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Historic House makes way for industry

April 8th, 2010

The Motueka Historical Association is appealing for information that may help build a history of the old house in King Edward Street owned by the Underwood family, which was recently demolished for industry.

Industry has always been a part of the area of King Edward, Motueka where Alpha Precast has its yard. The flour mill, built about 1882 and run by various owners including Priestly Bros, Bryant and Mills ,Griffins, Hewetson and Senior and Abraham Manoy, stood near this site until slowly disappearing in the years 1978-86.

It was never just a flour mill though. Part of the premises was used as a jam factory run by Irvine and Stevenson. A timber mill was also on the site. Hops were processed here as well as wool.

Engineers that have used this site, making a variety of products, include E Bensemann, Ginger Ansell, Charlie Kearns, Douglas Strachan and Paul Deck. Apple cider was made here at one time too. Bay Machinery built on the old foundations of the flour mill. Today there is a variety of businesses in the area from takeaways to concrete.

Joseph Hewetson senior built the house which can be seen in the right background of the photo with the farmers bringing fruit to be processed. The date is somewhere between 1899 and 1906. (This photo is from the Fergus Holyoake collection at the Motueka and District Historical Assn archives.)

Just recently, the old house, now belonging to the Underwood family, was demolished. It had stood for over 100 years watching the various businesses come and go. Apparently the walls just crumbled once the diggers moved in. We wonder if Joseph had used timber from his own yard? What tales could those crumbling walls have told us? If you know any of the history of the house and who lived there the Underwood family and the Motueka Historical Association would love to know.






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