Austin, Kirk & Company

Date of birth
Circa 1870
Date of death
In 1875 John & William Austin with Henry Kirk bought 16 hectares at St Martins (Centaurus Rd) and established the Farnley Brick and Tile Works. Shortly afterwards they became the first brickworks in Christchurch to venture into making domestic ceramic wares. They won a bonus from the Canty. Provincial Govt ca 1878 for being the first local manufacturer to produce £1000 worth of salt-glazed wares. In 1879 the company was publicly floated under the name “Austin, Kirk & Co.” and the following year they borrowed from the Colonial Bank for a massive expansion programme, initially building what became the largest and tallest brick kiln in the Southern Hemisphere. At this time they employed 71 workers. The firm also owned many hectares at Malvern, from where they drew fireclay and lignite. The firm limited its production of pottery after 1880 when one of their potters, Luke Adams, left to set up his own business in Sydenham. Thus it could be assumed “that Austin, Kirk and company’s wares are relatively few in number and marked examples even scarcer.” (Henry, p. 83) The firm was forced to close in 1888 when the Colonial Bank collapsed


Made by this person