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A day in history: Britannia Foundry

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Here is a look back into the early History of the early Foundry Industry in Brisbane and Queensland. A rich heritage now being carried on by White Industries in Dalby, Queensland.

The Britannia Foundry is a heritage-listed converted Foundry at 210 Alice Street, right in the heart of the Brisbane CBD. It was built c. 1887. It is also known as Smellie & Co Warehouse and Public Works Depot.

This building was constructed 1887 for the engineering and iron founding firm of Harvey Sargeant & Co., which was founded in 1880 and was part of the fledgling heavy engineering industry in Queensland. It produced ironworks, brick making machinery, girders, and agricultural machinery. The ironworks necessary for much of the building boom carried out in Brisbane in the 1880s were supplied by Harvey, Sargeant, & Co.

In 1885 the company purchased a site in Alice Street for a foundry and a building was erected in 1887. Called the Britannia Foundry, it was one of several foundries in the street, including Smellie & Co, and Smith, Forrester & Co, who operated the Queensland Ironworks.

Harvey, Sargeant & Co went into insolvency in 1892, but a new company was formed to continue operating the foundry. In 1903 the business moved to new premises in Alice Street. The firm remained in this part of the city until 1966 when it moved to Sherwood, where it traded under the name of ANI-Sargeant for many years, celebrating its centenary in 1981.

What a rich heritage we have inherited indeed. With White Industries having just celebrated 60 years in business, it is good to reflect on what was, as we look to the future here in Australia.

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