Community Connections: Research the Local
Sorry, this event’s been and gone
|Wed 9 Nov ’11, 6:00pm–8:00pm||
Where: Palmerston North Central Library, 4 The Square, Palmerston North
Restrictions: All Ages
- Admission: Free
You are all warmly invited to attend our final College Lecture for 2011.
Dr Kerry Taylor, School of History, Philosophy and Classics, Massey University.
“You have nothing to lose but your chains: Longburn Freezing Works and its local communities.”
Longburn freezing works, opened in 1889, and was once a vital cog in the regional, national and international economy. Today the Longburn works stands like an industrial fossil on the outskirts of Palmerston North, a rather bleak reminder of a lost world, having ceased operations in 1986. This paper arises from a small project on a Longburn freezing worker’s black singlet housed in the collection of Te Manawa. In this work I sought to provide an explanation for the Longburn shed’s radicalism, suggesting the iconic black singlet served as a complex cultural symbol often undermining nationalistic and integrative imperatives.
This small project sparked my interest in the potential of Longburn works as the focus for a more substantive study. It provides a site where different communities came together, sometimes in co-operation, but also in open conflict, as different communities framed their interests in a variety of ways. Local farmers, foreign investors and meat workers had direct material interests connected to the site, but frequently saw these as threatened by the actions of each other. Particular local communities and families within them, including Rangiotu, Longburn itself and the city of Palmerston North – derived income and broader social and cultural meaning from the works.
In short, the Longburn works provides a lens through which the complex issues of industry and community can be explored connecting the very local with national and global processes. The paper poses the question ‘who constituted the Longburn Freezing works community?’.