Ōamaru’s harbour works were begun after the town’s first jetty was undermined in an 1868 storm that wrecked three ships, killed four people and destroyed many of the town’s surfboats. Engineering played an important part in the building of ports and harbours in colonial New Zealand. Ōamaru had no natural harbour and was a particularly challenging site. The breakwater and mole were built in the 1870s, creating an enclosed and relatively calm basin. Designed by engineer John McGregor, the works were built using a massive travelling crane made by a Dunedin engineering firm, Kincaid and McQueen.
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Reference: Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1884, H-6
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