The passion behind the rich history…
Founder Bob White, as a boy, spent many hours in his dad’s work shed, creating things. Unlike his Dad, Bob’s passion was for metal, not wood. Bob got a five-year indentured apprenticeship as a Tool Maker at the Toowoomba Foundry on completing high school. It was during these years at Toowoomba Foundry he developed his love and passion for molten and metal.
The Toowoomba Foundry was established by the Griffiths family who immigrated to Queensland from the UK in 1870, bought a small ironmongery and mechanical repair shop at Toowoomba late in 1871 then moved to a larger site in 1874 and built a foundry. Their first casting was made in February 1876. It was a roller coaster ride for the Foundry through the fluctuating economic conditions through the years as it ebbed and flowed with the great depression, World War II, amongst other factors. The Toowoomba Foundry continued for nearly 130 years, remaining in the same family for over 110 years. Griffiths was sold to National Consolidated in 1987.
The site continued to operate as a foundry and machine shop into the twenty-first century. It was purchased by Austrim in 1998, and was being operated by Toowoomba Metal Technologies, a subsidiary of CMI Industrial, at the time of its closure in mid-2012.
Between work and study, Bob somehow found time to moonlight on work of his own. A trip to the Barber around the corner from the Toowoomba Foundry proved to be Bob’s biggest coup. His Barber was a champion Australian water skier, and while getting a haircut, Bob mentioned he worked at the Foundry. The Barber showed him some sample aluminium fittings that secured the rubber boot parts to the wooden skies and asked if Bob could make him a set. Bob agreed, and from that first set, found himself working night and day to meet the demand for these ski fittings. One set quickly turned into six, ten and then fifty sets. From doing his own jobbing work in the back yard, things just grew from there… for the complete story, read our book “White Industries, the first 60 years”.