Industry was attracted to the eastern part of the municipality largely because of the accessibility of the river frontage.
TIMBER MILLING was an important pioneer industry, which began in the earliest years of the Longbottom Stockade. It was actively pursued by the Canadian exiles and continued right through until the 1920s when suburban development removed most of the remaining timber. A timber mill was set up in the Concord Golf Links in 1906 when Walker’s Bush was being cleared to make a new course. It was also a side result of the clearing in the 1920s and 1930s of much of Cabarita Park, when many of its original trees had died.
The most long-lasting of the timber mills of Concord was that of Tanner Middleton. The firm – originally established as Walters, Middleton and Eades – established a mill in Concord before the First World War and by 1933 it was a flourishing concern. The firm occupied an area of four acres at the end of Burwood Road.
QUARRYING OF STONE was another significant early industry. It too began when convicts in the Longbottom Stockade worked long and hard to dig out and break the stone that was used in the building and maintenance of Parramatta Road. The Canadians continued this back-breaking work. One early quarry was later transformed into the car park of the Massey Park Golf Course.
DAIRYING was carried out well into the twentieth century, a time when extensive paddocks and dairies stood in a landscape now dominated by rows of suburban homes.
TANNERIES were established in Concord from an early period and three were listed in the district at the end of the nineteenth century. Farrell’s Tannery was on Wharf (now Burwood) Road from 1884 to 1888 and W.A. Mosley had a tannery there in 1898. The most long-standing of Concord’s tanneries was that of Farleigh, Nettheim & Co., which moved to the district in 1880. At that time, Concord was a remote suburb outside the industrial orbit of Sydney.
BUSINESSES: In the 1880s and 1890s, twenty-five grocery shops were dotted around the municipality, as well as a dozen or so bakeries and eighteen butcher shops. The district supported many other small businesses such as produce stores, bootmakers, blacksmiths, drapers and greengrocers. Several restaurants and dining rooms were established in Mortlake by 1890 to serve workers from the newly established gas works. Other business people included fuel merchants, confectioners, ironmongers, tobacconists, solicitors, bag merchants, hairdressers, stationers, cab owners, saddlers, wine vendors and brickmakers.
In 1890 most of the retail shops and craft industries were in Mortlake, centred around the gasworks, or around Parramatta Road, which had long been established as a busy transport and commercial centre.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Large-scale modern industrial development in Concord occurred in three major stages: the first at the end of the nineteenth century, and the second and third in the years after World War I and World War II. These industries clustered around three main areas. First to be established was Cabarita-Mortlake where development was stimulated by the coming of the Australian Gas Light Company in the 1880s. Dulux Australia Limited set up operations in Cabarita in 1921. The remainder of Mortlake industrial sites consisted of smaller factories, workshops and light engineering works.
There were two smaller industrial complexes in the eastern part of the municipality, around both sides of Exile Bay. In the northerly of the two arms were Containers Limited and Wellcome Australia Limited. In the southern arm were Tanner Middleton Pty.Ltd., Austral Bronze Crane Copper Pty.Ltd., and Bushells Pty.Ltd.
Industry was attracted to the eastern part of the municipality largely because of the accessibility of the river frontage. Combined with this was the fact that, until well into the twentieth century, Concord was considered to be remote from Sydney’s industrial centre and land prices were cheap. The river provided a means of bringing raw materials to a site and shipping finished products away.
The Parramatta River was a powerful impetus to the establishment of industry in the western part of the municipality in the area between North Strathfield and Rhodes. But another even more significant factor was the opening of the northern railway line in 1886. Factories on the western side produced goods as diverse as stock feeds, paints, welded steel, chemicals, biscuits, and a range of engineering products.
Today, most of these factories and industries have moved away as the value of the land became more and more valuable and the old industrial sites are now home to large-scale developments.
Concord’s diverse industrial development has been invariably linked with the great transport arteries. Large scale modern industrial development occurred in three major stages: the first at the end of the nineteenth century, and the second and third in the years after World War I and World War II respectively, when Australian industries were stimulated by war restrictions and rationing and by the nation’s growing population and urbanisation.
Industries were clustered around three main areas. First to be established was Cabarita-Mortlake, where development was stimulated by the coming of the Australian Gas Light Company in 1886.
Smaller industries grew up around both sides of Exile Bay, largely as a result of the boom in local industries that followed WW I.
The third major industrial complex developed around the Rhodes area. Whilst most industries were located on the western side of the railway a few lay between Concord Road an the railway line.
The industrial face of the former Concord Municipality has changed dramatically throughout the past two decades. Sites that were once heavily industrial are experiencing redevelopment as residential and recreational areas. Remediation of the land and waterways surrounding these former industrial sites is a vital and major undertaking.
(Ref. Pamela Hubert, Canada Bay Council’s Heritage Adviser – Presentation Industrial Heritage – Our Working Lives 1-16/4/2006)
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