The Janie Seddon was built in 1901 in Glasgow, Scotland for the Government as a submarine mining vessel, and spent its early life in Wellington working for the Royal New Zealand Navy. She was used in port during both world wars and was the Examination Vessel during WWII. According to some reports, it is credited with firing the first shots of World War II, a warning shot across the bow when the liner “City of Delhi” would not stop on request on September 3, 1939. It was the last surviving military ship to have served in both world wars – rumour has it she even fired the first shot in WW2.
When her military days came to an end, Janie was purchased in 1947 by the local Talley’s fishing group as a fishing trawler, the first in their fleet. It was sold as a fishing vessel to the Motueka Trawling Company and worked in Motueka as a very useful coal-fired steam trawler. As a coal-powered ship, she proved unsuitable as a fishing vessel and her size prevented her from operating in the coastal waters of Tasman Bay.
When she was retired from fishing, in 1950, the Janie Seddon was laid up on the Motueka Wharf. It was anchored next to the sandspit for protection. Unfortunately, when the tide went out, she sat on her anchor and it holed her hull. She filled with water and stayed there until a scrap metal dealer decided to try a salvage. At low tide, the Janie Seddon was dragged by bulldozer across the estuary to the site where she sits now. The scrap metal dealer planned to cut her up into pieces for sale but he went broke trying to do that! The Janie Seddon is made of very strong corten steel and all dealer’s tools broke down! After sinking at her moorings a few years later she was stripped of anything of use and left to the elements. The rust made the holes along with the scrap metal dealer’s attempts to cut her up.