POTTERING ABOUT DOWN UNDER
Bundock is a name in Leigh which everyone associates with boat building but one of the Bundock family was instrumental in producing an Australian family industry which continued for 125 years.
In 1876 Charlotte Jane Bundock of Leigh married William Mashman of Lambeth at St Clements. The Mashmans of Lambeth were a large family all associated with the Lambeth Doulton potteries.
Charlotte and William had 2 children in Leigh, Henry in 1878 and Frederick in 1879. Sadly Charlotte died when Frederick was 10 months old and in 1882 father William and his brother Henry emigrated to Sydney leaving the two boys in the care of their Bundock grandparents.
The Mashman family holds a somewhat unique position in Australia's ceramic history. Four generations plied there trade of pottery in Australia, but the story starts with James Mashman, an English potter, apprenticed for 10 years to the Doulton pottery in Lambeth around 1837, at the age of thirteen.
James’ sons, William, Henry and John were all apprenticed to Doultons, but William left and came to work at the Victoria Pottery in Leigh. After Charlotte’s death and hearing of the opportunities in Australia he persuaded his brother Henry to emigrate with him leaving John behind to look after their mother and the rest of the family.
William and Henry arrived in Sydney on 10 July 1883 and gained employment in Maitland at the 'fieldsend pottery' where they investigated the prospects of starting their own pottery business. The northern districts of Sydney had exce1lent deposits of good clay and the area seemed set for a building boom .
The brothers formed a partnership with James Sanderson as Mashman and Sanderson "Victoria Pottery" in July 1885 in North Willoughby (now known as Chatswood). Two other brothers had arrived from England by this time. Charles and George and commenced work in the new business. However George left to become a minister.
They produced a range of salt glazed items including; Ginger Beer bottles. Bread Pans, Squat Jars, Water filters, etc. The business grew and the brother’s sent for their other brother, John, and. their mother Harriet and William's two sons Henry William and Frederick Albert to join them. The business grew rapidly and in 1890 a steam driven pipe machine, capable of producing a pipe completely in one operation, was installed.
In 1890 the company name changed to Mashman Brothers 'Victoria Pottery" with the brothers having an equal share. The demand for drain and agricultural pipes increased and the firm concentrated mainly on the manufacture of these.
William's second son Frederick Albert left the family business to start up his own operation in 1908 under the name of 'Fred A.. Mashman Pty. Ltd. St. George Pottery, at what is now Mashman Avenue. Kingsgrove. Here he manufactured terra cotta chimney pots, flower pots, air bricks, ridge tiles, roof tiles and finials.
In 1926 the Directors realised that the works were becoming old fashioned and a program was initiated to bring them up to date. A second hand brick press was purchased capable of producing 6,000 bricks in an 8 hour shift.
Frederick A. Mashman set up the Sutherland Pottery and Pipe Works in 1927 using American pipe making machinery. Fred's three sons joined him in the operation and in 1932 Mashmans commenced production of 'Bristol Gloss Ware' and 'Regal Art Ware', using white clay from the Gulgung region. In 1935 mass production techniques were purchased and by 1940 they employed around 70 men at Chatswood and another 35 at Auburn.
In a wonderful 'back to its roots' way the Royal Doulton Company of England formed a merger with Mashman Brothers in 1957 as Doulton Mashman Pottery Ltd. and by 1959 had completely taken over the works, forming Doulton Sanitary Potteries Pty Ltd. Mashman Brothers relocated to the Auburn Works during this period.
By the early eighties all of the Mashman Brothers operations had closed leaving the Kingsgrove pottery as the last remaining Mashman activity. Tim and his son Michael introduced new technologies and new lines maintaining an excellent product and market position and in 1993, Michael, a fourth generation Mashman took over the running of the Kingsgrove pottery until its eventual closure in 2010.
This article and pictures are printed from information supplied by Michael Mashman to whom many thanks.
Mashman works at Chatswood