In Australia, if a journey seems unnecessarily long, we use the expression "take a packed lunch". Saturday was one such journey. Bus, train, walk and I was there. The 'there' being St Peters Church Cooks River (1839).|
This entire area - during the second half of the 19th century - was littered with brickpits and with brick-making kilns. And this was how one branch of my ancestors was trying to eke out a living. These images are from the old Bedford Brickworks which are now heritage listed and incorporated into Sydney Park at St Peters. My mother grew up in St Peters.
|Josiah Gentle brought his family out from England in the 1840s, and after several false starts, evevtually developed the Bedford Brickworks on this site in 1893. They imported two Hoffman kilns, which formed the majority of the building structures. Central to the production procedure was the processing plant, a two storey building with a brick base and a storey post construction with corrugated iron walls. Here all processes preliminary to the operation of the kilns were carried on. Extensive underground flues and dampers led from the kilns to the three chimneys.|
|The Depression of the early 1930s had a severe impact on the St Peters brickworks scene. Some operations were shut down, other underwent rationalisation. brickmaking never fully recovered. In 1933 the Gentle family was succeeded at the Bedford works by the Austral Brick Company. This Bedford site was closed in 1970.|
Much of the text for this post was sourced from the "Sydney Park Heritage Impact Statement", page 7. The book, "Turn of the First Clay" had a short run 0f 57 pages in 2009. I have found one copy available, but they want $250 for it. It is also available through the City of Sydney Library down at The Quay. Guess which option I will choose?