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Opening of Kaituna Cheese Factory, 1903


Wairarapa Daily Times, 23 October 1903, Page 3

The site whereon the Kaituna Cheese Factory has been erected is an ideal one from all points, giving especial facilities for drainage, central for the suppliers, and in touch with a permanent supply of spring water.

It is only a few months ago since the erection of a factory was mooted, but the settlers lost no time in materialising their intentions, with the result that to-day a well-equipped factory is in full working order, and capable of dealing with six hundred gallons of milk per day.

The gentlemen who have interested themselves in the establishment of the factory,

Messrs E. Holmwood,
W. L. Falconer,
Christian Carlson,
E. and B. Wadham,
A. Deal and
J. Yates,

are deserving of the loyal support of farmers in their locality, for they have pledged themselves to a considerable outlay of capital in a direction that must increase the returns of every farmer on the Upper Fernridge.

The site of the factory, one acre in extent, has been leased to the Directorate by Mr W. L. Falconer for a term of forty-one years, at a rental of one shilling per annum, and he has also assisted in other ways to make the initial expenditure as light as possible.

All inspection of the buildings and its equipments show that everything has been carried out on the most modern and effective principles. The designing of the building, and in fact everything connected with it, was the work of Messrs McGowan and Dumbleton, of the Agricultural Department, and the benefit of their wide experience has been given to the farmers of the Fernridge.

The building has been erected on a two-foot concrete foundation, and is lofty and roomy in every department. A patent air duct has been instituted, which gives the manager complete control over the temperature of the curing room, and which can be regulated to suit circumstances. The receiving stage is fitted with hoist, Fairbanks scales, and receiving tank, its dimensions being 7 x 12. The making room, 24 x 26, is equipped with all necessary appliances, whilst the boiler room is devoted to a ten horse power boiler and a four horse power engine. The curing room is 30 x 24, with rack accommodation for 15 tons of cheese, and ample room for packing that product for transport.

The water supply is drawn from a spring some few chains distant, and lodged in large tanks. The drainage system instituted is very effective, waste matter being carried well away from the factory, whilst all overflow from tanks and roof water passes through the drainage pipes, necessarily keeping them sweet and clear. The whey is run straight from the vats into the whey tank, erected apart from the factory, and the suppliers receive it from there. Hot and cold water is laid on to the washing up benches and sinks. The building is double match-lined, with P. and B. paper in between. Taken altogether the factory is one of the most complete in the Colony, and reflects every credit upon the designers and the builder - Mr C. E. Daniell.

At the present time there are only seven suppliers, contributing one hundred gallons of milk per day, but a big increase is anticipated during the next few weeks, as dairy herds are to be doubled in some instances and founded in others. The whole of the surrounding country is suited to dairying, and the farmers are sufficiently alive to their own interests to embrace the opportunity of a market for the product of their cows.

At the official opening of the factory, yesterday afternoon, there was a large assemblage of settlers, with their wives and families. In the unavoidable absence of Mr A. W. Hogg, M.H.E., who had been asked to preside at the opening, Mr W. L. Falconer officiated. He gave those present the history of the undertaking in detail, and hoped that the whole of the Fernridge farmers would loyally support it.

He referred to the necessity of locating a factory in their midst, for the outlook for cheese was encouraging. The wool returns for 1902 had shown them that an average of 4½d per lb only had been secured for the Colony's output, and when incidental expenses were deducted from that only about 2½d per lb was available to the grower. In the face of that, and taking into consideration the proverbial uncertainty of the wool market, it behoved settlers to look to the production of a more staple article, and he could think of no better channel into which they could drift than the dairying arena.

With Government supervision and assistance the Colony's dairy produce was being placed on a thorough foundation, the best markets were being exploited, and the farmer was receiving a fair return for his labour. Buyers were now visiting every factory in the Colony, offering to purchase the whole season's output, and the good prices prevailing gave every promise of being maintained.

In concluding his remarks the speaker regretted Mr Hogg's inability to be present, but stated in a letter received from him the Member for Masterton had promised to do his best to have the Waingawa river bridged opposite the factory, and if he succeeded in doing that it would have the effect of making all the settlers on the opposite side of the river suppliers to the factory.

Mr Falconer then called upon Miss Mary Falconer to cut the ribbon and declare the factory open, which she did amidst cheers.

Those assembled then sat down to a spread provided by the ladies of the Fernridge, after which the usual toasts were proposed and honoured. A dance was held in the Kaituna Schoolroom at night, and was largely attended.

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