Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thames (NZ): Then & Now - Curtis' Wharf at Albert Street

Description: THAMES, AUCKLAND, IN THE EARLY DAYS: AN OLD PHOTOGRAPH, SHOWING CURTIS WHARF AND THE WHARF HOTEL WITH THE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND SITE OPPOSITE.
Source: ' Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19230419-44-1
Curtis' wharf was named after Charles Curtis who was a publican at the Pacific Hotel (c1869 to 1888 at least!), at the corner of Albert and Brown Street. In the c1867 photo above, the Pacific hotel can't be seen to the left of the Wharf Hotel on Albert and Brown Streets. The Grahamstown branch of the Bank of New Zealand had not yet been built (c1871) on the opposite corner. 

A view down Albert Street, showing the wharf and the salt water swimming pool on the left.

 In the Thames Advertiser 9 April 1874, is a typical advert for the Wharf. It was a busy area due to the Grahamstown and Tararu Tramway which left from the area, making it an easy commute for passengers arriving at the Curtis Wharf.
 
The papers in the 1890s report on-going problems with the piles at the wharf and the need for their replacement. Also that the wharf really needed extending or deepening to be of continued use. It must have been normal wear and tear because another report in 1907, when the wharf was being sold, said that the piles were still sound after 30 years.
 
"Mr Wm. Scott (Chairman, of the Thames Harbour Board) stated last night that the piles on which Curtis Wharf had stood for close on thirty years were quite sound. "What is the timber," was asked. "Ti-tree," replied Mr Scott "it is hard to get the big stuff now, but that it lasts has been proved over and 1 over again." (Thames Star, 4 September 1907, Page 2)
 
  
 

Over the years more of the pile structure has been removed, virtually nothing remains today.
Drive down to the end of Albert Street (south of the band rotunda) and remember the hive of activity that once surrounded Curtis' Wharf.

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