Topic: Victoria Street - Waitara (TDN 14/01/2017)
Victoria Street, developed in the 1960s, is named after an Australian ship that played a role in the first Taranaki War 100 years earlier.
The Victoria was a sail and steam propelled sloop, built in Britain in the 1850s at the then staggering cost of £38,000, more than five times the initial estimate. Armed with two 32-pounder cannons, it was purchased by the government of Victoria, Australia, in 1856 to assist in defending the fledgling colony. Never having to do much in the way of defending, it was used more frequently for peaceful duties such as rescue missions to stranded sailing boats, destitute gold miners or lost explorers.
In 1859 the boat helped lay the first submarine telegraph cable between Victoria and Tasmania.
Its links with Taranaki date to 1860. In a voyage completed in a record-breaking five days, it was used to transport soldiers from Tasmania to New Zealand during the first Taranaki War. The Victoria was then used to maintain supply routes between New Plymouth and Auckland and evacuate women and children to Nelson. Decommissioned in 1880, it was sold into civilian use and eventually broken up in about 1896.
A monument to the ship, featuring one of its swivel links, was dedicated in 1959 in the seaside town of Queenscliff, Victoria.
As part of a large new sub-division in Waitara in the early 1960s building boom, an extension at the western end of High Street was developed through to Mayne Street. The new extension was named after the sloop. Survey plans indicate it's possible that a complex of shops were initially planned for the intersection of Victoria and Raleigh Streets. If so, only one was ever built and the area instead remains an informal open space known as Victoria Park.
Wood Street and Norman Street in Waitara are named after crewmen of the sloop Victoria.