Story: Shipbuilding

Lyttelton dry dock

Lyttelton dry dock

Dry docks (or graving docks) were as much status symbols as practical ventures in colonial New Zealand. Every major port wanted one. Designed by harbour board engineer C. Napier Bell, Lyttelton’s graving dock was built of masonry and concrete. It was opened on 3 January 1883 when the gaily decorated Hurunui – ‘the very perfection of neatness and order’ – sailed in, breaking a blue ribbon. Thirty speeches followed. Now a registered historic place, Lyttelton’s graving dock still repairs ships.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-004686; F

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Gavin McLean, 'Shipbuilding - The iron and steel era', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Gavin McLean, published 12 Jun 2006, updated 1 Jul 2015