Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

28 November 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Alliance Textiles, Milton

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.

I did this drawing in 1988. I felt then that in a little town like nineteenth century Milton it expressed the pride and good intentions of local industry to do something worthwhile in New Zealand.

But right now, in November 2011, its life has finally ended. These dates are from Internet news:

1897: Bruce Woollen Mill established to scour, card and spin and weave wool into yarn, blankets, rugs and clothing fabric.
1901: Mill destroyed by fire.
1902: Rebuilt mill opens with latest imported machinery.
1962: Business taken over by Alliance Textiles.
1992: Forty-nine workers locked out for refusing to sign new employment contract agreements. A group of 13 protest outside the mill gates for the next six years - longest industrial action in New Zealand trade union history.
1999: Alliance Textiles closes mill, 54 jobs lost.
1999: Mill reopens after QualitYarns New Zealand Ltd buys mill and equipment, 11 staff, growing to 35 by end of first year.
2000: QualitYarns buys worsted spinning line, creates another 13 jobs. 2008: Fifteen staff made redundant. Mill continues to employ 27 staff.
2011: Mill to close.


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By Don Donovan