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Newmarket Brickworks Chimney

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  • 601357
  • 117 Mina Parade, Alderley

General

Also known as
Hoffman Stack
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
24 March 2000
Type
Manufacturing and processing: Works—bricks/pottery
Theme
3.2 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Developing manufacturing capacities
Construction period
1912, Newmarket Brickworks Chimney (1912 - 1912)
Historical period
1900–1914 Early 20th century

Location

Address
117 Mina Parade, Alderley
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.4276724, 153.00644577

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Newmarket Brickworks Chimney is significant as a rare, surviving example of the brick manufacturing industry in Brisbane, and Queensland, in the early part of the 20th century. At this time, brick makers often struggled for patronage in a state which, predominantly, utilised timber in building construction.

The Newmarket Brickworks Chimney is associated with Brisbane Brick and Builders Supply Company Ltd, or Brisbane Brick as it was widely known. Brisbane Brick, in particular, the Newmarket brickworks, provided bricks for buildings within the University of Queensland, including residential colleges and the MLC building on the corner of George and Adelaide Streets.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

The Newmarket Brickworks Chimney is significant as a rare, surviving example of the brick manufacturing industry in Brisbane, and Queensland, in the early part of the 20th century. At this time, brick makers often struggled for patronage in a state which, predominantly, utilised timber in building construction. In 1987, when the Newmarket Brickworks was demolished, the chimney was excluded from the demolition permit on the basis of its rarity as a remaining example in Brisbane of a load-bearing brick chimney stack.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

At a height of over 50 metres, clearly visible from Newmarket Road, Mina Parade and surrounding areas, the Newmarket Brickworks Chimney is significant as a well known Brisbane landmark, recognised by both local and wider communities.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

At a height of over 50 metres, clearly visible from Newmarket Road, Mina Parade and surrounding areas, the Newmarket Brickworks Chimney is significant as a well known Brisbane landmark, recognised by both local and wider communities.

History

The Newmarket Brickworks Chimney was constructed in 1912 as part of a new brickworks complex at Newmarket, owned by the Brisbane Brick and Builders Supply Company Ltd - or Brisbane Brick, as it was widely known. The chimney, also referred to as the Hoffman stack, is the only surviving built element of the Newmarket Brickworks site.

Brickmaking has been practised in Queensland since the days of the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement in the 1820s. Local clay was used for making bricks, firstly in Redcliffe, and then in Brisbane. The Brisbane clayfield was situated near a stream at the back of the convict settlement. A kiln was first built near the river but a new kiln was built at the field. Brick production was well under way by the beginning of 1826. A boost was given to the use of brick in colonial Queensland, following a disastrous fire in Queen Street in 1864. Changes made to Local Government Ordinances in response to this encouraged the use of brick for building, although the costs involved meant that brick was mainly used for commercial and public buildings.

In 1911, a group of Brisbane builders and architects formed Brisbane Brick and Builders Supply Company Ltd to obtain and supply good quality bricks, which were then not plentifully available in Brisbane. Two of the company’s directors, William Wilson and John Cockburn acquired land adjacent to the Enoggera branch railway line at Newmarket.[1]

Historically, the location of brickworks was generally determined by their proximity to clay deposits. The site at Newmarket contained a deposit of weathered Bunya Phyllite, a metamorphosed deep-sea sediment formation found in the Brisbane region.[2] Historical images indicate clay was extracted behind the brickworks structures (now sealed); over time the clay quarry extended further into vegetated land owned by Brisbane Brick at the rear of the site. Clay material was pulverised in grinding pans before being transported to dry pressing machines.[3]

The Company based its brickworks design at Newmarket on the Hoffman method of brickmaking. The main kiln was known as the 'Hoffman Kiln'. Mechanisation of brickmaking began in the 1870s. By 1896 the successful Hoffman mechanical method of brickmaking was established in Australia, and for the first time, quality mass produced bricks could be bought at prices well below those of the hand-made equivalent. The Hoffman method was named after Friedrich Hoffman, an Austrian, who invented the technique in 1859. The Hoffman method enabled drying and firing to take place simultaneously. Known as continuous firing, one chamber would be stacked with 'green' bricks, other chambers contained bricks in increasing degrees of dryness, in another chamber firing may just have been commenced, while another may be in full firing, other chambers might be in various degrees of cooling while one chamber might remain empty.

An estimated £25,000 was spent by Brisbane Brick and Builders Supply Company (Brisbane Brick) on establishing the works, featuring one of the largest kilns in Australia. The design catered for a daily output of 85,000 bricks. By July 1912, bricks were being made on the site for use in the construction of the works, and the official opening occurred in October 1912. Aleck Anderson, a former Clerk of Works, and builder, was the first manager of the works.[4]

While the use of bricks for construction expanded in Queensland during the interwar period, timber remained the dominant material of the state’s building industry, especially for residential purposes. Demand for bricks periodically fell below production and government price controls also impacted on the viability of Queensland brickworks. Brickyards, quickly piled high with large stocks of unsold bricks, were often forced to close down for from six months to two years. After one of these closures the Brisbane Brick issued new preference shares to obtain capital to refit and modernise its original plant at Newmarket, and resume manufacturing. From then until the outbreak of World War II, the company stopped production for one or two brief periods.[5]

During the war, the Defence Department utilised the Newmarket sheds, kilns and yards to store goods such as clothing, boots and other equipment. The company's engineering staff were engaged to maintain Liberty ships and other defence work. World War II set the brick manufacturing industry back many years, and forced the closure of the company's works at Newmarket.[6] With the end of the war, the brick manufacturing industry then faced the introduction of price controls. At this time, the modernisation of many plants was slowed considerably. With the lifting of price controls many companies, Brisbane Brick included, began a concerted drive to make up for what was considered 'lost time'. Plants were improved and production methods were streamlined. Demand for bricks for homes and new commercial buildings soon outstripped production.[7]

Brisbane Brick opened Strathpine Bricks Pty Ltd in 1961 on a site with a large clay deposit. The development of new processes, such as new tunnel kiln equipment to produce bricks, gradually overhauled shortages. The design of the new Strathpine site was considered 'as modern as tomorrow - the concept in brickworks design completely removes the traditional image of the old-type works with its towering smoke stack and unattractive factory'. In this period, Newmarket Bricks Pty Ltd, was a subsidiary of Brisbane Brick and Builders Supply Company, and was producing four million face bricks and eight million common bricks a year.[8]

Operation of the Newmarket brickworks was continued by PGH Industries (Queensland) from the mid-1960s.  In 1981 the Newmarket brickworks were producing extruded bricks, pavers and screen blocks. By this time, the onsite Bunya Phyllite deposits had been exhausted and clay was obtained from elsewhere.[9] In 1985, the Newmarket site had frontages to Alderley, Wakefield and Yarradale Streets and Mina Parade.

In 1987 the brickworks were demolished and the site subdivided. Buildings demolished included the Hoffman kiln (adjacent to the surviving stack), drying kiln, sorting sheds, dome kiln buildings and stack, and an extruder presses building. At the time of demolition, the chimney was excluded from the demolition permit on the basis of its rarity as a remaining example in Brisbane of a load-bearing brick chimney stack. The site has been fully redeveloped for industrial and other purposes.
 

Description

The (former) Newmarket Brickworks site is located on Mina Parade, Alderley, on the southwest side of a low hill approximately 5km northwest of the Brisbane CBD. The register boundary includes a 408sqm area around the prominent Newmarket Brickworks Chimney, which is centrally located on the historically levelled brickworks site. In 2016, it is surrounded by modern low-rise industrial and commercial development.

The brick chimney is located approximately 40 metres off the Mina Parade frontage. Access to the site is via an easement. The chimney rises to a height of approximately 55 metres, and is a prominent landmark. The square base is approximately 4.7 metres long and rises to about 10 metres; the tall stack above tapers uniformly to about 3 metres square. On each face of the chimney base there are a number of arched recesses, which appear to be decorative elements. One of the recesses, on the south side of the chimney, facing Mina Parade, has been enclosed with concrete. Corbelled brick cornices  at the top of the base and the stack, which has a sawtooth course, provide further decorative elements to the structure. Small enclosed arches in the brickwork on the northeast and southwest sides, below the larger arched recesses, indicate the location of former flue openings.   A metallic band running the length of the chimney on its eastern side appears to be related to deflecting lightning strikes. Similarly, on the upper section of the chimney, a number of metallic bands are attached around the structure.

The brickworks chimney is a landmark feature visible from a range of vantage points including: foreground roads (Mina Parade, Frederick Street and Yarradale Street); major locality roads (Enoggera Road); and locality parks (Sedgeley Park).

The whole of the area formerly occupied by the brickworks has been redeveloped and the chimney now stands in its own space.

References

[1] Brisbane Courier, 14 July 1911, p.31, September 1911, p. 4; Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Co, 1961 Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Company Limited presents: a new subsidiary, Strathpine Bricks Pty. Ltd.,(n.p).
[2] Cooper, W, 1981, ‘The clay industry in the Brisbane-Ipswich area’, p.48  in  G.W. Hofmann, (ed) Geological Society of Australia Queensland Division 1981 Field Conference Brisbane – Ipswich area, pp.46-51.
[3] Brisbane Courier, 31 October 1912, p.8; The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Mines), aerial images: 1936.04.20, _ADA5-5755, 1951.08.21, _BCC4-39294, JFP4-146, QAP3105-5311.
[4] Brisbane Courier, 20 July 1912, p.5, 31 October 1912, p.8.
[5] Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Company Limited presents: a new subsidiary, Strathpine Bricks Pty. Ltd.,(n.p).
[6] Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Company Limited presents: a new subsidiary, Strathpine Bricks Pty. Ltd.,(n.p).
[7] Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Company Limited presents: a new subsidiary, Strathpine Bricks Pty. Ltd.,(n.p).
[8] Brisbane Brick & Builders' Supply Company Limited presents: a new subsidiary, Strathpine Bricks Pty. Ltd.,(n.p).
[9] Cooper, W, 1981, ‘The clay industry in the Brisbane-Ipswich area’, p.48. 

Image gallery

Location

Location of Newmarket Brickworks Chimney within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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