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Hartshorn Brickworks (c.

1895-1917)
and
Henderson Brick and Tile Syndicate (1903-c.1912),
Te Atatu North

Lisa J Truttman (2009)
Title Page: detail from deed reference R55.492, LINZ records
Background: Initial subdivisions, Henderson & Macfarlane to the
Melanesian Mission Trust

In 1855 Thomas Henderson and John Macfarlane obtained Crown Grant title over a
large part of the Parishes of Waipareira and Waikomiti in West Auckland. 1 Subdivision
of this immense property began in 1866, with the first sales of what is now the Te Atatu
Peninsula, Allotment 4 of the Parish of Waipareira, beginning in 1870. However, by
1880, only five sections of land on the peninsula had been sold.

In February 1880, James Shaw purchased the remainder of Allotment 4, and in
November 1882 took out a mortgage with Anglican Bishop of Auckland William Gardner
Cowie, Reverend Benjamin Thornton Dudley, Archdeacon Theophilus Kissling, stationer
John Henry Upton and farmer William Atkin of Tamaki for £1,700 with interest. Shaw,
however, defaulted on this mortgage. Bishop Cowie and the others therefore obtained
power of sale, and began the next phase of the subdivision of the area from 1890. In
1894, after some initial sales, Cowie and the others transferred the remainder, still most
of Te Atatu North, to the Melanesian Mission Trust Board. 2

Henderson Creek is best known for its associations with the Henderson & Macfarlane
saw-milling operations. From the vicinity of the end of present-day Taikata Road, older
maps show that the creek became known as Taikata Creek, widening out as it flows
toward the Waitemata Harbour past Te Atatu Peninsula, but best navigable only via a
slender channel in the middle. In terms of this study, I’ve concentrated on the sites from
the vicinity of Wharf Road up to the western half of the point itself – the land owned, in
portions, by Henry Hartshorn and the Henderson Brick and Tile Syndicate.

Researchers into the history of Te Atatu Peninsula face one complexity – there were
three known brickmaking sites: (1) the Auckland Brick & Tile Company site (operating
mainly in the 1880s) on the eastern side of the peninsula, facing the Whau River; (2)
Henry Hartshorn’s site, north-western corner of the peninsula; and (3) the Henderson
Brick & Tile Syndicate site, further up the Taikata Creek, two lots away from land owned
by Hartshorn. While the first site was defunct, Leonard Pauling in his diaries still refers to
it as the Old Brick & Tile site, so work by his friends, family and neighbours there in
clearing that site becomes confused with work at Hartshorn’s or Henderson B&T unless
specifically described. The last load of bricks from the old Auckland B&T site were
apparently loaded in May 1904, and the kilns and chimney there demolished c.1906. 3
This means that the old defunct site was being cleared while both Hartshorn and
Henderson B&T were operational.

Fortunately for us, perhaps – Pauling does not appear to have had much interest in
Hartshorn’s affairs, and in fact may have had an antipathy towards him. Pauling in at
least three instances wrote about those at the end of the peninsula going back on their
word: Alexander Cowe, in December 1906, when Cowe had promised to take Pauling
out to the city, but then left without him; and Hartshorn, twice, when he promised work at
his yard to members of Pauling’s family, then hired other people from the peninsula

1
DI 7A.27, LINZ records, details this property and subsequent subdivisions down to 1880:
Allotments 4 to 8 of the Parish of Waipareira and Allotment 2 of the Parish of Waikomiti.
2
DI 17A.678, LINZ records
3
The Auckland Brick & Tile Company Site, Te Atatu, Auckland: A Conservation Plan, Dave
Pearson Architects, 2003, p. 13
(usually, those also at the point). So, up until the closedown of the Henderson Brick &
Tile Syndicate works in 1907, most of the references are to that operation, not
Hartshorn’s.

William and Henry Hartshorn

The Hartshorns appear to have originally settled in the Aririmu-Riverhead-Hobsonville
areas of the upper Waitemata, possibly from the mid 1860s. William Hartshorn (c.1830-
1905) is noted as “first grantee” of Allotment 6 at Ararimu in 1873 (his name appearing in
a sale notice for waste lands in the area), 4 had a dog stolen from him worth £5 in 1874
at Hobsonville (the felon was apprehended and sentenced to hard labour), 5 and resided
at Ararimu as at 1880, his occupation in the Waitemata Electoral Roll given then as a
brickmaker. 6 His son Henry (1864-1917) was a brickmaker at Riverhead from around
1882, owning 12 sections of Allotment 51 of the Parish of Paremoremo, totalling 3 ¾
acres. 7 Allotment 51 was owned at one point by the Harkin family of Riverhead, and is
known as Harkin’s Point. In 1885, Henry Hartshorn appears to have had to sell his
brickmaking business at Riverhead.

“146. Henry Hartshorn, of Riverhead, Brickmaker, to Noble McMillan, of Auckland,
Gentleman. Conditional Bill of Sale of Goods, Chattels, Effects & Things, in and about
brickyard, house, and premises situate at Riverhead, to secure the repayment of £120.
Dated 30th March; filed 15th April – S. Jackson, Junr., Solicitor.” 8

Henry however went on to make three land purchases on the eastern banks of the
Taikata Creek from 1891-1906 which appears to have established him as a brickmaker
in the area, as well as a reasonably well-to-do settler. His father was to see out his days
with him at Te Atatu, dying in 1905 (but, mysteriously, interred at Waikaraka Cemetery at
Onehunga, rather than Waikumete). 9

For £51 13s, Henry Hartshorn purchased lot
numbers 2 and 3 (as per diagram at right) in
1891, 10 followed in 1896 by lot no. 1. 11 This area
is the site today of Chapman and Murray Roads.
It is possible that Henry Hartshorn commenced
his brickmaking operations soon after
establishing himself on this land.

James Wallace Scott, also of Hobsonville,
purchased Lot 4 from the Melanesian Mission
Trust Board for £18 17s. 12 Had Scott already
4
Southern Cross, 17 January 1873
5
Southern Cross, 9 November 1874
6
Waitemata Electoral Roll, 1880
7
Waitemata Electoral Roll, 1882-1884
8
“Instruments registered under the Chattels Securities Act, 1882”, Observer, 25 April 1885, p. 13
9
Cemetery records for Waikaraka Cemetery, Auckland City Libraries online database
10
R38.742, LINZ records
11
R55.60, LINZ records
12
R81.297, LINZ records
moved from that Hobsonville before he purchased his property? Leonard Pauling, in his
“Recollections and My First Impressions of the Henderson Point”, describing the
situation in 1902 but writing in 1906, noted: “Jim Scott was one of (Hartshorn’s) men,
and had bought a small section adjoining, had got him a house and was living there.” 13
If Scott had built a house there, he wasn’t living in it for very long. He officially owned the
property from 20 June 1902 until 15th December 1903, selling the site to brickmaker
Alfred Joseph Worms. Also, Scott was referred to on the 1903 deed as still a resident of
Hobsonville. 14 The level of association between Scott and Hartshorn’s Te Atatu
brickmaking business is therefore in question.

What do we know about Hartshorn’s brickmaking business on the peninsula? The
following is a timeline, brought together from the Pauling diaries, LINZ records, and other
sources.

1882 Henry Hartshorn is a brickmaker at Riverhead. His father, William,
precedes him at an Ararimu brickmaker, but Henry appears to be the only
one documented as actually owning a brickyard.

1885 Henry Hartshorn sells his Riverhead business. Moves to Hobsonville?

1891 H. Hartshorn purchases lots 2 and 3 of Bishop Cowie’s sale of James
Shaw’s land at Te Atatu.

1896 H. Hartshorn purchases lot 1 from the Melanesian Mission Trust Board.
By now, his brickmaking operation at Te Atatu may have started.

1902 When Leonard Pauling arrives on the peninsula, he recalls that H.
Hartshorn employed two men at his yard beside himself, leaving his
father to manage the household affairs for him. 15

1903-1904 The Henderson Brick & Tile Syndicate commence operations. They may
not have been competing directly with Hartshorn, who may have merely
had his brickmaking operation as a sideline.

1905 W. Hartshorn dies 15 May. He is buried at Waikaraka Cemetery,
Onehunga.

A week later, H. Hartshorn starts a brickmaking project, initially promising
Pauling’s son Percy a job, but in the end taking on Alexander Cowe’s
son-in-law “Long Tom” Thompson.

1906 Hartshorn and Scott were “at the Brickyard on the Point.” 16 Hartshorn is
described as “working about the same”, but has “shifted his engine house

13
Pauling Diaries transcript by Jean Garriock, 1985, pp. 24-25
14
R94.334, LINZ records
15
Pauling, 1906 recollection, pp. 24-25
16
Pauling, p. 28
further up from the beach”. 17 Percy slipped into a clayhole at Hartshorn’s
while talking to Bob Baillie in June that year. 18

That year, Hartshorn purchases lot 8, between present day Tawa and
Wharf Roads. 19

1907 Hartshorn appears to be brickmaking up to late April, when both he and
the Henderson Syndicate works run out of coal. This appears to have
stemmed from not a coal shortage as a shortage of means to deliver the
coal to Auckland, namely railway wagons. 20

1908 Brickbats were fetched from
Hartshorn’s property in October to use
as paving up to the door of the local
school. 21

1910 In September, Hartshorn was looking
for another worker for brick burning,
and picked James Agnew. 22

1911 Hartshorn arranges for a petition to the
Auckland Harbour Board to build a
wharf for passengers up the “back
creek” (Taikata Creek). 23

1913 Road being formed from Hartshorn’s to McLeod’s (formerly Cowe’s)
across the end of the peninsula. 24 The Harbour Board propose to erect a
wharf at the end of Wharf Road. 25 This may have been the one built by
the Harbour Board from 4 September to 6th November 1914. 26

1915 Hartshorn appears to have a contract to produce 12,000 bricks for a Mr.
Winters. 27

1917 Henry Hartshorn dies, 3 December. His property is administered by the
Public Trustee until 1920. 28

17
Pauling, December 1906
18
Pauling, 1 June 1906
19
DI 17A.678, LINZ records
20
Taranaki Herald, 17 April 1907
21
Pauling, 18 October 1908
22
Pauling, 21, 26 and 28 September 1910
23
Pauling, 20 August 1911
24
Pauling, 1 May 1913
25
Pauling, 30 May 1913.
26
Engineer’s Report (1 January 1915), Auckland Harbour Board Report, 1914.
27
Pauling, 6 January – 11 January 1915.
28
DI 19A.764, LINZ records
Henderson Brick & Tile Syndicate

“A visit was paid on Saturday afternoon to the Henderson Brick and Tile Syndicate
property by about 50 shareholders and friends, who were taken there in the Advance.
The syndicate has only been at work about three months, having secured an area of 22
acres on the bank of Henderson Creek. Here good clay exists, judging by the bricks that
were drying, and it is stated there is from 8 to 12ft of the material to work upon. A drying
ground has been laid out capable of accommodating 120,000 bricks. A short jetty has
also been constructed, and a channel excavated in order to allow vessels to get
alongside at high tide. A large shed has been erected to cover the brick-making
machinery, and the engine and boiler. Water is supplied by an hydraulic ram laid to a
small creek on the property. In the shed five men were found at work making bricks and
general satisfaction was expressed at the results achieved. The present machinery is
capable of turning out 40,000 bricks per week, but the engine is powerful enough to run
a second brick-making machine as well as another for making pipes. The syndicate
propose erecting a Hoffman kiln, and expect in a few months to be able to place a first-
class brick on the local market.” 29

“A permanent and useful supply of water is secured
by means of a dam and ram on a portion of the 22
acres of land acquired which, by the way, is rich
with … clay … A serviceable wharf has been
constructed … On Saturday “green” bricks
numbering a few thousand, made during the last
two days, were inspected by the visitors. The
machinery was set in motion and the process of
brickmaking demonstrated. The utmost satisfaction
was expressed at the quality and quantity of the
clay available, as well as the manufactured article.
At present there are eight men employed at the
works … It is intended to erect a Hoffman kiln from
the bricks made at the works, therefore a good
portion of the bricks made during the next few months will be earmarked for this
purpose. The trip, which lasted from on o’clock till five o’clock, proved most enjoyable,
and the visitors were impressed with the fact that the works should materially assist in
supplying the present and the future demand for bricks.” 30

The Melanesian Mission Trust Board sold lots 10 and 11 to Parnell boatman Richard
Organ in April 1897. 31 It isn’t clear what Organ (called Dick Hogan by Pauling in his
diaries) used the property for, but in November 1903 he sold the site to three men in
partnership: Alexander George Jarrett, a shorthand writer with an office in Jarrett
Building, Swanson Street, designed in 1906 by W. A. Holman; John William Stewart, a
solicitor; and William Alfred Holman, a noted Auckland architect. These men (all from
Ponsonby) formed the core of the Henderson Brick & Tile Syndicate, William Holman
being on the managing committee right up until the final sale of the syndicate’s property
on Te Atatu peninsula. A year later, the three men transferred ownership of most of the
20¼ property to the syndicate, except for a 2 acre piece (today, this appears to

29
Auckland Star, 29 February 1904
30
NZ Herald, 29 February 1904
31
DI 6A.870, LINZ records
correspond with 674 Te Atatu Road, kept in the name of Jarrett, Holman and Stewart
through to the 1940s.) 32

W. A. Holman (1864-1949) was born in Whangarei, son of H. C. Holman who had
arrived in New Zealand in 1840 and served as colonial architect and superintendent of
public works under Governor Hobson. William Holman worked in Melbourne for some
years after training under his father, before commencing practice in Auckland in 1893.
He was Auckland president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1912, designing
buildings in Auckland, Whangarei, Gisborne, Waikato and Christchurch. He retired from
active practice in 1914 after a breakdown in health, and was invalided for many years. 33

The Henderson Brick & Tile Syndicate Ltd was registered in the Industrial and Provident
Societies Act 1877, 34 and had their registered office at Alexander Jarrett’s business
address in Swanson Street by 1906. 35 Jarrett himself was a professional secretary and
legal typist. 36 He died in 1945. 37

What do we know about the Henderson Brick & Tile Syndicate’s brickmaking business
on the peninsula? The following is a timeline, brought together from the Pauling diaries,
LINZ records, and other sources.

1903 November: Holman, Jarrett and Stewart purchase Lots 10 and 11 from
Richard Organ.
December: Alfred Joseph Worms purchases Lot 4 from James Scott. 38

1904 January: Start of Pauling’s notes as to work at the Company brickyard by
his son Percy. On January 12, the boiler is set in place. 39

February: A visit to the site by shareholders and prospective
shareholders. Sheds and brick-making engines, with boiler, are in place.
A wharf has been built. The site of this wharf is uncertain – it could be
close to and to the south of Wharf Road. Completion of a kiln, from bricks
made on the site, is planned within the following few months.

May: Pauling refers to “Worm’s brickworks”. Apparently, Alfred Worms
was first manager of the Company’s brickworks. A man fell off the kiln
during May. 40

November: Ownership of the land is transferred from Holman, Jarrett and
Stewart to the Company, except for a 2 acre section fronting Te Atatu
Road.

32
NA 762/144, LINZ records
33
Obituary, NZ Herald, 24 November 1949
34
Deed 171250, LINZ records
35
Wises Directories
36
Public Notice, Evening Post, 9 April 1902
37
Death notice, NZ Herald, 15 November 1945
38
R94.334, LINZ records
39
Pauling, 1904 (notes from Ben Copedo, 26 April 2009)
40
Pauling, 23 May 1904
November: Pauling notes work done at the brickworks, sinking the
foundation of a new shaft about 60 feet high. 41

1905 May: Worms leaves the brickworks, and is replaced by a new foreman, 42
James Hepburn. 43 Jack McCormick purchases wood and sheet iron from
the property, and the Worms family’s furniture is taken off the point by a
four-horse van to Avondale. 44

June: The Company purchases Worms’ land at lot 4 by repaying a
mortgage owed by Worms of £86.45

June: The Company take out a £800 mortgage from solicitor Andrew
Hanna on lots 10 and 11. 46 The money came from a family trust fund.
The managing committee for the Company are now: Holman, Thomas
Kenderdine (Solicitor) and Edward White, with J. Newton as their
secretary.

July: The scow Ira Mai stuck on a sandbank with load of 50,000 bricks.
Another stuck a day later. 47

August: Faults with brickmaking machine. Repaired by early September.
48

1906 According to the directories, Alexander Jarrett is once again secretary for
the Company.

March: Fire on the brickworks wharf. 49

April: Brickworks closed for the winter. 50

September: Hartshorn purchases Lot 8 from the Melanesian Mission
Trust Board. 51 This prevents the Company owning a contiguous set of
lots from 10-11 up to lot 4.

1907 April: Coal shortage through lack of railway wagons (see notes above
under Hartshorn) close the brickworks for a short time. 52

May: Pauling reports a scow being loaded with 12,000 bricks. 53

41
Pauling, 14 November 1904
42
Pauling, 20 May 1905
43
Pauling, 22 July 1905
44
Pauling, 2 June 1905
45
R115.77, LINZ records
46
Deed 174053, DI 4A.445
47
Pauling, 20 July 1905
48
Pauling, 31 August 1905
49
Pauling, 30 March 1906
50
Pauling, 28 April 1906
51
R122.296, LINZ records
52
Pauling, 23 April 1907
53
Pauling, 14 May 1907
June: More brick production, supervised by James Hepburn, and scows
loaded. 54

July: Clay sent to Avondale brickworks to be test-burnt. 55
56
August: Hepburn leaves the brickworks. Don McLeod appears to have
been the last manager.

September: McLeod oversees loading 4,000 bricks on a scow. 57
58
October: The works are advertised for sale, according to Pauling.
However, I have been unable to locate the advertisement.

1908 January: the Poverty Bay Brickmaking Company sent a scow from
Gisborne to pick up “a complete plant … purchased at Henderson.”59

Over the course of January to early February, George French lined a
ground cistern with bricks from the Company’s yard. 60

June: Scow Edith loaded with bricks from the Company’s yard. 61

October: The Syndicate ceases to make payments on the interest on the
mortgage taken out three years before. 62

1909 December: Don McLeod caretaker at the defunct brickworks. 63

1910 June-August: McLeod reported by Pauling to be plowing the Company’s
land at lot 4 for gum, said to have found four sacks full. McLeod
apparently leasing the property. 64 He lives there until January 1911. 65

1911 January: McLeod and his wife takes up temporary lodging in a whare on
the brickyard site. 66

February: The Company sells lot 4 (formerly Worms’ property) to
Alexander Cowe, fish dealer, for £200. The members of the Company’s
managing committee at this point were Holman, White and Stewart. 67

54
Pauling, 6, 8, 11 & 13 June 1907
55
Pauling, July 30 & 1 August 1907
56
Pauling, 16 August 1907
57
Pauling, 14 September 1907
58
Pauling, 28 October 1907
59
NZ Herald, 8 January 1908
60
Pauling, 22 January to 7 February 1908
61
Pauling, 2 June 1908
62
R226.221, LINZ records
63
Pauling, 31 December 1909
64
Pauling, 24 June, 26 August 1910
65
Pauling, 17 January 1911
66
Pauling, 23 January 1911
67
R192.318, LINZ records
February: During a severe drought, the dam at the brickworks becomes
the best source of water for nearby farmers. 68

April: Lot 10 and 11 advertised for sale under order from the Supreme
Court, “together with all fixtures, machinery, and plant thereon, other than
trade machinery … being the property of the Henderson Brick and Tile
Syndicate, Ltd.” 69

October: The family trustees in charge of the fund from which the 1905
mortgage was sourced have a change in personnel among the trustees,
and claim power of sale due to the Company defaulting on the mortgage
of £800 plus £96 interest from 1908-1910. 70 George Niccol, Auckland
shipbuilder, completes purchase of the property on 30 October from the
Public Trustee for £600, “together with the fixtures, machinery and plant
other than ‘Trade Machinery’ within the meaning of the Chattels Transfer
Act 1908’ which is affixed to the Factory erected or the said
hereditaments or to any other buildings erected thereon or placed or
being upon the said hereditaments or any part thereof at the price of six
hundred pounds.”

1912 August: George French and Macfarlane clearing the former brickyard for
George Niccol, the new owner (see below), and plow for gum, possibly
also for Niccol. 71

1917 November: Niccol sells the property to Harold Beadwell La Trobe for
£550. 72

68
Pauling, 16 & 22 February, 1911
69
NZ Herald, 12 April 1911, p. 14
70
R226.221, LINZ records
71
Pauling, 13 August 1912 to 21 February 1913
72
R275.720, LINZ records

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