X marks the spot
Near the centre left of this image you’ll find the cross-shaped sails of one of Auckland’s earliest and most prominent landmarks.
Partington’s Windmill stood on the ridge of Symonds Street near Karangahape Road, where the Langham Hotel is today. Six floors high, it towered over the fledgling settlement and could be seen from the harbour. Ships used it to steer their way into port.
The windmill was built in 1850, from bricks made onsite from clay dug nearby. The Partington’s company was run by the irascible Charles Partington and his son Joseph, an early health food enthusiast. Father and son ground mostly wholemeal flour from wheat grown in the suburb of Epsom. They also sold wholemeal biscuits. In the 1860s these biscuits were sent south to feed British troops fighting in the New Zealand Wars.
When Mr Partington considered subdividing his land and demolishing the windmill in the 1870s, residents were horrified. The New Zealand Herald noted that the landmark would be sorely missed — it had long guided sailors, visitors to the city, and ‘young gentlemen who won’t go home till morning’. By 1911 the windmill was being dwarfed by other buildings and falling into disrepair. It was torn down 100 years after it was built, in 1950.