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JAS. J. NIVEN AND CO., LTD.

THE WELLINGTON EXTENSION. A BIG STEP FORWARD. The public announcement was made |in yesterday's issue of the Dominion, iby Messrs. Jas. J. Niven and Co., Ltd.. that the firm had taken over and would cany on, the foundry and general engineering business of Messrs. Luke and Company. In referring to the transaction the Dominion gives a brief history of the development of Wellington engineering works. Messrs. Luke and Co. first acquired their iron foundry in Wellington thirty-four years ago by the purchase of the interests of Messrs. Gilchrist and Waters, who three years [previously, in 1876, had commenced business in a portion of the site now occupied by the firm. From compara- | lively small beginnings the works have developed until they are to-day one of ithe largest in the Dominion. The firm I has undertaken many important pieces of work during the last thirty years. One notable achievement was the building of the Matai, of 300 tons register, one of the largest, steamships that has been built in the Dominion. Luke and Co. have turned out many small vessels of from fifty to one hundred tons, and have manufactured steam cranes for the Government and hydrauliccranes for the Wellingthon Harbour Board. The specialities of the firm have been marine engineering, hydraulic machinery, and dairying plant, and it holds a patent also for cookingranges. The original members of the firm of Luke and Co. were Mr. Samuel Luke, sen., and four .sons. " The survivors are two of Ihe sons, Mr. J. P. Luke (Mayor of Wellington), and the Hon. C. M. Luke, M.L.C. The family hails from Cornwall. Mr. S. Luke, sen., and his family left their native land for New Zealand in 1874. I

In the early days the firm of Luke and Co. had a hard struggle for existence, work being scarce and trade dull, but in a few years affairs took a brighter tone. A general improvement in trade, the opening of coal mines on the West Coast, and the introduction of freezing machinery banished .trade depression from the country, and conditions in Wellington improved rapidly. Openings for profitable enterprise appeared which the firm duly improved to its profit . The business rapidly expanded as steamers began to replace the sailinf coasters which previously had carried most of the sea-borne merchandise. In 1883 the fir.m built, engined, finished, and launched, with steam up, the Weka, which is still in service. From the begimii. g of the contract to the launching for the Napier trade, the time did not exceed ninety days, and most of the plates had to be brought from Australia. .Two years later the Lukes had another large marine task, an order from Captain Williams to build the first steel steamer of this country, the s.s. Matai. The vessel took shape on Te Aro foreshore, before the reclamation, and was launched with steam up, ready for duty. The Wakatu, now .trading between Wellington and was lengthened 30 feet by the Lukes, and also had a new* boiler fitted and the hull raised two feet; the Mana, also well known to Wellington people of the present generection, had 25 feet added by the same firm, which did a great variety of marine work. The dredging boom gave Lukes another lift, and various other activities served to keep them briskly employed. Mr. George Nelson as resident manager. Messrs. A. C. Mitchell, G. M'Gregor, and L. Nelson, and most of the office staff, will be transferred to Wellington, and Mr. K. M. Chadwick v. ill remain in charge of the Napier works. As we have already stated, this change does not mean any depletion of the Napier works. The reverse is the case, additional plant is to be installed at Port Ahuriri, and increased activity will exist there as a result of the extended ramifications of the business.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/HAST19130909.2.8

Bibliographic details

JAS. J. NIVEN AND CO., LTD., Hastings Standard, Volume III, Issue 227, 9 September 1913

Word Count
644

JAS. J. NIVEN AND CO., LTD. Hastings Standard, Volume III, Issue 227, 9 September 1913

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