Among our largest collections of business archives are the records of rope makers Donaghys Industries, who began operations in Dunedin way back in 1876. They are still in this trade 136 years later, but have also widely diversified into the rural, industrial, marine and aquaculture markets. In the 1990s the company moved its head office to Christchurch but it maintains offices in Dunedin and Melbourne.
Hocken’s relationship with Donaghys goes back to the 1980s when we received most of the current collection. In 2010 staff were invited to the company’s Bradshaw Street premises where we collected further financial records, photographs, administrative files, photographs, ephemera, and other records, some dating back over a century. Arrangement and description work was completed in 2011, increasing the size of the collection by over 50 percent to 45 shelf metres (that’s 2,500 individual items). More recently, the entire collection was entered onto our Hakena archives and manuscripts catalogue which has made the collection much easier to search and access.
Shown here are some label illustrations (MS-3560/0560) and 1960s photographs taken by Campbell Studios in Dunedin (MS-3560/0633). Two show rope manufacture processes, an in one a worker can be seen in the famous 380-metre ‘rope walk’. Another shows a bale of rope bigger than a Mini.
We are delighted that Donaghys Industries have ensured the preservation of their historic records, and are always interested in hearing from other local businesses.