Her­itage con­sul­tant Ann Mce­wan peeks be­hind the fa­cades of the area’s old­est build­ings.

Waikato Times - - THE BIG PICTURE -

Coun­cil her­itage sched­ules and the reg­is­ter of the NZ His­toric Places Trust recog­nise the her­itage val­ues of groups of build­ings, as well as of in­di­vid­ual sites and struc­tures. In Hamil­ton the res­i­den­tial her­itage ar­eas of Frank­ton, Hayes Pad­dock and Tem­ple­view orig­i­nated in the mid­dle decades of the 20th cen­tury. Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil has recog­nised a clus­ter of cot­tages from the late 1910s that also tell an im­por­tant story from our past.

The Matangi Dairy Fac­tory was built in 1917 to the de­sign of Hamil­ton ar­chi­tect FC Daniell. He also de­signed nine nearby dairy work­ers houses, which are recog­nised as a his­toric precinct by Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil. The seven sis­ters on the south side of Matangi Rd and two houses east of the school on the other side of the road were built from con­crete, as was the dairy fac­tory.

An ar­ti­cle pub­lished un­der the head­ing ‘‘Dairy Fac­tory Work­ers Wages’’ in an Oc­to­ber 1922 edi­tion of the Haw­era & Nor­manby Star tells us some­thing of the work­ing con­di­tion of dairy fac­tory work­ers at the time the Matangi houses were built. In sea­son, work­ers were ev­i­dently putting in 65 hours per week, re­duced to 44 hours through the win­ter.

Hous­ing was part of the pay pack­age for dairy fac­tory work­ers, as was an al­lowance of one pound of but­ter per week for sin­gle men and two pounds for mar­ried men. If the fac­tory in ques­tion did not make but­ter then the same al­lowance was made in cheese. Two weeks’ hol­i­day per year was of­fered and had to be taken in the off-sea­son. Accommodat­ion was of­fered to dairy as­sis­tants where fac­to­ries re­quired two or more work­ers, partly so that they could go home to eat their lunch but still be close to the fac­tory.

When the Matangi fac­tory was built it was re­port­edly re­ceiv­ing the largest milk sup­ply un­der one roof in any part of the world. The fac­tory pro­duced Glaxo in­fant milk pow­der un­til 1936.

Glaxo was es­tab­lished by Joseph Nathan in Bun­nythorpe, near Palmer­ston North in 1904, and to­day it is part of multi­na­tional phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Glax­osmithk­line.

At Matangi, the dairy fac­tory closed in 1984 but hap­pily it is still stand­ing and is a lo­cal land­mark, as are the work­ers’ houses. Both con­trib­ute to Matangi’s place in global dairy her­itage.

Dairy his­tory: One of the ‘‘seven sis­ters’’. Matangi Rd, Matangi. Photo: Ann Mce­wan

Ann Mce­wan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.