New Zealand’s First Iron and Stone Bridge Built To Last – 28th September 1865

The Papanui Bridge, and Papanui Road for that matter, were very important in the first few years of the settlement of Christchurch.

It was where timber from the Papanui Bush (now the site of the Papanui Domain on Sawyers Arms Road) was brought into the city via drays to be sold at Market Square (Victoria Square).

In 1865, the old wooden bridge was replaced with New Zealand’s first iron and stone bridge. It remains the oldest of its kind in New Zealand! In 1877, the bridge was renamed to the Victoria Street Bridge to match the street name change from Papanui/Whately Roads to Victoria Street. The iron girders were actually damaged during the sea voyage and the repairs made on them can still be seen today. The protected bridge can still be viewed today as a memorial.
In 1989, the Victoria Street Bridge was renamed the Hamish Hay Bridge, in memory of Christchurch’s longest serving Mayor.

For a more in depth look at the Hamish Hay Bridge, please check out the following link:

* Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library – Victoria Street bridge including Supreme Court, Christchurch. Head, Samuel Heath, d 1948 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-007130-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

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