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Exports Down-under

Where did that stove go ?

Advert from Sydney Morning Herald 1860
Advert from Sydney Morning Herald 23rd September 1860

Much evidence abounds in the two principal countries to which Garton & Jarvis, and after 1865 Garton & King, exported their stoves and ranges, these being Australia and New Zealand. News, communication and travel between Britain and these (then) colonies took a considerable amount of time to cover the distance. Plymouth to Sydney was some 14,750 miles and could take, in the days of the Clipper ships, from 70 to 110 days, dependent on weather conditions. With the assistance of Steam such as with the SS Great Britain, (which made the journey some 32 times between 1852 & 1875) this pared the journey to around 60 days.

Australian trade.

The success achieved by Garton & Jarvis from their stands at the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Paris Universal Exhibition 1855 eventually filtered through to both Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, mainly New South Wales, this is reflected in the Shipping Imports columns and the Advertising pages in such newspapers as The Empire, Sydney Morning Herald, Evening News, the Australian Country Journal and the Sydney Mail and News South Wales Advertiser to name a few. Adverts abound and were placed by firms such as H. R. Robinson, Beilby & Scott, H. Hamburger and F. Lassetter & Co. Australia received shipments around this time and trade to both destinations gradually increased over the next 15 years or so.

Sydney Dockside circa 1880s   Advert from Sydney Morning Herald 1858
Sydney Dockside circa 1880s Advert from Sydney Morning Herald 1858

The two Sydney Morning Herald Adverts have been retyped, though the wording is the same as in the original newsprint versions which, unfortunately, are too blurred to be usefully reproduced here. Adverts from New Zealand papers being much clearer and some appear on this page,

Export Circular 1880
Export Circular 1880

The Agents in Sydney were the Colonial Stores ('By Royal Charter' the letter from them proudly states). It appears that possibly the owner or manager, a Mr McDonell, had a very useful contact; his father in law, a Mr Bidwell, lived in Exeter and had an account with Garton & King. A very useful foot in the door. The Company had outlets within Australia, Geelong being one that is mentioned. Ironmongers in the Sydney area that handled and retailed the Company’s stoves include Iredale & Co (Established 1820), later becoming F. Lessetter & Co in 1864, Agars & Stabler, Beilby & Scott and H. Hamburger.

In June 1880 the Company produced an ‘Export Department’ circular (which is displayed here) in an effort to increase sales The wording suggests that this was not the first bulletin to be sent. I can find no trace of the November Bulletin they refer to. Ten years on and sales were perhaps beginning to decline as improvements were made to other types of cooking stoves, particularly gas, which were becoming a commercial success in the UK in the 1890s. Handling Agents were, it seems, always out to squeeze every little drop they could in commission or charges from either the consignor or the consignee. They included such firms as:- McLean Brothers & Rigg, Buck & Hickman, James McEwan & Co, Bryce Junor & White (Glasgow) and perhaps the shrewdest of the lot dare I say – H. & A. Hawley. The note on one Consignment Memorandum dated September 12th 1844 states: “..we shall ship them per sailing vessel – steamer rates are prohibitive.” Between December 1882 and September 1887 something in excess of 332 stoves, according to the records I have – though it was in all probability many more, left Garton & King’s foundry for Australia and New Zealand. Most of them were sent by rail, courtesy the Great Western Railway, already packaged for shipment to the GWR Station at Poplar, thence in this instance to the Royal Albert Docks and onward shipment. For Napier it was often the West India Docks and it seems the East India for Sydney, Australia.

New Zealand trade.

This involved shipping usually to Wellington, Napier or Dunedin – a sailing of well over fifteen hundred nautical miles from Sydney. One of the first mention of the Garton & Jarvis’s Stoves and Ranges appears in the New Zealand Hawkes Bay Times in April 1863 when the Dart delivered, from Sydney, 4 cases of G & J’s ‘Patent Cooking Stoves’ followed three months later with the arrival of the Hirondelle with 8 cases of the same.

Extract from the Wellington, (New Zealand) Evening Post, 10th October 1887 “

The New Zealand Shipping Company’s Steamer RMS Rimutaki (Capt: Turpin) from London, arrived in harbour at 5.15pm yesterday, and, all being well on board, was berthed at the wharf at 7 the same evening. She left Plymouth at 1.30pm on the 27th August, and to Madeira (reached on morning of the 31st) had strong S.W. winds; left at 5.55 the same day, and reached Cape Town at 5pm on the 16th September, having had head seas and strong trades. Here she landed several passengers, including The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and left again at 7am on the 17th. Experienced strong S.E. winds till the 21st, when a sudden gale came over from the S.E. succeeded by a hard gale from the south, wuth very high seas and furious squalls, from which date she had very strong winds till the 30th September, afterward fine weather to Hobart, where she arrived at 2 am on the 5th inst. Moving on at 1.15pm and had fine weather across, arriving here as above. The usual amusements were indulged in by the passengers, the Rimutaka Minstrels contributing a very good entertainment. She remains here until Wednesday when she leaves here for Lyttleton.”

RMS Rimutaki
RMS Rimutaka

Somewhere – deep in the hold – protectively oiled and securely packaged and waiting to be offloaded could be found one of Garton & Kings Medium Stoves

SS Kaikoura
SS Kaikoura

Some of the names of the ships on these runs on which G & K’s products were cargo appear frequently in the Wellington Shipping Movement Columns of the Evening Post: the SS Allawara, the SS Aorangi, the Trafalgar, Brilliant, Zealandia, and the SS Tongariro. All long since gone but some pictures of these ships accompany this article, from the age of transition from sail to steam.

SS Tongariro
SS Tongariro

One of the main distributors in New Zealand was Gunn & Ross of Dunedin In New Zealand the Otago Daily Times and the Hawkes Bay Herald carried many mentions of the company’s products and arrivals in the Shipping Columns and also through general advertisements and notices by such entities as Hardy & Sidey, Henry Williams, Parke and Curle and Gunn & Ross, T & S Morrin, F. Tuxford and other Hardware and Ironmongery outlets.


The first of the following adverts all of which include mentions of of the company's products, is from the Hawkes Bay Herald Times and shows the involvement of Samuel Begg. It was recorded in that newspaper on the 7th October 1861 the availability of “Garton & Jarvis Patent Stoves newly arrived off the sailing ship Montezuma direct from Sydney” at his Custom House Street Store, Napier. Next the West Coast Times in 1866 carried an Auction Notice for Hawkes & Strout, Hardware Merchants, Lyttleton, and the Hawkes Bay Herald in 1870 an advert by Stuart & Co stating they were Agents for Garton & King. Finally, the latest advert I could find relating to Garton & King's Stoves was effectively a ‘clearance sale’ by Park and Curle of Dunedin advertised in the Otago Daily Times dated the 13th September 1889 – sales of the coal burning ranges were by then beginning to decline.

Advert Hawkes Bay Herald 7th Oct 1861
Hawkes Bay Herald
7th October 1861
  West Coast Times 13th Nov 1866
West Coast Times
13th Nov 1866
  Advert Hawkes Bay Herald, 11th Jan 1870
Advert Hawkes Bay Herald, 11th Jan 1870
Advert Otago Daily Times 13th Sept 1889
Advert Otago Daily Times 13th Sept 1889

This is far from being a detailed account of Garton and King’s exports over the years, but it is a small insight gleaned from the records that are available both in our archives and ‘on line’. What happened before and what happened after is practically guesswork but one can be fairly sure from what records of Stove and Range Sales that do exist that by 1900 exports had peaked and were in steep decline as the cleaner gas and electric stoves became more popular and refined. Whether other Company products were exported to these two countries at any time in the 20th century I have no proof, There are suggestions that in New Zealand at least there are Garton & King Manhole Covers but as yet I have no evidence of this – just a rumour perhaps.

Updated February 2024
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See also:
Cooking EquipmentThe Dunbar: the missing stoves
Tale of Two BarquesWheels & Gears
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