Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Burwood Brickworks

Burwood Brickworks has its origins in the 1930s when the New Northcote Company needed to replace its clay pit off Separation St. was hemmed in by housing, so the company bought 40 acres of land at Middleborough Road and Burwood Highway in 1937 for £3000.

Burwood brickworks, 1961 State library H92.20/7163
New Northcote initially carted clay from Burwood to its Northcote works. Kilns and plant were erected at Burwood to produce wire cut bricks after World War Two, but problems with the kiln saw it collapse after three firings.
By 1950 four down-draft kilns were operating at Burwood producing 100,000 bricks per week. The company released the 'Nubrik' brand bricks in creams, reds, and tans  from at least 1960. This style of smooth, consistently coloured brick became a preferred material for suburban brick veneer houses throughout Melbourne, but in particularly in the quarter acre blocks of the new eastern suburbs.

In 1959 the company changed its name  from New Northcote to Brick Industries and in 1962 they purchased the Northcote Brick Co. then became Brick & Pipe Industries in 1964. 'Nubrik' and 'Nuface' were adopted as product names for wire cut and then pressed bricks.
Expansion of the works  in the late 1950s and early 1960s saw the first Hanley tunnel kiln  built in 1958-9, greatly increasing production and a second tunnel kiln installed around 1961. Another round of takeovers saw Brick and Pipe Industries become the largest brick manufacturer in Victoria.

The Separation Street plant was closed in 1977 and a new works was opened in Craigieburn to replace it. The last of kilns and chimneys at Northcote were demolished in 1979 and Northcote Plaza opened on the site two years later. The Burwood plant was extensively modernized and expanded, at a cost of $5 million. The Hanley kilns were reconstructed and the wire-cut brickmaking plant was replaces with pressed brick manufacture. In 1978-9 further improvements were made including better kiln firing systems to reduce fuel and automated kiln cars.
Brick & Pipe Industries was acquired by Melbourne Businessman Abe Goldberg 1988 who quickly sold it on as a number of his companies went into receivership in 1990. In the late 1990s, a proposal for a large cinema complex was mooted for the site by Readings Cinemas. However, this did not eventuate. It was around this time that the buildings on site were demolished. In 2003 Brickworks Ltd (including Austral Bricks) gained control of Brick & Pipe Industries after a series of protracted mergers and takeovers.

"Brick and Pipe Industries plans new issue." The Canberra Times 27 May1969: 15.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bulleen Brickworks

The Bulleen Brickworks was located on Templestowe Road, and established by Glen Iris bricks in the 1950s and taken over by Boral in 1970.

An unusual historical source - bus route approval -

Transport Regulation Act.
NOTICE is hereby given that the following applications
will be considered by the Transport Regulation Board
at its offices at the corner of Lygon and Princes streets,
Carlton, at 10.15 a.m. on Wednesday, 10th September, 1969.
Templestowe-road, Bulleen. One commercial Passenger
vehicle (S/C. 20) to operate for the carnage of
employees free of charge between the company's
factory in Templestowe-road, Bulleen, and the Heidelberg
Railway station via Templestowe-road, Banksia street
and Mount-street. Return journey via Mount street,
Burgundy-street, Lower Heidelberg-road, Banksia
street and Templestowe-road to the factory.
Monday to Friday.
Depart Heidelberg Railway Station, 7 .10 a.m. Depart
Bulleen Plant, 4.20 p.m. 'Depart Bulleen Plant, 6.20 p.m.
Depart Heidelberg Railway Station, 7 .10 a.m. Depart
Bulleen Plant, 12. 00 p.m.

The kilns and chimneys were demolished and the site was redeveloped in the 1990s for housing.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Port Arlington Brick & Tile Co.

Port Arlington Brick & Tile company was established at Port Arlington on the Belarine Peninsula in 1874, reusing the former flour mill. The works brick was operated by Thomas Henry Widdicombe, and exhibited in the 1888 Centennial International Exhibition. Widdicombe also took out patents for improvement in the construction of bricks for hollow walls, and special 'joint bricks' in the early 1870s.
This example of their cream bricks was recovered during excavation at the polychrome Victorian Italianate  St Andrew's Presbyterian Church Manse, Hanmer Street (Williamstown), of 1887/1888. It is possible that the bricks were economic to transport to Melbourne only because of the convenience of transporting by water across the bay.

Wendy Doling provided the following image and description:

Brick (off-white, non-vitreous)
Clay matrix (10YR 8/2 very pale brown) with minor amount of black and red iron oxide flecks
Impressed frog mark on one face - oblong in shape. Impressed lettering within frog
“PORTARLINGTON”, “B & T . WORKS .”. Two circular marks on either side of lettering within frog and on the bottom surface
Dimensions: 217x101x73mm.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Knight's Brickworks, Lal Lal

The Lal Lal brickworks was founded by the Knight brothers, Andrew (1837-1922) and Charles, in 1862, and produced ornamental bricks, pottery, malting tiles and other clay products using local clay.  The kiln closed down in 1898. Another Lal Lal Brickworks was opened by R Viccars in 1913, but it was not very successful because the bricks were very soft and of poor quality. It closed in 1915 and most of the shareholders, who were from Ballarat, lost their money.  One of the Lal Lal kilns tried to make briquettes from the local lignite, the first attempt of this kind in Australia, but with the primitive methods used, it was a failure. The Lal Lal ironworks, of which the blast furnace survives in ruins, is nearby. (from Sue Prosser)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Builders Brick and Tile Supply Co.

F.A. Harris started a pottery works at Clifton Hill in about 1872 winning awards at the Melbourne and Philadelphia Exhibition of 1875. Three years later he started a new steam powered plant in Raglan Street near Hotham Street, South Preston, which he called the Builders' Brick and Tile Supply Company. The products included flower and chimney pots, fire bricks and pressed white and red bricks. Housing for the workers was provided in Raglan St near the kilns. He initially prospered to the point he could build a substantial mansion 'Baruna' in 1892. However, he was ruined in the depression, his company went into liquidation and in 1895 and Barunah was seized by the Bank of N.S.W.

The brickworks site in South Preston was redeveloped for residential use in the 1930s, with the clay pit becoming Cochran Reserve.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

State Brickworks Wonthaggi

In order to provide building materials for new construction, and experiment with coal mined at Wontaggi State Coal Mine, the State Brickworks was commenced in about 1909. However, the lack of local orders and the cost of cartage, the brickworks had financial difficulties and was sold off in 1914. this is despite the coal mines having been opened by the state government specifically to supply steam coal for ther locals, and the same government having control over railway cartage fees. State Brickworks bricks were stamped SCM, for the State Coal Mine which controlled it.

State Coal Mine brickworks (Andy Orr)

Chimney Specials

Special bricks were made for a number of purposes, such as plinths, chamfered corners, moulded widnow and door jams. Some of the more precise shapes were required for building circuar chimneys to fine tollerences, including curved and tapered bricks, sometimes with different arcs used fur chimneys which taper, tighter curves at the top and almost straight sided at the bottom. some tapered bricks might have been cut after pressing, but before firing, but many machine brickworks has a range of special moulds for the various shapes. The special curved and tapered chimney bricks appear to be a fairly late development, with earlier tapered bricks being hand-trimmed either before or after firing including the rubbed sandstocks of building arched lintels.
Curved chimney brick from Oakleigh Plaster works c 1946 (from David Beauchamp)
Tapered chimney brick 1946 (David Beauchamp)