History

Craigpine Timber is a private company, established in 1923 as Port Craig Timber.
The Company is owned by Amalgamated Holdings Ltd (the Black family from Melbourne, who descend from Sir Arthur Sims' (first class and international New Zealand cricketer) only daughter Margaret Black.). In addition to its forestry assets, the Company has one sawmill, based in Winton. Craigpine is a name synonymous in the timber industry and one that will be at the forefront of forestry for at least another 90 years.

Timeline

1916 Two key players of the Marlborough Timber Company Daniel Reese and John Craig
began preparations for logging native New Zealand Rimu in the South West of New Zealand.

1921 22nd of September - Official Opening of Port Craig Mill in the South West of
New Zealand

1923  23rd of August -  First load of timber delivered to Bluff/History Images/ 004 (JPG - 27kb)

1923  20th of November - Port Craig Timber Company was incorporated to oversee Port Craig Mill operations and sell its timber from new Invercargill offices.

1925 Sims Cooper and Company gives much needed cash investment. Thanks to an old cricketing friendship between first class players Daniel Reese & Sir Arthur Sims.

1927 Port Craig's visionary and namesake John Craig (who had passed away in 1917 ) son Bert is appointed Foreman.

1928 early -  Thanks to an ingenious cable loading system the output at Port Craig broke New Zealand records. Port Craig was the largest and most modern in New Zealand at the time.

1928  6th of October -  Due to the Depression, work is ceased at Port Craig Mill. 210 people
who had been made jobless and homeless arrived at Bluff from Port Craig.
The Port Craig Mill reopened briefly in 1930 but closed permanently after 9 months,
leaving Port Craig forever as a ghost town, which can now be visited on the Humpridge Track/History Images/ 008 (JPG - 39kb)
http://www.humpridgetrack.co.nz/

During the rest of the Depression years Port Craig Timber Company rode out the storm, from its new base in Invercargill, with 9 staff and Bert Craig doubling as yard foreman and salesman.

1936  there is a huge increase in demand for Timber the Depression years are over, in 1938 there were 5 times the numbers of houses under construction compared to 1932.

1939 The outbreak of WWII stimulated the economy as demand increased to build army camps.

1948  The supply of Rimu was not keeping up with demand, New Zealand Beech began to be processed too.

1940 - 1960  Port Craig was doing exceptionally well. /History Images/ 013 (JPG - 23kb)Timber production in New Zealand could not meet the demand. To overcome a labour shortage Bert Craig's House was purchased in 1961 by the company and turned into flats for immigrant workers.

1970s  Marshall and Sons Sawmill in Winton was taken over after 4 years of negotiations and careful planning by Mrs Margaret Black for the opportune moment.

1976 There was little freehold bush remaining and the future supply of indigenous timber was uncertain. Port Craig Timber Company began to use Radiata Pine as an economic and sustainable alternative to New Zealand's Native Timber.

1978 The forestry division was set up, to control all the native and exotic forests owned by the Port Craig Group.

1988 Name of company changed from Port Craig Timber Company to Craigpine Timber Ltd, to reflect its main business of procuring and selling radiata pine.

1997 Company wins Tradenz award for exporting. /History Images/ 005 (JPG - 38kb)Award recognised Craigpine's success of doubling exports during the year and increasing exports to China by 600% over the previous 3 years.

1998 4th of February - Craigpine Timber Ltd was issued its FSC (Forest Steward Council) Certificate. (In late 1997 Craigpine Timber Ltd was the first forestry company in Australasia to comply with FSC accreditation).

2000 - 2012 Craigpine Timber with the help of the Black family, have spent a considerable amount upgrading the Winton Mill; new Windsor Kilns were installed in 2000, a large Bin Sorter was installed in 2007 and a state of the art Sling Sorter was recently completed, ensuring Craigpine will continue to be a first class timber supplier worldwide.

2012 1st July - City Forests Site in Milburn leased resulting in Craigpine having more kiln drying capacity and better access to pruned log resource.