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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Port of Otago

Within the entrance the harbour extends about 12 miles and at its head stands the city and port of Dunedin. About half way lies the port of Port Chalmers. The majority of large vessels are berthed at Dunedin. The tidal range is 4·2 ft neaps and 57 ft springs.

The maximum size and draught permissible for negotiating Victoria Channel, which runs from Port Chalmers to the city wharves, are as follows: length, 540 ft; beam, 72 ft; draught, 25 ft. The maximum for Port Chalmers are: length, 800 ft; beam, 90 ft; draught, 32 ft. Total berthage is 8,594 lineal feet. Most wharves are linked with the national railway system.

There are two electric cranes serving one berth at Port Chalmers. In addition, three serve two berths at Victoria wharf and two serve two berths at Birch Street, Dunedin. There are no wharf sheds at Port Chalmers, but at Dunedin there are 18 sheds with a maximum capacity of 2,812,248 cu. ft. One tug is available. The port has two graving docks at Port Chalmers for vessels of 530 ft and 300 ft length respectively. These are adjacent to ship-repair workshops. Most of the trade is handled at Dunedin, but final loading of large overseas vessels must be done at Port Chalmers.

by William Alexander Cullen, Executive Officer (Shipping and Harbours), Marine Department, Wellington.