Street history: Evans Bay Parade

Last updated 10:41 10/08/2012
Evans Bay Parade 2012

Now: Evans Bay Parade is a busy road, especially at the Cobham Dr intersection.

Evans Bay Parade 1950
Then: By the 1950s Evans Bay Parade was a popular boating spot.

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Evans Bay Parade is long not only in its distance, but also in its history.

The street, which stretches 4.3 kilometres from Oriental Parade to Rongotai Rd and is one of the longest roads in Wellington. It has a history that dates back to the mid-1800s, when it was named after barrister and politician George Samuel Evans (1802-1868).

Mr Evans and his wife Harriett arrived in Wellington on the migrant ship the Adelaide in 1839.

He was actively involved in the New Zealand Company and became the chief judicial authority in the colonists committee before he was elected as magistrate in 1840.

Today Evans Bay Parade is a popular residential area and houses upscale modern apartments.

However, a century ago, the street formed the centre of what was a large boating and sea-oriented community.

The street was the site of boating clubs and was the training base for the Wellington Navals' Association in 1896 and 1897.

In 1918, Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club was founded. Initially members of the club gathered in a small boat- shed on the parade but in 1921 a larger, permanent clubhouse was built.

From 1949 till 1954 this clubhouse was used as the customs and immigration point for "flying boats". These aircraft, which took off and landed on water, operated as an air link to Sydney.

It was the first international air service to operate out of Wellington.

The Evening Post reported the flying boats seated about 27 passengers and the flight took about seven hours.

In 1954, due to the increasing popularity of land-based air services, the flying boat service was closed.

Evans Bay Parade has also been at the hub of Kilbirnie's sports scene.

With two large parks on the street, Kilbirnie Park and Evans Bay Park, the street became a popular spot for sports.

Evans Bay Parade is the site of one of the country's oldest schools, St Patrick's.

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