The Last Spike
Location: Southward Car Museum Carpark. Opposite 229 Otaihanga Road, Paraparaumu.
The government of Sir George Grey approved the construction of the Wellington and Manawatu Line on 27 August 1878. However, Grey's government was defeated in October 1879, and the government of Sir John Hall concluded that work should not proceed.
In response, John Plimmer, considered the “Father of Wellington” proposed the formation of a private company to build and operate the line. The Wellington Chamber of Commerce supported the move, and the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company was formed in May 1881. That same year the government passed the Railway Construction and Land Act, which allowed joint stock companies to build and run private railways. The company signed a contract to construct the line in 1882 in exchange for large tracts of Crown land along the route.
After four years construction, the 83 mile Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company Line was officially opened on 3 November 1886. The last spike was driven at a public ceremony by the Governor of New Zealand, Sir William Jervois. The first public timetable was introduced on 1 December 1886.
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