More Industries of Exile Bay
Major Brothers & Company
The third company to purchase industrial land in Phillip Street was Major Brothers & Company, a manufacturer of marine paints, boot polish and floor wax. The company was founded in 1915 and moved to its 1.6 hectare site at Concord in 1924 when it had outgrown its original factory at Balmain. By the 1930s it employed about a hundred workers and manufactured a million tins of paint per annum. However, the company sold its land in the 1960s.
Bushells Pty Ltd
Bushells Pty Ltd bought land in Concord in the mid 1950s and built the first stage of their present extensive plant in 1957 – 1958. In 1975 all the company’s New South Wales operations were moved to the site and the main building of the complex became a landmark in the district. Approximately 300 men and women were employed by the company at Concord. Their work consists mainly of the roasting and manufacture of ground and instant coffee, the production of coffee essence, and the blending and packing of tea and teabags.
Tanner Middleton Pty Ltd
Tanner Middleton Pty Ltd, the timber and hardware merchants, was founded in 1927 by a merger of two separate companies, one of which was already established at Concord. The Concord site was found to be the most suitable for expansion, as the waterfrontage made possible the receipt of timber from overseas and the delivery of finished products by barge to waterfront industrial sites. As other branches of the company were sold, the Concord site was expanded to five hectares. A log mill was installed and logs were rafted into Hen and Chicken Bay. Before World War II the company had established a profitable export business. During the war years, Tanner Middleton was seconded to the American defence forces and later the Royal Navy, to carry strategic reserve stocks of timber and to service defence requirements in the Pacific region. In the years of intense building activity following the war, the company doubled its capacity and erected new buildings on the site to cater for the increased demands. Tanner Middleton Pty Ltd employed over 200 workers.
Austral Bronze Crane Copper Limited
Austral Bronze Crane Copper Limited began in the mid-1930s when George E. Crane established a small brass foundry in Burwood Road for the manufacture of taps. The site had previously been used for residential purposes and an existing caretaker’s cottage served for many years as the company’s laboratory. The original well on the land was retained.
During World War II the company became part of the national defence effort when it began rolling aluminium alloys for aeroplane bodies for the Department of Defence. It was the first company to roll aluminium in Australia. Expansion continued after the war under the direction of the founder’s son, Clifford Crane, and the company moved its copper rolling foundry to Concord to join the brass and aluminium enterprise there. Foreshore reclamation enabled the building of a copper `cast house’ as well as extensions to the aluminium rolling facility.
In 1968 G. E. Crane’s merged with Austral Bronze to form the present company which employed about 250 people in Concord. Austral Bronze Crane Copper had the distinction of being the only company to roll brass and copper in Australia and was known, too, as a manufacturer of high quality aluminium sheet.
(to be continued)