Early landmark: Partington's Mill

Mill on the hill

A distinctive Auckland landmark up on the windy ridge, until demolished in 1950.

Partington’s windmill, located up high on this ridge to get best advantage of the wind, ground corn and wheat for the Auckland market.

In 1847 the newly-arrived Charles Partington ventured into partnership with John Bycroft and together they took over the Epsom Mill that stood in St Andrews Road.

The partnership lasted until December 1849 and in May 1850, for £200, Partington purchased two sections on Symonds Street near the intersection with Karangahape Road, adding a third property three years later.

On this site he had the builder Henry White build a six-storey high windmill, made of bricks using clay dug from the site at a cost of £2000. The walls were 685mm thick, constructed using special wedge-shaped bricks.

In August 1851 the first flour was advertised for sale. The company advertised as the Victoria Flour Mills and Steam Biscuit Factory. Being able to produce large amounts of baked goods established Partington’s as a major firm.

During the Land Wars of the 1860s this technology enabled Partington to secure a very lucrative contract to supply government troops with biscuits.

The mill functioned as an early Skytower, with many professional photographers taking panoramic shots of Auckland from its upper levels.

Windmill graves

Charles Partington died in 1877, possibly leaving his business affairs in disarray. He is buried in the Presbyterian section of the cemetery.

After a set of legal skirmishes his sons divided parts of the business empire between them; eventually the Symonds Street Windmill ended up being owned by Joseph Partington.

Henry White (who built the windmill) is buried in the Wesleyan section of the cemetery, just near the St Martin’s Lane entrance.

Images - the views from the mill

  • <p>Looking from Partington's Windmill along Karangahape Road, showing Grafton Gully and the Caledonian Hotel. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W283.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking south from Partington's Windmill towards Mount Eden with Karangahape Road (foreground), Grafton Gully (left), Symonds Street and cemetery (centre) and Holy Sepulchre Church (left of centre) in background, c1923. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W414.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking south from Partington's Windmill showing Karangahape Road, (foreground), Grafton Cemetery, (centre), St Benedicts Church, (right background), Mount Eden, (left background), and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, (left of centre background), c1905. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2695.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking south from Partington's Windmill towards Mount Eden (left of centre, background), and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (centre background), c1950. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A5035.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking south west from Partington's Windmill showing Karangahape Road  and Upper Queen street (left to right, diagonal in background), c1870s. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 29-ALBUM-100-2.</em></p>
  • <p>Looking north from Mennies Building In Symonds Street (far left to top right) showing Karangahape Road (left to right acrosos centre partly obscured), Partingtons Windmill (centre right), Symonds Street cemetery (lower centre right), c1922. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-5648.</em></p>
  • <p>Partington's Mill, Auckland, c1910. William Archer Price. Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: 1/2-001160-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23187380</p>

Partington's Mill

  • <p>Partington's Mill, Auckland, c1910. William Archer Price. Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: 1/2-001160-G. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23187380</p>
  • <p>Looking north from Mennies Building In Symonds Street (far left to top right) showing Karangahape Road (left to right acrosos centre partly obscured), Partingtons Windmill (centre right), Symonds Street cemetery (lower centre right), c1922. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-1729.</em></p>
  • <p>Early Auckland looking up Queen Street, with Partington's Mill on the ridgeline. W. S. Hatton, 1853. <em>Alexander Turnbull Library</em> <em>Reference:B-078-012.</em><em>Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.</em></p>
  • <p>Partington's flour mill, houses and a ship in the harbour with fenced graveyards in the cemetery in the foreground, c1859. <em>Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, Ref: A-128002. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22808387</em></p>

Where was the mill?

The mill was where the buildings on the NW corner of Symonds Street and Karangahape Road intersection are now.