Ring around the city: Wellington’s new suburbs, 1900-1930 by Adrian Humphris and Geoff Mew
Steele Roberts Publishing, 200 pp. $45. Reviewed by SIMON NATHAN
Like most early New Zealand settlements, Wellington was sited on the edge of a good harbour. But there was little flat land around the harbour, and the town was boxed in by steep hills. By 1900 it was overcrowded, land prices were rising, and new suburbs were urgently needed on or beyond the hills. The key to the development of Wellington’s suburbs was a network of electric trams which were able to climb the hills and provide rapid transport to outer suburbs.
This book tells the story of Wellington’s suburbs using Kilbirnie and Kelburn as examples. Trams provided access to Kilbirnie and Hataitai (and later Miramar and Seatoun) while access to Kelburn came from the privately-run Kelburn cable car.