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In 1869 a Tug boat by the name of “Dispatch” arrived in the Port of Greymouth. This boat was brought out from Scotland and the engineer aboard was John Sewell.

After several years in Greymouth servicing the tug boat and putting his trade to good use in other parts of the community, John decided to start a business. After contact with a friend from Scotland A.B Hughes and with the help of the lease holder of the land “William Rae” they started the business in 1873 “Dispatch Foundry & Co. Ltd.”

Quartz mining booms in the Reefton area gave the little foundry great impetus and by 1875, Rae and Sewell found the necessary expansion was beyond their means. The result was the founding of the “Dispatch Foundry Company Ltd.” In 1876, with a capital of 10,000 pounds at 5 shillings a share.

In 1975 the change of name to “Dispatch Engineering Ltd.” During this period log haulers, air receivers / pressure vessels and gold screens were being manufactured in Greymouth and being sent all around New Zealand and occasionally overseas; kept the business very busy during this period along with the general engineering & foundry work.

1995 Dave McMillan, managing director of R.A. Garlick Ltd & his business partner Francis Zampese purchased the buildings and assets of Dispatch Engineering Ltd.

R. A. Garlick Ltd an engineering business established in the 60's was purchased by Dave McMillan & Francis Zampese in 1983. During their time with R. A. Garlick Ltd they saw the beginning of the “New Zealand Dairy Boom” in the early 90's and established themselves as a leader in the Rotary dairy shed market. The purchasing of the building and assets of Dispatch Engineering Ltd was a strategic move. Demand had reached the point where staff levels and building space were required to meet market demands.

1995 “Dispatch & Garlick Ltd” was formed to keep the history of the Dispatch lineage and also the recognition of R. A. Garlick Ltd's established clientele.

1997 the first Rotary Milk Platform was sent to Mexico and soon after, the UK, Austraila, Denmark, USA and now China. With an exported number of platforms in excess of 65. 

Dispatch Engineering worksop
Dispatch and garlick ltd, old engineerig workshop

Points of interest:

* Up to the turn of the century, Dispatch manufactured 8000 feet of water pipes for Humphrey's Gully Company, 100 tonnes         of girders for the Otira Gorge Bridge, ten-head stamper batteries, sets of joints and crossings for the Govt. railings, besides         the abundance of orders for the sawmills, etc. In the late 1890's, Dispatch employed on average, 60 persons.

* Early 1898 Percy Hambleton traveled from Greymouth to Lyttleton, took 55 hours.

* 4th June 1900 - Electric light installed in the foundry.

* August 12, 1901 - William Rae and Percy Hambleton did a holiday trip to England and Canada.

* May 23, 1902 - New foundry offices opened

* March 1903 - Riveting done by the foundry was heated in a big oven at the shop - 17,318 at a time.

* Nov 18 1904 - New motor cars arrived - Percy bought the first motor car and shortly after took it for a spin down to Paroa.

* 29 Sept 1906 - Telephones installed at the foundry (cost = 1 pound, 7 shillings, 6 dimes)

* 1909-1910 - Dispatch contributed towards the running of an Engineering Class which was established at the Technical School.

* In 1910 the foundry employed 12 moulders, 23 fitters, 12 blacksmiths, 20 boilermakers, 2 pattern makers, 8 labourers and 4     office staff. Of the workshop staff there were 29 apprentices.

* Oct 1910 - New building erected with overhead crane. Dispatch's manager (Percy) supervised the construction, no architect       was employed.

* 6 July 1911 - Mr Ellison, an employee, was killed in a foundry accident.

* July 1912 - Percy, the manager of Dispatch donated 2/6 to Titanic Memorial

* Nov 5, 1912 - 80 employees, & 9000 pounds per year paid out in wages.

* Saturday, Aug 4, 1914 - War declared in Europe. A number of employees left to serve with the forces. Three were killed in           action.

* 1915 - Foundry employing 66 staff.

* March 31, 1916 - Bill Hamilton (foreman moulder) died in harness.

* During the influenza epidemic in 1918, one day only 7 of the 80 men turned up for work, so the foundry closed until things          improved.

* Feb 27, 1922 - Jack H. injured - burnt eyes with sulfuric acid.

* April 24, 1922 - Felix Campbell died - shop closed.

* April 21-30, 1924 - Railway strike.

* August 31, 1925 - Store lit up with electric light.

* June 17/18, 1926 - Bad earthquakes, centered at Murchison

* Foundry almost unaffected at beginning of depression due to the success of gold in the region.

* June 22, 1933 - Football team from foundry went to Haupiri to play a local side.

* March 22, 1934 - Mr Lewis, pattern maker, met with a fatal accident at the Patternshop.

* Sunday, 3 Sept, 1939 - Britain declared war on Germany.

* In the middle of WW2 the foundry hosted its own "Minstrel Show", to raise money for patriotic funds. The overhead         crane was put to use to move heavy equipment like the piano. The shows were very popular, one night the audience                   exceeded 1000 people.  The show even did a tour around other West Coast towns.

* May 27, 1942 - Wages increased to 1000 pounds per year.

* William Rae, one of the founders of Dispatch and secretary for a number of years, was also one of the founding members of     the borough council.

Dispatch Tug

Dispach ?Tug, Dispatch engineering, Dispatch and garlick ltd

The foundry got its name from a small but powerful paddle wheel tug named "Dispatch" which arrived in Greymouth to the order of a local company in 1869.


The engineer who brought the newly-built tug out from England was John Sewell, a native of Scotland, and an engineer of considerable ability.


Sewell decided he liked the town and accepted the position as permanent engineer to the tug.


His job on the Dispatch, however, did not always involve long hours and it was not long before Sewell was working at his trade in a shed in the backyard of his home in Mount Street.

He was assisted with these odd jobs by a fireman on the Dispatch, Charles Jeffard.


Before leaving Scotland, Sewell and a friend, A. B. Hughes, a pattern maker, made an agreement that at some future time they would meet in the colonies and start their own business.


In 1872, Sewell wrote to his friend and told him of his plan to start an iron and brass foundry in Greymouth.


Hughes arrived in Greymouth the following year and with the assistance of William Rae, who held the leasehold of the land chosen as the site for the foundry, the venture began.

1875 Apprenticeship Agreement

This Indenture Made this seventeenth day of November 1875 One thousand eight hundred and seventy five Between William Myers Garth of Greymouth in the province of Westland New Zealand of the first part Francis Garth son of the said William Myers Garth of the second part, and the Dispatch Foundry Company limited of Greymouth, Province of Westland, New Zealand of the third part. Witnesseth that for the considerations hereinafter mentioned the said William Myers Garth testified by his execution of these presents to put himself apprentice to the said Dispatch Foundry Company Limited for the term of four years and three months to commence from the seventeenth day of november 1875 One thousand eight hundred and seventy five. And the Dispatch Foundry Company Limited hereby covents and agrees according to the best of their skill power and knowledge to teach and instruct or cause to be taught or instructed the said Francis Garth the trade or business of an iron moulder and all and every thing relating thereto. And the said William Myers Garth and Francis Garth for themselves and for their several executors and administrators do and each of them doth covenant promise and agree with and to the said Dispatch Foundry Company Limited that the said Francis Garth from the date hereof during the term of four years and three months shall well and faithfully serve the said Dispatch Foundry Company Limited as their apprentice and diligently attend to the said business at all times from the hour of eight in the morning till five in the evening their lawful commands gladly obey he shall do no hurt to his said masters nor suffer it to be done by others when it is in his power to prevent the same he shall not waste his said masters goods nor embezzle the same give nor lend nor absent himself from his said masters service nor do any other act matter or thing that whatsoever to prejudice his said masters, but in all things shall demean and behave himself to his said masters as a faithful apprentice ought. And the said Dispatch Foundry Company Limited covenant for themselves their heirs executors and administrators to and with the said W. M. Garth that they will in consideration of such good and faithful services as aforesaid pay to the said Francis Garth.

(with Rae and Sewell)

For the first yeare shillings and six pence per week for the second year

seventeen shillings and six pence per week for the third year

to commence 17th February 1876. one pound (two and 6 pence) per week for the fourth year

to 17th February 1877. one pound (seven shillings and 6 pence) per week for the fifth year

and one pound twelve shillings per week for the sixth year

and lastly it is hereby declared by and between the said parties to these presents that if any time during the said term of four years and three months the said Francis Garth shall from any cause whatsoever illness or otherwise be absent from the service of his said masters he the said Francis Garth shall not be entitled to receive any money from his said masters for the time he shall be absent as aforesaid. In witness whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year before written

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Charles Hamption, Greymouth, William Myers Garth, Frank Garth, William Rae - Secretary.


1875 Expansion


Prospectus Of The

Dispatch Foundry Company

(Limited) Greymouth

Capital - - - £10,000

In 10,000 shares of £1 each 2s 6d per share on application; 2s 6d per share on allotment; the balance to be paid in calls not to exceed 5s a share at intervals of two months.

With power to add to their number.

The objects of the proposed company are to purchase the land, premises, plant and business known as the Dispatch Foundry, at Greymouth, and to carry on the works upon a more extensive scale.

The estimated value of the plant and premises proposed to be purchased is £4400, and with the stock on hand for sale, viz: £2100, amount to a total of £6500.

The present proprietors, Messrs Rae and Sewell, are prepared to take up 3500 shares, paid up, against the purchase, and their employees are willing to become shareholders, making the company to some extent co-operative, which system has led to advantages in Melbourne and elsewhere. The men having an interest in the success of the undertaking is an assurance that the works will be carried out satisfactorily.

The Provisional Committee need hardly point out the advantages to be gained by having a Railway and Foundry Works in Greymouth, employing from 40 to 60 hands, and turning out machinery without the expense and time lost in sending to Melbourne and other places, and the high class character of the work now being turned out, is sufficient to guarantee that the Dispatch Foundry can compete with any Foundry in New Zealand or Victoria.

Forms of application and further particulars to be obtained from-

G.W. Moss & Co., Tainui Street, or

Hindmarsh and Co., Mackay Street.

Tornado 2005

March 10th 2005, Greymouth is struck by a tornado causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage.

Dispatch & Garlick Ltd suffered severe damage with rebuild costs estimated in excess of 2 million dollars.

Loosing approximately 1 week due to the clean up, it was business as usual although in makeshift roofs and limited workshop space.

We then began the process of rebuilding.

Along with Holmes Consulting Engineers all aspects of the building were taken into account to bring it up to current code.

Over the following many months, bond beams to the top of brick walls, structural reinforcing to all block walls were fitted. 

A complete removal of the remaining roof structure and the fabrication and installation of new portal frames with a span of approximately 25m were craned into position and a new roof fitted.

A majority of the work was undertaken by ourselves and around our existing work commitments.

Extract from the New Zealand  Herald 11th March 2005:

"There is disbelief at the widespread damage caused by a tornado in Greymouth this afternoon.

Several people are understood to have been injured after the twister ripped through the West Coast town around 1pm.

It ripped roofs off buildings, and completely destroyed several businesses.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said he could not believe that no-one had been killed. He said you have to see the devastation to believe it.

Mr Kokshoorn said the roof of Dispatch Engineering -- one of the biggest buildings in town -- had lifted and came flying through the air towards him as he drove away from council chambers. 

He said he dived into the back seat of the car and hung on while it smashed into the vehicle. 

"There's a lot of destruction -- the tornado's come in from the sea and it's gone right through."

2005 Geymouth tornado,Dispatch and Garlick Ltd
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