Luggate Flourmill (Former)

126 State Highway 6, Luggate

  • Luggate Flourmill (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: A Middleton.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3242 Date Entered 27th June 2008

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land in Pt Sec 1 Blk VI Tarras Survey District (CT OT16A/917) Otago Land District and the building known as Luggate Flour Mill (Former), its fixtures and fittings thereon, and a 5m curtilage around the building.

City/District Council

Queenstown-Lakes District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 1 Blk VI Tarras SD (CT OT16A/917), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

The former Luggate Flour Mill is a three-storey schist mill, built in 1881 and located in the small Central Otago settlement of Luggate on the western side of State Highway 8, 13 kilometres south-east of Wanaka.

In the late nineteenth century Luggate, a small settlement near Wanaka on the Wanaka-Cromwell Highway, was the centre of farming, with both small farming and larger pastoral stations found in the area, with both wheat and oats grown for the local market. Farmer and businessman Thomas Anderson started the mill in partnership with carrier Peter McIntosh. The mill, its associated mill race, mill house, and other structures were in use early in 1881. The Luggate mill's first advertisement read 'The mill is fitted with the latest machinery, and the utmost care will be exercised in milling'. A survey plan, drawn in 1883, shows the mill with a hut, house and pigsty built to the south. The mill was water-powered, with a large Pelton wheel fed by a race above it. In 1894 the mill was converted to a roller mill. The mill operated until the beginning of World War Two, when labour shortages forced it to close.

The Luggate Flour Mill is three storeys high, which allowed for the processing of grain. If this mill operated in a way common to other multi-storey mills, the grain was lifted to the top floor and then dropped to a hopper which fed the grain to the millstone. When the grain was ground it went by chute to a sack at ground floor level. Most of the mill's roller mill was removed when the mill ceased operating. In 2008 it forms part of a complex of buildings used by a transport firm and is used for storage.

The former Luggate Flour Mill is representative of a period of New Zealand's history when industrial buildings like this were required to process local agricultural produce, when horse-drawn cartage made transport to distant centres difficult. The Upper Clutha Valley was recognised as one of the significant grain growing areas in Central Otago (along with the Wakatipu). The former Luggate Flour Mill was central to the processing of local grain, and its history illustrates the importance of such businesses to the development of agriculture in this relatively isolated district.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Luggate Flour Mill has historic value and represents not only the local history of the community at Luggate, and its developing agriculture in the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, but also illustrates the history of the grain industry and flour milling in Otago. The Luggate Flour Mill was constructed at a time when local farms were in need of a local mill to grind the wheat they produced, when the cost of transport prohibited carrying wheat to other centres.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:

The Luggate Flour Mill (Former) is a significant example of industrial architecture relating to flour milling in the nineteenth century. In common with other flour mills it is a multi-storey structure to allow for the processing of grain, and its form goes some way to illustrating how grain was processed. As with other Central Otago flour mills, its stone construction is typical of the region.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The former Luggate Flour Mill is representative of a period of New Zealand's history when industrial buildings like this were required to process local agricultural produce, when horse-drawn cartage made transport to distant centres difficult. The Upper Clutha Valley was recognised as one of the significant grain growing areas in Central Otago (along with the Wakatipu). The former Luggate Flour Mill was central to the processing of local grain, and its history illustrates the importance of such businesses to the development of agriculture in this relatively isolated district.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:

The Luggate flour mill is well known and recognised in its local community and is recorded in the Luggate Community Plan as having significance to the local people.

SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUES:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a and e.

CONCLUSION:

It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.

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Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Luggate's former flour mill is a three-storey schist mill, built in 1881 and located in the small Central Otago settlement of Luggate on the western side of State Highway 8, 13 kilometres south-east of Wanaka.

In the late nineteenth century Luggate, a small settlement near Wanaka on the Wanaka-Cromwell highway, was the centre of farming, with both small farming and the larger stations such as Mt. Pisa, Queensberry Hills, Queensberry Ridges and Locharburn in the area. Gold workings could also be found in the vicinity, principally on the Criffel Range between Luggate and Cardrona, about nine miles from Wanaka. In the 1890s dredges worked the Clutha River around Luggate. Farmers grew crops of wheat and oats, but complained about a lack of market for the wheat, which they grew principally for their own use.

Farmer and businessman Thomas Anderson, who had built and owned the hotels at Queensberry and Kidd's Gully, moved from Queensberry to Luggate where, in 1881, he purchased land in partnership with carrier Peter McIntosh.

In January 1881 the Otago Witness reported that 'last season the settlers were much inconvenienced by the want of a mill to turn their wheat into flour, but this is to be at once remedied, for the plant is on the ground to erect a mill on the Luggate Creek.' By March the mill was under construction on a site close to what would shortly be a bridge over the Clutha at Luggate. The Otago Witness correspondent reported that the mill was to be constructed from locally quarried stone, with millers and proprietors' private houses also to be built. The correspondent believed that Luggate would be the 'true agricultural centre of these districts, and will eventually become a place of importance.' The mill made use of a large water race originating some distance up the Luggate Creek, which was previously used for mining purposes.

The Flour Mill was three storeys high to allow for the processing of grain. If this mill operated in a way common to other multi-storey mills, the grain was lifted to the top floor and then dropped to a hopper which fed the grain to the millstone. When the grain was ground it went by chute to a sack at ground floor level.

The Luggate mill's first advertisement read 'The mill is fitted with the latest machinery, and the utmost care will be exercised in milling'. A survey plan, drawn in 1883, shows the mill with a hut, house and pigsty built to the south. The mill was water-powered, with a large Pelton wheel fed by a race above it.

In 1894 Anderson is reported as having overhauled the Luggate Flour Mill. The stone flour mill was dismantled and replaced with a set of rollers which doubled the capacity of the mill. As many mills replaced their grinding stones with rollers, there was controversy about the respective merits of each, including whether brown or white bread was more nutritious.

In 1899 Anderson offered the Luggate Mill for sale. The Otago Witness reported that local farmers were considering buying the mill and running it as a cooperative, but it seems the sale may have fallen through.

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century there was much speculation about the expanding rail network and the need for it to reach into the Upper Clutha Valley. While many locals were vocal supporters of such a scheme, others, like Anderson apparently recognised the potential effects on trade. A special report in the Otago Witness recorded Anderson's opinion that 'the country did not justify a railway at all; the land was poor except in one or two patches, and the settlers had ample local market for their grain.' The writer recognised the self-interest in Anderson's position:

'Growers of wheat are naturally obliged to take their produce to Mr Anderson's mill provided he pays a price for it which would show a profit on the cost of haulage to Cromwell or further, and in the same way as long as the flour is not too much per ton above the price at Cromwell the settlers and others of the whole of the Hawea and Wanaka districts will obtain their flour from Mr Anderson, who can thus reap a very good profit. Flourmilling pays, here' this was exemplified [sic] by Mr Anderson's highly-cultivated farm, where I saw rich grass paddocks, carrying a very high average of sheep to the acre, and acres upon acres of rich, strong stubble, which could have yielded but little under 80 bushels of wheat per acre. This is one of the finest farms in the whole district, and this is the ground Mr Anderson describes as of poor quality.'

In 1903 Anderson was reported as having bought a farm 'down south'. There was speculation as to whether he would sell the farm and mill at Luggate, or keep both places.

In 1904 McIntosh sold out his share of the mill to Anderson. The Otago Witness records that a new miller and his family were established at the Luggate Flour Mill in November 1904.

In 1908 Reid and McDowell bought the mill. 'Very extensive improvements' were completed at this time. Reid and McDowell also owned the Hayes Lake flour mill. However, the Luggate mill could still not cope with all the wheat grown in the area. As historian Irene Roxburgh notes, for instance, although Reid and McDowell purchased a thousand bags of grain in 1909, there was still much unsold in the area. A large part of this was due to the difficulty of transporting goods to Dunedin at a time when the railway ended at Clyde, and goods had therefore to be carted the distance of approximately 90 kilometres to the railhead by wagon. In 1910, McDowell left the partnership with Reid, who continued working as William Reid and Sons.

At the beginning of the World War Two, with a shortage of workers, the firm ceased operating, although William Reid and Sons continued to own the mill and surrounding land. The property was transferred to the ownership of other members of the Reid family at different times until they formed the Upper Clutha Transport Company Ltd in 1967.

In 2008 Upper Clutha Transport Company Ltd. still owns the former Luggate Flour Mill, and uses it as a workshop.

Physical Description

The former Luggate Flour Mill sits adjoining State Highway 6 at Luggate, a small town located between Cromwell and Wanaka in the Upper Clutha Valley of Central Otago.

Luggate is a small rural community of about 200 residents, with the population focused on the small village centre, with the millhouse recognised as a significant historical structure. The Flour Mill sits at the northern edge of the commercial precinct close to Luggate Creek. The Mill sits among more modern structures at the edge of the truck yard of a transport company.

The Luggate Flour Mill is a plain-fronted utilitarian structure of three storeys. It is set well back from the road, with a large gravelled area for trucks in front of it. Until recently there was an associated two storied storage shed and covered walkway from the first floor of the mill leading to this, making the mill building itself difficult to see from the road. This has now been removed, leaving the impressive schist structure much more visible.

The stone work is random rubble, with the exterior walls approximately 600mm thick in the lower two floors, and slightly less on the top floor. The footprint of the building is approximately 12.5m by 8.5m.

At the front, on both the ground and first floors, the mill has two six-paned double hung sash windows on either side of a central timber door, but no windows on the sides. There are corresponding windows at the rear. The lower front windows feature flat in-filled arches, as do all three apertures on the first floor. Most of original double hung windows are in need of some repair and restoration. The top floor had three fixed six-paned windows, although some are no longer still in place.

The interior is filled with material relating to its use as a storage shed for the transport company over the past five or more decades. Some of the original mill mechanism relating to the waterwheel is still in situ in the roof, and the Pelton wheel remains in a water-filled cavity in the northwest corner of the building, probably close to where the waterwheel was once located. The stone in the interior has been roughly plastered. On the second (or top) floor about half the floor has been removed, probably more than four decades ago.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1881 -
Mill constructed

Modification
1894 -
Mill stones replaced with roller mill

Other
-
Mill ceased operation

Other
1967 -
Used as premises for Upper Clutha Transport Company Ltd.

Construction Details

Stone with timber window joinery and corrugated iron roof

Completion Date

6th May 2008

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop/Angela Middleton

Information Sources

Kane, 1991

Stanley Kane, Luggate: the story of a district and its people from 1860, Published by the author, 1991

Roxburgh, 1977

I Roxburgh, The Wanaka Story, Reed, Wellington, 1977

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago / Southland Area Office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.