Merchant and politician, born 14 November 1845 at Yelling, Huntingdonshire, England, son of Joseph See, farm-labourer, and his wife Mary Ann, née Bailey. Migrating in 1852, the family reached Sydney on 16 October. They soon took up a farm at Hinton in the Hunter district, where John irregularly attended the National school for three years. In May 1862 with his elder brother David he began farming at Southgate on the Clarence River, but after disastrous floods in 1863 and 1864 he set up as a produce merchant and commission agent with George Nipper in Sydney. The firm expanded into shipping in the late 1860s as
'Nipper & See'
Vessels under that partnership - Alhambra, Argyle, Claud Hamilton, Murray, Omeo, Perserverence & Rosedale
In November 1880 See was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Grafton and held the seat until he retired in 1904.
Following the dissolution of Nipper & See in 1884, he traded as
John See & Co.
A single vessel (Fernmount) partnership as
'Perrett & See' existed from and only of March 1885
On the Manning and at Grafton and Maclean on the Clarence he established large agencies dealing extensively in produce and general storekeeping. Besides his coastal steamers, he acquired numerous wharves, offices and warehouses and various droghers, launches and tugs. On 13th August 1891 his fleet, including fourteen steamships, was amalgamated with that of the Clarence, Richmond and Macleay Rivers Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. See received £70,000 and became joint managing director of the enlarged company, known as the North Coast Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, a position he retained until his death. John See & Co. remained as a prosperous commission agency and general produce firm, operating from Sussex Street, Sydney.
During 1880's also moved between shipping concerns at board level namely as a director of the Hunter River New Steam Navigation Co. (later Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Co).
October 1899 briefly acted as New South Wales State Premier, 1901-04 was State Premier until ill health forced retirement. Died of heart disease on 31 January 1907 at Randwick

A - Z
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ALHAMBRA image (66394p) courtesy State Library Queensland
AUSTRALIAN 362 gross tons, 191 net. Lbd: 160'3" x 22'5" x 10'5". Iron passenger-cargo steamship built by Gourlay Bros, Dundee for G W Nicoll, Sydney. December 1879 of B B & G W Nicoll. November 1880 owned by John See. December 1891 owned by North Coast S N Co Ltd. February 1902 owned by Holyman & Sons Ltd., registered Launceston. 1907 of the West Coast Shipping Co Ltd, South Australia. May 8th 1912 stranded on Wardang Island, Spencer Gulf South Australia. All efforts in refloating her failed and she was stripped and abandoned where she lay
ALHAMBRA 642 gross tons, 373 net. Lbd: 209'3' x 27'1" x 16'3". Iron screw steamship, 2 cylinders producing 140 horsepower and rigged with 3 masts. Passenger vessel built by Samuel Bros., Millwall London, 1855 for the Peninsula & Oriental Steam Navigation Co; reg. London. December 1862 came under ownership of this concern with her tonnage increased to 766 gross and 497 net. As a passenger vessel, she ran on the Melbourne - New Zealand route, also to Adelaide, and for a while to Suva. Nipper & See acquired her in December 1882, July 1883 saw S Marsden of Sydney take ownership. April 1884 H Perdriau and later in November by A Wheeler Jnr. From about 1883 she became a collier, with her reportedly being under the auspices of the Wallsend Coal Company. She foundered seven miles east of Newcastle, after striking a derelict vessel, possibly the American J T Berry, near Port Stephens, New South Wales, June 30th 1888
ARGYLE 218 gross tons, 139 net. Lbd: 130'6" x 20'2" x 10'. Iron steamship built by J Fullerton & Co., Paisley as a passenger/cargo vessel. Compounded engine producing 40 horsepower. Records of ownership obscure however the press of the day stated this vessel was ordered for Cummings, Henry & Co., River Don, Tasmania. The official register states a Mr Andrew Lyall of Melbourne as first registered owner. If the press of the day were correct, then she worked the north west coast of Tasmania to Melbourne. Records show she definitely serviced the trade between Melbourne and Port Adelaide, including minor ports between. Considered too small a vessel she was sold in July 1880 to Nipper and See, and placed upon the Sydney - northern New South Wales rivers services. June 25th 1881 foundered in the Clarence River, New South Wales and subsequentially sold as a wreck
AVON 110 gross tons, 72 net. Lbd: 100'3" x 18'2" x 6'8". Iron paddle steamer rigged as a 2 masted schooner equiped with 2 diagonal oscillating engines of 30 horsepower, Built by T Wingate of Glasgow, she was reassembled by H J McGee, at Melbourne as a passenger - cargo vessel for the Gippsland Steam Navigation Co., Melbourne and used on their trades until sold in December 1876 to S Tulloch & G M Jackson. April 1885 sold to J F Tully. October 1885 sold to J R Miller. January 1887 owned by C Petersen. March 1887 owned by Bairnsdale Steam Navigation Co Ltd. May 1888 owned by John See. 1888 tonnage declared as 115 gross 83 net. Worked the Northern New South Wales rivers trade until wrecked on the Bellinger River bar when inbound on 3rd June 1891. Abandoned, later salvaged and rebuilt as a lighter by Foster & Minty, at Balmain Sydney. 1896 Adelaide Steam Ship Co, Adelaide. 1908 Cleghorn, Hopkins & Co, Brisbane. 1956 register closed as "abandoned lower reaches Brisbane River, date unknown."
BRUNSWICK 174 tons. Lbd: 104'7" x 20'6" x 7'8". Iron steamship, rigged as a 2 masted ketch & built at Balmain Sydney for A Kethel & Partners. Acquired by John See in 1886. 18th December 1886 lost on the Manning River bar New South Wales

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c 1889
CLAUD HAMILTON image courtesy State Library Queensland
COORONG (b43752) image courtesy State Library Victoria
BURRAWONG 391 gross tons, 246 net. Lbd: 155' x 28'1" x 8'8". Steel hulled, twin screw steamship built by Gourlay Bros & Co., Dundee. Passenger - cargo vessel owned by John See, registered Sydney and December 1891 transferred over to North Coast S N Co, Sydney. Struck the Harrington breakwater, off Manning River, then drifted into mid-channel where she sank, 27th March 1909
CLAUD HAMILTON 668 gross tons, 530 net. Lbd: 200'2" x 28'2" x 16'5". Built as a passenger ship by Charles Mitchell & Co., Tyne England for the Intercontinental Royal Mail Steam Packet Company of London, who changed name 1866 to Panama, New Zealand & Australian Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. Acquired by McMeckan, Blackwood & Co's Blue Emu Line, Melbourne April 1869. 1880 Nipper & See. December 1881 Adelaide S S Co and eventually renamed Albany after rebuild during early 1886. Her dimensions bacame 231'3" x 28'4" x 16'5" with gross tonnage to 878. Wrecked off Nambucca Heads New South Wales on March 28th, 1905 whilst under charter to AUSN Co
COORONG 391 gross tons. Lbd: 171'1" x 22'4" x 12'2". 2 cylinders producing 70 horsepower. Iron steamship built by J G Lawrie at Port Glasgow for J Darwent of Adelaide. November 1863 with McMeckan Blackwood & Co. July 1877 Mount Gambier Steamship Co Ltd. March 1881 owned by H C Piggot. October 1882 owned by W Whineham, registered Port Adelaide. Worked the South Australian gulf trade in opposition to the Adelaide Steamship Co until purchased by John See in May 1884. December 1891 of the North Coast S N Co., Sydney. Hulked 1911 at Sydney and demolished 1916
DUNDEE April 26 1889 John See contracted the use of this steamship for use in the Manning River trade. Passenger/cargo carried 60 saloon and 30 second class passengers. Of 11 knots. Little data known
FERNMOUNT 269 tons. Lbd: 134' x 25'6" x 8'4". Wooden steamship of 40 horsepower as built at Scott’s Creek, New South Wales for Perrett & McCulloch. March 1885 owned by Perrett & See. March 1885 (again) owned by John See. March 1892 owned by North Coast S N Co. April 1898 sold to On Chong & Co., Sydney. Wrecked in Gilbert islands, 24th December 1907

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HELEN NICOLL (gr000729) image courtesy State Library Victoria, LORNA image (83443) courtesy State Library Queensland - note visuals of vessel fit the description but am not 100% it is the exact vessel
HASTINGS 63 gross tons, 40 net. Lbd: 58'4" x 20' x 5'6". Wooden paddle steamer built by W Mason at Port Stephens, New South Wales for John See. ON89327. Held a diagonal steam engine of 20 horsepower as constructed by H Vale, Pyrmont. 1892 of North Coast S N Co. Always used as a drogher on the Manning River up until 1914 when scrapped
HELEN NICOLL 384 gross tons, 246 net. Lbd: 157' x 22' x 10'3". Iron steamship built by Gourlay Bros, Dundee for G W Nicoll, Brisbane. Worked on the North Coast of New South Wales in passenger-cargo capacity and remained on that run when sold to John See, Sydney in July 1882. Of North Coast S N Co upon formation in December 1891. August 1893 sold to Anton Schlink of Port Adelaide who placed her on the South Australian run, particularly that State's west coast ports. Extended to Esperance, Western Australia with the advent of gold discoveries and taking in Albany as another port of call. Sold 1896 to A L Harrold and sold yet again in 1897 to J Darling Jnr, who kept her on the South Australia - West Australia trade route. 1901 saw her change ownership again, this time to to James Jones of Sydney, later Jones Bros., Coal Co Ltd., seeing her as a collier only. Demolished with register closed 1932
LAWRENCE 399 tons. Lbd: 160' x 28'x 8'6". Iron twin screw steamship, 88 horsepower and of 2 masts schooner rigged. Built at Sunderland, England as the Bortonius for owners unknown. 1885 renamed Lawrence when purchased by John See. Sold to New Zealand interests in August 1889. Wrecked 29th April 1891
LORNA 41 gross tons. Lbd: 62'3" x 15'5" x 5'6". Wooden steamship built at Sydney. Purchased from J T McKittrick in 1889 by John See. Of North Coast S N Co, Sydney at their formation in 1891. Used as a drogher on the Clarence River until hulked 1912

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OMEO image (b43753) courtesy State Library Victoria
MANNING 89 gross tons, 56 net. Lbd: 109'5" X 18'9" X 5'9". Iron paddle steamer 30 horsepower as built by Atlas Works, Darling Harbour Sydney for the Manning River S N Co. August 1881 owned by J Ritchie. March 1882 owned by John See. December 1891 of North Coast S N Co., and used as a drogher. Ws always employed by her owners on the Manning River. Demolished 1937 whilst her remains at a Taree riverbank have been declared an 'Historic Wreck'
MURRAY 271 tons. Lbd: 155'5" x 22'5" x 8'9". Iron paddle steamer of oscillating cylinders producing 60 horsepower. Also fitted with two masts as built by T Wingate & Co., Whiteinch Glasgow. Passenger vessel designed for original owners Johnson & Murphy, of Adelaide. April 1867 sold to Alex Dove (Melbourne) and later same month went to the ownership of Gippsland S N Co Ltd., Melbourne. January 1883, along with their steamer 'Rosedale", purchased by Nipper and See, of Sydney Registry. Owned outright by John See from 1884. 9th February 1886 wrecked on the Manning River, New South Wales
OMEO 733 gross tons. Lbd: 213'2" x 30'5" x 16'7". Passenger ship built by A Leslie & Co., at Hebburn Quay, Tyne for McMeckan, Blackwood & Co, later of the Blue Emu Line (same owners). 2 cylinders 120 horsepower engine as well as sail capacity. Her lower masts were made of iron, hollow and were used as innovative funnels for the cooking stoves aboard. She also boasted a lifting screw, for times when she could be utilised as a pure sailing ship. On her delivery voyage carried the cable for the first telegraph link between Melbourne and Tasmania, and helped to lay it. Worked the Melbourne - Adelaide trade until 1866 when placed on market. Unsold she was given extensive refit including extra (extended?) deck increasing passenger accomodation and tonnage increased to 821 gross. Worked the Tasman trade and included voyages north to Northern Territory with supplies of men and equipment for the overland telegraph. As a steamer she made her final trip to New Zealand April 1879 then sold. 1880 owned by Nipper & See. September 1880 William Howard Smith took acquisition and reduced her in 1881 to a 4 masted sailing ship carrying coals and timbers. Since mid 1890's was reduced to a coal hulk eventually being run ashore Fremantle 1901
PERSEVERENCE 95 gross tons, 60 net. Lbd: 120' x 22'3" x 4'3'. ON64377. Iron hulled, sternwheel paddle steamship, single mast as built at Mort's Dock & Engineering Co., Balmain Sydney for the Clarence & New England S.N. Co, Sydney. Held a 2 cylinder steam engine of 36 horsepower, again built by Morts, Balmain. Desinged for the Northern Rivers of NSW, particularly the Clarence where she ran cargo inland to and from the ocean-going steamships. Sold August 1879 to Nipper and See. January 1884 owned by John See. 1891 transferred over to the North Coast S N Co, Sydney. Struck from the register 1944 as 'not required'
RICHMOND 240 gross tons. Lbd: 136'1" x 20'2" x 9'5". Iron steamship of 2 compounded engines producing 45 horsepower and rigged as a two masted schooner. Built by Gourlay Bros & Co., Dundee for G & B Nicoll. April 1881 sold to John See. Wrecked off Port MacQuarie New South Wales on the 21st january 1884

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Rosedale image personal collection
ROSEDALE 274 gross tons. Lbd: 140'1" x 26'1" x 8'5". Iron twin screw steamship of 2 compounded engines producing 65 horsepower and rigged as a schooner of 2 masts. Built by W B Thompson, Dundee as a passenger - cargo vessel for the Gippsland S N Co., Melbourne. Sold in 1883 to Nipper & See. 1884 owned by John See. Of North Coast S N Co 1891. Went missing having sailed from Nambucca on the 15th September 1911 bound for Sydney. Wreck was found located off Port MacQuarie in 1995
SETTLERS FRIEND 50 gross tons, 31 net. Lbd: 84'6" x 13'4" x 5'6". ON52389. Wooden hulled, stern wheel paddle steamship of 12 horsepower and single mast, built by E G Chowne, Grafton for H J Major & Partners, Sydney. April 1867 owned by Clarence & New England S N Co Ltd. 1869 owned by Thomas Bawden, Grafton. January 1878 owned by George Harris, registered Brisbane. March 1879 owned by John Ritchie, Sydney. March 1882 acquired by John See. December 1891 transferred over to North Coast S N Co. Register closed during 1908 as 'abandoned'. Spent most of her NSW career upon the Clarence River
THE GRAND 66 gross tons. Lbd: 90'2" x 13' x 7'8". Steel steamship 2 x Compounded Surface Condensing engine producing 76 horsepower. Single mast. Built by Foreman & Co., Yarrabank Melbourne for John See. December 1891 of the North Coast S N Co. Demolished 1892

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WATER LILY 96 gross tons, 61 net. Lbd: 72'4" X 19'5" X 5'6". Wooden stern wheel paddle steamer built and owned by J Booth, Balmain Sydney. o/n: 75058. Held a 2 cylinder non-condensing engine of 25 hp from Morts Dock, Balmain. Single mast amidship. June 1884 owned by Hunter River New S N Co, Ltd Newcastle. November 1885 owned by John See. December 1891 owned by North Coast S N Co, Sydney. Employed as a drogher. Register closed 1908 as abandoned - irrepairable
WELLINGTON 182 gross tons. Lbd: 125'2" x 21'5' x 7'8". Iron steamship rigged with 2 masts. Held Compounded Surface Condensing Inverted Engine producing 55 horsepower. Built by Burrel & Son, Dumbarton Glasgow for John See. December 1891 of the North Coast S N Co. 3rd December 1892 wrecked upon the Nambucca bar. No loss of lives
YAAMBA 98 gross tons, 76 net. Lbd: 102' x 20'2" x 6'1". ON49260. Iron hulled stern wheel paddle steamer, 2 masted and schooner rigged built for the Australasian Steam Nav Co, Sydney at their Pyrmont workshops. Held steam engine of 24 horsepower. Designed for service upon the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton. 24 July 1965 struck Eagle Rock in the Fitzroy River and sank. Raised and repaired. 1873 converted to side wheel paddles. September 1877 sold to F O'Brien & Partners, NSW. August 1880 sold to J Ritchie, Clarence River. Later in 1880 owned by John See. December 1891 sold to North Coast S N Co., Sydney. Broken up 1910. Serviced in her career the Fitzroy River and the Northern Rivers of New South Wales


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