Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Brighton Pier

The pier was opened on 1 November 1997, on the site of the original New Brighton Pier which had been demolished more than 30 years previously. It is the biggest ocean pier in Australasia.
The original pier was opened back in 1894 by the Governor General, Lord Glasgow, in the presence of large crowds who travelled to the beach by special trams. The pier provided the citizens of Christchurch with a recreational destination in the traditional British style - the pier had a “penny arcade” full of games and amusements and even a nightclub.
By 1965, the pier had become so run down that the council ordered that it be demolished. On the night of October 12, between 2.30am and 7am workmen, demolished the pier using a bulldozer. About 100 20 ft piles were winched out or cut off 18 inches below ground level.
A group of residents formed the Pier and Foreshore Society to try to save the pier and they continued to campaign for a new pier after its destruction. Thirty years of lobbying and fundraising in the community saw almost $2 million raised from the community which was matched by a further $2 million from the Christchurch City Council and a new pier design was finally approved in 1994.

The pier is used today for recreation and fishing. Hector dolphin can often be seen swimming in the waters immediately around the pier.
These historic photographs of New Brighton show the pier over the years.
Pier facts:
Length: 300 metres
Height: 7 metres above high tide
Width: 6 metres
Deck: 900mm thick pre-stressed concrete
Piles: 17 piles, 1.4 metres diameter, 20 metres apart

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