Monday, February 15, 2010

Bridges on the New Lynn to Huia Road

I've been looking into the Waitemata County Council meeting reports, from 1876-1918, lately. Mainly because there is no index in existence, as far as I can tell, for the early meetings (the one held by Waitakere City Council starts from c.1918). The focus of the hunt through the meeting reports, from Weekly News primarily, was to do with determining, where possible, when some of the bridges were built along the New Lynn to Huia Road.

As Timespanner is a research lab and collection of notes -- here are some from emails I've sent to others also interested in the information.

Bridge by Landing Road

May 1885
A report was read from the Engineer on the Titirangi-Huia Road, which was now a main road, a road leading from Little to Big Muddy Creeks and the Huia ...

June 1885
Agreed that construction of the road be proceeded with, as soon as compensation claims arranged by local board (Titirangi) ...

July 1885
Lennox of the local board wrote, agreeing to employ County Council's Engineer and hill track men to be paid from ₤1000 grant ...

October 1885
Laing moved that the Engineer make plans and specifications for forming the section of the Huia and New Lynn Road through Mr. York's property, about 40 chains, and that tenders for the work be called as soon as the Local Board has compensated York for land taken ...

(York had land at the site of bridge beside Landing Road.)

January 1886
Laing unhappy with the state of contractor Price's work ... Engineer declared "the bridges erected were first class workmanship" ... Price's contract fee paid out.

I'd say the earliest that wee bridge beside Landing Road dates from would be late 1885, as part of the contract by this fellow Price.

Cantwell, by the way, wasn't such a stickler for brick or stone bridges as J T Diamond thought in Once the Wilderness. His beef with the Whau Bridge construction in 1885-1887 was that the piles weren't deep enough. Interesting fact: the contractor for the Whau Bridge that time was Samuel White, likely the same Samuel White who was a partner with Frank Jagger and William Parker at the New Lynn Poudrette factory laster in the decade.

Huia Bridge

November 1896
Mitchelson writes to Waitemata County Council advising of ₤250 grant for Huia bridge. (WN, 14 November 1896)

January 1897
Thanks to the effort of our late representative in Parliament, the Hon. Mr. Mitchelson, ₤250 was voted last session for a bridge over the Huia River. Although this bridge is very urgently needed, no steps have yet been taken to commence this work. We hope the same mistake will not be repeated as was made with the two former grants for Huia, that is, to stop until winter is upon us, and then call for tenders, the works being much more expensive and troublesome for the contractors. While the requisite money is now available for the Huia bridge, we unfortunates are still required to wade through two feet of mud and one and a half feet of water at low tide. At high tide, if a boat is available, the person obliged to cross this river may consider himself very fortunate; if a boat is not available, the only alternative is to walk the booms. To do this successfully needs an education on the tight-rope, and very few folks in this district have received such education; the consequence is that almost every grown-up person in the Huia, ladies included, have received a compulsory bath, and not a few narrow escapes from drowning have occurred, as there are two holes in that part of the river about 20 feet in depth at full tide. One settler struck his knee on a chain in falling, and was lame for six months in consequence. Another instance; A lady last week went to spend the day with a neighbour, and crossed the river in a boat, leaving it ready to return in. On returning in the evening to re-embark, she found that someone had in the meantime borrowed the boat, and left it on the opposite shore, so that she was obliged to wade through the slippery mud and water up to her waist, with two babies in her arms. (WN, 23 January 1897)

May 1897
Sole tender for Huia bridge not accepted. (WN, 15 May 1897)

June 1897
Messrs Cochrane and Co. forwarded an amended tender for the contract for the Huia Bridge, but this being the only one received it was declined. Fresh tenders will be called in September. (WN, 12 June 1897)

August 1897
The Huia bridge is still a thing of the future. It is hoped by the settlers here that, when the Council call for tenders in September, they will at the same time call for tenders to complete the road at least as far as the school, they having a sufficient balance in hand from the previous grant by the Government for the Huia roads to accommodate this – namely, ₤100. (WN, 14 August 1897)

September 1897
It was resolved in reply to a petition from ratepayers to call for tenders for the construction of a bridge over the Huia River and the formation of another section of road toward the Manukau Heads. (WN, 11 September 1897)

October 1897
Thomas Clarke’s ₤197 tender for erecting a bridge over the Huia River accepted. (WN, 16 October 1897)


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