Topic: Money for Jam by Peter Henson

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Jam is the sticky topic of Peter Henson's entry in the 2011 Memoir and Local History Competition.

Archived version here

Money for jam 5

'Home is where your bread and butter is’ - and jam.

Rich or poor, young or old, bread and jam has been a staple food in New Zealand for generations, going right back to the pioneering days. New Zealand has been described as a ‘land of plenty,’ but more often than not times were hard for pioneering families living from day to day.  Jam was eaten in large quantities by workers in bush and railway camps, or in fact anywhere, where ‘hard yakka’ needed sustenance.

Bread and jam after school, helped to keep children content until the evening meal. Nowadays, a trip to the local supermarket to do the weekly shopping usually involves the purchase of a jar of jam, but have you ever wondered where it all began?

Early settlers arriving inNew Zealandafter the long voyage from ‘the old country’ usually brought jams and preserves with them, as well as seeds and sometimes young fruit trees. These were quickly planted, and when mature and laden with fruit, that fruit was made into jams and preserves. Sometimes hundreds of pounds were ‘put down’ while the fruit was in season, in a large variety of containers.

This in turn led to the establishment of a number of localised potteries, producing not only general purpose containers but also jam jars. Glass jars were also imported from theUK, Europe andAustraliaand the major jam factories had their own department for producing tins on site.

Factories were proposed in many areas and public meetings held, but often never got off the ground and those that did, failed a short time later because of a lack of capital, labour, expertise or a steady supply of fruit. There were, however, enterprising individuals who realised the viability of a fruit preserving industry in this ‘climate-friendly’ country and added jam production to their other diverse lines such as sauce, vinegar, pickles, confection, biscuits, peel, meats, vegetables, coffee, fish, fruit wines, etc.

They advertised in the newspapers of the day and had their own Registered Trade Marked jars to which they attached elaborately designed labels. Starting in the north and moving ‘down country’ some of the more well known firms are as follows:


- R. Furness & Company. Established 1889 by Robert Furness of Hartlepool, Durham. After his death Christopher Haswell Furness took over. Located variously at Official Bay, Beach Road Mechanics Bay, Stanley Street and Fort Street, etc. Jam jars, transfer-printed, were imported from Maling of Newcastle uponTyne.

 - A. Tyer & Sons. Established 1892 by Alfred Wood Tyer of Kent. He had been making and selling jam since 1885. Located variously atUpper Symonds Street,Custom Street West, New Street Ponsonby and College Hill. Jams were Mountain T. Brand and Excelsior Brand.

 - C.G. Laurie & Company Established 1884 by Charles George Fletcher Laurie of Auckland. Located at Grey Street,Newmarket,Stanley Street, shop at 182 Queen Street. Jams were North New Zealandand Victory. Jars embossed Forget Me Not Preserving Works.

 - Mennie & Dey / J.M. Mennie Ltd. Established 1869 Thames by James Milne Mennie of Aberdeenshire, Scotland and William Dey, also ofScotland. Moved to Auckland in 1884. Located in Albert Street and Mill Lane. Jars embossed Southern Cross Jam Factory.

 Money for Jam 1

                                         New Zealand Graphic  dated 20th July 1901, courtesy of  Auckland City Libraries.

Thompson & Hills Ltd. Established 1897 by Robert Stanley Thompson of Birkenhead and Frank Minton Hills of London. Located at Freeman’s Bay, then Victoria and Nelson Streets. Jams were Oak Brand.


- R.D. Colson (The New Plymouth Fruit Preserving Works), Colson’s Conserves. Established 1889 by Ralph Drayton Colson of NewPlymouth. Located at the corner of Pendarves, Liardet and Gilbert Streets. Jams were Fern Tree Brand.


- Frimley Canning Company (and Orchard). Established 1904 by James Nelson Williams. Located two miles from Hastings. Jams were New Zealand Fruits and Frimley Fruits.


- E.H. Crease & Son Ltd. Established 1867 by Edwin Hellard Crease of Milverton, Shropshire. After his death, Frederick Charles Crease took over. Located variously at Willis Street (Canton Tea Mart), Victoria Street, Quin Street. Jams were A1 Brand and Golden Bee.


- S. Kirkpatrick & Company Established 1881 by Samuel Kirkpatrick of Newry, County Down,Ireland. Located at Bridge Street, then on corner of Vanguard and Gloucester Streets. Jams were ‘K’ Brand.

 Money for Jam 2


- W. Barcock & Company (BedfordPreserving Works). Established 1898 by William Barcock of Bedford, England. Located at London Street,Richmond. Jams were Home Made Jams.

 -New Zealand Fruit Preserving & Canning Company Later F.G. Parsonson & Sons. Established c.1906 by Francis Gibson Parsonson of Doncaster, North England. Located at Retreat Road, Avonside. Jams for both firms were Pioneer Brand.

 - Munnings & Company Established (jam production) 1878 by Joseph Munnings of Great Horksley, Essex. Located at Lincoln Road, Addington. Jars embossed Canterbury NZ Jam.

 - Whittaker Brothers. Established 1896 by James Henry Whittaker of Lancashire,England. Located at Lincoln Road, Addington. Jam jars transfer-printed. Later J.H. Whittaker & Sons of Wellington(makers of chocolates).


- Timaru Jam Factory. Established 1887 by Alfred Targuse. Located off Heaton Street, near the railway. Local industry, jam was sold to grocers only. Jams were Targuse’s Jubilee Jam. Jam jars were made at Milton Pottery, Otago.


- J. Familton. Established 1875 by James Walker Familton of Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland. Located in Thames Street. Later established Familton & Son, Maheno. Jam jars were made at Milton Pottery, Otago.


- Irvine & Stevenson’s St. George Company Ltd. (St. George Preserving Works). Established 1864 by James Irvine of Kilsyth, near Glasgow and joined in 1882 by William Stevenson of Beith, Scotland. Located variously at Filleul Street, St. Andrew Street, Moray Place,George Street, Princess Street, etc. Various factories were acquired over the years as the business expanded into new lines. 

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- J.H. Hinton & Company’s (Fruit Preservers). Established c.1911 by John Howard Hinton of Orange, New South Wales, Australia. Located at Bathgate Street, South Dunedin. Jams were Home Made Jams.

 - A. & J. McFarlane. Established c.1868 by Andrew McFarlane and John McFarlane of Scotland. Located at Maclaggan & Princess Streets. Jams and jellies were Thistle Brand (Reg. 1896.).

 - The Phoenix Company Ltd. Established c.1885 (Purchased the premises of R.K. Murray & Sons, which was already set up as a jam factory). Located at corner of Maclaggan and Clark Streets. Jams were Phoenix Brand (with phoenix bird rising from the ashes embossed on jars).

 - W. Auld & Sons. Established 1862 by William Auld, senior. (William Auld, junior, of Waitahuna took over in 1890 after the death of his father). Located at Waitahuna, later branches at Kaitangata and Tuapeka Mouth. Jam jars were made at Milton Pottery, Otago.


-LawrenceBrothers. Established 1891 by George Taylor Lawrence of Invercargill. Located at: Maple Grove Farm, Seaward Bush, Invercargill. Jams were The Lion Brand. The majority of the jam jars were imported from Australia.

 Money for jam 5

There were other jam factories located in New Zealand. Provision merchants like L.D. Nathan sold their own jam, as did Whittome Stevenson and Hayward Brothers in Christchurch. Mr & Mrs Ryley of Lepperton, Taranaki, sold Home Made Jams. In 1888 the Northcote and Birkenhead Jam Manufacturing Company was formed. Then again in 1889 Thomas Quigley opened the Hokianga Preserved Fruit Agency on Karangahape Road, Newton, for the sale of Hokianga preserved fruits, jams and jellies.

At the same time Mason & Company, on the Awaroa Creek, Northland established the Pomana Jam Factory where tins were “being enveloped in a beautifully-designed illuminated label, varnished, presenting an appearance quite equal to Peacock’s tins.” At Aramoho, Wanganui L.J. Duflou & Company’s Cider, Wine and Preserving Works bottled jam in 1 lb and 2 lb jars. There was a Dean’s Jam Factory in Ponsonby and a Mr C.H. Solomon was owner-operator of the Riverlea Canning Company in Glen Eden.

If all of the above was not enough, George Peacock, who already had factories in Hobart,Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane came over to New Zealand and established a factory in Dunedin. However, this was eventually brought out by Irvine & Stevenson. Jam in large quantities was also being imported into New Zealand from firms such as Keiller’s, Crosse & Blackwell’s, Gray’s, T.W. Beach, P.C. Flett & Company, Knight’s and Cresswell’s, etc.

When Mr George Augustus Sala, a veteran correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, visited New Zealand, he mentioned in one of his letters something to the effect “that New Zealand was a land of jam, and that he never sat down to a meal without finding jam on the table.”

So, at the end of the day, nothing has changed. When we visit the supermarket, we find a vast array of jams on the shelves, with their enticing labels. When we sit down for a meal there is usually jam on the table or in a cupboard nearby.

Definitely ‘home is where your bread and butter is’ - and jam.

Money for Jam’ was written for the Memoir & Local History Competition 2011, run annually by the New Zealand Society of Authors Bay of Plenty Region with support from Tauranga Writers.


NOTE: Illustrations from the collection of Peter Henson, except for the drawing of the Mennie & Dey Factory, which is a New Zealand Graphic  dated 20th July 1901, courtesy of Photograph Librarian, Auckland City Libraries.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter L. Henson was born in Murupara, 1957. He has lived in Turangi for 52 years and works in the local forest industry (NZ Forest Service, Timberlands, NZ Forest Managers 38 years). An avid collector, researcher and genealogist, married to Glenys for 20 years and has a son Cameron 12.


This page archived at Perma CC in October of 2016:

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Money for Jam by Peter Henson