In recent years Australia’s mining boom and the apportionment of profits from the extraction and sale of mineral resources has figured prominently in the national debate. If it is not too long a bow to draw, our concerns about economic development find an echo during the tenure of Governor Arthur Phillip in the early months of 1788. Quite by chance, the discovery of clay by a work party in search of arable land was to prove something of a turning point for the colony of New South Wales. Adjacent to the freshwater stream of Cockle Creek that discharged into Cockle Bay were plentiful reserves of clay that could easily be utilised to satisfy the burgeoning demand for building bricks. In the area of the Haymarket valley where swamps intersected by tidal flats emptied into Cockle Creek, brickmakers were soon working full stretch – from dawn to dusk. At everystage the task was arduous and labour intensive with little by way of machinery to quicken production. Suffice to say, clay bricks built Sydney Town, establishing the pattern for the urban landscape, which is still very much in evidence today. Moreover, clay extraction and brickmaking at so-called Brickfield Hill can rightly lay claim to have been Australia’s first attempt at a mining (extractive) industry and a manufacturing enterprise. Needless to say the impact of the brick industry has been significant.1 Economic history, that obscure branch of enquiry now relegated to a university course option rather than being a discipline in its own right, is the study of economic and social forces in societal development and how they become a determinant in the evolution of potent new forces thatchange peoples’ lives.
Yet, before we examine the human impact of industrial processes let us briefly consider the evolution of the brickmaking industry. In the absence of records it is reasonable to assume that brick manufacturing techniques in Australia were similar to those used in England, which had continued virtually unchanged for centuries. A team usually comprised at least three people. First, the moulder placed a quantity of clay (a ‘clot’) in a wooden mould, which was then worked by a brick maker and finally a take-off boy who removed the clot from the mould. Extra hands engaged in a variety of tasks, including hauling sand, carting the prepared clay from the pits to where bricks were made, and taking them away ready for drying.
A production line it certainly was, albeit primitive by modern standards. From a pit adjacent to Cockle Creek, clay was excavated using shovels, transferred to shallow depressions in nearby rock outcrops, and mixed with fresh water. The sodden mass of raw clay was then crushed and kneaded into a lumpy texture using the ends of small tree trunks or bare feet. Settling pits caught any slurry. Stones and vegetable matter were removed to avoid fractures in the bricks during drying and burning. The resulting ‘puddled’ or ‘pugged’ clay was left to stand or ‘prove’ for up to five days. Hand pugging was still being used until the late 1840s in country districts, although in the main settlements horse-powered pug mills were quickly adopted, becoming the first step in the mechanisation of the industry in Australia.2
In these early days of brickmaking no attempt was made to construct permanent kilns. Instead, the traditional Flemish method of building one-off kilns – clamps – was used, although it was greatly modified by individual brickmakers. Clamps remain the oldest and most basic method of firing bricks and are still in use today around the world, especially in many developing countries. They were also cheap and easy to construct and maintain, although it took great skill to build an efficient clamp.
Generally, a solid foundation of fired bricks was laid, placed diagonally and on edge. The next two courses were made up entirely of green bricks on edge, laid parallel to the sides to form a heat seal. In the lower part of the kiln stoking tunnels (flues) were created at regular intervals from one to three metres apart. Packed with timber fuel, charcoal and cinders, the flues were used to light the fires in the clamp as well as replenish the fuel supply. Air for combustion also entered through these holes at the base of the clamp. As the structure evolved, combustible material was scattered between the individual brick courses.
Firing was a skilled occupation, the outcome of which was to produce a well-fired brick of consistent colour. These early clamps were dismantled following each firing and were yet another practice borrowed from Great Britain. Gradually, they gave way to more sophisticated kilns, including the open-side ‘Scotch’ kiln which was followed by the introduction of the circular Hoffman kiln after 1860. This enabled brickmakers to fire industrial quantities of bricks on a continuous basis, so that the kiln fire never needed to be extinguished. Later improvements to the Hoffman kiln saw the introduction of a variety of patent kilns designed around the same principle. Added to these developments was the introduction of the dome kiln which was used to fire superior face bricks in smaller quantities, unlike the patent and Hoffman kilns which were used almost exclusively to burn commons, or common bricks.
Trouble on the brickfields
Working the clays in the village of Brickfield Hill came to an end towards the end of the 1830s, when a government edict decreed the removal of the industry to outlying areas. Pollution, unsightly clay pits and the need to rid the locality of criminals, precipitated the diaspora. In fact pressure had been mounting in the early years of the new century to expel the industry. As settlement encroached on the brickyards, Governor Macquarie’s plan for Sydney called for the creation of an open space to be named Hyde Park. In his General Order of October 1810:
The Governor being desirous to prevent any Encroachment from being made on the Park by Brickmakers, and the Acting Surveyor having been directed to mark out for this purpose a Boundary line, dividing Hyde Park from the Brickfield … His Excellency commands and directs that none of those persons who have obtained permission to make Bricks, shall in future, on any pretence whatever, presume to cut up any ground for that purpose beyond the Line fixed upon as the Boundary for the Brickfields.3
Quite apart from air pollution and the unsightly and noisome nature of brickmaking, crime was another reason to close the Sydney Town yards. One account by historian Geoffrey Scott refers to statements made by an elderly colonist towards the end of the 19th century. The old man recalled his arrival in Sydney in 1838 when barbaric sports still flourished around the pubs in Brickfield Hill. His recollection of working class life and recreational pursuits makes for interesting reading.
“Horse racing, dog fighting, cock fighting, rat killing and prize fighting were all the rage”, he related with a sort of nostalgic gusto. “Scarcely anything else was thought of, and it was very hard for a young fellow to settle down and become steady”. In one Brickfield Hill tavern he saw two bulldogs fight, and when they had sunk their teeth into each other “the owner of one dog chopped off two of his feet to show the breed of the dog that still kept on fighting!” In another pub, the unsettled youth saw a dog kill sixty rats in one minute. The Willow Tree in Pitt Street was also the site of a well-known rat pit.4
Whatever we may think, this sort of thing was common enough at that time. In fact, it continues today, albeit behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy in order to avoid heavy penalties.
Following their ejection in 1839 many brickmakers took to the road. Some went to the workable clays known to exist at Broadway where a thriving industrial community developed. Others carried on further down the Parramatta Road to Camperdown, where they established manufacturing facilities for the production of glazed clay pipes. By far the majority made their way past the hamlet known today as Newtown. Lugging carts and driving bullock wagons, they set up production in an area called the Waterloo Flats. Indeed the clay soils of St Peters, reputed to be the best brick land in Sydney, encouraged a high concentration of brickworks which extended from Waterloo through Marrickville and south-westward to nearby Mortdale. Retired brickmakers interviewed by the author believe that local brickyards produced most of the bricks used to build the city of Sydney over a period spanning 125 years. Anecdotal evidence such as this is always open to question, but for construction work on the south side of Sydney Harbour, it is reasonable to suppose that bricks were sourced from the brickyards at St Peters and Marrickville since they were the most numerous. Waterloo Flat was made part of Alexandria in 1863, five years prior to the incorporation of Alexandria as a municipal entity in 1868. Over time the brickpits changed the social and economic complexion of the St Peters–Tempe area. The expansion of industry and improved transport links created a more industrial suburb, populated mostly by working class people. Development came at a price, and some of the grand homes of the area were demolished to make way for the brick pits, while other estates were subdivided to accommodate the growing population in basic two up, two down terrace houses. By the early 1880s open countryside was more or less a thing of the past, and air pollution had become a serious issue, making the district far less desirable as a place to live. An investigation was launched in 1882, although the findings of the Noxious and Offensive Trades Inquiry Commission merely acknowledged brickworks to be a Third Class trade. In effect this meant that manufacturers did not require the consent of residents to operate, although permission from local authorities was needed. Police surveillance was mandatory, presumably on account of the use of explosives to blast shale from the deepening quarries.5
Workplace change is usually incremental, patchy, and seldom follows predetermined rules. Nowhere was this more evident than in the extraction of the dense clays and hardened shale. Initially, such back-breaking work was performed by labourers using pick and shovel. Manual excavation at brick pits in Australia continued well into the twentieth century, unlike England and the USA where steam powered excavators were operating as early as the 1820s. From quarry pit to the plant, clay was transported by wheelbarrows, a slow and tedious process, especially when diggings were located some distance away. Muddy conditions after wet weather created numerous difficulties and slowed down work as barrows became bogged in the worn, rutted paths. The bigger firms that consumed large quantities of clay installed portable tramways along which ran small wagons. Traction was achieved using a winch turned by hand or by horse. The wagons were made of iron with a central buffer and couplings. Emptying was performed by tipping the container over on one side, for which there was a pivot connection to the frame. Steam engines were well suited to driving this type of work.
With the progressive depletion of surface clays, blasting at the quarry was necessary to extract the underlying shale. Holes were bored and slabswere blown out with blasting powder, a dangerous activity and one that frequently showered the neighbourhood with dust and debris. The process was more or less continuous, with new boreholes being drilled using a sledgehammer and chisel, while other men broke the huge slabs into smaller pieces. The dirt was shovelled into hand or horse-drawn rail trucks and taken to a central area.
The pace was intense, the work dangerous and monotonous, and the men subject to the vagaries of the weather. Along the low-lying countryside skirting Shea’s Creek (later Alexandra Canal), Sydney’s stifling summer heat, often well over 30°C for days at a time, would have been made all the more unbearable when the southerlies failed to materialise. Late afternoon downpours, typical of Sydney’s pattern of summer weather, may have provided some temporary relief, but turned claypits into quagmires. When combined with huge volumes of thick smoke and dust, conditions for the men, especially those working in the kilns, were appalling. Only the toughest – and desperate – could achieve tally every day. Overseers at the yard were hired for their ability to fight, for it was brawn rather than brains that kept men at their stations in harsh conditions.
Standard garb for the workingman was a pair of heavy serge pants held up with belts and braces, a collarless flannel shirt6 and hob-nailed boots. Hard wearing, practical, and comfortable – up to a point. The poorest would have gone barefoot. Infrequent rest breaks – ‘smokoes’ – were taken under the watchful eyes of the overseer who rigidly enforced discipline in the workplace. In the days prior to mass-produced machine-rolled cigarettes, a clay pipe filled with rough tobacco was an enjoyable diversion, even among women. Certainly, smoking held no stigma as it does today.
During the 19th century – and well into the 20th century – brickmaking has been associated with exploitation, hardship and drunkenness. The observation of the English clergyman, Rev James Dennett, writing in 1866 of his fellow countrymen, confirms the anecdote recorded by Geoffrey
Scott. Referring to England, Dennett observes:
Drunkenness is the curse of the working class in every trade in this country but it seems tenfold intensified in that of brickmaking.7
As a matter of course, beer – or the promise of it – was an incentive to stay on the job. No brickyard in England at this time was without its beer shop. In fact, men and women were paid in the local hotel, a practicewhich transferred to the colony. It is quite possible there may have been an expectation that the public house was the accepted venue for the settlement of wages. In the Sydney brickyards around St Peters, the end ofday usually witnessed a general exodus to local hostelries such as James Richards’s White Horse Inn, later known as the White Horse Hotel, near the railway line at Mitchell Road at St Peters. Another favourite, was the delightfully named Cottage of Content on Newtown Road. All of these public houses were known to be operating by 1863. Understandably, brickyards were also the haunt of drunks and the down and out in search of a warm place on a cold night
It was not until the gold rushes of the late 1840s that heavy machinery capable of driving industrial processes first began to appear in Australia. Initially, they were hauled to the gold fields west of Sydney where they were put to use in reducing gold-bearing ores to small fragments. Yet, such machines were also easily adapted to pulverise the shales that lay beneath the rapidly depleting clay deposits in the quarries adjacent to other brickmaking activities such as moulding and burning. This transformation was part of a wider process of industrialisation that was taking hold in Sydney and Melbourne. Progress was slow when compared to changes sweeping Britain, continental Europe, and the USA, but by 1850 industry was already at work on the western side of Sydney around Sussex, York and Kent streets, and later at Pyrmont, near to which lay the wharves and dockland area serving the coal-shipping industry. Steam power was the motive force behind this new machinery.
Diggers returning from the goldfields in northern Victoria mixed with new immigrants to form the nucleus of labourers and factory workers who made their home in the area. Some also gravitated towards the brick pits of St Peters and Camperdown. There is no doubt that Sydney was on the move, a trend that gained further momentum in 1855 when the colony’s first railway line was opened between Sydney and Parramatta, paving the way for new suburbs and industry. From the early 1860s the brick and tile industry took advantage of steam-powered machinery, so that within 20 years brickmaking had progressed from being a cottage industry to a sophisticated and highly capitalised enterprise. Arguably, it was the biggest single factor in the gradual modernisation of the industry, although the demand for better quality bricks from a growing, and increasingly affluent, middle class played its part.
Crushing and mixing
The use of steam-powered machines transformed the way clays and shales were prepared and pressed into ‘green bricks’ prior to firing in a kiln. Soon after the gold discoveries in New South Wales and Victoria, machines capable of breaking open the quartz and releasing the ore from the dirt and rock were being exported to the colony by mining entrepreneurs. Swan’s Patent Crushing Mill with its set of heavy rollers connected to a central shaft and driven by a steam engine was typical. The larger brick firms were quick to adopt this technology which was well suited to pulverising the harder Wianamatta shales found throughout the Sydney region. Grinding mills were efficient and could be worked by either horse or steam power. Indeed present day mills in the few surviving dry press brickmaking operations bear a close resemblance to those used in this period. 8 The simplicity of their operation made them versatile and efficient with little scope for improvement. Over the next decade, grinding, crushing and brick pressing and extruding machines of every description, most of them steam-driven, were imported to service the brick making industry. By 1900 machinery driven by belts connected to steam engines had been installed in all major brickyards to crush and mix the hard shales. Most of this heavy machinery was manufactured in Great Britain and was extremely robust. Until recently it was still being used in a handful of yards, including that of Bowral Bricks in New South Wales.
From hand to machine
Advances in grinding techniques worked in favour of brick moulding which also adopted labour saving machinery. By the middle decades of the 19th century the rapid pace of technological innovation in brick moulding was beginning to transform the industry in Great Britain and the Australian
colonies. In fact, during the period 1820 to about 1850 British inventors patented 109 brick making machines and kilns. Some of these were displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. Even the smallest of firms used the new mechanical devices. One type imported to the colony was the screw-operated John Whitehead Press, which achieved a pressure of 15–18 tonnes. Using this machine two men could produce about 7,000 bricks per day.9 Whitehead’s press with its daily rate of 15,000 bricks was also popular and clearly outmatched the tally of a traditional hand moulder who was hard-put to shape more than about 1,300 bricks.
In the case of the lever press, pugged clay was thrown into moulds which were recessed into the surface of the table. A lever was depressed forcing the clay into the shape of a brick. By repeating the action several times, bricks were re-pressed to ensure adequate compaction of the clay, producing a brick with fine, straight edges (arriss). A return mechanism forced the clay briquette upwards and out of the mould. Such devices were popular with hand moulders who used them to repress mechanically extruded green bricks. Whichever method was used
to compress the clay, either an industrial brick press or a wooden hand moulding device, bricks were impressed with a so-called ‘frog’. The frog, or indentation, was contained on the underside of a brass plate (industrial moulding) or a wooden block (hand moulding). Downward action on the plate or block left an impression in the friable clay, creating an indentation. This often had the appearance of a frog although the plate or wooden block might also contain the name of the brick manufacturer.10 The socalled ‘frog’ also enabled the mortar to bind more effectively with the brick. Numerous examples of frogs can still be found in both convict-made sandstocks as well as bricks produced on an industrial scale. The practice of marking bricks with the manufacturer’s name was mostly discontinued after the Second World War, although solid, dry-press bricks were still made with some form of depression for the purpose of helping the mortar to bind.
Unfortunately brickmaking machines of all types were extremely expensive. According to The Builder, a trade journal, machines for moulding bricks cost approximately £1,400,11 although the economies of scale were considerable and justified the expense. It was estimated that 20,000 bricks hand produced by four gangs over a 10 hour day cost the brickmaker £3 16s, but only £1 9s when produced by machine.12 Progress towards mechanisation was still painfully slow. While moulding had been extensively mechanised in England and the USA, family-run yards in Australia, many of them short of capital, continued to use traditional methods. Despite lacking even the most basic equipment described previously, handmade bricks continue to be manufactured, especially in developing countries such as India where family traditions have remained unchanged for generations.
For Sydney’s brick industry the 1870s and 1880s were years of transition and expansion. Until that time brickmakers were essentially family concerns or small partnerships confined to the burning of sandstock bricks. Skills were passed down from father to son and those who excelled in the craft of brickmaking were often referred to as brick masters. Equipped with basic mechanical equipment, new firms established themselves and continued to use hand-moulding techniques. Relatively few made the transition to a large-scale industrial enterprise which required large amounts of capital. However, it soon became evident that hand-moulding yards were no longer profitable when competing with the highly mechanised plant of the larger works. Gradually they vanished from the metropolitan area, many of them having exhausted the clays in their pits.
The concentration of the industry into fewer hands from about 1870 until the early 1890s and the onset of the Depression years, may have been one of the catalysts that prompted closer government scrutiny. The Shops and Factories Act, which encompassed the brick industry in broad terms, provided a general set of regulations, but its effectiveness was questionable. Increasingly there were calls for the greater regulation of working conditions and shorter working hours. Public concern was such that in 1875 a Select Committee on the Employment of Children was established by the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Members of the committee took evidence from individuals and brick masters at a variety of brickyards in the St Peters and Waterloo district.
The committee established that a typical working day was 10 hours and the use of children as puggers, widespread. In fact it was commonplace for a child to remove eight or nine tonnes of clay dirt in a single shift. During prolonged heavy rain work stopped altogether, although in what the brickmakers termed ‘drabbly weather’ the men went into the pit to dig clays, assisted by the boys. A child’s pay was anything from 10 to 14s a week.13
James Cook, a working brickmaker, told the enquiry that not one of the six children of a brickmaker working the yard next door could ‘read or write so that I can understand him,’ although quite a number were extremely good at arithmetic. This was not unusual in view of the fact that puggers and moulders would need to keep a mental note of how many bricks they made. School education, however, was not a high priority for the poor families of the district. According to the evidence of Mr Guille, the schoolmaster at St Peters Certified Church of England School at Newtown, children were regularly taken out of the Infants’ Department to work on the brickfields.
There is scarcely a trade where there are so many illiterates as are to be found among the brickmakers of St Peters, and I impute it to the early age at which they have to go pugging up.14
Another respondent was Mr Alfred Dawes, uncle of the future general manager of Austral Bricks and founder of Brickworks Ltd, William King Dawes. Alfred Dawes was more sympathetic to the beneficial effects of hard work:
Mr Dawes says that many a time as a lad he fell asleep, tired out, when sitting at his evening meal. It was a case of survival of the fittest; those who stuck to the job suffered no ill effects physically, and a great many of them were rewarded by becoming captains of industry in later life.
Resort to fisticuffs was common, and Mr Dawes was an eyewitness of many stand-up fights at which the combatants pummelled each other while fellow employees formed a ring. Quite a number bred game fowls and fighting dogs.15 One committee member, the brickmaker Frederick J. Goodsell, agreed with Dawes that such intensive labour was a healthy improver of men:
As regards hurting them, I could produce as fine a man as you could see in New South Wales who are brickmakers, and who have been puggers-up. The younger they take to it the better brickmakers they are, and the easier they go through their work.16
Members of the committee looked for instances of abuse, but were hard put to find any evidence. In one exchange, brickmaker James Cook admitted to there being rare cases of drunkenness among the adults. Cricket seems to have been played on Sundays with ‘no great indulgence in any vicious amusement’.17
Whilst the decades of the ‘70s and ‘80s were prosperous years for the brick industry in Australia, its bounties were not shared by its workers. This brings to mind the debate among economic and social historians during the 1960s and 1970s over the pros and cons of the Industrial Revolution. There is no doubt that the introduction of the Hoffmann kiln and dry press brick moulding machines was vitally important. The process of modernisation through mechanisation was no longer possible to ignore. The few progressives who had installed modern machinery were now joined by an increasing number of manufacturers anxious not to be left behind by the competition. In the 30-year period before
the turn of the century, mechanisation in the brick industry effectively severed the link with Australia’s first brickmakers. In that time most of the old hand moulders who had clung to traditional techniques dating back thousands of years had disappeared, to be replaced by larger firms with mechanical presses and continuous kilns. The revolution in brickmaking was now virtually complete, although the old ways were slow to disappear completely. Apart from minor refinements the craft of the brickmaker continued in much the same way until the 1950s when the next wave of change engulfed the industry through the widespread adoption of tunnel kiln technology.
Finally, what can we make of the experience of workers described in this article? As an undergraduate student of economic and social history during the early 1970s, the author recalls the lively debate being waged by academics on the Left and Right. Today, such distinctions between Left and Right have lost much of their significance, which at the time were firmly embedded in the experience of the Cold War. At the time, however, the attempt to resolve the great issue of poverty versus prosperity was a major focus of scholastic endeavour. Was Britain’s industrial revolution, which was unlike anything experienced by Australia, an unmitigated disaster for the working class it created, or did it eventually raise real wages and living standards? Writers such as Dickens, Engels, and the Hammonds made the terms industrial revolution and capitalism synonymous with exploitation. Pessimistic interpretations of the industrial revolution led to the popular acceptance of what R.M. Hartwell (1974) terms the ‘theory of immiseration’ – a belief that unrestrained capitalism was making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
It is all too easy to make pessimistic interpretations, yet there is evidence of increasing real incomes and improving mortality rates during the 19th century across the western industrialising world. This indicates
that significant improvement took place in the standard of living of the working class. Despite intense conflict between capital and labour, and the niggling pace of government protection for industrial workers, progress was achieved, albeit gradually. If nothing else, this brief survey of brickmaking in colonial Sydney provides us with some insight into both the industry and its impact on the lives of working class people. Clearly, the topic is worthy of further exploration.
Ron Ringer is Managing Director of Syntax Writing Services and receives commissions from many Australian academic institutions and corporations to provide strategic communications and consulting services on large documentation and publishing projects. He is also an independent historian and the author of nine HSC textbooks.
His business histories include A History of Elgas (2004) and The Brickmasters, 1788–2008 (2008). The latter explores the impact of bricks and the brick industry on the social and economic history of Sydney and its built environment with particular reference to Austral Bricks. Ron was recently commissioned by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, to write a history of that organisation. Ron was recently admitted to the Australian Society of Professional Historians email@example.com
- For an in-depth treatment of the development of Sydney’s brick industry from 1788 and the economic and social consequences, see R.E Ringer, The Brickmasters: 1788-2008, Dry Press Publishing, Wetherill Park, 2008.
- J. Nangle, Australian Building Practice: A Treatise for Australian Students of Building Construction, Melbourne, G. Robertson & Co., 1900, p. 46.
- Sydney Gazette, 6 October 1810, p. 1.
- G. Scott, Sydney’s Highways of History, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1958, pp. 49–52.
- New South Wales Commissions: Noxious and Offensive Trades Enquiry Commission. Report of the Royal Commission appointed on 20 November 1882, Sydney Government Printer, 1883, p. 14
- As recently as the 1970s it was common for men’s shirts to have detachable collars, which could be fixed in place by means of a ‘stud’ pressed through the top buttonhole.
- J. Woodforde, Bricks to Build a House, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1976, p. 101.
- Dry press bricks were formed on a mechanical, steam-driven press. A quantity of finely crushed shale and clay and about 10 per cent water was introduced into a box and reduced under pressure to the shape of a brick.
- A.B. Searle, Modern Brickmaking, Ernest Benn, London, 1920, p. 78.
- The origin of the term ‘frog’ is obscure, although one plausible explanation is supplied by Mick Warwick of Stockton-on-Tees England. According to Warwick, ‘frogging’ – the familiar (usually pyramidal) indentation in bricks – originates from the ancient Egyptian custom of creating hollows in their Nile-clay bricks, by interring live animals (usually infant) as building work progressed. Historians are divided on the reasoning. Traditional Egyptologists favoured the after-life scenario (baby animals ready to grow to serve the risen Pharaoh), until the 1903 discovery of millions of skeletons of ‘Bufo regularis’ – the common African frog – in the remains of ancient Egyptian workers’ buildings on the Giza Plateau. Although this amphibious exhumation was not well known other than by historians and palaeontologists, the Victorian trades embraced this romantic (sic) custom during the industrial revolution, and it’s been with us ever since, albeit buried. Source: Semantic enigmas, guardian.co.uk, Guardian News and Media Limited.
- The Builder, 1856, p. 22.
- The Builder, 1852, p. 385.
- Select Committee of the NSW Legislative Assembly on the Employment of Children, 1875. Evidence was taken by the Committee about the employment of children in the St Peters brickyards in January 1876.
- A. Dawes, ‘Five Generations of Brickmakers: Remarkable Record of Dawes Family in Australia’, Clay Products Journal of Australia (CPJA), 1 October 1935, p. 15.
- Select Committee, op.cit.
- Select Committee, op.cit.