Launched in the same year as the Titanic, the TSS Earnslaw's maiden voyage was on 18 October 1912. The twin-screw steamer Earnslaw, is the last of a long line of coal burning steamers working on Lake Wakatipu from as early as 1863.
The biggest day in the annals of Lake Wakatipu shipping was Friday, 18th October, 1912.
It was the TSS Earnslaw's official birthday, for she was commissioned on that day and also made her maiden voyage from Kingston to Queenstown. Among the passengers were numerous people of importance who had travelled by special trains from many parts of Otago and Southland. Two hundred people took advantage of this occasion. Several launches met the steamer at the beacon marking the reef at the Gardens end of Queenstown Bay and the nearby lake shores were crowded with people seeking their first glimpse of the giant of the fleet. A musical welcome was accorded the newcomer. A holiday was declared the next day in Queenstown, so that as many people as possible could travel the 17 miles up to the head of the Lake (Glenorchy and Kinloch). On this run Earnslaw came within view for the first time of the 9,250 foot high Mount Earnslaw, which was also named after the inevitable Dunedin politician.