MICHAEL FOWLER’S HISTORIC HAWKE’S BAY
Bridge divided communities
Although hard to imagine now, this is a view of the road from Taradale looking towards Scinde Island (now Napier Hill) in the 1880s.
The bridge in the foreground was known as Number One Bridge, which crossed a channel of swamp and tidal water 70 feet (21.3 metres) in length. Two other bridges were required, and one of them acted as the toll bridge, where money was paid to use the bridge.
Tolls were very unpopular with Napier people, who complained about having to pay them to visit either Havelock (crossing Tareha’s Bridge at Awatoto) or Taradale.
The road to Taradale, which was opened in 1873, was originally known as Corduroy Road, due to its cross- sectioned surface, which meant it was safer footing for horses.
Before the road was opened, those wanting to visit Taradale had to travel to Awatoto along the Napier foreshore, and then come back through Meeanee.
Henry Tiffen, a member of the Provincial Council of Hawke’s Bay, and significant land owner at Greenmeadows, was the prime mover to get the road built. The new road encouraged settlement in the Taradale area, due to ease of access to and from the main town, Napier.
Reclamation of the swampy land Corduroy Road crossed took place over the next 30 years, where many of the swamps were drained.
(Acknowledgement to Janet Gordon and Shirley Spence’s Taradale: The Story of a Village 1844-2000.)
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Photo caption – TOLL REQUIRED: in the early days Taradale was accessible from Napier only by a toll bridge.
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