A round wooden box with a lift off lid. " WOOD FROM / " GAIRLOCH " SAVED BY / FREDERICK JOHN COWLING / 1903 " is engraved on a metal plaque fixed to one side of the box. The base is lined with green felt.
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The wood for this box was salvaged from the wreck of the Gairloch on the Taranaki coast near Weld Road, Oakura, in 1903 by the 17-year-old farmhand Fred Cowling. It is not known who made the box. Newton Cowling gifted the box to his sister, Vera Mary Cowling Simpson. There was an official salvage following the wreck of the coastal steamer on 5 January 1903 and then the wreck was sold to to Mr A. Bayly for £20 and the residual cargo was sold to Mr H. Mills for five shillings. The wreck was beginning to break up by mid-April 1903 and Fred was allowed to take a bullock cart down to take away anything he wanted. Fred and his family retained a special link with the wreck and for many years made an annual visit to the site of the stranding.
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