Called into a place called Glentunnel recently to see some old friends from the Auckland days, Hi to Ken and Barbara. Almost straight across was the site of the old railway station,
long since demolished, but years ago a real busy hub, and also very close to the old Homebush brickworks.
Now I hear one or two say where in earth do those funny sounding names come from? well if you leave Christchurch and head inland but don't go over the Arthurs Pass, you will go through towns by the name of Darfield, Homebush, Coalgate, Glentunnel, and that's where the Homebush brickworks were located.
The Homebush Brick, Pipe and Terracotta Works
"A pretty little town" Glentunnel grew up around a coal and pottery industry, which was established about 1872. The factory finished up fairly large and included two kilns. about 1903 a total of 15 men were employed and was so successful that an annual turnover of £3,000 was achieved!
In 1924 McSkimming Industries became the new owners from the Dean Family and continued operating until 1983. The sucess of this factory for over 100 years must be due the local coal and suitable clay, the railways, and that the management were always up to date with the latest machinery and techniques.
Now this factory over the years made all sorts of items and in the very early years included various Kitchen containers and mixing bowls, water filters, vases, jugs, and decorative flowerpots. Photo includes the two markings on bricks, and also the two different sizes of garden edges, which are not marked.
From Alastair an email: Just a note to let you know I live in Glentunnel in the old brick makers cottage, the home of the famous 'Home Bush' Brick. A couple of things that you might like to know - HOME BUSH, with a gap is the old naming stamp from inception to about the 1950's,then the mould changed to HOMEBUSH, all the old bricks have NZ below the name. They had two ways of stamping, one countersunk in a frame as in your photos, and the other flat on the face of the brick with just the words themselves countersunk. This was mainly done on firebricks.
Thanks for that Alastair, every little bit helps - and I must put some more bricks up!
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Updated 15 December 2005.
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