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RAPID MOVEMENT: Recreational jet canoeing is a badly accepted amusement in Canterbury acknowledgment to Hamilton Jet boats.
Canterbury academy Hamilton Jet is 75 and still activity strong. MIKE CREAN reports.
Think CWF Hamilton and affairs are accelerated ferries whisking 35 actor cartage a year beyond Lisbon’s Tagus River in Portugal won’t anon pop into your head.
Not unless you assignment in a characterless branch in Riccarton, Christchurch.
But John Walsh takes pride in spotting boats propelled by Hamilton baptize jets in every bend of the world.
There’s seven baking the amnion of the Tagus.
Hamilton baptize jets actuate the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s 57 Shannon-class accomplishment boats at 20 stations about Britain and Ireland.
They’re the beef abaft a 200-boat bartering fishing agile on Bristol Bay, off Alaska.
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Hamilton baptize jets ability a 600-tonne, 68-metre ability that casework oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Typical of what we are accomplishing today is a Korean coastguard barge 52-metres long, 300-tonnes and able of 25 knots, propelled by Hamilton baptize jets,” Walsh says.
All of these proudly buck the Fabricated in New Zealand tag. All of these are assault off antagonism from such adopted firms as Rolls Royce. Not bad for a adventure that began in the alien Mackenzie Country and is into the fourth bearing of ancestors affairs and management.
Yes, CWF Hamilton and Co did accomplish jet boats.
Walsh, the company’s above business manager, says it has appear a continued way back those days.
These days, Hamilton specialises in accomplish of baptize jets for abyssal vessels. It exports 97 per cent of its home developed artefact to dozens of countries. Best are massive units installed in alive vessels, not amusement boats. All are advised and congenital in the company’s Christchurch factory.
Walsh spent 40 years with the aggregation which will bless its 75th ceremony today.
He is afraid that one of Canterbury’s best accepted and best acknowledged companies should additionally be one of its atomic understood.
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He set out to actual the consequence by autograph the “biography” of an constant Canterbury ancestors firm.
Company architect Bill Hamilton was a avant-garde in applying jet technology to boating. He “played around” with jet units for years, Walsh says. The aggregation launched into jet baiter accomplish and accomplished a aerial contour through alluring expeditions on the world’s abundant rivers. The accord of celebrities such as Sir Edmund Hillary on the Ganges ensured all-embracing publicity.
But abundant engineering was the company’s capital band from the backward 1940s until the backward 1980s. The post- Apple War II blitz into dam architecture for hydro bearing on civil South Island rivers provided the befalling for the aggregation to aggrandize from its assembly of earthmoving equipment. It confused its bulb to Middleton, in Christchurch, and grew rapidly. Much of its abundant engineering was associated with architecture penstocks for new hydro dams. Added accomplishment ranged from animate arch girders to railway alembic wagons to bus- confined for the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
Meanwhile CWF Hamilton artificial relationships with International Harvester in the US and earthmoving accouterment manufacturers JCB in Britain. Deals to body accouterment for these behemothic corporations additional CWF Hamilton to the top in New Zealand engineering and manufacturing.
The ascent course angry in the 1980s. Government “think big” behavior faltered, slashing opportunities in abundant engineering. The New Zealand abridgement angled into chaos. The close was still architecture baptize jets and jet boats but adopted firms had confused into architecture jet boats too. Baiter builders about the apple were affairs accretion numbers of CWF Hamilton baptize jets for their craft, but this presented a bartering battle as Hamiltons were still exporting jet boats.
The company’s abatement accomplished crisis point in 1989. Chairman of admiral Jon Hamilton accustomed an burning bulletin to appear home from a jet canoeing campaign on Africa’s Zaire River, which was actuality filmed by BBC-TV. The campaign was abandoned. A crisis affair was held. It produced a bifold accommodation – to modernise and aggrandize the accomplish and consign of baptize jets, with the focus on exports, and to abate the architecture of jet boats to baby alone for the baby New Zealand recreational market.
From the alveolate Middleton branch active with adjustment torches and blast with captivate guns, CWF Hamilton became a hushed ambiance of computer screens, knobs and keyboards. From a aiguille of 500 workers, agents numbers fell to 350. The architecture of jet boats became a sideline, agitated out by accessory close Hamilton Abyssal with a dozen staff.
It was a huge transition, admitting abounding bodies are blind of it, Walsh says. From the outside, it seemed annihilation had changed.
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Walsh praises the 1989 decisions. Good baptize jet units were acceptable too cher for bounded recreational users but their robustness and versatility fabricated them ideal for aggressive and added alive uses. The change appropriate a “transformation” aural the branch but the addition of cyberbanking technology, such as GPS activating accession for action boats in catchy situations, set the aggregation up for its advance into the 21st- century.
The aggregation recognises 1939 as the year of its birth. A decade afore that, Bill Hamilton started accomplishing baby earthworks affairs from his abject at Irishman’s Creek Station, which he had bought in 1921. His big breach came in 1935 back he won the breakable to advance the runways at the Mt Cook airfield. The ambit of this activity appropriate him to architecture and body accessories in his simple branch on the farm.
More affairs followed and, in 1939, CWF Hamilton and Co was formed. The aggregation has retained the name, admitting Walsh addendum abounding bodies alarm it Hamilton Jet.
CWF Hamilton adapted to accomplishment armament and accoutrements during Apple War II. Son Jon abutting the aggregation afterwards the war.
In its 75 years, the aggregation has apprenticed the change of baptize jets from units that could fit on a kitchen table, to avant-garde units that would not fit in a active room. The business has acquired from little fibreglass boats bribery up Canterbury rivers for a thrill, to powering heavily-armed badge launches ploughing beyond adopted harbours in a chase to arch off biologic runners.
The company’s adventure is one of achievement. Walsh hopes his cogent of it will advance greater accessible compassionate of CWF Hamilton and Co.
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