Statement of Significance
The Thompson brothers, George and Joseph, formerly of Ballarat and the new owners of Yallum Park, established the Glenthompson Brickworks in 1900. The clay in the area was already known for its suitability for brick making. The business prospered and consolidated with the increasing demand for the red bricks that it could produce using traditional manual methods. With the decline of that demand, the Thompson family sold the business to Donald Forbes, a local pastoralist and Reg Williams, a local master builder in 1947. They made immediate improvements to the plant and, in 1949, sold out to Glenthompson Brickworks Pty Ltd, with Forbes remaining as Managing Director. The company prospered with the post World War Two boom. Again, it invested in substantial plant and equipment resulting in a production of 18,000 bricks a day. Forbes died in 1953, and his successor, Frank Borbiro began to explore alternative fuels for firing the kilns. In 1956 the Brickworks became the first in Victoria to make the transition to oil firing. Borbiro, a Hungarian refugee, served on the Shire of Mount Rouse Council, the Portland District Development Committee, Glenelg's regional planning authority and Willaura Hospital Board. Borbiro was awarded an MBE for community service in 1979. Countless buildings have been constructed throughout the region using Glenthompson bricks, including many of great architectural significance. Angora Banner Pty Ltd purchased the Brickworks in 1988 and is the current owner. The Brickworks, the most important supplier of bricks in the Western District outside Ballarat, is of particular interest because of its traditional method of firing in single kilns rather than the Hoffman process of continuous firing in circular kilns used in Melbourne. The Brickworks are in full working order and retain an excellent degree of integrity.
How is it significant?
The Glenthompson Brickworks are of historical, scientific and architectural significance to the Southern Grampians Shire and the township of Glenthompson.
Why is it significant?
The Glenthompson Brickworks are of historical significance to the township of Glenthompson as a representation of a new industry, which started in 1901, which became one of the major employers in the town. The Glenthompson Brickworks are also historically important as one of the most substantial industrial complexes in the study area and for their regional market share. It is of technical significance for replacing the laborious and strictly limited production of bricks in other towns and on major properties, but still using strictly traditional, although much improved methods. It is of architectural significance for its long-term connection with the construction industry generally and especially through the master builder, Reg Williams and his connections including the architects, Seabrook and Fildes.
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Physical Conditions
The buildings are in fair to good condition and appear to be in working order.
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Physical Description 1
The Brickworks comprise the pit, now very extensive and a range of industrial buildings, including kilns, of various ages, forms of construction and materials and a brick chimney. The pit extends away from the structures towards the north-east. The dark cream brick chimney, located near the entrance off Donald Forbes Street, is the most distinctive structure on the site and a landmark for the area. It is square in section, slightly tapering and approximately 25m high. It is reinforced with iron straps at regular intervals. The corrugated iron sheds are conventionally industrial with a series of gabled roofs and large doorways. The kilns are also brick. Smaller brick buildings, mostly built of cream brick, are used as offices.
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Historical Australian Themes
Theme 3: Developing local, regional and national economies
3.5 Developing primary production
3.13 Developing an Australian manufacturing capacity
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Usage/Former Usage
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Integrity
Excellent degree of integrity as an operating brickworks.
GLENTHOMPSON BRICKWORKS - Physical Description 2
S. Fielding, original owner of the land
The Thompson brothers, first owners of the Brickworks 1901 - 1947
Donald Forbes & Reg Williams, joint owners of Glenthompson Brickworks Pty. Ltd.
Frank Borbiro MBE, manager and owner in partnership with Reg Williams of Glenthompson Brickworks Pty. Ltd.
Jo Morganti, employee for over 3 decades from 1952.
Heritage Study and Grading
Southern Grampians - Southern Grampians Shire Heritage Study
Author: Timothy Hubbard P/L, Annabel Neylon