Sunday, July 14, 2013

Big Omaha Wharf

Having spent alot of time down Warkworth way, one weekend my teens & I stumbled across the old Big Omaha Wharf - there's a wee plaque in the building that states it was used back in the 1920s when the tide and water was alot deeper. The first users of the wharf was by local families from the area: Meiklejohns, Birdsalls and Williams. Another attraction was when Jack Walden moved his shop here and many people came to trade kauri gum, produce and gossip. Between the 1850s and 1880s the Meiklejohns built a jetty then thanks to a Government grant the first timber wharf was built here. In 1924 the concrete structure was initiated by the Ministry of Works.

The Dominion Bridge Company Ltd built the wharf and it was registered under the Historic Places Trust 1993 - information about this states:

The Big Omaha Wharf at Rodney is a type of wharf that was built in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to reach out to deep water, and hence in some cases attained to lengths of up to 300 feet (or just over 100 metres.) In the case of this wharf however, it does not extend out over a beach in order to reach deep water. Consequently the length of the wharf is quite short, being just 37 feet Typical features are:- Twentieth century reinforced concrete construction. Concrete decking supported on beams, Additional extras in the form of bollards and a shed on the decking.

Advertisements from Papers Past suggest it was used as a drop off/pick up for mail & cargo by the Northern Steamship Company, not only that but it was also used as a petrol outlet. Across the way at Point Wells there was a shipyard owned by the Darroch Brothers so I imagine it was a busy wee inlet.

(Rodney & Otamatea Times - 5th September 1928)

When the local authority threatened to demolish the wharf in 1996, local residents formed the Big Omaha Wharf Restoration Society Inc., which has obtained Lotteries funding to prepare a conservation plan for the structure. Lotteries funding for conservation work has been delayed until ownership of the wharf is transferred from the TLA to a society [Dave Pearson, per comment 5/8/97]. (Also from Historic Places Trust website)

Unfortunately I can't seem to find any information about when the wharf ceased to be used so if anyone has any information please let me know.


Liz said...

It was a real focal point during its heydeys Amy. I've researched a scow that sank off Takaktu Point. they sank not long after they left the wharf. Cause 8 bottles of beer.

Amy said...

awesome! Takatu is a cool area. 8 bottles of beer lol. Hard to believe it took that.

Liz Clark said...

When I do the write up I'll title it Eight bottles of beer...LOL. I love Takatu we used to go fishing off there in Dad's boat.