Story: Ports and harbours

Ōamaru breakwater, 1880s (2nd of 3)

Ōamaru breakwater, 1880s

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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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-C-22767; F
Photograph by Burton Brothers

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.

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How to cite this page:

Gavin McLean, 'Ports and harbours - Types of ports', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 October 2021)

Story by Gavin McLean, published 12 Jun 2006, updated 30 Jul 2015