Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Heritage of original Panmure Bridge recognised


Friday August 1, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

Heritage of original Panmure Bridge recognised

The remains of the earliest major swing-bridge to have been built in the North Island have been entered as a Category 2 item on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero.

Administered by Heritage New Zealand – formerly the NZ Historic Places Trust – the List identifies the country’s significant and valued historical and cultural heritage places, and is the only national statutory record of our rich, significant and diverse heritage.

“The old Panmure Bridge was constructed in 1864-65, and connected the western shore of the Tamaki with the eastern shore close to where the current concrete bridge is located,” says Heritage Advisor, Martin Jones.

“The Swing Span and Abutment contains the earliest surviving swing bridge mechanism in New Zealand, and was an important piece of infrastructure that enabled areas beyond the east bank of the Tamaki River to develop and grow. The bridge is associated with settler expansion to the south of Auckland following the Waikato War of 1863-64.”

The bridge had an august pedigree, reflecting the influence and reach of the British Empire which stretched even to Panmure. The bridge was designed by William Collett – a former British Member of Parliament – and also credited to William Weaver, who oversaw its construction. Weaver had trained in England under celebrated Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

“Prior to the bridge being built, the main means of crossing the Tamaki River was by a Government-maintained punt, which was slow and occasionally laid up for repair. Delays also occurred when large quantities of stock were ferried across the river on their way to market in Auckland,” says Martin.

“In 1857, a public meeting held in Howick discussed ways of establishing a bridge, and in the early 1860s the Auckland Provincial Council made the decision to build a bridge to improve connections between Panmure and Howick, while also maintaining the significant river transport network which was important to the local economy.”

Funding for the bridge came through the Auckland Loan Act of 1863, and was part of a bigger development package aimed at boosting the province’s prosperity and status. Other projects included a new Post Office and Customhouse, and construction of the Whau Lunatic Asylum.

“Work on the bridge began in October 1864, and the final cornerstone was laid almost a year later,” says Martin.

Construction generated its own level of hyperbole, with the Daily Southern Cross immodestly trumpeting the swing span section as being ‘one of the most perfect mechanical contrivances of its kind in the Southern hemisphere’.

Mechanically perfect – maybe; but it was certainly not perfect from a project management perspective.

“The bridge suffered a budget blow-out, in the end costing £17,025 – over £2000 more than originally estimated,” he says.

One of the problems that may have contributed to the increased cost was damage to copper sheathing used as part of the pile-driving process. The solution was to carry out repairs using specialist divers from Cape Colony (now part of South Africa) who utilised Heinke’s Patent Diving Apparatus to work under water – state of the art technology for the day, which had only recently been used in the construction of London’s Westminster Bridge.

“Another factor may have been the need to import basalt blocks from Melbourne because local stone was not suitable for building an abutment. The stones were all dressed and painstakingly numbered in Australia, and re-assembled here,” says Martin.

“A coffer dam was built providing a kind of temporary ‘dry dock’-like work area around what became the east abutment, enabling blocks to be hoisted into place by a travelling crane.”

The bridge was used by the public for the first time to allow attendance at the Howick Races on Boxing Day in 1865.

A Gothic-style wooden toll house was subsequently built beside the swing mechanism the following year to collect tolls to cover the construction cost of the bridge. The house was also used as a polling booth during provincial and national elections.

An illustration of the completed bridge was even published in the London Illustrated News in 1867 – such was the significance of the project.

One of those who stood to profit from the new bridge was auctioneer and businessman Alfred Buckland – of Buckland’s Beach fame – who also owned a nearby stock landing on the Pakuranga side of the river. A new bridge enabled cattle to be moved to Auckland more easily – just one example of how the improved transport network supported increased economic activity. It also assisted in the settlement of southern parts of the Auckland isthmus.

“Although regularly repaired, it became apparent over the years that a replacement bridge would be needed, and the idea of a new bridge was first mooted in 1913. Interestingly, at that time it was stated that few vessels went further upstream than Panmure – a reflection of the decline in the amount of traffic on the river,” says Martin.

“Much of the first bridge was demolished when a new ferro-concrete bridge was built a short distance downstream, though significant parts of the old bridge were left in place – notably those elements connected with the swing span, turntable, winch and east abutment.”

The swing bridge mechanism underwent conservation in 2013 and is still visible today underneath a marina building which was erected on piles above the iron remains.

“The original Panmure swing span bridge was instrumental in enabling economic growth and facilitating settlement in southern Auckland following the Waikato War. It was also a well known local landmark used in bike and boat races, and as a meeting place for the Pakuranga Hunt. It even featured in military manoeuvres during the Russian Scare of 1885,” says Martin.

“Although the rest of the bridge is long gone, the stone abutment and iron swing span mechanism are important reminders of a time when the bridge met an increasing need for early colonial roading, while also accommodating economically vital river traffic.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news