M. B. John Ltd.

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M.B John and M.W.B. John, Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 1275)




Morgan Bevan John (1841-1921) arrived in Victoria c1870 from Wales, England, and after working as a journeyman at several local foundries took the position of brass-moulder at the Phoenix Foundry where he remained for 18 years. [1] In 1896 Welsh born Morgan Bevan John started the 'Ballarat Brass Foundry' in Armstrong Street on land leased from the Welsh Church. There were three men employed and the block was probably the former S9-16. The business grew rapidly and the land fronting the realigned Lydiard Street was also leased from the church. The products of this firm were well known among engineers throughout the Commonwealth.

In 1896 the Argus announced an extension to the factory describing M.B. John as specialising in the manufacture of all types of valves and fittings in bronze, iron, and steel for steam, water, air, oil, and gas services, and have won a leading place in this branch of engineering in the Commonwealth. The extensions created works with a total floor space of 60,000 square feet. The departments during this era were an iron foundry, non-ferrous foundry, machine shop, and store, and were laid out on modern lines, and equipped with the latest plant and machinery for the efficient flow of production from the raw material to the finished product.

Around 1954 M.B. John moved from Lydiard and Armstrong Streets to Creswick Road becoming the large scale manufacturer 'John Valves'. By 1950 M.B. John Ballarat, as well as the Machine shop and Foundry fronting the realigned Lydiard Steet, had offices, social club and pattern shop on the west side of Armstrong Street; almost all of this Armstrong Street land was purchased by Camerons after M.B. John moved to Creswick Road. [2]

‘—About a quarter of M. B. John Ltd., Ballarat, valve manufacturer, were now shareholders, the chairman (Mr. M. W. B. John) said at the annual meeting.
The company had found that the tightening up of Government expenditure and restricted bank credit had a stabilising rather than a retarding effect on the valve market. The labor position also was stabilising, absenteeism now being at a record post-war low.
Mr. John said raw materials were also easier to obtain. Sales were still rising and for the first two months were better than at this time last year.
However, rising costs were making it hard to compete in overseas markets.'

In 2002, the company went bankrupt and about 170 people lost their jobs.[4]


Creswick Road - M.B. John & Hattersley Ltd


Community Involvement

Works Produced

M.B. John Hattersley were manufacturers of industrial valves for the use with steam, water, oil, air, gas and chemical in 1963.[5]

Workplace Relations

The People

In c1963 the Creswick Road plant employed 700 people.[6]

Morgan Bevan John (1841-1921)

Morgan B. John (Jnr)

William A. Prowse, fitter and turner.[7]


See also

Further Notes


  1. Smith, James (Ed) The Cyclopedia of Victoria, Vol.II : An Historical and Commercial Review. Victoria: F.W. Niven & Co., 1904.
  2. http://www.ballarat.edu.au/curator/buildings/site_listing_brewery-complex.shtml; The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) Tuesday 1 June 1937 Supplement: Engineering and Construction Supplement p 12 Article
  3. Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890-1954) Wednesday 1 October 1952, page 14.
  4. http://www.walkingmelbourne.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6872
  5. Shire of Ballarat 1863-1963.
  6. Shire of Ballarat 1863-1963.
  7. Julie Prowse, daughter-in-law, 2017.

Further Reading

Smith, James (1904). The Cyclopaedia of Victoria, Vol. II. Victoria: The Cyclopaedia Company, Publishers, Melbourne.

External Links

Australian Dictionary of Biography


--C.K.Gervasoni 17:06, 11 March 2011 (EST); --S.Singaram 10:55, 19 January 2012 (EST); --Beth Kicinski 19:20, 29 December 2012 (EST)

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