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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2009

James Lukins And The Lime-kiln On Haven Road

page 53

James Lukins And The Lime-kiln On Haven Road

James Lukins arrived in the Southern Hemisphere "James Lukins arrived in the Southern Hemisphere during hard times and in a hard way". during hard times and in a hard way. Emigrating from Winchcombe, Somerset, England at the age of 21, he arrived in Bendigo, Australia, in 1848 and commenced gold digging. He then resolved to come to New Zealand and arrived in New Plymouth in 1851. He had married Amelia Davis in Victoria, and a daughter, Amelia, was born in New Plymouth in 1856. James worked in the surf-boats which carried passengers and freight between the town and ships offshore.

At the prospect of war with the Maori, the family moved to Nelson in 1858, in a boat James had built. They then shifted to Collingwood, where he was the first prospector at the Glengyle claim at Parapara. He must have struck it rich with the claim, for when he came back to Nelson in the early 1860s he purchased the ketch Rapid and the schooner Dove. James commanded one of the vessels himself and employed a master for the other, who may have been Cheeseman, as the pair seem to have been partners in the mid-1860s, trading between Nelson and New Plymouth.

They leased two berths at Green Point, where the Custom House Hotel is situated today. James had a lime-kiln built at the foot of the cliff at Green Point, where Guard's Sea Services is now. Part of Guard's boat shed still has some lime on the ceiling, in the remains of the building where it was stored. In the 1860s the two vessels were carrying up to 15 tons of limestone from page 54Golden Bay for burning, and cords of wood were also brought from there. Lukins transported sacks of lime to New Plymouth, Wanganui, Picton and other places. He also carried lime and sand to build the Nelson lighthouse.

When James stepped back from business his son Edwin carried on the lime burning. James died aged 71 and the flags at the Port were at half-mast for him. His obituary, published in The Colonist 16 July 1897, says that he was keenly interested in Port Nelson and its welfare, and he was one of Nelson's oldest residents at the time.

Edwin Lukins sold the business in 1910 to H.R. Duncan and the lime works was operated by a succession of lessees, the last being W.L. Lawry. The property was sold in 1957 through BB Jones and Jack Guard purchased it. He had no interest in the lime burning and intended to build a residence on the hillside. The lime-kiln was demolished by Wally Steer, a local contractor, who dumped 160,000 cubic yards of rubble etc on the Port reclamation.

There is a large photograph showing the lime-kiln in the entrance to Countdown Nelson.

Former lime works building, now Guards Sea Services, showing traces of lime.Ken Wright photo.

Former lime works building, now Guards Sea Services, showing traces of lime.
Ken Wright photo.


Lash, M.D. (1992). Nelson notables: A dictionary of regional biography. Nelson: Nelson Historical Society.

Lawry, R.C. (1989). History of the lime industry in the Waimea County. Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 2:3, 3–9.

Nelson Examiner 1860s.

Information from Nelson Provincial Museum and Jack Guard.