Build­ing car­ries a fair chunk of NZ his­tory

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

At first im­pres­sion it’s just a sim­ple bulky shed with a saw­tooth roof form. It’s likely to be found within the Ti­maru port zone surely, and makes no claim to fame – but this build­ing car­ries a fair chunk of New Zealand his­tory.

Faded though it is, the let­ter­ing comes through – Shaw Sav­ill & Al­bion – one of the most im­por­tant ship­ping lines in the his­tory of our na­tion and its pas­toral farm­ing.

In David Lange’s in­trigu­ing au­to­bi­og­ra­phy My Life he ex­plains how his uni­ver­sity va­ca­tions spent in freez­ing works led to a sense of an­i­mos­ity.

It was an an­i­mos­ity against the British firms mak­ing strong re­turns out of New Zealand pri­mary pro­duc­tion through the own­er­ship of meat works and at every step of the re­lated ex­port mar­ket.

A con­trary view would be to say that the strong link of the UK to the colonies sup­ported their economies, es­tab­lished their mar­kets, and pro­vided the very means of trans­porta­tion.

The ship­ping line Shaw Sav­ill & Al­bion plied this route from New Zealand, ex­port­ing meat, wool and grain to an ex­pec­tant mar­ket on the other side of the globe.

The com­pany be­gan trad­ing in the sail­ing ship era, mov­ing later in to the de­vel­op­ment of steam and pe­tro­leum fu­els.

There were sev­eral phases – one such fleet in­cluded the Gothic, used as a trav­el­ling ho­tel for a royal tour to New Zealand in 1953-54.

– David McBride

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