When Eleanor Middlebrook, eldest daughter of John and Mary Ann Middlebrook married Frederick William Stonex, she would have no idea that her family were to become synonymous with the milk supply of Auckland’s biggest city. Frederick William had 4 brothers, and the elder 3 had formed a partnership in the early years of the 1900s when they purchased a dairy, and later diversified and developed a milk chilling and delivery business. Frederick had a successful woodturning business but in around 1915 he joined his brothers in the Stonex Brothers Milk Vending Business.
The family firm grew and they purchased many acres of land for dairy farms to supply their factories with milk When brother Joseph Henry was tragically killed in their Newton Factory, Frederick William took over the management .
red and Eleanor had 4 children, Gladys who died as an infant in 1893, Reginald Basil, born 1894, Rita Thelma ( known as Thelma) born in 1896 and Valerie Joyce ( known as Joyce) born in 1921. Both Reg. and Thelma and her husband Norman Till played important roles in the family business. At the age of 41 he succeeded his father as manager of the Milk Treatment and Vending company and in 1935 formally incorporated the company. Asa company it was dominant in the Auckland Milk Vending business, with depots i Kingsland, Newton, Pt Chevalier, Remuera and College Hill, and the company remained a strong force into the early 1940s .
Suppliers to Stonex Bros Ltd, including farmers from various localities between Otahuhu and Pukekohe, agree to form a producers cooperative. In 1947 the members of Stonex Milk Producers Cooperative Ltd and the suppliers of the Auckland Milk Company combine to form Auckland Co-operative Milk Producers and about this time the milk processing part of the business was transferred to a newly formed public corporation, the Auckland Milk Treatment Corporation, which was run by Reg Stonex, and brother Percy took over Stonex Bros. Ltd . The family business remained involved in the Auckland Milk scene until 1971 - a total of 65 years