The quaint 19th century village of Devonport is only a ten minute ferry ride from the center of Auckland. Many of the Victorian and Edwardian style buildings sit on the volcanic cone of North Head.
Forty thousand years ago, volcanic activity created thee island hills; Mount Victoria, North Head, and Mount Cambia (now pretty much quarried away). The earliest evidence of any kind of settlement was by the Maori during the middle of the fourteenth century. By the 1790’s , the last significant Maori village (then located on North Head) was destroyed by rival tribes. Approximately thirty years later (1827), James Dumont d’ Urville was the first European to visit the area. A harbormaster stationed on North Head in 1836 became the first “permanent” resident. Originally called “Flagstaff,”( because of a flagstaff that was raised on top of nearby Mount Victoria), the first European suburb was established on this peninsula four years later, making it one of the oldest colonies in Auckland. For the first fifty years, this colony was geographically isolated from the rest of the North Shore, with only a thin strip of land through the swamps which connected it with the rest of the peninsula. Because of this, the locals nicknamed the area, “The Island.” By the late 19th century, the Mangrove swamps were filled in to create a more permanent link with the North Shore. In 1859, Flagstaff was renamed “Devonport” after the English Naval town of the same name. The Calliope dock was created in Story Bay during February of 1888. At the time, this was the longest dock in the Southern Hemisphere. Among the many modern-day famous who have called Devonport home are Sir Peter Blake (of America’s Cup fame); the pop recording artist, Lorde; and artist, Mary Taylor. For a truly fantastic view of 19th century New Zealand life, Devonport is a tourist delight.