Wilmot Pass has special status in Southland
Southland's only pass which is crossed by a road is Wilmot Pass, 671m, between Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound.
Southland has plenty of passes crossable by trampers, and other roads cross hills, saddles and The Divide but we don't seem to have the fondness for naming road passes that Otago and Canterbury have.
Wilmot Pass, on New Zealand's westernmost road, affords the first view of the fiords to thousands of travellers and schoolchildren making for Deep Cove. It was named after surveyor E H Wilmot in 1897 and the 21km road was completed by 1965, replacing the Doubtful Sound Track. Photo shows tourists at Wilmot Pass.
The largest Southland-built vessel for a time was the Cavalier, built by Hart Brothers at Riverton in 1895. She was made from rimu, rata and miro and was 22m long by 5.1m wide. She transported passengers and goods between the ports on the Southland coast - muttonbirds, possums, Ruapuke granite and timber being among her cargoes. She was wrecked at Mason Bay on May 26, 1901, at what is now called Cavalier Creek.
Southland's only policeman killed while on duty was Constable Peter Murphy who died in a shooting in Invercargill on September 25, 1976 during a failed robbery of a sports store. In the past 127 years 29 police officers have been killed on duty.
The first visit to Southland by a bishop was in 1844 when George Augustus Selwyn, Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, visited the Foveaux Strait communities, spending January 28 to February 2 on Ruapuke - the largest settlement - and calling at Bluff, Port William, The Neck, Halfmoon Bay, Murray River, Codfish and Riverton. In 1857 Henry Harper, Bishop of Christchurch, visited Invercargill when it consisted of a few houses made from slabs and pongas. Part of the trip involved wading the Waituna Lagoon naked on the long trek around the southern coast.
Southland's first flying-boat was a Supermarine Walrus seaplane which alighted on Bluff Harbour on March 4, 1938 . She was from the HMS Achilles then visiting Milford Sound. A large crowd witnessed the event.
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