Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Sundry Manufacturers

Sundry Manufacturers.

The Linton Flax-Mill (G. Craw, proprietor), near the Linton railway station, about eight miles south from Palmerston North, was established by Mr. Craw in the year 1902. The mill originally stood on the upper side of the railway line, and was removed to its present site in the year 1904. There are 500 acres of freehold flax-bearing country connected with the mill. The premises consist of an iron building of the most up-to-date plan, and careful attention has been given to the outbuildings and men's quarters. The machinery and appliances are of modern type, and the motive power is supplied by a fourteen-horse power Marshall's compound portable engine. The mill gives employment to twenty-five persons, and there is a daily output of one ton of fibre. At Tokomaru, about three miles distant, Mr. Craw owns another mill cf a similar type and output, working a freehold block of 400 acres of vigorous flax. These two blocks, comprising 900 acres of the Makarua swamp, were purchased from the Wellington-Manawatu Railway Company in 1897, Mr. Craw being the first to take up the land. In conjunction with this flax area he has 700 acres of excellent farming country, adjoining the swamp, page 691 which is devoted to grazing purposes. Mr. Craw also owns a property about fifty-five miles south of Auckland, of 2,500 acres, half of which area is covered with well-grown flax.

Mr. G. Craw's Flax-Mill, Linton.

Mr. G. Craw's Flax-Mill, Linton.

The Oroua Flax-Mill, situated near the Oroua Bridge, about nine miles from Palmerston North, was established by Mr. Sutherland, and was taken over in the vear 1903 by the present proprietor. The building is of wood and iron, and contains a first-class machinery plant, driven by a powerful modern engine. The mill employs twenty-five men, and the daily output is about one ton. Mr. Smith holds cutting rights over 500 acres of excellent flax country.

Mr. William George Charles Smith, proprietor of the Oroua Flaxmill, was born in the year 1873. in Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, where he was educated at the public schools. He afterwards followed sheep station life for about ten years, and in 1898 turned his attention to flax-milling. In 1898 he started on his own account in the Manawatu district, worked the mill for about three years, and subsequently built his present mill at Oroua. Mr. Smith has taken a keen interest in local volunteering matters; he joined the Manawatu Mounted Rifles in the year 1898, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant-major in 1905. He is a member of the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, the Employers' Association, the Racing Club, the Bowling Club, and other local clubs.

Seifert, A. and L., Flax-Milling Company, Limited, Palmerston North. This mill is situated on the railway line, about three miles north from Shannon, and is one of the largest flax-milling establishments in New Zealand. The company was incorporated in the early part of 1906, with Mr. Hope Gibbons as chairman of directors, and Mr. A. Seifert as managing director. The name of Seifert has been connected with the flax-milling industry for the past quarter century, and it is claimed that under it fifteen per cent. of the total hemp produced in the Dominion is exported. Messrs. A. and L. Seifert formed the company for operating on a scale hitherto unattempted in New Zealand. For this purpose they purchased 4,200 acres of flax swamp and 331 acres of the higher land bordering on it, stumped and cleared it, and erected their large mill, to which the name of “Miranui” (a Maori word meaning “big mill”) was given. The whole of the works were designed by Mr. Alfred Seifert, and the details carried out by Mr. J. A. Merrett, consulting engineer to the company. The main buildings are the stripping sheds, 205 feet long by seventy-four feet wide, which contain seven gables, each holding a stripping plant; and in the centre is the power house, containing two suction gas engines, capable of developing 260-horse power. The seven strippers are worked simultaneously, but any one or more of them may he stopped without interfering in any way with the work of the others. The scutching house, another commodious building, has about 8,000 feet of floor space, and is also fitted with the most modern machinery, driven by two gas engines of a combined capacity of ninety-horse power. In front of the stripping sheds are the yards, which are floored to protect the flax in wet weather, and are capable of holding 400 tons of green leaf. The mill is connected with the flax area by a light line of rails, which, when completed, will be five miles in length, and on this a five-ton locomotive with a train of trucks conveys the leaf
Carting Fibre to the Bleaching Fields: Mr. G. Craw's Flax-mill,

Carting Fibre to the Bleaching Fields: Mr. G. Craw's Flax-mill,

page 692 to the mill. The flax area is so worked that the crop is cut only once in every four years, and a constant and perpetual supply is thus maintained. The mill is supplied with water from a dam, capable of holding 750,000 gallons, and is also provided with excellent artesian wells. The establishment is capable of turning out 1,600 tons of dressed fibre per annum. It employs 170 men, and is under the management of Mr. R. H. Webb. The accommodation houses provided for the men stand a short distance from the other two buildings. These have been erected for the special benefit of the employees. They comprise three blocks of bedrooms, with a separate building for common use, and each block has a sitting room attached to it. There is also a billiard room, with two up-to-date tables, a comfortable reading room, a dining room (with accommodation for 130), and an efficient commissariat department. An elaborate sewerage system is laid down and a septic tank constructed. “Miranui” was officially opened on the 16th of November, 1907. The Minister of Lands, the Hon. R. McNab, performed the ceremony before a large assembly of prominent men from all parts of the Dominion, many of whom had travelled long distances for the purpose of witnessing the launching of one of the largest flax-milling undertakings ever attempted in the Australasian States.

Mr. Alfred Seifert, Managing Director of the above firm, was born in North Loburn, Canterbury, in the year 1877, and is the fourth son of Mr. John Herman Seifert. He was educated at the local public school, and afterwards followed the flaxmilling industry for some years with his father and brother. After a short interval spent in farming he joined his brothers in a flax-mill near West-port, and in 1894 joined his eldest brother, Mr. Herman Seifert, in his flax-mill near Lake Wanaka. Early in the year 1898 Mr. Seifert removed to the North Island, and in May of that year joined his brothers George and Frederick Seifert in the proprietorship of a mill at Oroua Bridge, the firm soon afterwards taking over another mill on Mr. Akers' property. The partnership was dissolved in 1899 and Mr. Alfred Seifert then started a mill on his own account on the Heaton Park estate. From that date he has been continuously engaged in the flax-milling industry. Mr. Seifert is president of the New Zealand Flax-millers' Association, is an enthusiastic golf player, and was for some time a member of the Palmerston North Young Men's Literary and Debating Society. In the year 1899 he married Miss Esther Blondell, of Winton, Southland, and has one son and one daughter.

Mr. Louis Seifert, of Messrs. A. and L. Seifert Flax-milling Company, Limited, was born in North Loburn, Canterbury. He afterwards entered the flax-milling industry in the Rangitikei district, where he operated two mills at different times, until 1902, when he sold out and went to England and America. On his return to New Zealand he bought a mill at Rangitane, near Oroua Bridge, and subsequently erected two other mills, having acquired a considerable area of flax-bearing country. Mr. Seifert still conducts two of these mills on his own account, and employs about sixty men in this connection. He takes a great interest in the hemp industry; and in 1907, with Mr. Smith, visited Queensland to inquire into the sisal industry there, and its probable effect on the flax industry in New Zealand.

Bunting, photo.Mr. L. Seifert.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. L. Seifert.