we are getting a bit off topic again...............

17th April 2005, 06:20
The business end of the W.H. ORBELL as a bucket dredge at Timaru in the early 1970s.
Photo by Max Diehl

george linton
17th March 2010, 16:25
hi david, the cacky topside colour was called" ORBELL GREY " regards george , bosun , 74-87

22nd March 2010, 10:51
Thanks for that George - you were certainly on her for a number of years!

george linton
24th March 2010, 12:53
hi david, have you heard any more on the "orbell" as im very interested of her where abouts if she is still working, as i travel to asia each year and would visit her if i can find out a location, company or port , and thank you for your reply , the 13 years aboard her were some of my best, with great memories. regards george

30th December 2018, 23:10
Hello George.

Do you know the completed vessel dimension of the Trailer Suction conversion. Its listed at 79 metres LOA and would like to know this in order to build a model of her.

I was a young boy when she worked and barely remember the bucket version being only 5 or 6 years old. I did see here being towed away by the tug Canterbury and do have some photos somewhere.

By the way the son of Capt McDonald works with our company and it would be nice to undertake this project. Any help or photos would be appreciated.

Hayden Brown