Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former)

10 Harbour Street, Oamaru

  • Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: H Bauchop. Date: 3/04/2008.
  • Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former). Image courtesy of North Otago Museum. Anderson’s Store closest to the camera on the right, Harbour Street c.1882 (North Otago Museum, Image 821).
    Copyright: North Otago Museum. Taken By: Unknown.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4627 Date Entered 25th September 1986


Extent of List Entry

The extent includes the land described as Lot 5 DP 88 (CT OT18C/521), Otago Land District, and the building known as Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former), thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 5 DP 88 (CT OT18C/521), Otago Land District


Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former), built between 1875 and 1881, is associated with the significant grain and flour milling industry in North Otago.

James Anderson and Andrew Mowat were early figures in Otago’s flour milling industry. They established a flour mill in Manor Place, Dunedin, in 1867, as well as a steam flour mill at Waikouaiti (1871) and another at Teanaraki near Enfield. Anderson and Mowat also leased the Kakanui Flour and Oatmeal Mill (now known as Clark’s Mill (Register No. 346). The flour from the Kakanui mill was carted to their Oamaru store located in Tyne Street.

By 1875-1876 Anderson and Mowat had built a new store on Harbour Street. They built on the rear of the section, intending to build a ‘handsome building’ at the front. The store was built of concrete with storage for 40,000 bushels of grain and designed by John Lemon and built by F. Every.

Anderson and Mowat dissolved their partnership in March 1876. Mowat moved to Dunedin and became a corn merchant. James Anderson continued to trade in Oamaru as Anderson and Co. as millers, grain and provision merchants and general agents.

Anderson built a new store on Harbour Street in 1877 (the handsome building at the front of the section). The contractor for this store was probably David McGill from Dunedin. The stonemason was H Monro. The North Otago Times describes the new store adjoining the older concrete stores as ‘a spacious and handsome building’ in ‘Italian style’ with a 60ft [18m] frontage to Harbour Street and a depth of 76ft [23m]. The facade was 26ft high [8m]. The store was built from ‘Cave Valley stone’ with ‘square blocks in rustic courses’. The central entrance was 8ft [2.4m] wide, ‘surmounted with circular headed light’ flanked by two side entrances also with circular headed windows. ‘A massive cornice supports a turned railed balustrade, adorned with sculptured urns, with central elliptical panel with echinus or egg-and-dart moulding, surrounding the words ‘Anderson and Co., Grain and Flour Merchants’ in projecting Roman capitals’. The interior walls were 18ft [5.4m] high, with an open iron roof supported by trusses with lantern lights. The floor was concrete. Two offices were located at the Harbour Street end of the building. The entire length of the building (including the stores) was 127ft [40m]. It had storage for 30,000 bags of grain. Architectural historian Conal McCarthy describes Anderson’s store as ‘nondescript’ compared with earlier stores, but this may be explained because it was constructed at the beginning of the long depression of the 1880s.

In 1881 Anderson and Co. built a flour mill within their store. Anderson installed a turbine wheel (worked from the council water scheme) in the store capable of working six millstones.

Only two years later the property was transferred to Gray and Aldrich in 1883. Millers James Gray and George Mingay Aldrich renamed the mill the Red Lion Mill. Aldrich had been in the milling trade in Dunedin before going into business with Gray. Gray and Aldrich went bankrupt in 1889.

In 1895 the property was leased to Oamaru miller Thomas Meek. The Meek family began their involvement in the grain business with the construction of a steam flour mill on Oamaru’s Severn Street in 1869. In 1879 they expanded their business with the purchase of J.T. Evans & Co’s Crown mill, and again in 1883 when they built the huge grain elevator building (Register No. 4881) alongside the railway land to the north of Harbour Street. Scottish-born Thomas Meek (1842-1905), a joiner by trade, arrived in Oamaru in 1863. After buying a threshing machine, which he worked for six years, he then began to develop a flour milling business. He was prominent in local politics, being a member of Oamaru Borough Council for many years, and held a seat on the Oamaru Harbour Board.

In 1919 the Meeks transferred the lease to the North Otago Farmers’ Co-operative Association who occupied the premises for over forty years. The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust acquired the building in 1989. In 1992 the remaining building associated with the former Red Lion Mill (located to the rear of the Anderson’s Store) was gutted by fire but later repaired.

In 2013 the Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store is a significant element of Oamaru’s Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Register No. 7064).


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Lemon, John

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Every, F.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

McGill, David

David McGill was in partnership with Robert Forrest as Forrest and McGill, contractors. The partnership worked on many buildings including the City Hotel in Dunedin, the Port Chalmers Bank of New Zealand, and the Loan and Mercantile Agency Company building in Oamaru. The partnership was in financial trouble by 1881, with McGill involved in bankruptcy proceedings in March of that year. Forrest later practiced on his on as an architect. McGill’s later history has not been traced.

Source: Information Upgrade Report for Anderson and Co. Flour and Grain Merchants' Store (Former), Heather Bauchop, Jun 2013.

Monro, H.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1874 -
Anderson and Mowat’s first store built on Tyne Street

Original Construction
1875 -
Store built on Harbour Street (rear of section)

Original Construction
1876 - 1877
Store with frontage to Harbour Street built (complete by January 1877)

1881 -
Flour Mill built within existing store building

Parapet removed

1992 -
Red Lion Mill building gutted by fire

1993 -
Red Lion Mill building repaired

Completion Date

4th June 2013

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

McCarthy, 2002

Conal McCarthy, Forrester and Lemon of Oamaru, architects, Oamaru, 2002

McDonald, 1962

K C McDonald, 'White Stone Country', Oamaru, 1962

Thornton, 1982

Geoffrey G. Thornton, New Zealand's Industrial Heritage, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1982

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Otago/Southland Area office of NZHPT.

This registration is also included in the Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Record no. 7064).

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.