During the 1870s, the shipbuilding trade in and around Auckland was rapidly expanding, with shipbuilding occurring in numerous little bays and harbours due to the abundant timber suitable for shipbuilding purposes. The Advance, a wooden schooner of 51 tons, was built in Tolaga Bay in 1874. She made her maiden trading voyage in mid-January 1875 from Port of Auckland to Gisborne carrying passengers, 20 tons of coal, lumber, flour and other general cargo.
The Advance was a regular trader between East Coast ports Auckland, Wellington, and Lyttelton, under the ownership of Mr. John Trimmer. The vessel was then purchased by Messrs Keans and Company, and was for some years commanded by Captain Kennedy.
While she operated in Australia, the Advance became a well known schooner, employed in the coastal coal trade and for a number of years trading between Sydney and the Northern and Southern collieries.
The second United States Navy ship to be so named, Advance – a schooner-rigged, sidewheel steamer built at Greenock, Scotland, by Caird & Co. was launched on 3 July 1862 as the Clyde packetLord Clyde – was jointly purchased by the state of North Carolina and the firm of Lord, Power & Co. to serve as a blockade runner during the Civil War. She was renamed A. D. Vance (in some sources written as "Advance") in honor of the Governor of North Carolina, Zebulon B. Vance. She completed more than 20 highly successful voyages and 40 close calls with Union ships standing blockade watches.