Topic: Regina Place/Victoria Esplanade Retaining Wall (1901)

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Regina Place retaining wall (2) 2017

                                by Hamish Crimp

This wall is the largest surviving retaining wall constructed from Taranaki andesite in New Plymouth, and was completed around 1901.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, the Railways Department was looking to extend the New Plymouth railway yards which were then located on the seafront, opposite central New Plymouth (present day foreshore area). However, part of this plan involved substantial reclamation work - extending outwards into the Tasman Sea, and also inwards towards Kawau Pa/Mt Eliot; with much of the fill from Kawau Pa used to reclaim beach land in front of the town. Whilst this plan also included the construction of a desperately needed new railway station, many residents voiced their concerns over the loss of the swimming beach, and also of part of Regina Place, or as it was widely known 'Victoria Esplanade' - a valued recreation spot opened in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. 

A compromise was found, and the Railways Department agreed to retain access to the Esplanade from the area in front of the Terminus Hotel and Beach (Richmond) Cottage - this area of Regina Pl is now a walkway from St Aubyn St, opposite Queen St. As part of the works, and to protect the cliff face from collapsing, a retaining wall was constructed - this is the current wall which starts at the beginning of Regina Pl opposite Queen St, and continues until Regina Pl intersects with the Coastal Walkway. 

The curving grey stone wall is a particular feature of this section of the Coastal Walkway, and would be a fantastic spot for an interpretative panel detailing the history of New Plymouth's waterfront and rail heritage - past railway stations etc.

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Regina Place/Victoria Esplanade Retaining Wall (1901)


City:New Plymouth