Monday, 25 November 2013

Queens Wharf Auckland

The Wharf
In Perceval, Westby Brook, Sir, Pictorial New Zealand, Cassell and Co. London, 1895, p110     

Queens Wharf, Auckland - A Part of  the Past NZ History

A site of much shipping activity over many years. The place where cargo was unloaded and loaded  on Auckland's earliest shipping line - Henderson & Macfarlane or what became known as the Circular Saw Line. Those tall ships of the past - Breadalbane, Kate, Alice Cameron, Novelty and Constance.

Barque Breadalbane In the New Zealand Insurance  Company Limited. Bold Century The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited 1959

Before Queens Wharf - Way back then

When baby Christina Stewart ( nee Forsyth ) arrived with her family aboard Jane Gifford in 1842 there was no wharf. This saw the newly arrived immigrants "sloshing ashore knee deep in mud and water.
Arrival Duchess of Argyle & Jane Gifford 9 October 1842( from a painting by M.T. Clayton) In Story of Auckland in Pictures Revised edition 1982
 Certainly quite different, no doubt,  to the Port of Greenock, Scotland they left, for the about 600 passengers aboard Duchess of Argyle and Jane Gifford.

 The  First Queens Wharf 

By the time baby Christina was ten years old in 1852 ,the Auckland shoreline was changing. What is now known as the original Queen Street Wharf could be seen jutting out into the harbour.
    Drawing by J. P. Hogan
The area near the wharf  was what is well known today as Fort Street and Shortland Street. However the streets look very different now in 2013. Hard to even recognise what was once the warehouses of James Buchanan Macfarlane, Robert Carr, and others. One can only just see part of what was once Northern Roller Mills - flour manufacturer - an integral part of the port in early days.
When Christina's future husband Andrew Stewart arrived aboard the Joseph Fletcher in 1859  Queens Wharf was evolving into what was considered a hap hazard looking structure by many. Timber, gum and all manner of goods found their way into Auckland  via Queens Wharf. 

 Papers Past National Library NZ Page 1 Advertisements Column 6 Daily Southern Cross, 14 October 1859, Page 1
Auckland Waterfront 1859 In The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1959. New Zealand Insurance Company Limited. Bold Century.Auckland:

By the early 1860's Andrew Stewart had gone into partnership with John Buchanan, operating as merchants and importers. Their address for business was advertised as Queens Wharf.

     Papers Past National Library NZ   
Daily Southern Cross, 22 January 1862

Typical of the shipping agents and importers down on the wharves, all manner of goods were imported from overseas. 

                                                             Papers Past National Library NZ
                            Page 3 Advertisements Column 1 Daily Southern Cross, 14 March 1862, Page 3

Into 1864. Extensions to wharves and new wharves were the order of the day for the growing township of Auckland attempting to cope with an influx of immigrants via the Port of Auckland and Port of Onehunga. Port of Onehunga provided a landing place for the West Coast shipping – the coasters from Wellington, the ships bringing cargo and coal for those “ newfangled steamers” from Newcastle.

The New Zealand Herald ( 11 November 1864 page 6 ) reported the written report from William Weaver, then Engineer in Chief to the Auckland Provincial Council. Weaver in submitting a plan for Auckland Harbour Improvements wrote:-

"First, The widening of the present Queen-street pier, and extending it to water of sufficient depth to allow first class vessels to come alongside a wharf (called " Queen's Wharf,") to be built at the end of the pier. . - Secondly,- wharfage accommodation along the inside face of the breakwater; and Thirdly, the entire front of the proposed " Commercial Road from Queen-street .to Mechanic's Bay (except where it crosses Point Britomart) to be available as a public wharf or quay. The-widening the present pier I consider necessary for two reasons, first, to provide increased facilities for the traffic along the pier itself and to and from the proposed new wharf; and, secondly, to preserve and strengthen the present structure as much as possible, and eventually to provide means for its gradual re-construction." 

Queen Street Wharf 1864 in Wilson & Horton, Story of Auckland In Pictures, Wilson & Horton Ltd. 1971 Revised edition 1982  

At the end of 1865 newspapers reported the arrival to Port of Auckland on 4 December, of the coastal schooner Fancy from the newly opened Tairua Sawmills. The cargo loaded by Captain Mustart was 16000 feet of timber bound for the wharf extensions. Part of the past of those coasters - schooners and cutters bringing foodstuffs, timber, gum, livestock and flax to and from the fast growing town of Auckland.  

By 1870 Port of Auckland was sporting a different looking Queens Wharf.
From Shortland Street across rooves to Port of Auckland  - Courtesy Auckland Star

This view was part of the past of Queen's Wharf into the new century when the wharves were introduced to that new product - ferrous concrete. By then Queen' Wharf had seen many ships, many passengers and many cargoes- an integral part of our past stories.   
 Auckland Wharves 1903  In The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited. Bold Century, 
      The New Zealand Insurance Company Limited, 1959

Reference: Papers Past New Zealand National Library is a wonderful resource for looking up shipping and is the source  of the Newspaper articles referred to in this article.