Industries of Mortlake-Cabarita (continued)

Dulux Australia Limited

The other major industrial complex in Mortlake – Cabarita was Dulux Australia Limited which began operating in Concord in 1921 as British Australian Lead Manufacturers Pty Ltd (BALM). The company was formed in 1918 as a result of the wartime prohibition of the export of white lead – the principal white pigment used in the manufacture of paint – from Britain. In the year of the company’s foundation, land at Cabarita was selected as the site for a factory. It had every advantage: raw materials were easily obtained from Sydney or Parramatta and the tanbark needed in the production process could be obtained very cheaply from the nearby Farleigh Nettheim tannery in Stanley Street.

The waterfrontage allowed for the construction of a company wharf to receive and dispatch goods. Moreover, although Concord was by this time no longer an isolated and remote suburb, land was still relatively cheap.

Correys Gardens

In June 1918 the company purchased its first block of land when Correys Gardens was put up for auction. Two hectares on the east side of Cabarita Road and 2.8 hectares on the west side were bought for £10 000 and the once grand dance pavilion was dismantled and shipped to Port Pirie where it was rebuilt as a rest home. At the end of 1918 the nearby Strathroy Estate was purchased and in December 1919 the land between the two blocks was acquired.

Since 1913 Homesdale, the old home on this last block, had been occupied by about a dozen members of the Israelite House of David, a religious sect founded in the United States in 1903 by the owner of the Homesdale land, Benjamin Purnell. Several of the men were employed to clear the Strathroy block before their own land was purchased by BALM.


The first plant was built on the Strathroy block in January 1920 and a special ferry brought the official guests, including the state premier, to witness the laying of the foundation stone. The company’s offices were established in the Strathroy mansion and by December 1921 white lead was in production at the new plant. Changing technology in the paint manufacturing industry later made the production of white lead obsolete and its manufacture at Cabarita ceased in 1960.

In 1920 the 4.8 hectares of what had been Correys Gardens was sold to Dunlop Australia as the site for a projected tyre factory. However, the factory was built at Drummoyne instead of Cabarita and BALM re-purchased the land in December 1928. The two hectares adjacent to the white lead plant were retained and the remaining land sold to the Electrolytic Zinc Company in 1929. Most of it was re-purchased in 1947 and became the company’s carpark.

In the late 1920s the BALM enterprise flourished, thanks largely to the company’s success in gaining the licence to manufacture the range of `Duco’ finishes in Australia. From 1933 BALM began manufacturing Dulux paints, which were readily accepted by the growing local market. In 1971 BALM officially changed its name to Dulux Australia Limited. During the sixty years that the company had been producing at Cabarita , new technology and changing demands necessitated the construction of increasingly sophisticated production and distribution facilities, including a fully automated, computer-controlled warehouse.

Paint Industries (Australia) Pty Ltd

Another Mortlake company engaged in the manufacture of paints and associated products was Paint Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd. This company was a relative newcomer to the district, having been formed in 1955. Its products included a wide range of specialised industrial surface coatings for use in the coil and can coating industries, as well as polyester resins for fibreglass and plastics. The company also manufactured road marking paints and aircraft coatings. They also provided the paint which coated the tanks of the Australian Defence Force.

Often known as `Anzol’, the firm employed about one hundred workers at the Mortlake site.


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