Fascinating facts about Devonport
Did you know that Devonport was once an island? Named after the Devonport naval base in England – Devonport is home to the Royal New Zealand Navy. Famed for its collection of Victorian villas, Devonport also has the earliest purpose-built cinema that’s still in existence in the Southern Hemisphere.
Devonport’s foreshore is where the great Waka (Maori canoe) Tainui landed in the 14th century and also where the British Navy arrived in 1840. Three volcanic cones formed the key landmarks of Devonport – Mount Victoria, North Head and Mt Cambria. Mt Cambria was quarried away to provide garden walls, roading and ships ballast.
The first ferries travelling between Devonport and Auckland city started in the 1840s and were open sailing cutters taking passengers to Queen Street. In 1860 paddlesteamer ferries began operating on the route – superceded by double-ended, screw-driven ferries in 1904. Passenger and vehicle ferries were in use until the Auckland Harbour Bridge opened in 1959. Today Devonport is just a 12 minute ferry trip from downtown Auckland.