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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Flourmillers, Grocers, Etc

Flourmillers, Grocers, Etc.

Bruce, George, and Co. , Phænix Mill. Oamaru, Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. This mill was established in 1868, and was altered to a roller milling plant in 1897. The brand. “White Spray, is well-known throughout the Colony, being sold by the firm whelesale only, and chiefly in the Wellington provincial district, where there is an agency. The site of the mill is about nine acres in extent and there is another area of thirty-five acres, where a large mill dam, covering six acres, was erected at a cost of £1500. The plant is driven by water-power, there being a 34 feet iron wheel.

Mr. George Bruce was born in the North of Scotland, in 1833, and had been connected with milling since his early days. He went in 1857 to America, where he was engaged for six years in the milling business, and arrived at Port Chahmers, by the ship “Electric,” in 1863. After a short residence in Dunedin, where he was engaged at his trade, he settled in the Oamaru district, and worked in connection with the Phœnix mill from 1872 to 1881, when he leased the premises, and five years later became their proprietor. Mr. Bruce had been interested in acclimatisation for many years, and was for some time president of the local acclimatisation society. He was a keen and successful angler. Mr. Bruce was married, in 1862, to a daughter of Mr. Robert McKay, of Caithness-shire, Scotland, and had five sons and three daughters. He died on the 13th of January, 1904.

The late Mr. G. Bruce.

The late Mr. G. Bruce.

Ireland and Co. , Millers and Grain Merchants. Office and Store, Harbour Street. Mil's, corner of Severn Street and Cross Lane, Oamaru. P.O. Box, 8. Bankers, National Bank of New Zealand. This business, which was established in the early days of settlement in Oamaru, has been conducted by the present firm since 1882. The building used as a store and for offices in Harbour Street is erected in Oamaru stone. It is one storey in height, and has a storage capacity of 24,000 sacks. Messrs Ireland and Co's mill—a building of three stories in Oamaru stone—has a complete roller plant, which produces five sacks per hour. The machinery is driven by a Pelton turbine, which is supplied from the corporation water-works, and may be worked up to fifty-horse power. The flour produced from the mills is known by its brand Lily White,” and finds a ready sale in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.

Mr. John Ireland , sometime Senior Partner, was born in Edinburgh, brought up to the milling business in his native city, and came to Port Chalmers, per ship “Black Swan,” in 1862. After spending some years on the Otago goldfields, he settled in Oamaru in 1867, and fifteen years later he joined Mr. John Hadden Barr in the firm of Ireland and Co. Mr. Ireland died on the 8th of July, 1903, aged 61 years.

Mr. John Hadden Barr was born in Glasgow, came to Dunedin by the ship “Storm Cloud,” in 1861, and settled in Oamaru sixteen years later. Mr. Barr takes an interest in public affairs, and was for some time chairman of the Oamaru Harbour Board.

Meek, J. And T. (Thomas Meck, J.P.), Flourmillers and Grain Merchants, Oamaru. Telephones—Mills, 21; Elovator, 42. P.O. Box 471. Bankera, Bank of New Zealand. Private residence, Aln Street. Cable address, “Meek, Oamaru.” The first flourmill owned by the Messrs Meek was established in 1867. It is a wooden building situated in Severn Street, and when it was opened it contained two pairs of stones. In 1872 the firm purchased the Crown Mills, together with the land, which includes an acre and a half of freehold. The building is four stories in height, is of Oamaru stone, and has a capacity of ten sacks per hour. It was converted from a stone mill into a roller mill in 1886; it contains the latest silk-dressing machinery, and is driven by a horizontal tandem Corliss steam engine of 100 horsepower, made by Musgrave of Bolton. The firm has a second mill, which was erected about 1878. This building was acquired in 1891.

It is built of Oamaru stone, is three stories in height, has a capacity of four sacks to the hour, and is driven by a water motor from the town supply. The brard of the firm is “Snowdrop.” Messrs J. and T. Meek have spent a large sum of money in the erection of a five-storey building, known as the Elevator, which was built in 1883 for the storage of grain in bulk. The building, which is constructed on the American principle, is said to be the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and it is so advantageously constructed that grain can be handled at about half the ordinary cost. The engine which works the elevator is situated in the cellar of the building, where there are two immense worms, which work in tunnels under the entire building. Two more of these worms are situated on the top floor, each being 130 feet long. By means of this contrivance the grain can be conveyed to and fro. There are thirty-six immense bins, each fifty-four feet in depath, with a capacity of 1100 sacks, and the total storage of the entire building is equal to 90,000 sacks. The total floorage space of the elevator is upwards of 55,000 square feet, and 700,000 feet of timber were used in its construction.

Mr. Thomas Meek , J.P., was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1842. He was educated in his native village, where he was brought up as a joiner, and arrived in Dunedin by the ship “Electric,” in 1863, and settled in Oamaru during the same year. After working as a contractor for about four years, he invsted in a throshing machine, which he worked for about six years, and the business thus begun developed into flour milling Mr. Meek was for many years a member of the Oamaru Borough Council, and held a sent on the Oamaru Harbour Board for over ten years. He was married, in 1866, to page 547 a daughter of the late Mr. Hurst, and has three sons and three daughters.

Mr. T. Meek.

Mr. T. Meek.

Mr. Andrew Miller , Head Miller at Messrs J. and T. Meek's Harbour Street Mill, Oamaru was born in 1878, at Oamaru, where he was educated. On leaving school he entered the service of Messrs J and T. Meek, and graduated through every department in the mill. After five years he went to Riverton. where he was head miller for Messrs Tweedie and McLean for twelve months. Mr. Miller subsequently found employment in connection with gold dredging for two years, and again joined Messrs Meek's staff. Shortly afterwards he went to Palmerston as head miller at Mr. Gow's mill, where he continued for sixteen months before accepting his present position at Oamaru in June, 1903. Mr. Miller is attached to the Loyal Oamaru Lodge of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity.

Bee, William , General Merchant, Biscuit Manfacturer, and Ham and Bacon Curer, corner of Tyne and Itchen Streets, Oamaru. Telephone 4. P.O. Box 106. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Private residence, corner of Wharfe and Wansbeck Streets. This business was originally established in the fifties by the late Mr. Henry France, and was acquired in 1867 by the present proprietor's elder brother, Mr. James Bee, who died in 1894. The brothers entered into business partnership under the style of J. and W. Bee in 1868, and the history of the business has been one of steady development since that time, and has been continued solely by Mr. W. Bee since 1888. The premises occupied are erected on a large leasehold section, and consist of a substantial one-storey building in Oamaru stone. The offices are located at the corner of Tyne Street, and the retail grocery and other departments occupy the Itchen Street frontage. Behind the shop a two-storey building is used as a bakehouse, where bread, cake and biscuits are manufactured. Mr. Bee has thrown his energy and enterprise into the biscuit trade, and has imported the latest machinery to turn out large quantities of the most satisfactory lines, including plain and fancy in all varieties. For these goods there is a large demand in wholesale parcels throughout the Colony. Ham and bacon curing is another branch of the manufacturing department of the business. Mr. Bee purchases large quantities of very fine well-fed pork from the farmers in the district, and has attained such success with the cured article that the entire output finds a very ready sale locally. Regular shipments of general groceries, wines, and spirits, crockery and glassware, and other lines come to harnd by direct steamers. Besides a large wholesale trade, Mr. Boe has an extensive rotail connection, and five carts are regularly employed in the delivery of goods. Commodious stables and a paddock are available at the back of the business premises. The Oamaru bond—the only one in the town—is Mr. Bee's property, and faces Tyne Street. Mr. Bee is referred to elsewhere as an ex-member of the Oamaru Borough Council.

Bee, William , General Storekeeper, Thames Street branch, Oamaru; Head Office, Corner of Tyne and Itchen Streets. The Thames Street branch of this well known business was established in 1901, and is conducted in a one storey stone building, which comprises a large double-fronted shop with offices and store.

Mr. Charles Bee , Manager of the Thames Street branch of the business, is the second son of the proprietor, and was born in 1873. He was educated at the Waitaki Boys' High School, was brought up to business in his father's firm, and appointed manager of the Thames Street branch at its opening. Mr. Bee has been connected with the Oamaru Garrison Band since 1893. As a Freemason he is a member of Lodge Oamaru Kilwinning, and as an Oddfellow he has passed the chairs in the local Lodge of the Manchester Unity. Mr. Bee was married, in 1900, to a daughter of Mr. H. Finlinson, of Maheno.

Brown, Alexander , General Grocer. Tees Street, Oamaru. This business, which is one of the oldest in the district, was acquired by the present proprietor in 1902. It is conducted in a two storey stone building, containing a large double-fronted shop, with an office behind and residence overhead. Mr. Brown was born in 1860, in Lanarkshire, Scotland where he was educated and apprenticed to the grocery trade. He arrived at Port Chalmers by the s.s. “Arawa,” in November, 1886, and after two years at his trade in Dunedin removed to Oamaru. A year later Mr. Brown entered the service of Mrs E. White, the former proprietress of his present business, for whom he managed the business for thirteen years before purchasing it. He is a member of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society, and was secretary of the local Lodge for nine years. Mr. Brown was married, in 1881, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Marshall, of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and has had four sons and two daughters, of whom one daughter has died.

J.C. Milligan, photo. An 18lb Trout Caught at Waitaki Mouth.

J.C. Milligan, photo.
An 18lb Trout Caught at Waitaki Mouth.

Mahan and Muir, photo. Mr. A. Brown.

Mahan and Muir, photo.
Mr. A. Brown.

Clark Brothers (Alexander David Clark, Robert Baikie Clark, and Allan Stuart Clark), Produce Merchants, Farmers, Threshing Mill Owners, and Flour Millers. Head office, Humber Street, Oamaru; Farm and Implement Works, Reidston; Flour Mill, Maheno Valley. This firm dates from 1891, when Messrs Clark Brothers commenced farming at Reidston, and the other branches have gradually been added. The farm consists of 250 acres of freehold land, originally part of page 548 the Totara estate, and is devoted mostly to grain growing. The implement department at Reidston is under the care of Mr. R. B. Clark, and the establishment is fitted up with a complete plant for repairing agricultural machinery, consisting of a four-horse power steam engine, together with lathes, boring machines forges and other appliances. The firm owns four traction engines, a portable engine, three threshing mills two clover shellers, three chaff cutters, and a straw press; and all this machinery is fully employed during the season. The Oamaru Branch, now the head office, was opened in 1898, and the premises consist of a large stone building, erected on freehold land, and have a storage capacity of 22,000 bags of grain. It is connected with the railway by a siding, and two turn-tables, so that trucks can run inside for loading. Messrs Clark Brothers ship their own grain, as well as the produce of their flour mill, to all parts of the colony. They are agents for Planet Junior tools, and hold the sole New Zealand agency for Perkin's Patent bag lifter, a most ingenious labour saving contrivance. The Maheno Valley Roller Flour Mill, which was recently purchased by the firm, is referried to elsewhere in this volume.

Mr. Allan Stuart Clark , Of the firm of Clark Brothers, Oamaru, Reidston and Maheno, was born in the Orkney Islands, in 1878, and was brought to Port Chalmers the following year by his father, the late Mr. James Clark, of Rcidston. He attended school at Maheno, was brought up to engineering, and drove a traction engine when fourteen years old. Mr. Clark holds a second class certificate as an engine driver, and is now engaged in the Maheno Flour Mills owned by his firm. He resides at Reidston, where he owns fifteen acres of freehold land, on which his homested stands. Mr. Clark was married, in January, 1902, to a daughter of Mr. William Robertson, of Inchholme.

Mr. Robert Baikie Clark , Of the firm of Clurk Brothers, supervises the engineering departmnet of the business. He was Lorn in 1863. in the Orkney Islands, and came with his parents to Port Chalmers in 1879. Mr. Clark went to school at Maheno, where he also learned the business of a blacksmith. He was a member of the North Otago Mounted Rifles for about six yars.

Frith, William Henry , Varnish Manufacturer, Thames Street, Oamaru. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Private residence, Thames Street. The varnish manufactory conducted by Mr. Frith deserves to be classed amougst the succesful industries of Oamaru. It was established in 1888. The two buildings used for the purpose of the factory are each one storey in height, both are erected of Oamaru stone, and together they contain over two thousand square feet of floorage space. Enght furnaces are used in connection with the various processes of manufacture. Such has been Mr. Frith's success that the general exhibit of samples of all his varnishes gained a gold medal at the Dunedin Jubilee Exhibition of 1898. The trade has developed extensively since its establishment, and the demand for varnishes comes from all parts of New Zealand. Mr. Frith deals wholesale only with the trade, and as a varnish manufacturer he stands in the front rank within the Colony, in connection with his own line of goods. Some idea of the extent of his operations may be gained from the fact, that in a recent month over four hundred gallons of varnish were sent out. Mr. Frith is represented in the North Island by resident agents in Auckland and Wellington; customers in the South Island are periolically visited by Mr. Frith himself.

Mr. W. H. Frith , the Proprietor, was born in Batley, Yorkshire, in 1854, educated at the Battley Grammar School England, and at the Little Falls Academy, New York, America, and came to Port Chalmers in 1875, by the ship “Invercargill.” A year later he settled in the Oamaru district, where he established himself as a house decorator, and carried on business as such until he opened his varnish factory. The special lines manufactured are varnishes, both house and carriage, gold size, terebine, Brunswick black, patent knotting, office gum, liquid glue, dry sized, calcimine, and lacquers; together with colour manufacturing and colour grinding in all their bzanches, and the manufacture of patent dryers, with all the modern improvements in grinding machinery. On one occasion, Mr. Frith contested the Oamaru seat against the Hon. T. W. Hislop, but was defeated after a keen contest. He has long taken a general interest in local movements in Oamaru, has been and is now a member of the Oamaru Borough Council; has been associated with the Protestant Alliance Society, in which he has taken all the chairs, and he twice represented the South Island on the Grand Council, which was held some years ago at the Thames. Mr. Frith was married, in 1872, to a daughter of the late Mr. W. Bruce, of Batley, and has four sons and six daughters.

Headland, Alfred James Samuel , J.P., General Merchant and Importer, Thames Street, Oamaru. Telephone 48. P.O. Box 46. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. Private residence, Wansbeck Street. Mr. Headland, who is referred to olsewhere as a member of the hospital board, established his business in 1866. The building is of one storey, in Oamaru stone, and was erected for the purpose of the businoss. It fronts Thames Street, and at the rear there are the bakehouse, stabling accommodation, and a bacon-curing plant. The total storage space available in connection with the premises amounts to about 100,000 square feet Mr. Headland is a direct importer of iron, hardware, groceries, wines and spirits, crockery, and glassware, paints, oils, and sundries. He keeps a full and well-assorted stock in every line in which he deals, and has a large business as a baker and ham and bacon curer. Mr. Headland's business extends throughout the North Otago district, and he has five carts employed in the delivery of goods, within an area of ten miles of Oamaru.

Smith, John Robert , General Grocer, Thames Street, Oamaru. This business, which was founded in September, 1301, by the present proprietor, is carried on in [gap — reason: illegible] one storey stone building containing shop and residence. Mr. Smith was born in 1858, in Norfolk, England, and became a Yarmouth fisherman. He followed a seafaring life for a short time before coming to Port Chalmers by the ship Taranaki” in 1831. Mr. Smith settled at Oamaru, where he was successively employed as storeman, groom and gardener, waggoner, brewer, cellarman, maltster, caretaker, sewing machine traveller and expressman. He also drove for Mr. A. J. S. Headland for thirteen years, before founding the business he now carries on in Thames Street, in 1901. Mr. Smith has passed through the page 549 chairs in the local Lodge of Druids three times. He was married, in April, 1882, to a daughter of the late Mr. John Cookson, of Newcastleon-Tyne, England.

Mahan and Muir, photo. Mr. and Mrs J. R. Smith.

Mahan and Muir, photo.
Mr. and Mrs J. R. Smith.

Townsend, Francis Henry , Commission and Produce Merchant. Tyne Street Oamaru. Mr. Townsend was born in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England, on the 2nd of November, 1841, and went to school at Trowbridge. he was brought up to farming, and also gained experience in butchering. In 1859 he emigranted to Victoria, and was for some months in Ballarat, where he followed his trade as a butcher. In 1862 he landed in Otago, and settled in Caversham, where he engaged in farming for five years. Afterwards he was farming in the Burnside district for six years. In 1875 he settled in Oamaru and established his present business on a leased section in Tyne Street. He was the first to build on the Harbour Board land. The building is of stone and from, and, with additions, it has all along served as his residence and place of business. The premises extend from Tyne Street to Harbour Street, and are, in part, two stories in height. In the early days Mr. Townsend served for three years as a member of the Borough Council and also served in the local volunteer corps. Mr. Townsend was married, on the 24th of July, 1865, to a daughter of the late Mr. Edward Lees, of Wigtonshire, Scotland, and has surviving, five sons and three daughters.