Timaru- looking south.

The early CFCA building in Strathallan st. Unfortunately this building was destroyed by fire in February 1908. There was a new building erected and this was later demolished to make way for the new WINZ building.
The Royal Hotel is to the east of the washing hanging on the line. The white building behind the washing is the Grosvenor Hotel and the building facing west with the cupola on the roof. Behind the Grosvenor Hotel is Werry's Hotel which was located on the corner of Cain's Terrace and George St. The white two-storied building south again must be the Club Hotel. The high chimneys were the Atlas mill, the next one was located where the Timaru Pottery works were, then the next two look like they were attached to Bruce's Flour mill and his biscuit factory, and the last one would be the hospital chimney. I would guess that the photo was taken from the Lighthouse which was located in the section next to the Gentlemen's Club.

Star 6 February 1908, Page 1
FIRE AT TIMARU. THE LARGEST BUILDING DESTROYED. THE FIRE BRIGADE BEATEN.

A huge loss. Timaru, February 5
The biggest fire in Timaru since half the town was burned down in 1868, broke out at about 5.30 p.m. to-day, and completely gutted and destroyed the Farmers' Co-operative Association's retail stores and offices, leaving only the outer walls and the strong-rooms standing, and some of the outer walls are cracked and insecure. The building was of two storeys, and extended from Strathallan Street to Beswick Street, being the largest business premises in the town. The upper storey contained a large drapery department, tailors' and dressmakers' workrooms, and an extensive suite of offices, and the lower floor grocery, hardware, saddlery and furniture departments. The fire broke out in the drapery section, apparently in a comer occupied by carpets and linoleums, and next to the Manchester goods section. This department was closed as usual at 5 p.m., but the workroom hands work till 5.30, and it was the chief dressmaker who observed the fire. An alarm was given as quickly as possible, but by the time the brigade arrived the fire had such a hold that there was no hope of saving the building, each floor being open from end to end, and filled with inflammable goods, especially the upper drapery department.
    A mass of fuel. The fire in the Co-operative Association's building had some specially interesting points. The first was the tremendous rapidity with which the fire expanded from its initial stages. Although there were many still working in the building, the alarm was not effectively given till the blaze had got a strong hold. Nothing could be done with the appliances in the building, although they were, it is understood, regarded as ample for such emergencies. The outbreak being among the most inflammable goods, there was a tremendous volume of smoke, and within a few minutes it had completely filled the flipper storey, so that no one could possibly get near the seat of the fire. The greater part of the upper floor was practically undivided, while the lower storey was merely screened off into large departments by light wooden partitions. The fire progressed just as might have been expected. Christchurch has had recent experiences of exactly the same kind, for instance, in the case of the Kaiapoi Clothing Factory. The Co-operative building, was a simple shell of brick, absolutely undivided by fire breaks of any kind, and with a wooden floor in the upper storey. In an hour there was nothing but a huge brick grate of roaring incandescent fuel. At three or four chains off peoples faces were painfully scorched, and hose had to be played on a brick building over a chain away for its safety's sake. As there was practically no wind, the rapid spread of the fire was almost incomprehensible, but the fully-displayed and enormous stock of drapery upstairs would, of course, carry the flames over the whole floor very fast.
    The water-supply proved quite useless in the face of such odds. The few lines of hose could make no impression on the blaze, and the best efforts of the brigade were used in restraining thee progress of the fire to the small portions remaining unassailed. An architect who was spoken to on the subject of the absence of fire-breaks gave it as his opinion that they would have been useless, but it seems most likely that had brick walls run right up to the roof, the fire could at least have been trapped in some part of the big building.

Muir & Moodie photograph 20 April 1904
gelatin silver print 160mm x 430mm
No. 83 Series A

Demolished 1990s of the old CFCA (Canterbury Farmers Co-operative Association) building fronting on Beswick St.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 6 February 1908, Page 5
The biggest fire in Timaru since 1868 broke out a 5.40 this afternoon in the town retail house of the Farmers' Cooperative Association, a large brick building facing Beswick street and Strathallan street. The books of the Farmers' Co-operative Association were saved, and also groceries, etc., but, practically speaking, a clean sweep was made. The loss is estimated at £70,000 to £80,000.

Please let me know what you see. Are any of these buildings still standing? What is that building with the clock tower to the far left?

The firms developed in the region to service the growing needs of the towns and surrounding rural areas. Among the services undertaken by these “stock and station” businesses was the provision of finance and acting as an agent for various transactions undertaken on behalf of their customers.

The Terrace is running into Strathallan Street with The Canterbury Farmers directly in front with PGG to the right (Guinness & Le Cren Ltd) with the Miles Archer red brick building to the left. The Terrace is one of the oldest streets in Timaru, narrow and steep. It use to be called Le Cren's Terrace. Edwin Rowland Guinness, an auctioneer, for the Loan and Mercantile Co. in 1883 established the stock firm Guinness and Le Cren in 1890 with Henry Arthur Le Cren s/o Henry John Le Cren. Guinness & Le Cren Ltd incorporated in 1901. PGG was formed in 1919. So this means both those buildings this side of Strathallan St. with The Terrace in between are still standing in March 2012.

Henry John Le Cren was one of the first merchants of Timaru. In 1866 the business was sold to Messrs Miles and Co., and Mr. Le Cren went to London, where he and Mr. George Gray Russell entered into business as colonial merchants.  In 1878 the recently formed National Mortgage and Agency Company of New Zealand Limited took over Russell Ritchie and Company and Russell Le Cren and Company. Frederic Le Cren, a brother to Henry Le Cren, was manager of the Timaru branch of Loan and Mercantile Agency Company from 1875. Dalgety's merged with NZ Loan & Mercantile in 1962 and NMA with Wright Stephenson in 1972.

Evening Post, 8 April 1919, Page 6 AMALGAMATION
CANTERBURY STOCK FIRMS. An important amalgamation of Canterbury stock auctioneers, station, shipping, and insurance firms is about to eventuate, states the Christchurch Sun. Pyne and Co., and Gould, Beaumont and Co., of Christchurch, and Guinness and Le Cren, Ltd., of Waimate and Timaru, intend to merge. The members of the various firms concerned will form themselves into a public company, although it is improbable that the public will be given an opportunity to subscribe. No indication of the prospective capital of the new concern is available. Pyne and Co. was originally founded by the late Mr. F. H. Pyne, who was later joined by Mr. Alex. Boyle and the late Mr. C. W. Reid. They carried oil the business of stock auctioneers, and enlarged their sphere of operations until the business embraced .all forms of farm and station work, establishing agencies throughout Canterbury, and also dealing in grains and produce.
    The firm of Gould, Beaumont and Co. comprises Messrs. George Gould, R. M. Macdonald, and F. M. Warren. The business was established in 1875. by the late Mr. Joseph Gould.
    Guinness and Le Cren, Ltd., was originally founded by Mr. F. Rickman, of Waimate, [in 1878] afterwards being carried on by Messrs. Barclay and Foot, who sold to Messrs. Guinness, and Le Cren in 1893. The firm was incorporated in 1901. Major Norton Francis, C.M.G., lately Director of Base Records, was, before the war, manager of the firm's business in Waimate. He will go to Christchurch in connection with the consolidated company, according to the Sun. [In 1896 Norton Francis married the youngest daughter of the late Michael Studholme, of Te Waimate, but his wife died in Sept., 1902.]

Timaru Herald, 27 March 1886, Page 2
The removal of the old building at the corner of George street and Cain's Terrace, is now all but completed. One of the first stores in Timaru, that of Mr John Beswick, was built on this site, and part of it still remains, though about 26 years old. At that time, however, there was a creek running down at the back of where the sewer now is and the sea used at times to break over the beach and fill the gully up.

John Beswick, Timaru's first postmaster and licensed auctioneer, had a store in George St. and his business evolved through mergers and takeovers to become the national Mortgage and Agency Company and later Wrightson NMA and now PGG Wrightson, Christchurch based formed in October 2005. May 20th, 1865 lost, in the steamer City of Dunedin on her passage from Wellington to Nelson, John Beswick, aged 36, son of the late Samuel and Annie Beswick, Scarborough, Yorkshire and the beloved and respected brother of William, Samuel, and Joseph Beswick.


The Terrace. "Miles Archer & Co." a brick building. In 1868 Fulbert Archer came to Timaru to manage Miles, Archer Co. Ltd. He was the first chairman of the Timaru Harbour Board 1877 -1883. He returned to England but his sons, Montague and Oakley, remained in Timaru. In 1882 Fulbert Archer owned land worth £14,376 in Geraldine, South Canterbury. He died (28 Nov 1904) back home in St Gothard, Paignton, Devonshire.


Back of PGG off Strathallan St. Brick and bluestone were common building materials for Timaru. The old toilets were at the very back to the left.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project

A small Country Seat - The milk stool.