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Since 1950's

The Longburn Shingle Company has been producing crushed aggregate products from its Walkers Road plant in Palmerston North under its current name since 1984, however, Jack Ware first set up a gravel supply operation in the same location in the 1950’s.

John (Jack) Ware, a well known Longburn resident and general contractor specialising in farm and Catchment Board drain digging, provided metal from the current Longburn Shingle site from 1956 to build the rail over passes at Kairanga Bunnythorpe Rd and Tremaine Avenue on the main trunk line that runs through Palmerston North and Longburn to Wellington.

From that project Jack Ware started a long association with The Railways Corporation and a long-term lease on the Walkers Rd site where Longburn Shingle Company operates from was initiated. This started a relationship between the two parties that has passed through three generations of the Ware Family and is still in place today.

Jack Ware, with his business partners Bob Caldwell and Mick Witington, operated two draglines digging drains and undertaking significant contracting projects like the Mangoane Stream widening between Longburn and Awapuni. Eventually, Jack Ware bought his partners interest in the business after the tragic death of Bob Caldwell in the late 1950’s

Jack’s two sons, Bill and Robin Ware, joined their father’s drain digging and contracting business in 1967. This provided the extra labour and passion that built on Jack’s foundation business to form a formidable general contracting business throughout the greater Manawatu region.

Bill and Robin Ware’s great passion during this time was earthmoving machinery and construction equipment. Possessing their father’s operating skill, Bill and Robin set about growing the contracting business and expanding its resources.

From 1973, the contracting business diversified into Palmerston North City Council sewage and water services work as well as ready-mix concrete plants at Feilding and Foxton by the late 1970’s. During this time Longburn Shingle provided crushed gravel and concrete aggregates for their businesses.

As with all contracting companies, and with the location at Walkers Road as the base for aggregate production to meet the growing demands of the contracting business, Bill set about producing larger volumes of crushed and washed aggregates from Longburn Shingle. He covered most of the North Island selling the new products he produced at Longburn Shingle.

At one time or another, Bill was supplying washed sand to most of the large ready mix concrete companies dominating the industry today in Palmerston North as far as Wellington. Only when these concrete companies invested in their own quarries as they grew did the relationship taper off. The relationship that Bill forged with Atlas Concrete in Auckland nearly 20 years ago and is still in place is a testament to the commitment to the product quality and the customer as well as Bill's yearly marketing trek's.
Over the best part of the next 50 years to 2006, JB Ware and Sons Ltd, with brothers Bill and Robin Ware in partnership, grew into a leading civil contracting business with Longburn Shingle as the crushed and washed aggregate supplier.

There have been a number of different pieces of plant and equipment employed in screening and crushing aggregates at Longburn Shingle over that period. Acquiring crushing plant from time to time was Bill’s passion, and much of the equipment is still actively in use today. The mobile Crusher worked around the district; a Kue Ken 24 x 12 jaw crusher and two Number One Kumbee hammer-mills produce base course including Transit NZ Specified M4 for road construction projects, AP65 Sub basecourse and domestic basecourse.

The 2’ Symons Cone Crusher produces a 25mm crushed source product for shaping through a Barmac Crusher into top-course and sealing chip.

The sand plant at Longburn Shingle is only one of three in the region, but with it’s specific attributes, produces a quality washed sand product and is still producing washed stone and sand products that the company ships to ready-mix concrete suppliers over most of the North Island.

In 2009, Bill’s daughter, Helen Gordon, and her husband Phillip purchased the Longburn Shingle Company. With it’s location on the city boundary of Palmerston north, and with this proud history, they have set about breathing a new sense of purpose into the business by replicating the passion and enthusiasm that Bill and Robin Ware injected into their fathers business in 1967.

Knowing the importance of providing a great product and exceeding customer service expectations, Longburn Shingle is looking ahead to the next phase in its life with excitement. All of the products are produced to the highest standard and the company’s returning customer base is testament to the quality of its products and the new owner’s determination to succeed with the business.


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