Fresh artesian water at our Tory Street Site.
In the early 1900’s Moore Wilson’s Tory Street site was occupied by Thomson Lewis & Co., Wellington’s major soft drink producer of the era. Thomson Lewis Lemonade, Soda Water and their then famous Camroc Dry Ginger Ale were the mixers just about everyone used. In the 1920’s, the owner of the business Mr. A.M. Lewis became convinced there was artesian water running underneath Tory Street. To test the theory Mr. Lewis employed Bill Brogden a renowned water diviner from the Manawatu.
Bill Brogden duly arrived at Tory Street and did indeed divine water on the site but was unable to estimate the depth - which he normally could for the relatively shallow bores he divined in the Manawatu. Undeterred Mr. Lewis employed the Richardson Drilling Company (also from the Manawatu and still in business today) to drill a test bore. At normal depth nothing was found but because of his faith in Bill Brogden, Mr. Lewis told them to keep drilling. Eventually at some 497ft they struck water, installed a pipe and Thomson Lewis now had their own continuous supply of pure artesian water.
The Tory Street water, from an underground river believed to originate in the Wairarapa, was used by Thomson Lewis to produce aerated soft drinks for the next 53 years or until the business was purchased by Coca Cola and the building sold. During that time the water was capable of flowing at 500 gallons an hour and was tasteless and odourless. Continuously monitored by the Health Department the water was always found to be remarkably pure and never needed filtering. The only time it ever discoloured was following the Murchison earthquake of 1929. When Thomson Lewis sold their business the bore was capped but the water is still accessible today inside the Moore Wilson building.
This story has been captured by renowned Manawatu artist Paul Dibble in the form of a sculpture which you’ll see in the Piazza of our Tory Street store.
Today the Artesian Bore is free for our customers to enjoy a quick drink or fill up a bottle to take home. We do ask that if you’re filling a bottle you make a donation for the Wellington Free Ambulance. Since we opened the bore in 2009 over $18,000 has been raised for the Wellington Free Ambulance.