In a storm in 1868 an exposed wooden jetty at Ōamaru was swept away along with three ships. The devastated settlers decided to build a small dock in the lagoon behind the beach, then opted for a large breakwater off the end of Cape Wanbrow. The concrete barrier took 12 years to build, and cost a fortune, but when it was completed in 1884 it offered even the largest ships safe anchorage. By then Ōamaru’s harbour board might have been teetering on the brink of insolvency, but its port was one of the colony’s finest.
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