Eureka Terracotta and Tile Company

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Contents

Background

When Ballarat was in its infancy roofing tiles were imported from the south of France and India. Ships brought the tiles as ballast and freight rates were very low.[1]

Around 1910 architects George William Clegg and William Miller were importing French terra cotta tiles and English slates for roof construction in Ballarat. Mining operations had revealed the presence of high quality plastic clay in large quantities, particularly in Ballarat East. For some years before that Otto Steinkraus had operated a pottery works in Charlesworth Street alongside the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens. Clegg and Miller purchased this site forming the propriety company Eureka Terra Cotta and Tile Co. Pty Ltd.[2]

History

The Eureka Terra Cotta and tile Company was floated into a public company in May 1914. Provisional directors of the new company were Frederick Sutton (Suttons Pty Ltd); Frank Herman (Goller and Co.); John Roberston Wotherspoon (Wotherspoon, Beaufort); George William Clegg; Hugh Victor McKay (Sunshine Harvester Works)[3]


To cope with the increasing orders, including many from other States, the Eureka Tile Company is erecting five new drying chambers. The staff has been increased to 60 men, and the plant is working to capacity.[4]


In 1914 4,000,000 tiles from France were on the way to Ballarat for an order. A German raider intercepted the ship and it was sunk mid-ocean. If the ship had arrived it would have been detrimental to the infant Eureka tile works.[5]

Site

In 1914 the Eureka Terracotta and Tile Company took over the site of Otto Steinkraus's factory and plant, along with around 100 acres of valuable terracotta clay deposits around Ballarat, Creswick and Castlemaine. The deposits included abandoned sluicing and dredging claims containing very pure terracotta clays in readily workable form. [6]

Innovations

Due to the creamy, non-adhesive clays the company was able4 to mould its Marseilles tiles direct from iron dies rather than the plaster dies employed by French manufacturers at that time. The result was the production of terracotta articles of such a high finish, color, texture and durability as to command a market far outside the Ballarat district. [7]

Firing of clay products was originally undertaken with wood as fuel. Powdered brown coal from Lal Lal open cut mine was tried with disappointing results. Briquettes from Yallourn were successfully introduced, making Eureka Terracotta and Tile Company one of the first firms in Victoria to use this fuel. It was still fueling the kilns in 1964, along with black coal in half of the kilns. The use of steam was also trialed in the fires. [8]

Eureka Terracotta and Tile Co. was an early instigator of the use of oil burners for heating the kilns, although gas was being used for the drying of tiles before firing.[9] IN 1964 this method had become the accepted fuel.[10]

Eureka Terracotta and Tile Co. was among the first to adopt the salt glazing for roofing tiles. Prior to this the tiles were fired to an even red colour. Tapestry and facy bricks were another innovation in district manufacture. [11]

Community Involvement

The Larter Street Clayhole, used by the Eureka Tile Works, stood unused for almost a decade after it close in 1973. In 1982 efforts started to redevelop the quarry and surrounds as a lake and gardens. It was officially opened on 06 June 1988. Lake Esmond is 20 - 30 feet deep over an area of 1.8 hectares. The surrounding park is nine hectares.[12]

Works Produced

In 1964 The Case Factory and Timber Mills supplied Eureka Terracotta and Tile Co. with stillages, tile racks, pallets and soft wood requriements. Cowley's Foundry supplied steel fabrications, tile patterns, engineering and maintenance works for the factory.[13] IN 1964 this method had become the accepted fuel.[14]

In 2010 Eureka Tiles manufacture quarry tiles and bathroom fittings.

Eureka products were used at for the following Ballarat buildings:

  • Ballarat Bowling Club, Humffray Street - stairs and entrance patio in managanese paving tiles.
  • Our lady help of Christians Catholic School, Wendouree - Dark Selected Red.
  • Burnbank Street Methodist church and residence - Manganese
  • Cr J.H. Jolly's residence (1964), Smythes Rd - Manganese.ref>Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.</ref>

Employment

In 1996 Eureka Tiles employed 130 people at two plant sites.[15]

Set Backs

On 6 October 1934 [16] the Eureka Terracotta and Tile Company sustained 20,000 pounds damaged cause by fire. The fire consumed a three storey wooden structure.[17] The complete destruction of the existing factory was a serious blow. It was replaced with a modern factory of steel girder construction.[18]

Workplace Relations

The People

The first manager of the company was William Miller, and the first manager was Matthew Kemp.[19]

In 1910 directors F.G. Herman and J.F. Wotherspoon were sons of two of the original directors. The 1910 Chairman was M.L.H. Vernon and the deputy Chairman E.J.T.Tippett. [20]

In 1917 The Ballarat Courier reported these people as employees: Mr J. W. Corbett, Mr F. Hammer, Mr F. Herman, Mr W. H. Middleton, Mr D. Walker (auditor), Mr Gale, Mr W. Miller, Mr T. C. Muller.[21].

L.T Izard was General manager in 1964, and Edward McCoy Secretary. Jock Simpson and Mick O'Donnell operated the tile press in 1964, while Jack Cockerill and Frank Dolan attended the kilns. [22]

W.R. Lewis was a leading figure at the Eureka Terracotta and Tile Co. He joined the company in 1922 as assistant accountant. Following the death of the company's firest secretary, William Miller, Lewis was appointed secretary, and position he held until 1959 when ill health forced his retirement.[23]

A.E."Sonny" Mark worked for the company for 41 years before his death on 31 October 1957. He was considered firm but fair. [24]

Alexander Mills was Sales Manager in 1964. He was instrumental in the restoration of the factory after it was destroyed by fire in 1834. At that time he was foreman of S.J. Weir Pty Ltd who were contracted to rebuild the factory. Before the building was completed he was loaned to Eureka for the installation of its new machinery. By the close of 1935 he was transferred onto the Eureka payroll. During World War 2 Mills was directed in 1942 to a position in the Commonwealth Food control, where he was largely responsible for tehthe establishment of the egg grading and pulping works at Ballarat. ref>Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.</ref>

Bert Parsons was the Production Foreman in 1964. He joined the company in January 1924. He was one of the men responsible for the four consecutive premierships won by the Eureka Tile Co Teams in the Ballarat Industrial Cricket Association. ref>Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.</ref>

Syd Robinson was Works Manager in 1964. He started working at the factory as a lad in January 1920. After a number of years he was promoted to the position of foreman. In 1957 he was appointed as Works Manager upon the death of 'Sonny" Mark who died 'in harness' after 41 years with the company. [25]

Ken Smith commenced work at the Eureka Tile Factory in January 1919 at the age of 14 years. [26]

Legacies

The factory produced Marseilles tiles, Old English Shingle tiles and Cordova (Spanish Mission) tiles, paving tiles, hollow ware, capping bricks, plinth and tapestry bricks of various patterns, sill tiles, chimney pots, ventilators and letter tiles. Special glazed bricks and attractive colored ware of many shades were produced to order. [27]

Buildings supplied by the Eureka terracotta and Tile Co. include the Littlejohn Memorial Chapel at Scotch College (Melbourne) and the modern Music school of Geelong Grammar School (Coria).[28]

See also

Recommended Reading

References

  1. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  2. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  3. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  4. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), Monday 11 October 1937, page 12. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  5. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  6. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  7. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  8. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  9. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  10. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  11. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  12. MyBallarat, Feb/March 2013, p8.
  13. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  14. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  15. Henshall Hansen Associates. (1996). Ballarat Economic Profile. Ballarat: City of Ballarat.
  16. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  17. The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931-1954) Monday 8 October 1934.
  18. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  19. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  20. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  21. The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) Thursday 19 July 1917, page 5. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  22. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  23. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  24. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  25. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  26. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 18.
  27. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.
  28. Fifty Years at Eureka IN The Courier, 27 May 1964, pg 17.


Further Reading

External Links

References



--H. Scarpe 23:39, 8 March 2012 (EST); --C.K.Gervasoni 09:55, 2 July 2012 (EST)

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