When the cream was collected by boat

This photo was taken about 1908 and is said to have been at ‘Horsham Downs’.

We have to assume it was about the area now occupied by the Golf Club (that being along the river).

The photo is a glass plate negative donated to the library sometime prior to 1975. The information we were given is that the launch was the ‘NZ Dairy Co Launch’.

The question is, did the dairy company really run launches to collect cream? The library does have other photos showing cream collection via boats on the river via open channels from the dairy shed to the cream cans on the boat.

In this picture it looks as if the cans (and large cans at that) are loaded via a plank on to the boat. That operation would surely have asked no small amount of dexterity and balance.  It may well be that the dairy company operated boats but this boat does have a ‘Roose Shipping Co’ look about it.

I suppose the other thing that this picture tells us is that it was then easier in every respect to transport cream by river than by road. That leads to the next question, was there a road nearby and, at any rate, were the dairy companies around Waikato operating fleets of cream lorries by 1908?  A picture is indeed worth a thousand words – not to mention several questions.

– Photograph copyright Hamilton City Libraries



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2 thoughts on “When the cream was collected by boat

  • January 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    That photo was taken in 1908. I have the following notes about it in my Horsham Downs history:

    A launch service collected cream in cans from a landing on the reserve, now the Golf Club, below the junction of Osborne Road and River Road. Farmers, eg Osbornes, took their cream there by horse and sledge. Home separation would have been essential to minimise the bulk. This service would have continued until 1912.
    The launch actually started its journey at Pirongia, collecting milk down the Waipa to Ngaruawahia, and then up the Waikato to Hamilton. [Loaded – a long way downstream and a short way upstream; unloaded – a short way downstream and a long way upstream. Convenient!]

    And I can add that the factory was in Ward Street about where the Bledisloe Hall was, so I suppose there was horse-drawn transport to there from the landing by the old bridge. In 1911 a dairy factory was established at that same road junction. It was destroyed by fire in 1929 and local politics prevented it being replaced.

    • February 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Many thanks for that Dave, very interesting indeed.


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