- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- October 1982 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On the 16th February 1888, HMS CALLIOPE led HMS DIAMOND into the newly completed dry dock at Calliope Point on Auckland’s north shore. This dock is still in use today as the main docking facility for the RNZN. In the following photographs we see the opening scenes of the history of this famous New Zealand landmark.
In its early days the dock was operated by the Auckland Harbour Board, an arrangement that was to carry on well into the 1930s.
To mark the importance of the dock, the official ceremony was attended by Admiral Fairfax, RN, with units of the Australian Squadron, namely HM Ships NELSON, DIAMOND, CALLIOPE, OPAL, and SWINGER.
After CALLIOPE and DIAMOND had been settled on the keel blocks, the lock gate was closed and the two dock pumps started, one by Admiral Fairfax, the other by the Governor, Sir William Jervois. As it was quite a festive occasion, some very kindhearted people donated six casks of beer for the ship’s companies of CALLIOPE and DIAMOND. Being true blue jackets, the sailors entered into the festivities with great gusto, a brawl developed between them and the local constabulary. Order was restored when a platoon of Royal Marines was landed to break up the fight.
The building of this dock was no mean feat, as all the excavation work was done by hand, with horses and drays the only means of getting rid of the spoil. Over the years the dock has been lengthened a couple of times so that it would be able to serve the largest ships on the station. As it is now used only for naval work there seems little likelihood that it will ever be lengthened again.