Launceston History | Kains launches into retail

The story of the Riverview Hotel begins with the Kains.

The 353-ton ship embarked from London on July 8, 1830 with 120 convict women, several children and crew under Captain William Lushington Goodwin. It was a hellish voyage of 246 days. There were deaths, desertions, maggots and mutiny, pirates, storms, strikes and scurvy, lost sails, floggings and fighting.

The Kains arrived in Sydney on March 11, 1831; three months later she set sail for Launceston. During a storm she lost three masts, two men and two horses. After six weeks, Goodwin limped her back to Sydney.

Once more the Kains left for Launceston, arriving in the Tamar River on September 24, 1831. But she was becalmed in Whirlpool Reach, her keel struck Bells Rock and the barque was run ashore at Devil’s Elbow.

Her cargo and passengers were rescued, and various parts of the wreck were auctioned at William Walkinshaw’s stores in Cameron Street.


Dr Landale and Captain Wales bought the hull and floated her up to Launceston on December 24, 1831 with the idea of using her as a floating store.

However, in November 1832 the Kains was drawn up from the river through a specially-cut dock into Mr Walkinshaw's allotment at the end of Charles Street.

It was converted into a store with Walkinshaw’s Wharf conveniently attached. In May 1833 the store was open for business selling general merchandise ‘suited to dealers and settlers’.

At the end of February 1834 Walkinshaw liquidated his business, sold his stock, advertised his premises to let and sailed for London.

The store was described as having a cellar, a first floor or granary, a second floor or wool store and a roomy loft above.

The Customs department hired the hulk as a bonding store for spirits from May 1834 until November 1839. William Walkinshaw died in Hobart in March 1845. The Kains Store was sold to James Lilly in February 1847 for £255.

Later that year the old hulk was stripped, pulled apart and put up for auction. Its planks and timbers were recommended to farmers for constructing barns. Bolts and knees made from the best Swedish iron, nails, spikes and copper sheets were all offered for sale.

Newspaper reporters noted that bad characters congregated about Kains Wharf to gamble. There had been daring robberies from the store and narrow escapes from drownings in Kains Creek.

The new Market Wharf was built, Kains Creek filled in and the Salmon and Ball Hotel rose above the keel of the old hulk.

To be continued.