The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79
The Capital City
The Capital City
ellington the capital city of New Zealand and the seat of Government has a population of 68,000; the figures of adjacent suburbs bringing the total to 75,000. As this city is the centre of inter-island traffic the streets have always a brisk appearance, and this air of prosperity is not merely on the surface. A few facts show Wellington's solidity. The capital value exceeds £20,000,000; the number of buildings is nearly 16,000. Notwithstanding the tendency of the war to check enterprise, 519 permits for buildings, valued at £256,000, were issued last year. During the same period the city's revenue was £506,478.
For health, comfort and convenience Wellington city is not surpassed in Australasia. The climate, which has no hard winter "bite," is always invigorating; Wellingtonians have a New Zealand reputation for energetic pacing in the streets.
The municipal services comprise water (two hundred miles of mains, fed from four reservoirs with a total capacity of 248,000,000 gallons); excellent drainage (eighty miles of main sewers with an outfall in Cook Strait, five miles from the centre of the city); a refuse destructor; electric tramways (about twenty-one route miles); electric lighting; abattoirs; fish market; fire brigade (with good motor equipment); sea baths. The streets have a total length of 180 miles, and the main streets of the inner area are wood-blocked.
The educational facilities include State primary and secondary schools, Technical School, Victoria University College, municipal libraries, two museums (one State and the other municipal) and an art gallery.
Wellington city is particularly fortunate in the possession of many hundreds of acres of open spaces, comprising level recreation grounds, gardens, plantations, and extensive stretches of hill and dale, commanding very pleasant seascapes and landscapes. These public reserves, in and around the city, have a total area exceeding 1,300 acres. In addition, the municipality owns Williams Park (950 acres), across the harbour. This is a reservation of native forest—beautiful trees and ferns. Another very attractive place is the "Zoo," containing many species of animals (ranging from marmosets and monkeys to lions, sea-lions and bears) and birds.page 36
There is also easy access by tramway to a State forest reserve (Wilton's Bush). Oriental Bay, Island Bay and Lyall Bay—all served by tramway—give every variety of beach for the enjoyment of children and adults, by bathing, strolling, or resting in cosy corners.page 37 page 38 page 39
New zealand's Central Harbour, Wellington, commanding Cook Strait, which separates the North and South Islands, has natural advantages which give it pride of place among the Dominion's ports. The extensive wharves and good equipment for the working of cargo, and large storage accommodation, have made the port well and favourably known in the shipping world.
The area of the harbour is about 20,000 acres (approximately thirty square miles), well sheltered by a girdle of hills, with depths varying from 36 feet to 84 feet. Naturally the anchorage is good in this land-locked spread of safe water. The entrance exceeds 3,600 feet in its narrowest part, with a depth of 42 feet to 48 feet. Here the current never exceeds two knots. The approach is exceptionally well lighted by a powerful lamp on Pencarrow Head, helped by a low-level light and also by leading lights situated inside the harbour.
The port has eight wharves, and almost continuous breastworks extending over nearly a mile and a-half of waterfront. The total lineal berthage is 15,627 feet, with depths of water alongside varying from 16 feet to 41 feet. About 4,000 teet of this berthage is linked up with the Dominion's railway system. In addition, there are six suburban wharves, totalling 2,096 lineal feet of berthage.
In 1915 there were thirty-one stores with a floor area of 382,549 square feet, and a gross capacity of 7,284,465 cubic feet. These buildings (which include cool storage for cheese and sheds for the dumping of wool) are all equipped with mechanical lifting appliances—part of the complete and elaborate system of hydraulic and electric plants installed for receiving and loading cargo. The hydraulic cranes (nearly all movable), ranging in power from two to thirty-five tons, are placed at convenient intervals on the wharves.
As the Harbour Board is a public body, whose objects are the providing of shipping facilities and the encouragement of trade the charges, have been arranged on the most reasonable basis possible The policy is to produce only such a margin of revenue over working expenses as will suffice to cover standing charges and leave a small reserve fund for contingencies.
Wellington's Harbour Board is the only one in New Zealand that acts as wharfinger The Board receives goods from the ship's slings gives receipts, and delivers to consignees or tranships to other vessels as required. This system of a central control is better and cheaner than the ordinary run of private enterprise. This activity of the Board requires a permanent staff of 326 (including officers). In addition, for the receiving and delivery of cargo, the Board employs a large number of casual hands, varying from 150 in winter to 550 in the busiest season.
The Board keeps a staff of three pilots, but pilotage is not compulsory No towage is needed in entering or leaving the harbour. The facilities for coaling watering and general provisioning are excellent Wellington is New Zealand's busiest port. During the year 1915 (a war year) the number of vessels that arrived was 3442, With a net register of tonnage totaling 3,153,071. The total revenue was £237,421 (including £4.664 from rents and £5,125 interest on fixed deposits). At 30th September, 1915, the Board's total assets amounted to £1,431,412, leaving a balance of £571,262 over liabilities (including loans, £850,000.
A programme of new works has been planned to meet the ever-increasing business.