Archive, engineering and manufacturing, Buzacott group of companies (including W.S. Buzacott & Co, Buzacott & Co, Henry Lane (Australia) Ltd, Rosebery Lanolines Pty Ltd, Rosebery Engine Works Ltd, Buzacotts (Queensland) Ltd, Buzacott-Wolseley Ltd, Email Ltd) with personal papers of A E Buzacott and E W Buzacott, Sydney, New South Wales, 1898-1977
The origins of the Buzacott group of companies can be traced back to 1849 to the founder, Mr A B Armstrong. He began an engineering merchant business, which later became Buzacott & Co Ltd, from premises at 9 Market Street Sydney. In 1858 he expanded the scope of his businees by purchasing a ship chandler business from Mr John Carr.
In 1862 Sarah Armstrong, daughter of A.B. Armstrong, married Walter Sewell Buzacott. By 1864 the businesses of A.B. Armstrong had grown to such an extent that he could no longer cope on his own, and so he appointed his new son-in-law a partner in the business, which had expanded to the junction of Market, Sussex and Wharf Streets, Sydney.
In 1872 A.B. Armstrong died and his eldest son Thomas Armstrong took his place. The business then traded as Buzacott & Armstrong. In 1877 Thomas Armstrong retired due to ill health and left the running of the business to Walter Buzacott.
Buzacott fathered two sons, Ernest Walter and Walter Verney Buzacott. In 1889 E.W.Buzacott took over the running of the firm from his father (who died in 1916). The following year the name of the company was changed to Buzacott & Company. It became a limited liability company in 1902 with E.W. Buzacott as Chairman of Directors and W.V. Buzacott a director.
At the turn of the century the company became involved in engine manufacturing following the introduction of the marine oil engine into Australia. W.V. Buzacott, who was trained as an electrical engineer, went to the U.S. to gather information from Hercules Engine Works and obtain the Australian Agency for the company. He brought back three oil engines in 1900 and then began the manufacture of engines.
The company grew to become a very well known and respected manufacturer and supplier of engines and agricultural equipment such as fences, gates, pumps, wool presses, elevators, corn crushers and chaff cutters. One well known product which the company manufactured, and possessed the Trademark and registration for, and is still sold today, is "Cyclone" fencing.
In 1920 two affiliated companies to Buzacott & Co Ltd were formed. Rosebery Lanolines Pty Ltd produced wool grease and marketed a product called "Lan-O-Leen". This company continued to trade until 1932, when it went into voluntary liquidation. The other company, Buzacotts (Queensland) Ltd, acted as machinery merchants and manufacturers. This company was established as a branch of Buzacott & Co at Adelaide Street Brisbane in 1911 to allow greater concentration on the developing business in the north. It was at about this time the company realised the great potential in manufacturing and supplying agricultural equipment and extended into this area.
Because of the group's growth in operations, new premises for manufacturing were built at Dunning Ave Rosebery, Sydney. By 1940 Buzacott (Queensland) had branches in Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Brisbane. E.W and W.V Buzacott remained directors until 1948 and 1949 respectively. In 1957 Buzacott (Queensland) was bought out and ceased to trade.
By the 1920s, Alan E. Buzacott, born in 1899 and son of E.W. Buzacott, began making his mark on the Buzacott companies. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Sydney University in 1922 and, although not a director of Buzacott & Co, he was actively engaged in an executive capacity where Buzacott engines were made. He became a director of Henry Lane (Australia) Ltd in 1929, but he was most involved with an associated company, Rosebery Engine Works Ltd. This company started out as the engine and pump manufacturing division of Buzacott & Company Ltd and in 1923 became an incorporated company. A.E. Buzacott was engaged as Chief Engineer.
The company became involved in the manufacture of commercial refrigerators in 1932, when it purchased the refrigeration activity of Wormald Bros Ltd, which manufactured "Austral" commercial refrigerators. By 1933 the company began to think about manufacturing domestic refrigerators. The company considered that an association with an established American firm would be the best approach as it could benefit from the results of research and development.
Early in 1933 while in the US, Mr F.G. Carr, director of Rosebery Engine Works, was requested to attempt to make an agreement with either the Westinghouse or Norge company. These two companies showed considerable interest in expanding to Australia and A.E. Buzacott was sent to the U.S. to assess whether their refrigerators could be manufactured successfully in Australia.
Buzacott decided to go with the Westinghouse company because of its advanced design, although he noted that it was more difficult to manufacture. Production of refrigerators identical to Westinghouse's began in January 1934 using locally made cabinets and imported units.
In 1935 Westinghouse, being impressed with Rosebery Engine Works, signed a new agreement giving it the right to manufacture and sell nearly all products of the Westinghouse company. The name of the company was changed to Westinghouse Rosebery Ltd and then to Westinghouse Sales and Rosebery Ltd.
In 1940 the company ran into financial and management problems and was taken over by the EMAIL group of companies. The amalgamation was to concentrate the resources of the combined organisation on the complete local production of sealed unit refrigerators. A.E. Buzacott continued to be employed by EMAIL until the time of his retirement.
Administrative History prepared by Peter Arfanis, 1992