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    Master's and Mate's exams
    From: David C
    Date: 2017 Jun 5, 21:22 -0700

    For some background to this post first look at the following links:



    Note that Blackburne's name is spelt incorrectly.

    There are two matters of interest in the second newspaper article:

    •  Blackburne did not see eye to eye with the Board of Trade.
    • When he retired from NZ Government employment at the end of 1919 he was preparing a new volume of tables. His Excelsior tables were published in 1917 and Tables of Computed Hour Angles in 1914 so what tables were these? Were they ever published? Note that the new tables were to be for air as well as marine navigation.

    Now to the purpose of this post. It occurred to me that Master's/Mate's exam papers set in NZ would be similar to those set by the BOT.  If I could find a set in the NZ National Archives we would  have an indication of the exams passed by Worsley.

    I have identified relevant correspondance dating from about 1890 to 1954. However this morning when I had a look at a file (1913 - 1954) it became obvious that I would be unlikely to find any exam papers. The papes were considered confidential documents and transported in sealed packets. Any not used were destroyed. One year a candidate was observed copying the questions on to blotting paper. When challenged he stated that his Nautical School had asked him to do so. Naturally the owner of the school pleaded ignorance. I do not know if the candidate was disqualified.

    Thinks......... I must make sure that I post things because they are relevant to this forum, not just because they are of interest to me. I will assume  reference to master's/mate's exams and the BOT to be on topic.

    OTTOMH here are some of the things I read in the file:

    • 1928/29 the exams were changed due to the change in the NA. The NZ examiners seem to have been caught off-guard by the changes.
    • About 1931 the BOT exams were restructured. No details were given apart from the fact that the BOT would allow Blackburne's tables in the exams. They had been allowed in the NZ exams since 1916. The NZ examiners were not sure which set of Blackburne's tables were beiing referred to by the BOT.
    • In 1933 (when no longer employed by the NZ Govt) Blackburne wrote to the BOT with some concerns about the exams. Subsequently the BOT wrote to the NZ  Marine Department about alleged "unauthorised access" to the exam papers.
    • In the 1930s copies of the Extra Masters exam were sent to NZ each year. There was little mention of other papers. I suspect that the same masters/mates papers were used each year, hence the secrecy surrounding them.
    • In 1940 the Department of War Transport suspended the Extra Masters exam. It was reintroduced in 1946.
    • After the war the BOT had disappeared into the Ministry of (War crossed out)  Transport.
    • In an era when I quite happily download a new 4.7GB Linux distro at no incremental cost it is interesting to see coded cables - each word was paid for so commercial codes were used to reduce word count.
    • By 1946 correspondance between the NZ Marine department and the UK Ministry of Transport was by air mail.
    • Those of you who have worked in a Govt Department (or read govt dept files) will know that said deparments often used old documents for scrap paper. Often it is the back of page in a file that is more interesting than the front. Parts of candidates's answer papers were used in this way so I know that in 1951 position line questions were included in the exams.

    I have attached copies of a few pages from the file that may be of interest.







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