Chelsea Sugar Refinery, Birkenhead
Chelsea Sugar Refinery, BirkenheadAddress: Colonial Road, Birkenhead, North Shore Auckland North & West
Lots of tracks lead through bush and wetlands, with birdlife to see along the way. Most of them take you around Duck Creek and wind up at the boundaries of the refinery. A footbridge to the right of the duck pond leads through bush to peaceful little Chelsea Bay. Up the hill from the footbridge (make your way through the bush), you can reach an open glen for fabulous views over Auckland Harbour Bridge. Wikipedia: History The Chelsea Sugar Refinery, also known colloquially as "Chelsea" and the "sugar works", is a long-established business and landmark in Birkenhead, New Zealand, located on the northern shore of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. It was established in 1884, and remains New Zealand's main source of sugar products. It is one of Auckland's deepwater ports. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, all sugar products in New Zealand had to be imported; wishing to improve New Zealand's self-sufficiency, in 1882 the Government offered a bounty to the first company to produce sugar locally. Already interested in business prospects in New Zealand, the Australian Colonial Sugar Refining Company had investigated possible sites in New Zealand and purchased 160 acres (0.65 km2) of farm land in Birkenhead. This was later expanded to 450 acres (1.8 km2). The site was ideal for a refinery: the Waitemata offered deep water close to shore for a port, there was plentiful fresh water from Duck Creek, which ran through the estate, and there was plenty of land and timber for building purposes. The name "Chelsea" was bestowed on the site by the refinery's first customs officer, who named it after Chelsea in England, his hometown. New Zealand Sugar Company established The "New Zealand Sugar Company" was formed in June 1883 by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, the Victorian Sugar Company, and a number of prominent Auckland businessmen, including Sir Frederick Whitaker, Allan Kerr Taylor, LD Nathan (of Lion Nathan) and AG Horton and JL Wilson (of Wilson & Horton). However, a collapse in the world sugar market in the 1880s led the New Zealand Sugar Company to be re-amalgamated into its parent company Colonial Sugar in 1888. In 1959, the present New Zealand Sugar Company was formed to allow local autonomy. CSR Limited (the modern Colonial Sugar company) currently own 75% of the New Zealand Sugar Company.  New refinery The original 1884 building, seen here on the right, is still used today, and forms the basis for the company logo Work began on the new refinery in 1883, when 150 workers levelled the ground, reclaimed a natural lagoon, built wharves (by blasting bedrock) and created dams using two-thirds of the 1.5 million bricks which were made on site; the remainder were used in the buildings. By 1884, the refinery was operating, and has not ceased its 24-hour operation since. Of the 150 workers who built the refinery, 100 remained to work in it once it was complete; most had migrated from Auckland and settled in the area. Some of the early machinery and equipment was imported from Greenock in Scotland; much of this historic equipment remains on site, providing a rich industrial heritage.
Colonial Road, Birkenhead, North Shore, Auckland
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