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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Westport Harbour Works: Report on the Progress and Condition of the Works

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Westport Harbour Works.

Report on the Progress & Condition of the Works

Printed at the "Star" Office Westport, N Z.

October, 1891.
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Westport Harbour Works.

Report on the Progress & Condition of the Works.

To the Chairman of the Harbour Board:

Sir,—In accordance with instructions received from you through your Secretary, I have the honor to report on the general progress and condition of the works, as executed to date.

Accompanied by your Engineer, I inspected the breakwaters, the quarries, the railway, the plant and material, the Orawaiti overflow, and the Relief Channel.

Condition of West Breakwater.

The Western breakwater has now reached the length indicated on the original design of Sir John Coode. Here the normal depth of water is about 25 feet at l.w., but the sea breaking against the stonework makes and maintains a pit or trench all round the end of the work, the depth of which is about 44 feet below l.w. s.t. This phenomenon has accompanied the breakwater almost from the commencement, with the result that the foundations of the structure are placed at a great depth below the river channel or the ordinary sea bottom, and a great extra quantity of stone has been swallowed up in this pit. The breakwater was carried on for a length of about 2700 feet, as a tip bank, and was then carried on from staging to its present end.

Staging Damaged in a Gale.

The staging had to be placed in the extra deep water mentioned above, consequently it was unusually high and slender, but with the exception of being damaged on one occasion by a heavy gale, the construction has been very successfully carried out, and the breakwater stands now in good condition without damage or deformation by the waves, the average slope of the stonework being about 2 to 1.

The end is now being finished off with heavy stone of exceptionally hard and sound granite, and when finished the breakwater will stand any weather.

Sir John Coode intended that concrete blocks should be placed on the end and for some 350 feet along the sides. Of course there is no necessity for this where stones of from 5 to 25 tons can be had for the same purpose, and your Engineer will see that stones of this size are placed to protect the end and sides.


From the evidence of your Engineer it appears that in places the slopes are liable to slip down; this is caused apparently by the waves excavating the sand on which the stones lie; this source of damage will not go very far, as the stones get too deep down to be further acted on by the waves; but the damage must be made up as fast as it occurs, probably for a year or two the breakwater must be watched and stone must be in readiness to be placed where damage occurs.

End to be Strengthened.

It is impossible to know beforehand to what extent the waves may flatten down the slopes of the stone at the end, where they act with the greatest violence; but even when the end is completed with the heaviest stone procurable it must be watched for some time and subsidence of the stone made good. For the same reason it would not be advisable at present to erect a page 2 timber lighthouse on the end until the stone is thoroughly consolidated. The top of this breakwater is about 18 feet above h.w.s.t.

East Breakwater.

The East breakwater has been carried out as far as intended by the original design, the first 2500 feet as a tip bank and the remainder from staging. The stonework of this last part is intended to stand at half tide level with the object of letting floods from the river pass over it.

This breakwater has not such heavy stone on it as the West one, still there is no appearance of any damage except that, at the end, the stone is liable in rough weather to be cast up in heaps. Heavy stone is now being placed round the end, and for some distance from the end on the sides. In one part the work is yet too low, and it is intended to raise this to the right height with heavy stone.

The East breakwater is not subject to such rough treatment by the waves as the West, and the end being made secure it is perfectly safe. It is liable, however, to have the sand below it on the river side scoured out, and keeps settling down on that side. This will need to be made up as it settles, and with this object, and to repair any possible damage, the staging must be maintained for a year or two at least.

Staging to be Maintained.

The maintenance of this staging may cause some trouble and expense, but to what extent, it is not possible to determine. The piles are not, as in the West breakwater, buried up in stone, but stand in the water. They are, therefore, pretty certain to be eaten by sea worms, and it would be difficult to say how long they will remain safe under this damage. The piles are also liable to be knocked down by drift trees, brought down by floods, beating against them with the waves. It was supposed to be from this cause that a number of bays of the staging fell down during a gale in August, 1890.

Drift Trees.

It would appear that the end of the breakwater is the place where the piles are most liable to be knocked down by drift trees, and if a tree knocked down one pile, the waves dashing the beams and rails about would soon demolish many bays of the staging.

End to be Raised.

Your Engineer suggests that, at the end, the stonework be raised up so as to form a mound 8 feet or so above h.w. This would effectually protect the piles, while it would close very little of the waterway in. tended to flow over the low level of the breakwater, and I would recommend this elevated end to be carried out with heavy rock. At a distance of two or three chains from the end the waves do not strike the work with much violence, and your Engineer intends to cover this distance with heavy rock, which, with a strong end, will make the whole work safe.

The West breakwater to this date contains 645,000 tons of stone, and the East 232,000 tons.


The total quantity of stone taken out of the quarries to date is 877,000 tons; of this, 227,000 tons is from the Limestone, and the remainder from the Granite quarries.


The Limestone quarry is now exhausted, and there is no further need of the permanent way on the road, which may be lifted to be used at the training wall in the river.


The Granite quarry comprises the high level, at a height of about 120 feet above the sea level, and the long ranged low level quarries extending for nearly a mile along the beach, to which the railway from the high level descends at a gradient of 1 in 40. The low le- page 3 vel quarries, which originally showed a grand face of rock, have proved most disappointing and unsatisfactory, from the great amount of soft disintegrated stone which had to be stripped and removed to get at the hard and sound patches. It is therefore fortunate that the breakwaters are just about completed when these quarries show signs of exhaustion. There is still some stone to be got from them, but the quantity and quality is now uncertain.

High Level.

It is therefore satisfactory to know that there is a considerable supply of fine stone, the finest indeed that has yet been quarried, on the high level quarry, and your Engineer is fully alive to the importance of taking care that this stone is not wasted or broken up into small sizes.

Road to It.

The access to this high level quarry has been laid out by a line from the main line, rising at a gradient of 1 in 20 to the base of the great blocks and ridges of stone. The position of this line is very suitable for the quarry, provided the hard stone does not extend down to any great depth below the level of the line, of which there is no evidence at present, as the base on which the hard stone rests appears to be soft granite. The road up to this quarry had cost about £1150, and if, as is estimated, the quantity of stone amounts to from 50 to 80,000 tons, it is certainly worth the expense of getting; but in fact, considering the state of the low level quarries, it is indispensible that this high level stone should be procured to finish off the work.

Quantity: to Finish.

Your Engineer estimates that about 60,000 tons of first class stone is now required to complete the breakwaters, and there will be no difficulty in getting this quantity from the high level quarry, with perhaps a small remainder from the low level. There is, of course, great abundance of smaller stone to be had for the purpose of forming the training walls, for pitching the river banks, and the slopes of the proposed ship-basin. In the process of quarrying for large stone, a quantity of such small stone has to be removed, and your Engineer is stacking it in a suitable position to be reloaded for the construction of the training walls. This is advisable, and it will be economical to have this stone thus stacked rather than throw it away. The price at which it is stacked, that is 1s per ton, seems high compared to the present contract price for quarrying and filling first class stone, viz.—5d to 8d per ton, but the latter is so low a price that I doubt if the contract could be carried out unless assisted by the price obtained for the smaller stone which is removed and stacked when quarrying the larger.

Stone for Repairs.

When the breakwaters are completed the question may arise of lifting the rails and sleepers of the low level quarry to be used in constructing the training walls in the river, for which about miles of permanent way will be required. Before doing so the further supply of heavy rock for repairs and maintenance of the breakwaters must be considered, and the road kept to such parts of the quarry as are likely to furnish such stone.

Permanent Way not to re Lifted.

Mr Inspector Barrowman is of opinion that there is a quantity of good stone at the extreme south end of the bay in the high granite cliffs which surround the shore at this place, and if the supply of stone wanted in the future for repairs has to come from this place the whole length of the quarry permanent way must be kept in place.

Railway to Quarry.

The main line of railway to the quarries, which is about 7¼ miles long from the West, and 10¼ miles from page 4 the East breakwater, is maintained in good order, and is very little the worse for wear. The bridges also are in good order, and will last many years. Taking into consideration the heavy and rough character of the traffic which this line has had to carry, it has been maintained in excellent condition at a cost of about 50 per cent over the cost of maintenance of the railways carrying coal. The traffic of stone is exceptionally severe on the road, as trucks on a short wheel base carry loads of stone from 1½ to three times the weight of ordinary coal trucks, but the excellent rolling stock of tip trucks on springs have enabled five years of this traffic to be carried on without damage to the permanent way.

Stone Tip Trucks.

There are 109 stone trucks, of which 97 are on springs. These trucks have been in use on an average about 4 years, and are still in good condition with the exception of the flooring, which is always subject to damage by the friction of the stones. A few have also been damaged by falling stones, or breaking axles, and a number of the spiral springs which support the load on the trucks are now weakened by the great weights carried for over 4 years. The side-tip trucks on springs carry up to 35 ton stones, and the end-tip up to 14 ton stones, and run with the speed and steadiness of an ordinary goods train.


There are in all 14 cranes, which are in very good condition, and still fit for many years work. There are three 25-ton, one 20-ton, five 10-ton, two 7-ton, and two 5-ton cranes.

The 10 and 25-ton cranes have given great satisfaction. The 10-ton cranes often lift stones weighing 14 tons, and the 25-ton cranes stones weighing 30 tons, but on one or two occasions they have lifted 35 ton stones.


There are four locomotives of class F, and two of class C. These have undergone many repairs, and are now in good order. Two locomotives of class F have been lent to the Railway Commissioners, who have had then in use for general coal traffic for over two years.


The buildings are in good condition, with the exception of roofs of engine sheds corroded by steam of the locomotives. There are twenty building! situated at the quarries, the junction of the Granite and Limestone lines or at Westport; these include engine sheds, stores, smith shops, weighbridge houses, Inspectors' office, weigh clerk's cottage, 7th class railway station, and magazine.


The Priestman dredge mounted or its barge, is still in first-rate working condition, and is at present used to pull out snags and logs from the river bed. It is not nearly so efficacious as the ladder dredge for excavating gravel, but is generally found useful for dredging in confined positions, where the ladder dredge cannot work. No harbor of this description should be without one of this kind of dredge.

Ladder Dredge.

The ladder dredge and two steam hopper barges, recently purchased by the Board, are a valuable acquisition to the plant of the port. Without some amount of dredging this port cannot be placed and maintained in the condition which the deepening of the bar should enable it to hold as an accessible harbor for a large coal trade, and the result of dredging already done proves this dredging plant to be very suitable for the work required.

Cost of Dredging.

On a general average, taking delays and stoppages into account, the dredge lifts 30,000 tons a month, and the hoppers discharge the material two miles out at sea. The cost, including page 5 repairs and all charges, being 7½d per ton, equal to 11¼d per cubic yard, which compares favorably with dredging done in other places in similar material.

Effect of Works.

The works, so far as carried out to this date, have chiefly been directed to the improvement of the sea bar, which, when these works were first commenced, was the principal obstacle to the development of the coal traffic. depth on bar.

Depth on Bar.

As soon as the West breakwater had reached a length of 2800 feet, and before the East breakwater had been commenced, the bar began to deepen, and the depth has steadily increased with the extension of the breakwaters, until within the last two years, when it has apparently become stationary, averaging within a few feet according as the river is low or flooded. The following table, prepared by your Engineer from records kept by the Harbormaster, shows very clearly the influence of the works upon the depth of water on the bar. From this it appears that before the works began the usual depth of water on the bar was from 9 to 14 feet, and since the completion of the works the usual depth is from 18 to 25 feet These depths are taken at high water, the rise of tide being from 6 to 10 feet.

1 Total No. of Days. 29 feet and over 26 feet and under 28 feet 24 feet and under 26 feet 22 feet and under 24 feet 20 feet and under 22 feet 18 feet and under 20 feet 16 feet and under 18 feet 14 feet and under 16 feet! 12 feet and under 14 feet 10 feet and under 12 feet 8 feet and under 10 feet Depths. 366 1 20 140 164 41 1883-4 Before Works Begun. 365 4 91 219 51 1884-5 365 9 109 218 29 1885-6 365 65 246 54 1886-7 Since Works in Progress. 366 2 4 4 25 144 169 18 1887-8 365 4 88 151 108 14 1888-9 365 1 22 70 105 98 61 8 11889-90 365 6 11 50 126 117 55 1890-1 183 6 36 82 59 1891 for 6 mon.

Table Showing Variation of Depth in the Bar from 1883 to 1891:—

Low Water Line.

The line of l.w.m. on the sand beach outside the West breakwater, advanced seaward during the construction of the breakwater, Until at the pre- page 6 sent time, it is 33 chains seaward of the original l.w. line. The l.w. line outside the East breakwater advanced in a similar manner. If the l.w.m. is not now stationary, it is advancing very slowly, and it is to be hoped that, as in the case of Greymouth, it may soon become stationary, that is to say, that the condition will be readied in which the currents carry round the end of the breakwater just as much sand as they bring up from the Southward. As noticed above, the bar keeps its depth, although in very low states of the river the sand drifted round the end of the West breakwater forms a spit protruding towards the head of the East breakwater; but the first flood scours this away, and restores the depth lost. The same thing is experienced in Greymouth, where the depth has been permanent for a long time.

Depth in River.

The sea bar is not now the chief obstacle to navigation, which, however, occurs inside the river, the original depth of which has not been affected by the construction of the breakwaters.

Training Walls.

This difficulty Sir John Coode intended should be rectified by the construction of training walls of stone which, by confining and directing the currents of both tides and floods, and being assisted by dredging, would deepen and maintain the depth of the river alongside the wharves, and out to the bar.

The training wall on the original plan extends for 12,300 feet, containing 120,000 tons of stone, and is estimated to cost £43,000; the cost was not included in the original estimate, being left for consideration as the trade of the port grew. The trade has grown, and the wall is now required to maintain the deep channel in the position required by the traffic. In the upper part of the wall a difficulty occurs which has been referred to Sir John Coode. The difficulty is that the wall, as shown on plan shuts out the deep channel of the river, and before the wall can be made, a new channel must be cut for the river through a large shingle spit which is too hard and compact to be scoured by the current The quantity to be removed from the shingle spit to give the river the same amount of waterway shut out by the training wall would be 200,000 cubic yards, and the cost would be about £10,000. But to dredge and scour the amount required to give the depth shown on Sir John Coode's longitudinal section would require the removal from this spit of about 500,000 cubic yards.

Buller Bridge Piers.

The deepening of the channel to this depth under the Buller bridge would endanger the piers which are on piles driven 20 feet into the shingle. They would, therefore, have to be protected by stone thrown in round there, the combined mass of which would take up a large part of the waterway intended to be gained by the deepening. A spit of shingle in Greymouth occur in a very similar position to this one, which does not seem to interfere with the scouring action of the river on the berthages along the wharves, and subject to Sir John Coode's approval, I would suggest that the training wall be carried no further up river than the Buller bridge, and be curved so as to include the deepwater channel and take as little as possible off the shingle spit.

Your Engineer has, in a memorandum to Sir John Coode, pointed out this difficulty, and asked his advice as to altering the position of the upper part of the wall. It is therefore necessary to wait for his answer before taking any further steps.

Scour Carried by Wall.

The material of the river bottom along the face of the staiths and wharf is easily scoured by floods, and the construction of the training wall will page 7 have a powerful effect in increasing the velocity of the current. It is therefore to be expected that deep water will be maintained by natural scour whenever the wall is built. At present, however, the navigable channel is in places neither deep enough nor wide enough, and therefore while depending on the training wall to maintain the depth, I would recommend that the only dredging to be carried out be that required to form a channel 250 feet wide at the bottom and 14 feet deep at l.w.s.t., extending from the upper part of the Government wharf, along the face of the wharves and staiths, and out to the deep channel at the West breakwater. A large part of this is already deep enough, and only requires to be widened. But from opposite the proposed floating-basin to the deep channel near the West breakwater, the training wall, as shown in plan, crosses the fairway of the channel at present in use by steamers. If the floating-basin is to be carried out this training wall is necessary to keep the deep water channel near the basin, and divert it from its present position on the opposite side of the river.

New Beacon Channel.

Consequently the new channel must be dredged before the training wall is erected, so as not to interrupt the traffic by building the wall across the channel at present in use, which lies close alongside the West breakwater.

This new channel would have to be cut through a shallow shingle bank, on which the boulders and gravel are so packed that I doubt if the natural scour would have much effect until it was dredged.

Dredging to be Carried On.

The dredging for this proposed channel of 250 feet wide, extending from the upper wharf to the West breakwater should, I think, be commenced at once and carried on simultaneously with the construction of the training wall, for the reason that the channel is wanted now, and it is impossible to tell whether the training wall will do the work by scour without the assistance of dredging. The construction of the training wall will take about two years, and it would not do to wait until it is finished to see what effect it will have on the navigable channel.

Cost of Dredging.

Under this proposition the total amount of dredging to be done would apparently be about 314,000 cubic yards, and the cost would be about £14,500. It is found, howevsr, that when the hard surface is removed the effect of floods is to scour away the sand and small gravel, so that a portion of the above estimated quantity will probably be removed by scour.

Your Engineer is at present dredging a channel along the berthage of staiths and wharf, which is to be 18 feet deep at l.w. for a width of 70 feet from the line of the wharves, and 10 feet deep for a width of 210 feet from the line of wharves. This will be a very serviceable channel for steamers to lie and turn in, and is much wanted at the present time. It would also form part of the total dredging work suggested above.

Branch Line for Construction.

To build the training wall it is necessary to make a branch line of railway from the main quarry line to the training wall This branch was commenced by your late Engineer, Mr F. W. Martin, it leaves the main line 30 chains from the Buller bridge, and curving round, crosses the bye-wash of the river above Martin's Island. The bye-wash is crossed by 28 spans of 13 feet each.

Blocked by Driftwood.

This is subject to the inconvenience of being blocked with driftwood brought down by floods.

Claims for Damage.

Mr Jno. Martin, whoowns the island, has set up a claim for damages on the page 8 alleged ground that the work has caused part of his land to be washed away. I could not see any reason for this claim, as the head of his island has been washing away by every flood for many years, and the branch line across the bye-wash should, when completed, have rather the effect of protecting the head of his island than of assisting to damage it. The blocking of the bridge over the bye-wash by drift timber is an inconvenience that must be endured. In any case it is a trifle that is easily remedied after every flood, and will be to some extent abated when the training wall is carried past the opening, as it will arrest or divert down the main river most of the driftwood. It is now seen, however, that it would have been better to have laid out the branch line along the bank of the river above the bye-wash, and not cross it at all, and so avoid the inconvenience caused by the floods and the plea for damage set up by Mr Martin.

Extension of Wharves.

On the subject of further extension of the merchandise wharf, I am informed that your Board can do nothing without the concurrence of the Railway Commissioners, to whose approval all plans are subject, and who, I understand, insist on making their own plans for all extensions. Under such circumstances it s to be hoped that your Board may always see its way to agreeing with the proposals of the Commissioners for works which the Board find the money for.

Your Engineer has prepared a plan for extending the merchandise wharf as far as the staiths. The necessity for this extension has long been felt, and the Board gave me instructions to prepare plans for its construction in 1886.

Cost of IT.

The estimated cost of this extension is £5100.

Loading Coal by 25-ton Cram.

Besides being of use for the traffic of merchandise, which requires more room than is afforded by the present wharf, it would be practical to load coal from it by the 25 ton cranes, the present goods shed being shifted to allow of the necessary siding. The loading of coal from this extension would offer no more inconvenience than is experienced at Greymouth, where all coal trains traverse the passenger wharves.

Capabilities of 25-ton Cranes.

Your Engineer has given me an estimate of the capabilities of the 25-ton cranes for loading coal, taken from its performance on stone, from which it appears that each crane can load into ships about 100 tons per hour, at a cost, including crane expenses, attendance, shunting, interest and depreciation, of 2d per ton of coal loaded.

Capabilities of Hydraulic Cranes.

According to Mr Rawson, the Engineer to the Board, the hydraulic cranes at Greymouth load coal at a cost, for working expenses with interest and depreciation, of 2½d per ton. When, however, a number of cranes are worked at once this cost would be less, probably about 2d per ton of coal. Under favorable circumstances the hydraulic cranes can load 100 tons per hour.

Capabilities of Staiths.

The loading capacity of the staiths is about 250 tons per hour, at the upper shoots, when the rest of the staiths is occupied by a train of coal for these shoots only. But the average performance is a little over 100 tons per hour, varying, however, with the size of the ship and the height of the tide. The cost, including handling, shunting, interest and depreciation, is about 2¾d per ton of coal for 100 tons per hour, but less per ton of coal if more than 100 tons per hour is loaded.

Steam Crane Loads Cheapest.

The above figures go to prove that page 9 the steam crane is at least as economical as the staiths or the hydraulic cranes, which is possible seeing how much cheaper it is than either of the other two.

Further Extensions.

Your Engineer has also prepared plans for 200 feet of extension of the wharf from the present end upwards towards Riley's wharf. Unless these extensions are used to load coal I should say that the first mentioned extension from the present end of wharf to the staiths would be found to be sufficient for the traffic of passengers and merchandise. If, however, coal is to be loaded from this wharf by cranes, then the whole of the extension, of which drawings have been prepared, would be necessary, the upper part being occupied for merchandise and the lower part for loading coal.

Commissioners Most Concerned.

But the question of using two sets of loading appliances, one by staiths, and one by cranes, more immediately affects the railway authorities whose opinions should be ascertained before steps are taken to provide these wharf extensions with the view of loading coal from them.

Floating Basin.

I presume the construction of the floating-basin is not considered at present, and it is left over for the future. This would be a much safer and more commodious loading place than the wharves and staiths on the river bank, and if it is made in the near future it may be then found that the staiths and wharves on the river bank will become disused and the money spent on them lost.

I think it would be advisable when the extension of the staiths and wharf is completed, to wait and see whether the accommodation provided is not sufficient for the coal trade of the next few years. The fact of a permanent increase of coal traffic would then be a sufficient justification for proceeding with the construction of the floating-basin as shown on the plan recently sent out by Sir John Coode.


I inspected the gridiron recently erected for the purpose of repairing the dredge and hoppers. I consider the site is very suitable, and in fact it is the only available site there is. The only other place that could be thought of is the lagoon on the opposite side of the river, but this is too inaccessible to the town, involving the passage across the river of men and materials, so that I do not consider it a suitable site at all.

The gridiron is placed in a creek out of the way of most floods. It has water enough at present, and could easily be dredged to any depth required. It is also capable of being made into a patent slip, if ever such is required in this river.

Relief Channel.

I visited the Relief Channel and noticed that the floods are gradually widening and deepening it. After the dredging was done on the bar at the head of the channel in 1887, the depth of water was 2ft 6in; at present in a similarly low state of the river the depth is 4ft 6in, and the depth of the main channel opposite is also 4ft 6in, so that now the head of the Relief Channel is as deep as the main river, and I should say that in floods about half of the water passes down the Relief Channel. I think that the floods will continue to deepen and widen this channel until in the course of years the greatest body of water will flow down it. This is what is wanted, as the more that passes down the relief channel the less overflows at the Orawaiti. Mr C. Y. O'Connor was of opinion that dredging should be resumed at the head of the channel. I am of opinion it should be let alone, with exception of keeping it always clear of page 10 snags and drift timber, and in course of time nature will achieve the desired object.

Orawaiti Overflow.

The Orawaiti Overflow is the skeleton in the cupboard to Westport. It is a danger that I think grows less every day, and can be perfectly con-controlled provided it is not neglected.

The most immediate necessity is the protection of the river bank from the wear and tear of floods, and there can be little doubt that if the Overflow had not been protected to the extent it has been, the Buller river would now be flowing out at the Orawaiti.

Crib Work.

In 1885 Ierected eight chains of crib work filled with boulders which has stood the floods of six years, and is still as good as ever. The banks below this have during the last six years been cut away to the depth of nearly a chain, and this bank must be protected without further delay.

Deposits of Stone.

Your Engineer has discovered some deposits of stone in two or three creek beds under the terrace on the Nine-Mile road. This will, I believe, give sufficient stone to protect the river bank which is being damaged by the river, and I do not think It is advisable at present to go to the great cost of making a road from the Buller bridge to bring stone from the main quarries for this purpose, which can be done at any future time if found to be urgently necessary. The length of road required to get the stone found in the above creek beds is only 60 chains, and will not cost much; but the road from the Buller bridge to the Orawaiti Overflow would be about three miles, and would cost much more than at present seems justifiable.

Protection by Planting.

The foreshore of the Overflow being made quite secure by stone work, all other damage by floods can be checked by placing fascines loaded with stone in the holes and gullies which the floods cut out of the soil, and by planting every part of the Overflow with willows and blackberries. When the low ground is thus overgrown with bushes the sand and silt of floods will be at rested and again overgrown, and thus the land grows higher after each flood, instead of being cut away as it would be if neglected.

At the same time the Relief Channel is slowly cutting its bed deeper, and taking more of the flood water every year. Between these two influences, the danger of the Overflow will be entirely averted.

Time of Completion.

The harbor works have now been 6½ years in operation. The first year was taken up in building the railway to the quarries, opening the quarries, constructing trucks and procuring plant and machinery. The. breakwaters have been 5½ years under construction, and the general average rate of depositing stone has been 160,000 tons a year, but during 1888 and 1889 470,000 tons were deposited or at the rate of 235,000 tons a year, the daily rate varying from 800 to 1000 tons.

Good Time.

The break waters therefore, have been completed in a fairly expeditious manner, considering that the quarries are 7 miles from the West and 10 miles from the East breakwaters, and taking also into consideration the very inferior and unsatisfactory nature of the quarries.

Cost of Works.

In considering the actual cost of the works as compared to the estimated cost given by Sir John Coode, it must be remembered that he reckoned to obtain the stone from the Fairdown, where a quarry was then supposed to exist, which was proved to be useless. To the Fairdown a line of railway was already laid when Sir John Coode was here. But when it was found that the stone must come from Cape Foul wind, page 11 it became necessary to construct a line to the Cape, which was not provided for in his estimate. This was a somewhat costly line—7 miles long—and it had to be taken down to the level of the sea beach on a gradient of 1 in 40, through deep cuttings and high embankments. In addition a branch line 60 chains long was constructed to reach the Limestone quarry, which was on the top of the terrace at the back of the Granite.

These lines were laid in a substantial manner, having in view the heavy traffic intended to be carried, and a costly plant of locomotives, cranes and rolling stock was procured, also with the view of doing a large traffic and hastening the completion of the work. These anticipations have been justified, and the permanent way and plant are now on hand in good condition.

Taking Sir John Coode's estimate as the basis of the value of the work done on the breakwaters, the actual cost as now ascertained must be considered as very economical.

Sir John Coode estimated the cost of the breakwaters, including the Duller bridge and all plant and appliances but not including the railway to Cape Foulwind, at £438,776.

The actual cost, taking the same basis as he did, that is to say excluding the Cape Foulwind railway, is £297,037. But as the stone had to come from Cape Foulwind, the railway bad to be made to the Cape, and the cost, including its construction, was £336,320; and their remains the plant and permanent way on hand which is worth, taking depreciation into account, about £23,500.

The total expenditure to date has been £384,095 16s 4d, which may be classified as follows:—
£ s d
Expenditure on breakwaters with roads and plant, up to date 326,320 0 0
Mokihinui Railway 12,500 0 0
Dredges, hoppers, and miscellaneous plant 18,285 0 0
Dredging in river 8,834 0 0
Extension of staiths, coal bins and wharves 9,651 0 0
Inner training wall 1,237 0 0
Additional rolling stock (coal traffic) 3,595 0 0
Orawaiti Overflow and Relief Channel works 3364 0 0
Sundries 309 0 0
Total 384,095 0 0

There remain certain works to be done, viz., to complete the breakwaters, to make the training wall, to dredge a navigable channel and provide certain requisites to equip the harbor for an extended traffic, the total of which is estimated to cost £116,200, which may be classified as follows:—

Works Not Contemplated in Original Estimate.

List of works remaining to be done to complete the original design and to equip the port for the coal traffic. Completing the ends of breakwaters 10,000 0 0
Extension of staiths 15,000 0 0
Extension of merchandise Wharf 5,100 0 0
Face-piling at staiths to keep stones from rolling under ships' bottoms 3,000 0 0
Training walls 42,500 0 0
Dredging as defined in report herewith 14,500 0 0
Orawaiti Overflow protection, say 6,200 0 0
Addition to rolling stock for coal traffic 4,000 0 0
Mokihinui railway com-Pletion 12,500 0 0
Administration 3,400 0 0
Total 116,200 0 0
page 12
These two sums added make a total of £500,295. This includes, however, various works not taken account of in the original estimate, but necessary for the development of the port, Amounting on the whole to £139,890, of which the following is a statement either already executed or intended to be done:—
Mokihinui Railway 25,000 0 0
Dredges, hopper barges and miscellaneous plant 18,285 0 0
Extension of staitns, wharf and coal bins 32,751 0 0
Training walls 43,737 0 0
Additional rolling stock for coal traffic 7,595 0 0
Orawaiti Overflow and Relief Channel 9564 0 0
Sundries 309 0 0
Administration 2,649 0 0
Total 139,890 0 0

Works Executed Below Original Estimate.

Sir John Coode estimated the dredging at £50,000, but I have estimated what may be necessary at £23,334, which being deducted leaves the cost of works as less than the original estimate by the sum of £101,705.

Apart from any comparison by the original estimate, I consider that the works have been carried out economically and quickly. The cost of the stone, including interest and every other charge, has been four shillings and sixpence half-penny per ton, which is a moderate cost considering the circumstances under which it was obtained. The cost of the staging was £11 10s for the West, and £9 14s, per running foot, for the East breakwater.

Ratio of Cost of Plant and Works.

The cost of the plant, taking its saleable value as one half of what it cost, is 9½ per cent of the value of the work done by it, which is also reasonable. The cost of the railways and branches is 13½ per cent of the value of the work done, which is high, but of course was unavoidable.

Amount of Loan Spent.

The amount spent out of the loan authorised by the Westport Harbor Board Act, 1884, is £348,204 0s 5d The sum authorised to be raised was £500,000. There is, therefore, the sum of £151,895 19s 7d still available under the above Act.

The trade of the port has steadily increased with the increase in depth of water on the bar, as is shown on the following table of yearly output:—
Year Coal exported from Westport
1885 78,094 tons bardeepnd.
1886 119,779 tons bardeepnd.
1887 115,942 tons bardeepnd.
1888 130,219 tons bardeepnd.
1889 163,915 tons bardeepnd.
1890 160,214 tons strike in-interfered with output which would have been 200,000 tons
1891 227,668 tons last three months estimated

Excess of Revenue Over Expenses.

The revenue of the Board has is creased with the trade, and now amounts to about £30,000 a year, while the expenses are about £19,300. From excess of revenue over expenses the Board has placed £35,890 to assist the loan in carrying out the works The cost of administration of the works has varied at different times; taking an average over the whole period of construction to date the cost has been 2.65 per cent of the cost of the works, which is very moderate.

Cost of Administration.

The cost of administration is at present £1,350 yearly, which includes salaries, office expenses, taxes, law costs and insurance.

The Board also earns about £450 a-year by the traffic over the Cape Foulwind railway.

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Future of Coal Trade.

The Westport coal grows continually in favor in the Colonial markets. There is no coal equal to it in these Colonies, and the demand should continue to increase as the facilities of the port are improved. In view of the great coal trade that may be expected to arise if it is properly encouraged, I think that the staiths and wharves on the river bank are to be considered as a temporary make shift, and the only suitable accommodation for a coal trade such as is anticipated, will be found in the shipping basin of which I submitted a plan and report to the Board on the 7th July, 1885. This has in is approved by Sir John Coode in his letter to the Agent-General of 31th October, 1890.

The Board has at present a revenue nearly sufficient to cover the interest on the cost of the works already constructed together with the additional cost of this basin, and the export from the basin would greatly increase the Board's revenue.

The financial position of the Board at present may be classed among the soundest and most prosperous in New Zealand, and there does not appear any reason why it should not continue in, and even greatly improve, its present prosperous position.

I am glad to have this opportunity of expressing my thanks for the obliging kindness and assistance given me by your Secretary, Mr Charles N. Greenland; the Engineer, Mr J. A. Wilson; and the Inspector of Works, Mr J. Barrowman, who have devoted much of their valuable time to furnishing me with all the information I required.

I attach a statement of income and expenditure from the commencement of the work to this date, prepared for me by your Secretary.

I have the honor to be, sir,

Your obedient servant,

C. Napier Bell

, M. Inst., C.E.

[for statement see next page.]

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Westport Harbour Board.

Statement of Income & Expenditure from 15th December, 1884, to 30th September, 1891.

Revenue Account.

£ s d Received from Endow- ments under "The Westport Harbor Board Act, 1884," 110,728 3 9 Interest on Fixed De- posits ... ... 7,230 0 0 Other sources ... 539 4 0 Total ... 118,497 7 9 £ s. d. Expended in interest 55,855 9 6 " Sinking Fund 9,779 13 10 Harbor expenses ... 10,898 6 6 Office " ... 1,066 15 7 Advanced to Special Fund accounts ... 35,890 15 11 Balance ... 5,006 6 5 Total ... 118,497 7 9

Loan Account.

£ s. d. Received from loans &c. 348,205 0 5 Advanced from Re- venue accounts ... 35,890 15 11 Total ... 384,095 16 4 Breakwaters ... 326,314 1 9 Dredges and miscel- laneous plant ... 18,285 0 0 Dredging ... ... 8,834 1 4 Extension wharf and staiths ... ... 9,752 1 0 Inner training wall 1,236 17 0 Orawaiti Overflow and Relief Channel ... 3,364 4 8 Sundries ... ... 214 9 8 Westport-Ngakawau Railway— Additions to rolling stock ... ... 3,595 0 11 Extension to Mokihinui 12,500 0 0 Total ... 384,095 16 4

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