images 10 1859 William Winstone

A 16-year-old Englishman, William Winstone, arrived in Auckland and found work as a farm labourer in the province.


William Winstone bought his own horse and cart and began a one-man business as a 'coal merchant and carrier' on the waterfront and streets of Auckland.

bullet 1869 George Winstone

William and his brother George formed W. and G. Winstone, an Auckland-based limited liability company with an initial capital of 630. Operating from premises in Customs Street, the partnership's main business was as general carriers and as suppliers of coal and firewood.

bullet 1870s

W. and G. Winstone secured the contract to demolish Point Britomart; the spoil obtained was used to fill harbour reclamations. As well as cartage, this work involved quarrying and excavation. It opened a metal quarry and scoria pit on the slopes of Mount Eden.

images 5 1882

Company bought land in Upper Symonds Street and built brick and stone stables that could house more than 200 horses.

bullet 1891

George Winstone's son, George Junior, joined the business as a message boy.

images 5 1904

W. and G. Winstone partnership was dissolved (William had semi-retired nine years earlier) and its business and assets transferred to a limited liability company, Winstone Ltd.

bullet 1905

Winstone Ltd acquired the first of a series of schooner-rigged flat-bottomed scows used to transport sand, shingle, coal and other materials from the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel and Waikato to Auckland.

bullet 1913

The company added the agency for Cafferata Plaster, which led to the importation and later still to the manufacturing of plaster wallboard.

bullet 1914 Winstone carters

Winstone purchased an additional property in Symonds Street as a garage and developed a large Auckland waterfront supply yard in Nelson Street, which sold cement, sand and shingle, as well as several suburban firewood and coal outlets.

bullet 1920

Winstone purchased the remaining 50 per cent of O'Reilly Brothers' tile factory at Taumarunui (it had bought a half-share a few years earlier) and installed up-to-date equipment for the production of Marsailles tiles, at the time the most popular roofing material, and also manufactured bricks.

bullet 1922 Three Kings Quarry

Winstone opened its first branch office - in Wellington. The company purchased 27.5 acres for a quarry on the Three Kings scoria hill in Mount Roskill (it was extended to nearly 40 acres in 1938).

bullet 1924

William Winstone died. The first non-family member, F.G. Baskett, was appointed to the company's board, and Eric, George Junior's son, became the first of the third generation of Winstones to become involved in the family business. The Winstone Ltd Provident Fund was established, with a capital fund endowment of shares from members of the Winstone family, to provide pensions for employees on their retirement - one of the first such schemes in New Zealand.

images 6 1929

The Wellington building supply firm W.A. Chote Ltd is merged into the Winstone organisation. The same year the branch obtained the single biggest order for cement Winstone Ltd had had to date: 8000 tons for the Mount Victoria tunnel.

bullet 1930 Making gib board by hand

Winstone Ltd bought out over shareholders of N.Z. Wallboards Ltd, which had begun manufacturing the plaster wallboard known as Gibraltar board (or gib board) in Balmoral Road, Mount Eden in 1927.

image 4 1932

George Senior died and his role as chairman of directors was filled by George Junior.

bullet 1936 Winstones Furniture Removal

In a joint venture with an Australian plastics supplier, Winstone Ltd established Victor Plasters Ltd to take over the supply of gypsum used in gib board; the new company built a mill in Auckland to manufacture the high-quality plaster needed for gib board. By 1939, the third major component of the board - paper - was also being sourced from a New Zealand supplier. A basalt quarry was opened in Lunn Avenue, Mount Wellington.

bullet 1942

A 'group of business men' purchased a majority of shares in J.J. Craig Ltd, one of Auckland's largest carrying firms, which were subsequently on-sold to Winstone's subsidiary N.Z. Wallboards Ltd. (It was not until 1969 that J.J. Craig was integrated into Winstone Ltd.)

bullet 1946 Plimmerton Pipeworks

A second gib board factory was established at Lower Hutt, and the next year Winstone Clay Products Ltd (previously Winstone's Roofing Tile Works Ltd), which ran the Taumarunui brick works, began manufacturing glazed colour tiles at a purpose-built plant at Plimmerton, just north of Wellington.

bullet 1949

Percy Winstone died. Winstone Ltd established a London branch in order to arrange cement shipments, negotiate indents of various materials such as steel, gather information on new products, processes and developments, as well as liaise with manufacturers whose products were either marketed or manufactured under licence by Winstone Ltd or its associate companies.

bullet 1950

George Winstone Junior was replaced as managing director by his son Eric, marking the beginning of a significant shift in Winstone's overall policy: from being principally suppliers of raw materials, such as graded metal and cement, to increasing the company's involvement in manufacturing.

bullet 1953 Three Kings Quarry

Winstone established a plant manufacturing Vibrapac blocks at its Three Kings scoria depot in Mount Roskill.

bullet 1954

Eric Winstone replaced George Junior as chairman of directors.

bullet 1950s - 1960s Coal and Firewood Division

The company established a block-making plant at Te Rapa near Hamilton, acquired Tauwhare Metal Supplies Ltd's greywacke quarry just out of Hamilton and the Napier firm C.H. Cranby and Co Ltd (creating the subsidiary Winstone Cranby Ltd), all the shares in the listed Northland company Hardie Bros., the Whangarei-based L.W. Waldron & Sons Ltd and the related Specified Concrete Ltd and Whangarei Transport Ltd, and the Christchurch building supply merchants, Blackburne, Smith & Co Ltd. It opened branch offices in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, North Auckland and Christchurch.

bullet 1959

The Taumarunui factory was closed and the company concentrated its manufacturing operations, predominantly bricks and tiles, at Plimmerton.

bullet 1960

The brick-making company Huntly Brick Co Ltd became a subsidiary of Winstone Ltd.

bullet 1961

N.Z. Wallboards Ltd opened a South Island factory at Opawa, alongside a new mill operated by Victor Plasters, which produced the gypsum plaster required.

bullet 1964 Old Winstone Logo

Winstone Ltd celebrated its centenary and listed on the Stock Exchange.

bullet 1968

Eric Winstone retired and was replaced by George Senior's two grandsons: Donald as managing director and Alan as chairman.

bullet 1970 Golden Bay Cement

Winstone Ltd added the valuable concrete business, Wilson's (N.Z.) Portland Cement Ltd, to its portfolio, buying 100 per cent of the company jointly with Golden Bay Cement Ltd.

bullet 1971

Winstone acquired P.T.Y. Industries Ltd, which was involved in forestry and farming activities as well as log exports.

bullet 1973 Dimond Industries Ltd

The purchase of Dimond Industries Ltd, a company that specialised in the production of roll-formed steel products, added a further dimension to the company's range of building products.

bullet 1976

Winstone Ltd took a majority shareholding in a joint venture, Winstone Samsung Industries Ltd, with the Chonju Paper Manufacturing Company of Seoul to establish and operate a thermo-mechanical pulp mill adjacent to the Karioi State Forest.

bullet 1979 Winstones Pulp

The Karioi pulp mill came on stream but international prices for pulp and newspaper had became significantly cheaper. Winstone's joint-venture partner reneged on its earlier agreement to take 70 per cent of the mill's pulp production.

bullet 1981 Winstone Glass

Mill losses amounted to $7,133,000 (Winstone's non-pulp activities produced a $10.6 million profit and it held 60 per cent of the booming home improvements market). In order to meet its term debts, Winstone Ltd required assistance of $15 million from the government. The private Christchurch-based investment company H.W. Smith Ltd, whose directors was closely associated with Brierley Investments Ltd, made an offer to shareholders in an attempt to increase its 10 per cent holding in Winstone Ltd to 24.9 per cent.

bullet 1983

Mill losses amounted to $11 million. H.W. Smith held 27 per cent of the Winstone shares and was represented on the board by Bruce Judge. The first of several acquisitions across the Tasman opened up further export and manufacturing opportunities to and in Australia.

bullet 1984 Brierleys takeover bid

Brierley took over H.W. Smith's investment arm, Bunting & Co., acquiring its Winstone shares among others. It soon had full control of Winstone Ltd. Three Brierley-appointed directors - Bruce Judge, Paul Collins and Bruce Hancox - sat on the board and the last remaining director from the Winstone family, Donald, retired. Winstone Ltd began operating as a subsidiary company of Brierley.

bullet 1985

Winstone Ltd acquired the shares held by Chonju Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd in Winstone Samsung Industries Ltd, which subsequently changed its name to Winstone Pulp Industries Ltd. It increased its Australian holdings and sold several subsidiary companies to generated much needed cash.

bullet 1988 Eden House

Winstone Ltd sold by Brierley to Fletcher Challenge for $444 million. Winstone's operations were integrated into Fletcher Challenge's existing business structures.

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