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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Dairy Industry

page 344

Dairy Industry.

Including—Dairy Factories and Associations, Dairy Produce Dealers, Etc.

Ambury, English and Co. (S. J. Ambury, Thomas English, and Joseph Ambury), Karangahape Road, Auckland. This business was begun in a small way in Karangahape Road by Messrs S. J. Ambury and English, who were subsequently joined by Mr J. Ambury; and Mr. T. H. Martyn, since dead, was also for a time a member of the firm. The firm is now one of the first of its kind in New Zealand, but at the outset it did not receive very cordial assistance from some of those whom its operations were specially calculated to benefit. Two years after it began, a meeting of the farmers in and around Mangere was convened to ascertain if they were willing to give the firm special support in regard to regularly supplying milk to a creamery it intended to establish. The advantages of bringing the vast market of England within the radius of Mangere's trading circle were urged strongly. The settlers, however, did not fall in with the views advocated; but, nevertheless, Messrs Ambury and English erected an up-to-date creamery, and took the milk as they could get it. Sixteen years ago the firm shipped its first ton of butter to England, and at the present time (1901) its average annual export is 150 tons. At Mangere the creamery is of incalculable benefit to the district. The milk is delivered daily, and at the end of each month many a farmer has a cheque for a substantial sum to cash. No industry in New Zealand has done so much to place the settler in an independent position as that of modern dairying. Formerly, he was the slave of a storekeeper, and “contras” swollen by exorbitant prices, absorbed every copper he earned by his hard toil. Now, through the establishment of dairies and creameries, things have been so much changed that in Taranaki, for instance, bankers, instead of lending to farmers, have to take their money on deposit, and, thanks to firms like that of Ambury, English and Co., this is true, or becoming true, of other districts in New Zealand. Messrs Ambury, English and Co. have eight creameries, some of which are in the Waikato and some at Kaipara. As suppliers of milk they keep their own dairy farms at Remuera and Mangere, and the firm employs upwards of eighty persons. Messrs Ambury, English and Co. have a very large city retail milk trade, and, in justice to their customers, they determined that the process of dairying should be carried on under their personal supervision. It is for this reason that they keep their own dairy farms. They pay particular regard to the health of the cows; to the sanitary arrangements of the cow-houses and milking-sheds, and to the purity of the water given to the animals. Any milk they purchase is supplied only by the most reliable dairy farmers in the district, whose cows and premises are periodically and thoroughly inspected; and no contract for the supply of milk is
Messrs Ambury, English & Co.'s Factory.

Messrs Ambury, English & Co.'s Factory.

page 345 ever entered into where there is the slightest suspicion of any contaminating influence. The fresh milk is conveyed twice daily from the farms to the city depot, and is then put through the process of pasteurisation, which ensures its absolute immunity from all micro-organisms or bacterial matter; and it is delivered to the customers absolutely pure, without the addition of any chemical or artificial preservative of any kind whatever. Pasteurised milk is milk scientifically treated up to the high temperature of 180 degrees F., and is then, by a sudden process of cooling down to 36 degrees F., restored to its full natural flavour. Pasteurising is very strongly recommended by the highest scientific authorities, such as Professor Pasteur (after whom the process was named), and other eminent men, who have conclusively proved that disease germs in the milk are effectively destroyed by pasteurisation. Messrs Ambury, English and Co, still deliver milk at 3d per quart, despite the considerable outlay they have been put to in importing the plant, part of which they received from Denmark. The milk and butter factory, situated near Karangahape and Ponsonby Roads, is the most modern of its kind in the colony. The building is 80 feet long by 40 feet wide. On the first floor the packing of the firm's butter, the “Butterfly” brand, is undertaken. The clean wooden boxes, lined with parchment packing paper, hold 56 pounds weight of butter. There is a large tank into which the milk is poured as it is received from the farms; and from this tank the milk passes through pipes to the floor below to be pasteurised. In a large cylinder it is heated by steam to the high temperature already mentioned. To do the refrigerating or cooling to the low temperature of the milk one of the Linde British Company's ammonia machines is used. Every month over 30,000 gallons of the milk are sold to customers in the city and suburbs; this necessitates the employment of twenty-seven deliverers, and the firm also supplies the shipping of Auckland in addition. Butter-making is carried on on the same floor as pasteurisation. The continual splash, splash sound denotes that the churns in use are on the cherry-churn principle, fitted with improvements. Each churn turns out 650 pounds of butter at a time. A 30 horse-power Tangye steam engine, connected with a forty horse-power multitubular boiler of the same make supplies the motive power to turn this machinery. The work in the factory is admirably carried out by a highly-efficient staff of twelve employes. The cleanliness of the establishment is a noticeable feature; and there is very little waste of water, as after it has been used in the refrigerator it passes into the boiler, and the exhaust steam is then condensed and utilised for cleaning purposes. Milk is delivered by the firm's carts twice daily; and fresh butter, churned every day, can always be obtained from the depot in Karangahape Road, or at the branches in Symonds Street, Ponsonby Road, Hobson Street, and North Shore.

Mr. S. J. Ambury is a native of Gloucestershire, England, and came to New Zealand in 1879. Mr English, who was born in Ireland, was a farmer in his native country. Mr. J. Ambury, like his brother, is a native of Gloucestershire, England.

New Zealand Dairy Association (Wesley Spragg, general manager), Wellesley Street, Auckland. This business was established in 1886 by Mr. Spragg in conjunction with Messrs Bycroft and Co., by whom it was successfully conducted till 1894, when Mr. J. C. Lovell and Mr. Spragg acquired the business. The farmers throughout the country supply the milk, and the butter—about 1100 tons annually—is sent to London to the Lovell and Christmas Company, probably the largest butter importers in England. The premises in Wellesley Street are elaborately fitted up, and exceedingly clean, and well conducted. Under the offices there is a cool cellar of large dimensions. The principal factories are at Pukekohe and Ngaruawahia, with forty-two contributing creameries. Over one hundred hands are employed. The brands are the well-known “New Zealand Dairy Association” and “Anchor.”

Mr. Wesley Spragg, the Manager, is the second son of the late Mr. Charles Spragg, of Auckland, and was born at Madeley, Shropshire, England, in 1848. He was educated at the Wesleyan school in his native town, and came to New Zealand with his parents by the ship “Ulcoates,” in 1863. Mr. Spragg was married, in 1872, to Miss Neil, daughter of the late Mr Robert Neil, of Epsom, Auckland, and has a family of five daughters and one son.

Mr. W. Spragg.

Mr. W. Spragg.

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