Posted By erin on October 22, 2014
In the early pioneer days Ipswich was a hub of industrial growth. From its early establishment as the town of Limestone, Ipswich was the producer of many primary materials for Queensland’s early houses and buildings. Some of the more prominent factories included several saw mills, cotton plantations, a woollen Clothing production factory, a number of foundries, Coal mines and many brick and pottery businesses. It was these brick, ceramic and pottery places, established in the 1850s, which grew over the years to form an integral part of Ipswich’s industrial heritage.
The Bremer Mills - Bremer Mills was established on a 33 acre block of land in 1851 by Joseph Fleming after he arrived in Ipswich via the Darling Downs in 1850. The Mills were located on the banks of the Bremer River in Bundamba and were originally used as a boiling down works. However, after the purchasing of a further two blocks of land the services were extended to include a saw mill, flour mill and a brick works. The property also contained accommodation and a school and church for his 300 strong workforce and families. At this period of time it was common for multiple industry productions to be operated through one site and as such there was another site similar to The Bremer Mills operating out of Redbank, which was owned by James Campbell.
West Moreton Pottery Works and Richard Rogers & Co. - Both of these large enterprises were owned by builder, Richard Hoggslpesh Rogers. Rogers arrived in Ipswich in 1874 where he commenced work for William Hancock as a building contractor. After a number of years in this field of work Rogers became aware of a shortage of good quality brick materials in the Ipswich area and decided to establish a brickyard. So, having purchased a large block of land at Brassall on Holt Street in 1885 he went into production as West Moreton Pottery Works. After producing a high quantity of bricks Rogers came to realise that the clay he was using was of perfect composition to be transformed into fine pottery objects and pipes.
His pottery business took off in 1886 and he was quickly overrun with orders, including the production of 150,000 bricks for the then new railway station on Union Street. He was also employing up to 20 workers to produce bricks using the hand press methods that involved the use of a portable press, with the boys producing up to 1300 bricks a day! Due to the sudden influx Rogers decided to undertake a partnership in 1887 with Henry E. Wyman, and changed the name of the company to reflect this to: Richard Rogers & Co. Along with this partnership a number of alterations were made to the pottery works with the company installing a delf and slip kiln which were used to produce stoneware objects.
Throughout their time in the business Rogers and Wyman produced many fine examples of glazed pottery which were entered into national and international exhibits and competitions including the ‘Centennial International Exhibition’ in Melbourne. In 1889 the company entered into a partnership with a local business to sell their wears to the local residents. They also advertised water filters, butter coolers and bread pans in the Queensland Times. One of the biggest projects that Richard Rogers & Co. undertook, however was the production of a grand 1.2 metre water fountain on behalf of the Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Society in 1896 which contained three interconnected bowls and was presented to Lord Lamington at the opening of the Ipswich Show. By 1898 the firm was no longer in business. It it is not known what caused the sudden cease in production; however the 1893 Flood could have been a contributing factor.
Dinmore Brickworks & Pottery – Dinmore Brickworks and Pottery was established in 1884 by three parties: W.T. Clark, T.F. Fauset and H.C. Thompson. The factory was located near Dinmore Railway Station and the company also had a premises on Queen Street, Brisbane. The 80 acres of land on which the pottery was located contained ideal clay to produce various types of earthenware, stoneware, bricks and pipes and the seam was also quite deep, so would last for many years. Upon first starting, the pottery used a number of different methods for making and firing bricks, including the use of a newer plastic process and the semi-dry process which could easily produce up to 15,000 bricks a day. The land also had eight brick kilns installed and two pipe kilns, which they used to produce drain-pipes. Like Richard Rogers & Co., the Dinmore Pottery also produced a wide array of domestic pottery such as teapots, water filters, soap trays and Staffordshire ware which they too exhibited in national and international shows. By 1886 the company had employed 25 men and boys who were producing up to 20,000 bricks a day which were being used in many of the large buildings in the Brisbane area. The company grew at a rapid rate throughout its years in operation and employed a number of Ipswich’s budding pottery production company owners. However, with the depression years came hard times and Dinmore Brickworks and Pottery was forced to close in 1889.
Sandhurst Pottery & Gilson & Rumble, Dinmore Pottery – James Rumble originally started out as a potter for the Dinmore Brick & Tile Company with fellow potter David Agnew in 1886. After some initial experience in the Queensland industry James decided to open his own pottery company with David Agnew in 1887 and leased a block of land on Bognuda Street Bundamba. The factory became known as Sandhurst Pottery. Due the pairs previous experience in the field they were well on their way to producing fine works such as majolica, Rockingham, earthenware, and specific domestic items such as bakers dishes and milk dishes. Many of the finer works of pottery were entered into national and international competitions and exhibits with great success. However, the partnership was short-lived and in 1889 was no longer. James Rumble then went on to work at Lithgow Pottery in New South Wales, but still continued to manage the Sandhurst Pottery until 1897. During his time at the Lithgow Pottery he met fellow potter James Gilson and soon they had formed a partnership of their own. In 1895 Rumble joined Gilsons pottery on Potters Road, Dinmore. Once again the partnership turned out to be highly successful with many of their pieces such as teapots, mixing bowls, jugs, spittoons, jelly cans and flower pots winning numerous international awards for quality. They were producers as partners for many years; however in 1907 James Gilson sold his share of the business to Rumble. James Rumble operated the pottery, which became known as Dinmore Pottery J.A. Rumble Proprietor, until 1916 when it was taken over by Reliance Pottery Company. Rumble stayed on as an employee, doing what he loved, until his retirement in 1940.
Information taken from: “Ipswich Potteries: 1873-1926″ by Geoff Ford ; “Timeline of Ceramics Industry in Ipswich” ; “the history of the ceramics industry in Ipswich” ; “Place Product: Investigations into the ceramic production in the Ipswich area” by Susan Ostling