The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Petone, the third township served by the Wellington-Eketahuna line of railway, presents a very striking contrast when compared with those previously described. It is, in fact, a borough of some importance, containing nearly a thousand acres, decidedly the principal borough in the Hutt County, excluding, of course, the Capital itself.
There can be no doubt that Petone is destined to be the workshop for Wellington. Already the bulk of its population is engaged in the various industries carried on there. The town is well laid out with fairly wide streets, which are also quite straight, there being no engineering difficulties. It was doubtless the flatness of the land which in 1839 caused Colonel Wakefield to select Petone as the site for the first settlement of the New Zealand Company. The township was surveyed, and those who came in the first ships were landed there. Reference is made to this incident on page 241, where the reasons for the change of site are enumerated. Petone is still liable to occasional floods, and her wharf is by no means so snugly situated as that of the Capital; but it may fairly be said that the difficulties of half-a-century ago have been very greatly modified.
Hitherto, the drainage of Petone has been mainly and unpleasantly conspicuous by its absence; but a scheme is now being carried out which it is confidently hoped will entirely remove this somewhat serious drawback.
There is no public water supply in Petone. The residents obtain most of their water from artesian wells.
The town of Petone is almost entirely on the sea side of the Hutt Road, which, like the railway, skirts the harbour until Petone is reached. Flat land—so very scarce in Wellingon—abounds in Petone, and is a great attraction to cricketers, footballers, golfers, and others. It is a favourite resort for holiday-makers and excursionists; the lovely beach, the flat grass paddocks, the bush gullies and the towering hills in close proximity, all combine to suit the varied tastes of visitors.
Petone must advance, because its life is so closely identified with industries which, as far as Wellington is concerned, are in their infancy. The railway workshops cannot stand still; the Wellington Woollen Company must be ever increasing its staff of operatives, and probably this remark applies with still greater force to the Gear Meat Company, and to other industrial concerns.