10["The Cuzco", The Argus (Melbourne), Monday 08 July 1878, page 6]


The Orient Company's steamship Cuzco was taken into the graving dock at williamstown on Saturday morning. She is the largest vessel which has yet tenanted the dock, but although she is 302ft in length on the waterline, there is still over 80ft of room to the good fore and aft. Her lines are very fine, and the hull so beautifully modeelled that it is only when she is looked at from the bottom of the dock that her vast proportions are fully appreciated. Immediately after the water was pumped out on Saturday afternoon, preparations were made for commencing work at the broken shaft, under the direction of Mr Macdougall, the chief engineer of the ship. It was discovered that the outer or propeller section of the shaft had broken only about a foot inside of the stern post. The adjoining section was disconnected, and lifted to the top of the tunnel, so as to admit of the broken portion being drawn out, a work of some difficulty in consequence of the confined space in which the workmen had to operate. However, it was safely accomplished and the great rod of iron, about 10ft. in length and 18in. in diameter, was drawn out of the tunnel, and lifted into the hold. The remaining 9ft of the broken shaft is that portion which passes out through the stern, and holds the propeller. This will be removed from the exterior. In order to effect this the vast propeller is to be taken to pieces, four fins, each weighing about two tons, being unbolted separately and taken off. The boss will be slung, and it is expected the shaft will be got out without very great difficulty. The spare duplicate of the section broken will then be fitted, und if all goes well within the week the Cuzco will be afloat again. The broken portion of the shaft, which has been lifted out, shows a fracture obliquely through the metal extending over a length of 21 inches. There is no perceptible flaw in the iron, but it is probable that it had not been properly welded when made, for no presumption of heavy work can explain a break in such a spot unless there was some weakness in the metal itself. Where the break occurred the shaft is encased in a protecting tube, which gave it only a couple of inches play and prevented any damage being done to the hull of the vessel after the accident. Yesterday afternoon the graving dock was visited by thousands of people, the steamer Gem conveying a large number across the bay. The visitors were courteously permitted to inspect the ship, and her saloon and excellent appointments generally excited considerable admiration. The P. and O. Company's steamer Assam was lying at the graving dock jetty, and H.M.V.S. Nelson was moored across the end of the dock. Both were open to inspection, so that visitors had an opportunity rarely offered of gratifying their curiosity in respect to naval architecture, both ancient and modern.