This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
history Clay working in the West: the beginnings


The foundations of the West came, quite literally, from the land – in the form of the clay soils that lie beneath our feet. Over the past 150-odd years the clay industries of West Auckland have played a major role in our nation’s manufacturing sector. This important legacy ended when Monier Bricks & Roofing closed its doors in New Lynn recently. SUSANNAH BRIDGES backgrounds the West’s clay-working industry. Auckland’s first forays into the mud business came in the mid 1800s near the town centre.


It then gradually spread to the surrounding suburbs, the North Shore and the banks of the Whau on the Rosebank Peninsula where Dr Daniel Pollen established the first brickworks in the West. The geological layer of grey and white pleistocene clay in the area was put to great use as


more brickworks quickly spread further along the Whau and into the West. In the North West, Rice Owen Clark (Hobsonville’s first white settler) made drainage pipes from the clay that he dug from his property and used them to drain his waterlogged farm. These clay pipes – known as ‘field tiles’ worked so well that demand for them grew quickly. A pipe making machine was imported in 1862 and a new industry was born which, through the sheer tenacity of the Clark family, eventually grew into one of the largest and most successful pottery works in the antipodes. By the time of his death in 1896, Rice


Owen Clark’s son (Rice Owen Clark Jr.) had introduced an array of ceramic ware to the company, including household items such as flower pots, umbrella stands, bread crocks, meat jars, garden border tiles along with ceramics for the building industry including bricks,


fire


Brickworks on the banks of the Whau. The Whau was used for the transport of bricks before the railway was built. Image from West Auckland Research Centre, reference number: JTD-11G-02328-2.


bricks, roofing tiles, chimney pots, finials and balusters, and his own invention – ‘patent hollow building blocks’. This competitor to traditional bricks was an early predecessor to the concrete


breeze block we know today. It was used in the construction of many residential and non- residential buildings, examples of which can still be seen in Hobsonville today. From the late 1850s to the 1940s around 39 brick and pottery works were established in


the West and 23 of these were on the banks of the Whau and around New Lynn. The works of Malam, Archibald, Hepburn, Crum, Gardner Brothers, Parker and many more have namesakes that are part of our landscape today. The manual labour was long and arduous, but as heavy clay industries and the demand for bricks grew, new machinery and more efficient production processes were invented. Although Auckland was the main market for the bricks and clay products from the Whau region, these products were also shipped to ports around New Zealand and even to the Pacific Islands. Many of the West’s clay-working yards survived only a few years, but the brickworks


started by William Hunt near Avondale in the 1880s proved to be one of the longest lasting of the company-owned works of the region. It operated for 88 years, changing hands several times and later operating under the name Glenburn Potteries until 1969. Hunt was the first to introduce mechanisation to brick-making in New Zealand, producing bricks of superb quality that swamped the Auckland market. By 1896 these works, then under the ownership of J.J. Craig, were producing 90,000 bricks a day and said to have the largest output of any yard in the country. Six years later it was claimed that the yard could churn out 200,000 bricks per day by operating continually in three shifts. This claim, however, was never realised. To be continued in a future issue.


References:


Fire on the Clay by Dick Scott, Southern Cross Books, 1979. West Auckland Remembers edited by James Northcote Bade, West Auckland Historical


Society, 1992. West edited by Finlay Macdonald and Ruth Kerr, Random House NZ, 2009.


please support our advertisers – they support us


WE MAKE TO ORDER PINE, BEECH, OAK, RIMU


02 HUTCHINSON AVE, NEW LYNN 09 827 0861


The Fringe OCTOBER 2015 7


ALWAYS RUNNING IN THE MORNING


PH 09 827 0861 LATE


FOR YOUR COFFEE ORDER ON THE WAY TO WORK


– CORNER CAFE – OPEN 7 DAYS


W/DAYS 6.30-3.30 W/ENDS 7.30-3.30 02 HUTCHINSON AVE, NEW LYNN


GREAT VARIETY OF HOT AND COLD FOOD


LARGE COVERED COURTYARD AVAILABLE FOR LARGER GROUPS


– FURNITURE –


GRAB A COFFEE & CHECK OUT OUR 320sq.m SHOWROOM FRI, SAT, SUN, MON 10-4


2100x1200 = $549


1800 x 900 = $449


1200x500 = $319


OTHER STYLES & SIZES


5-Drawer Chest from $699


LARGE VARIETY OF FURNITURE SUPPORTING NZ MADE


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32