Photograph, Templeton's flax mill; McKesch, Henry John; 1910-1920; RI.P39.93.522


Photograph, Templeton's flax mill

About this object

A black and white photograph at the Templeton flax mill. This image is the same as 518, and as such the man in the photograph, is believed to be, Muir Templeton. Born 1886 at Thornbury. He was the first of 10 children of Jessie and William Templeton. In 1911 the family moved to a property at Otaitai Bush which had flax swamps and a mill which William shifted closer to Riverton.

The four eldest brothers went to fight in World War One, while the remaining family ran the mill to produce the rope and twine needed for the war effort. Prices had boomed during the war, but slumped in the 1920s.

During World War Two, flax milling was again declared an essential industry and prices rose. The fibre was used for wool packs, flax matting, and filling for upholstery, as well as rope and twine. In its heyday the Otaitai Bush mill was turning out over 300 tons of fibre a year which meant some 2,700 tons of flax were being processed.


Patrick, Elaine. 1998. Southern People; A dictionary of Otago and Southland. Longacre Press: Dunedin City Council. pg. 502

A copy is available in the Te Hikoi Museum research room, Riverton.

Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riverton-Aparima


McKesch, Henry John

Maker Role


Date Made


Inscription and Marks

Printed on front: 'McKesch photo'
Handwritten on the back: 'Donated by M.K. Wilson 1990, Templeton's flaxmill Otaitai'
Stamped on the back: 'Wallace Early Settlers Museum, Riverton'
Handwritten on the back in white: 'P39.93.522'
Handwritten on the back in blue ink: '522'


Image: h x 145 mm x w 208 mm
Mount: h x 252 mm x w 301 mm



Object Type


Subject and Association Keywords


Medium and Materials

organic, processed material, paper
organic, processed material, cardboard

Object number



Public Domain Public Domain

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