A Business in Engineering

In the blog titled Passenger List, mention was made that some of the passengers on the “Lady Douglas”  could either be friends or relatives of the Caddy’s.  We know from James Ryan Caddy’s obituary, that when he arrived in Western Australia from Nottingham in England, he went into partnership with the late “Mr Tomlinson, the founder of the present firm of Tomlinson Bros.”

Who was Tomlinson Bros?

Using Trove, the National Library of Australia’s website for digitising newspapers and Google search engine, it was soon discovered that Tomlinson Bros were of the Phoenix Foundry an engineering firm in Bazaar Terrace, Perth. Bazaar Terrace shows up on Google Maps as being in Scarborough. The Australian Dictionary of Biography has a listing for an  Ernest William Tomlinson (1871-1947).

The biography reads that Ernest, the son of Edwin Tomlinson (d: 1902), arrived on the “Lady Douglas” in 1884 and was born in 1871 at Old Radford, Nottingham. On checking back to the Passenger List we see the family of Edwin Tomlinson with his wife and 8 children on the same ship as James Caddy and family! Bingo!

The Tomlinson’s were not only from the same parish and county in England as the Caddy’s, they were also in the same line of business, Engineers, Iron & Brass Founders, Black Smiths, Boilermakers. Hence the partnership between the two possible friends.

The Tomlinson Bros. set up their business in Bazaar Terrace, and later William Street, Perth. It was said in the newspapers that they were the first to cast a bell in the Colony of Western Australia. This bell was cast for the Highgate Hill (Anglican) Mission church in March 1889. However a few days later an article contradicted this statement, saying that a bell had been cast some 20 years previously in Fremantle.

During this same month, there were advertisements from Tomlinson Bros., wanting an Engine Fitter. Is this when James Ryan Caddy went to Northam? We do know that Constance Annie Caddy was born in Northam on the 1 March 1889.  If James worked in Perth for 4 years, (as per his wife, Constance Annie Carson’s obituary) before he went to Northam, he may very well have been involved with some of the following works by Tomlinson Bros. Phoenix foundry.

– A bell weighing 210lbs for St Matthew’s Church. Guildford.

“This morning Messrs. Tomlinson Bros, completed, at their foundry, in Bazaar Terrace, the bell presented to St. Matthew’s Church, Guildford, by Mr. W. Padbury. As previously pointed out, this bell is of first-class workmanship, and equal in finish to any we have seen imported from abroad the tone being similar to that of Wesley Church, Perth. The exterior of the bell contains the following inscription: ‘Presented to the Church of England, by W. Padbury, Esq., Perth, W.A., July, 1889.’

Source: The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 – 1901), Wednesday 31 July 1889, page 6″

– A bell at St Bartholmew’s chapel in the Anglican portion of the Perth cemetery

“The ceremony of dedicating the new bell which has been placed in position at St Bartholomew’s chapel, in the Anglican portion of the Perth cemetery was performed yesterday afternoon by the Right Rev. Bishop Parry, who was assisted by the Very Rev. Dean Goldsmith and the Rev. E. A. Wood. The choir of St George’s Cathedral rendered the musical portions of the office in the most artistic manner, and the interesting ceremony was witnessed by a large number of persons. The bell, which cost about £13, and was cast by Messrs. Tomlinson & Bros., of this city, is of excellent tone and gives every satisfaction.

Source: The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 – 1901), Friday 1 November 1889, page 5

– Machinery used for working the revolving light at Rottnest.

“YESTERDAY afternoon, His Excellency the Governor, accompanied by the Hon. J. A. Wright, visited the establishment of Messrs. Tomlinson Bros., engineers. The apparatus manufactured by the firm to replace the present machinery in use at Rottnest for working the revolving light was exhibited to His Excellency, who commented in very favourable terms upon it. His Excellency was then shown all over the premises, and appeared greatly interested in the working of the various machines, and in many specimens of the firm’s work which were exhibited. Yesterday was one of the days for casting, and before the Governor had concluded his visit, a large number of articles of various descriptions were cast, under the superintendence of Messrs. Tomlinson. His Excellency expressed himself well pleased with the result of his visit and when departing wished the firm every success in their enterprise.

Source: The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954), Saturday 12 May 1888, page 3

A gold crushing machine

“Last Wednesday Messrs. TomlinsonBros., the well-known brass, founders, completed, with the exception of a few trifling additions, the manufacture of a goldcrushing machine. This being the first of the kind manufactured in the colony we purpose furnishing a full description of it at an early date.”

Source: The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 – 1901), Friday 14 September 1888, page 5

The Phoenix Air Compressed Gold Quartz Stamper

“Last Saturday morning a party of gentlemen, including several representatives of the press, were present at a trial of a prospectors, set of stamps at Messrs. Tomlinson Brothers, Phoenix Foundry, Perth. The mill consists of two heads in an iron box, and can be worked either by hand, horse, or steam power. Each of the heads has a stroke of 1 1/2 cwt., but by an ingenious arrangement of a couple of compressed air cylinders at the top of the machine, the weight of the blow is doubled, thus giving each stamp a 3 cwt. blow. The mill works at 50 revolutions or blows per minute, and the manufacturers claim that at least a ton of stone could be crushed per day, the actual weight of the daily crushing de-pending, of course, on the character of the quartz. All the requisite fittings, such as the ripple-box, evaporating box, crucible retort etc; accompany the machine, and the style of workmanship as well as the ingenuity of the invention, reflect considerable credit upon Messrs. Tomlinson Bros., who are both the inventors and manufacturers of the stamp. They have named it the “Phoenix Air-Compressed Gold Quartz Stamper,” and manufactured it as an experiment, in the hope that an exhibition of its working would demonstrate its adaptability for testing the prospecting claims held by the various companies at the Yilgarn Goldfields. After the party had inspected the mill, Mr. Crossland, who was present, put in a piece of quartz from the Water Hall claim, and crushing commenced. The stone weighed  4lbs, and before it was put in the mill, only a solitary particle of gold was visible. After a few minutes, the stone was thoroughly pulverised, and ran through into a dish. Mr Crossland having thoroughly washed it, it was found that the crushing had yielded at  the rate of about five ounces to the ton, a highly satisfactory result, indeed. Mr. Crossland we understand, intends to have a ton of the stone crushed by Messrs. Tomlinson Brothers, and the result of the crushing, both on account of the reputed richness of the Waterhall claim, and of the opportunity which it will afford of thoroughly proving the value of the Phoenix stamper, will be awaited with considerable interest. The mill has been inspected during the past few days, and we may add that the enterprising proprietors of the foundry are perfectly willing to show it to anyone who desires to see it.

Source: Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), Saturday 29 September 1888, page 12

Recent History:  RCR Tomlinson Ltd was established as a result of the merger of listed companies RCR Engineering Ltd and Centurion Industries Ltd in December 1996. Centurion Industries Ltd was incorporated in WA in 1985 to acquire the business, assets and property of Clyde Industries Limited’s Welshpool site.  This business traded under the name Tomlinson, the origins of which date back to 1896 – the year Ernest Tomlinson and his brother, Edward, established the engineering firm Tomlinson Bros. Tomlinson is one of the oldest engineering companies in Australia, and boilers manufactured under this name continue to be held in extremely high regard throughout the country.


About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
This entry was posted in Blog, Caddy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Business in Engineering

  1. Judi Bailey says:

    Hi there I’m not sure if my information may be helpful to you but my father worked with and was friends with Ernie Tomlinson who founded Tomlinson Steel in Welshpool W.A.

  2. Pingback: James Ryan Caddy: 1859 | jenealogyscrapbook

  3. Pingback: James Ryan: 1859 | Caddy Scrapbook

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