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    South Australia - Industries - Rural, Primary and Secondary


    Also see:
    Adelaide - Hotels and Lodging Houses
    Port Adelaide - Buildings - Hotels and Breweries.

    An Essay on Breweries

    Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience

    It seems to be an established fact that wherever civilised communities are formed sooner or later there must spring up in their midst such utilities as churches, hotels, stores and breweries. So it followed that shortly after South Australia was settled some of the pioneers realised that the drinking wants of the populace must be attended to, and in due course the colony became the centre of a few liquor producing factories.

    These breweries were small in the early days and the struggles of one of the proprietors, as told in letters to his wife in Scotland, show that his brewery was only a one man show. That brewer, Mr Warren, in his communications disclosed that he was still without help and was hard pressed in his brewery. He further intimated that the high price of sheep and cattle and the inability of the government surveyors to survey land quickly for purposes of settlement had compelled him to start a brewery.

    He was not alone in this respect as a man called Lillyman had, in 1838, commenced brewing near the River Torrens where he produced his beer from wheat, for at that time barley in large enough quantities was not available. Mr Warren sold out to Messrs Auld and Shand; Auld afterwards identified with a winery at Auldana. The new owners carried on the business until 1844, when a flood swept the structure away. Apparently, Lillyman's brewery had gone out of existence by this date, for no further mention is made of it in early records.

    The first brewery of any note was that started by Richmond & Primrose and called the Union Brewery. It was located off Rundle Street, opposite Stephens Place, and existed into the 1890s. Richmond sold out his share to John Primrose, whose ancestry was linked with the aristocratic English family of Primrose and thus he claimed relationship with Earl of Rosebery:

    As the 1840s advanced breweries sprang up like mushrooms and, in 1843, E.J.F. Crawford started at Hindmarsh; later he failed and left for Victoria. Though no restraint was placed on the manufacturers of beer for a number of years, many of them failed to make good. Caustic comments were made on the beer, many referring to the poor quality of the drink and frequent adulteration.

    Many lovers of the 'brown ale' were concerned that much of the local product was 'hogwash' because of 'the half-poisonous drugs which have been sold under that name.' They were of the opinion that to overcome this adulteration the brewers should be placed under supervision. A couple of beer lovers entered the fray and expressed some firm opinions:

    In respect of colonial hops Mr Crawford imported seed from Kent, England early in 1844 and gave it away to 'bona fide growers' and about the same time settlers in the 'Valley of Miponga (sic)' grew fine samples, the 'vines' of which attained the height of sixteen feet.

    During 1844-1845 the general quality of the beer brewed in Adelaide improved - instead of it being thick, sour and half-sickly, as it was in many cases, it became bright, sweet and brisk. Indeed, the general feeling towards it altered in a marked degree. The most respectable of our publicans, who once would have been offended if asked for a glass of it, drew it to the exclusion of imported ale. Without saying they were perfect, beer produced by Messrs Richmond and Primrose, Crawford, Shand and Moulden was wholesome - in flavour most excellent and of a good and sufficient body.

    By the close of 1846 many brewers had purchased hotels and this caused a serious deterioration in the quality of locally brewed beer. Informed opinion was that the beer made here had sunk 'down to worse than swipes... a few days sufficing to send it sour.' But this was not its worst fault for in almost every instance it was drugged with quassia, opium and an overdose of sugar.

    Reasonable thinking people throughout the colony had much faith in the theory that evils would rectify themselves but, unfortunately, the premature practice of brewers buying up public houses, and placing in them tenants, who had to deal exclusively with the owners, exacerbated the situation. For this evil the only remedy would have been the establishment of a large brewery on a contrary principle supported by all free publicans.

    Today, the days of sub-standard beer and home brewed ale have passed away and the industry is conducted on a greater scale, in buildings of modern type and by more elaborate processes. To the general public or, at all events, to that large section of it that still drinks beer - the purity of their favourite beverage is a matter of concern.

    It is contended frequently that many of the evils placed to the credit of alcoholic stimulants are due, as much as anything, to the inclusion of deleterious ingredients; and whatever view may be taken on the subject generally, there can be no doubt that in the manufacture of beers the use of pure substances, as well as the exercise of care and cleanliness, are distinctly essential. This is so generally recognised that discussions in the press and in parliament on the subject of adulteration of food and drink are matters of common occurrence.

    Mr Smith ventured into the brewing business at Kent Town in the early 1860s when he purchased Logue's Brewery which was established in 1857 at King William Street. In March 1861 it was seriously damaged by fire and a year or two later it was further injured by a heavy flood in Norwood Creek.

    However, Mr Smith enlarged the premises which, when completed, comprised a two-storey building occupied by steeping vats and space for the storing of malt and barley. Adjoining the second floor were two kilns for the purpose of drying malt, while across the yard was the brewery where there were various hoppers for receiving the malt, a roller for crushing it and a sieve for separating the grains from the germs which sprung out during the steeping and drying operations.

    The beer was boiled in a large copper by means of a wood and coal fire - not as in some breweries, by steam. A 'brew' comprised about 35 hogsheads. In the yard there were offices, cooperage, a store for hops, sugar, etc., and other buildings. Connected with the brewery were a stable and coach house and large yard.

    As was the custom of the day Mr Smith discharged effluent into the local waterways which, over a period, caused excessive pollution coupled with complaints from the public:

    To this complaint Mr Smith replied at length:

    I confess that I cannot agree with Mr Smith as to his final assertion as can be seen from my chapter on the deep drainage problem confronted by the town of Kensington and Norwood in the 1880s and the 'public nuisances' confronted by our citizens. However, I must support him in his general comment on the state of the creeks flowing into the Torrens:

    However, Mr F. Griffiths of North Terrace, Kent Town, accused Mr Smith of being less than honest when he informed the press:

    In response to this accusation of telling falsehoods Mr Smith, in a rambling speech within the precincts of the council chamber, admitted that water lay in the creek at the back of Bailey's garden, but he had asked several gentlemen to see if he caused any nuisance and 'had had a most favourable report from all.' Further, councillors had visited the property and 'found no nuisance', but confessed he could either let the contents of the tanks flow into the creek 'when it was running' or 'use the stuff to irrigate his garden.'

    As would be expected the councillors sided with their honourable Mayor, while Councillor Dew felt 'that his Worship had been unjustly dealt with in the published letters' and further, it was well known that one of the writers 'had a grudge against the Mayor.' Accordingly, it was agreed that 'His Worship was very free from blame in respect to this nuisance.'

    In June 1876 Mr Smith caused to be opened a new brewery which can be seen today at the corner of Dequetteville Terrace and Rundle Street, Kent Town. It cost 17,000 inclusive of land and nine workmen's cottages, occupies land 216x208 feet and 'gives an air of commercial importance to the populous townships of Norwood and Kensington.'

    No expense, care or skill was spared by the spirited proprietor in making the brewery works complete, both externally and internally. Every advantage afforded by the site was taken and ample room allocated for carrying out the operations of a brewer's business - Commodious, lofty storerooms, yards, well-paved cellars, well-ventilated workrooms, outhouses and offices.

    The front elevation is to Dequetteville Terrace and consists of two wings with gables, the central buildings containing the offices and principal entrance to the premises. The chief gateway is opposite Rundle Road and is 14 feet wide by 13 feet in height and is supported by bold pilasters in the Grecian order of architecture. The central portion of the structure is one storey in height and the wings, including the basement are elevated to two storeys>

    Passing through the principal gateway one enters a large quadrangle, 120 by 92 feet. On the eastern side of this space the buildings run to a height of three storeys which contain the kiln constructed by a novel and improved principle, being 58 feet from the floor to the cowl. The clearing cellars are nearby and these have communication with similar accommodation on the south side. Above these cellars are two extensive floors intended for malt stores and various miscellaneous purposes.

    The brewery proper is situated at the south-eastern corner and contains five floors which are of substantial construction having cast iron columns and wrought iron girders at regular intervals. In the top storey is the 'hot liquor' room which contains one vat nine feet high and capable of holding about 90 hogsheads; the malt hopper is also located there.

    The buildings throughout are of Glen Osmond and Mitcham stone; the architect was Thomas English and the works were carried out by Brown and Thompson in a manner which was highly creditable to a colonial firm. 'Special attention was paid to the drainage of the premises, Mr Smith being most anxious to comply with the requirements of the Board of Health and obviate as far as possible any inconvenience likely to be experienced by residents in close proximity.'

    A block of land situated at the rear of the brewery was reserved for the erection of 14 cottages some of which will contain five rooms and were intended for the use of the brewery's workmen; Mr William Dickin was the contractor for these buildings.

    In passing it is worth recording that his brewery is in a straight line between Rundle Street and The Parade and, before commencing the building, he tried hard to get Norwood to make a street straight through from The Parade to Rundle Street, but nobody else at the time had the foresight to see the necessity for this and, later, when Mr H.J. Holden tried it long after Prince Alfred College had been built, vested interests were too strong and the expense too great. It was Mr Smith who, in parliament, carried the Kensington and Norwood Boundaries Bill, through the House of Assembly in order to acquire Dequetteville Terrace, which had been a kind of 'No Man's Land.'

    General Notes

    "Old Brewing Days" is in the Register,
    27 January 1920, page 4e,
    "Early Adelaide Brewers" on
    10 March 1924, page 15e.

    "Early Breweries - Memories of Other Days" is in The Mail,
    27 November 1926, page 17b.

    "Domestic Brewing" is in the Observer,
    8 July 1843, page 6a.

    Information on early brewers is in the Express,
    30 November 1876, page 2c; also see
    1 December 1876, page 2d.

    The beer making industry is discussed in the Register on
    16 and 20 September 1843, pages 2d and 3a,
    13 and 24 January 1844, pages 3b and 3c,
    24 April 1844, page 3c,
    19 December 1846, page 2a; also see
    7 June 1845, page 5a,
    6 September 1845, page 5b.

    "Early Breweries - Memories of Other Days" is in The Mail,
    27 November 1926, page 17b.

    The growing of hops at Myponga is reported in the Observer,
    27 April 1844, page 5a,
    "Colonial Hops" appears on
    2 March 1850 (supp.); also see
    Southern Australian,
    30 April 1844, page 2e,
    25 May 1844, page 3a,
    8 June 1844, page 2e,
    25 April 1849, page 2c,
    28 April 1849, page 3c,
    10 May 1872, page 3e,
    2 and 16 May 1868, pages 9a and 9c,
    29 May 1869, page 9b,
    16 March 1872, page 9a,
    11 November 1882, page 9a,
    13 February 1886, page 10a.

    The cultivation of hops in the South-East is reported in the Observer,
    22 and 29 March 1873, pages 7f-14d and 9a,
    5 April 1873, page 8d.

    "The Yahl Hop Gardens" is in the Observer,
    14 March 1874, page 7g.
    "Hop Growing" is in the Farmers Weekly Messenger,
    29 January 1875, page 5b; also see
    12 October 1880, page 6a.
    "Hop Plantations near Lobethal" is in the Chronicle,
    17 March 1883, page 13e.
    "Australian Hops in England" is in the Observer,
    8 December 1883, page 9d.
    Also see Place Names - Yahl

    A feature article on breweries is in the Register,
    7 February 1861, page 3f,
    9 February 1861, page 7c.

    A poem titled "The Tidal Wave [of beer]" is in The Adelaide Punch,
    30 January 1869, page 40.

    Also see Register,
    12 May 1868, page 2h,
    2 June 1869, page 2h,
    22 March 1872, page 5a and
    23 August 1872, page 4f,
    21 March 1873, page 5c,
    1 and 2 April 1873, pages 5a and 2c,
    9 March 1874, page 5c.

    "Our Breweries" is in the Advertiser,
    30 May 1868, page 2c,
    30 May 1868, page 2b,
    "Brewing in South Australia" in the Register,
    9 June 1868, page 2d,
    "Country Breweries" on
    25 July 1868, page 3b.

    Information on the Lion Brewery is in the Observer,
    11 January 1873, page 10f,
    25 November 1882, page 33a,
    the Imperial Brewery in the Observer,
    27 February 1875, page 5f,
    the Waverley Brewery on
    27 November 1875, page 17c,
    the Kent Town Brewery on
    3 June 1876, page 7e.
    Sketches are in the Australasian Sketcher,
    17 April 1875, page 5,
    Pictorial Australian,
    July 1894, pages 108-109.

    Information on the Imperial Brewery is in the Register,
    18 February 1875, page 5c,
    27 February 1875, page 5f.

    "Colonial Beer" is in the Register,
    23 March 1875, page 4e.

    "Beer Powder" is in the Register,
    28 September 1875, page 5f.

    The Waverley Brewery is described in the Register,
    22 November 1875, page 7b.
    Sketches are in the Pictorial Australian in
    July 1894, pages 108-109.

    An obituary of John Primrose is in the Register,
    29 November 1876, page 4g.
    A prospectus of the Primrose Union Brewing and Malting Co is in the Advertiser,
    14 April 1888, page 4.

    A pneumatic beer-engine is described in the Register,
    8 February 1878, page 5b.

    Sketches of brewery proprietors are in The Lantern,
    18 January 1879,
    10 February 1881 (supplement).

    "Hop Growing" is in the Farmers Weekly Messenger,
    29 January 1875, page 5b.

    A brewers' cricket match and picnic is reported in the Express,
    26 March 1879, page 3b.
    27 March 1879, page 6e.
    A photograph of "brewers at cricket" is in the Observer,
    4 April 1908, page 30.

    The Anchor Brewing and Cordial Factory is described in the Advertiser,
    7 February 1880, page 5e;
    sketches are in the Pictorial Australian in
    July 1883, page 104; also see
    20 March 1899, page 2h.

    The brewers' monopoly of public houses is discussed in the Express,
    3 September 1880, page 2b.
    17 February 1881, page 6d,
    24 January 1884, page 6b,
    30 June 1884, page 7e,
    11 November 1884, page 7b.

    "Publicans and the Brewers' Monopoly" is in the Register,
    24 January 1884, page 6b,
    15 October 1884, page 5a.

    "Brewers v Publicans" is in the Observer,
    19 and 26 April 1884, pages 39c and 26e.
    17 and 22 April 1884, pages 5a and 7d,
    1 May 1884, pages 4h-7c,
    22 April 1886, page 6h,
    4 and 9 June 1886, pages 7e and 7h,
    16 and 19 October 1894, pages 3g and 3e,
    11 December 1894, page 5b,
    18 and 31 July 1895, pages 6c and 6h,
    6 and 16 August 1895, pages 6g and 3e-5b.

    "Brewers v Publicans" is in the
    26 September 1890, page 5a,
    11 and 15 October 1890, pages 4f and 3h,
    3 December 1890, page 6h,
    3 November 1892, page 5a,
    12 December 1895, page 7a.

    "The Price of Beer" is in the Chronicle,
    15 April 1882, page 4f,
    "Proposed Tax on Colonial Beer" on
    6 September 1884, page 8e.

    An obituary of J.T. Syme is in the Register,
    6 April 1883, page 4g,
    of F.J. Blades on
    18 November 1895, page 5a.

    The Lion Brewing Malting Works are described in the Register,
    15 November 1882, page 6e.

    "Cooperage in the City" is in the Express,
    6 August 1885, page 3d.
    Information on and a photograph of Mr H.R. Neunkirchen's cooperage are in the Observer,
    11 April 1903, page 26.

    H. Claussen and Sons "colossal brewery" is reported upon in the Observer,
    27 November 1886, page 8e.

    "Colonial Ales" is in the Observer,
    29 January 1887, page 6d.

    The West End Brewery is described in the Register,
    11 July 1889, page 7b,
    information on the SA Brewing Company on
    14 February 1902, page 3e,
    16 September 1902, page 8g,
    The Critic,
    12 April 1902, page 27.
    An obituary of R.A. Stock, managing director, is in the Register,
    8 March 1904, page 4h.
    "West End Beers" is in the Observer,
    11 February 1928, page 69c.

    A "dreadful death" at primrose's brerwery is reported in the Register
    6 November 1890, page 5c.

    An obituary of Arthur R. Malcolm is in the Register,
    24 December 1890, page 5a,
    of F.C. (G.?) Singleton in the Register,
    3 and 5 October 1891, pages 5a and 5c,
    3 October 1891, page 29b,
    of Patrick Sheedy in the Register,
    11 November 1892, page 5b,
    of F.S. Sison in the Observer,
    2 January 1891, page 40c,
    of Frank S. Botting on
    9 February 1895, page 31d.

    The adulteration of beer is discussed in the Register,
    12 and 21 January 1892, pages 3g and 6d.

    An obituary of G.H. Catchlove is in the Express,
    20 October 1892, page 4d,
    of William K. Simms on
    27 December 1897, page 3b.
    1 January 1898, page 16c,
    15 January 1898, page 32e; also see
    14 April 1900, page 16b,
    19 May 1900, page 28a,
    of Alfred Simms on
    8 June 1901, page 22e,
    of R.A. Stock on
    12 March 1904, page 24e,
    of Charles Mallen on
    30 October 1909, page 41a,
    of W.R. Sawers on
    28 October 1911, page 41b,
    of William Peek on
    20 September 1913, page 39a,
    of W.H. Beaglehole on
    9 June 1917, page 20e.

    "The Beer Duty Bill" is in the Observer,
    8 September 1894, page 24e.

    An obituary of T.L. Ware is in the Register,
    23 and 25 December 1896, pages 6f and 7b,
    26 December 1896, page 30a,
    of W.H. Knapman on 28 July 1900, page 22c.

    "The Adelaide Brewery [Syme and Sison]" is in the Register,
    17 October 1896, page 5e.
    "A New Temperance Drink" is in the Register,
    9, 11 and 15 September 1897, pages 5b, 5c and 5a,
    6 November 1897, page 5c.

    Information on the Norseman Brewing Company is in the Register,
    1 December 1897, page 7e,
    on Jacka Brothers Ltd on
    13 January 1898, page 5b.

    "Enterprising Brewers - An Amalgamation [Clark & Ware]" is in the Advertiser,
    9 April 1898, page 6c,
    16 April 1898, page 46a.

    "Another Heat Wave" is in the Register,
    19 February 1898, page 5c.

    The gift of "Christmas beer" by certain breweries to charitable and other institutions is reported in the Register,
    15 December 1899, page 7d,
    21 December 1901, page 30a.
    "Christmas Beer v Cheer" is in the Register,
    24 December 1906, page 7f.

    "The Beer Strike" is in the Register,
    19 March 1902, page 4d.

    An obituary of Mrs M.J. Syme is in the Observer,
    25 July 1903, page 24e,
    of Charles Mallen in the Register,
    An obituary of Robert Hyman, "the founder of the Walkerville Brewery" is in the Register,
    21 December 1903, page 4i.

    An article on "Konig Lager Bier" is in The Critic,
    12 December 1906, page 34.

    "Making Beer - Four of SA Brewing Company's Premises" is in the Register,
    6 October 1911, page 9b.

    "Adelaide Without Beer - Breweries Close Down" is in the Advertiser,
    17 February 1912, page 19f.

    An obituary of W.H. Beaglehole is in the Register,
    2 June 1917, page 8g.

    Biographical details of F.A. Chapman are in the Observer,
    29 March 1924, page 16c,
    19 September 1925, (obit.) and
    the reminiscences of John Warren in the Observer,
    21 June 1924, page 46a.

    "Nathan Plant to be Installed" is in the Register,
    31 March 1926, page 10e.
    "A Local Lager - Walkerville Brewery Co's New Plant" is in the Observer,
    4 February 1928, page 40c,
    "West End Beers" on
    11 February 1928, page 59b.
    Also see Adelaide - Factories and Mills.

    Historical information on the brewer, W.K. Simms, is in the Register,
    21 July 1927, page 10c.
    A pen sketch is in The Lantern,
    4 March 1876, page 8.
    Also see Chronicle
    27 October 1909, page 6i,
    30 October 1909, page 45a.

    An obituary of Charles Mallen is in the Chronicle,
    30 October 1909, page 45a.

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