Clyde Agricultural Equipment
Clyde Engineering display at Royal Australian Showground at Moore Park, c1900
The origins of this collection can be dated back to 1855 when William Henry Hudson set up the firm of Hudson Brothers in a small shop in Botany Street, Redfern in Sydney. Initially the company specialised in woodworking and its first major contracts included aiding in the construction of the Great Hall at Sydney University and the Sydney Garden Palace in 1879. However in 1876 Hudson Brothers won a lucrative contract to build rolling stock for the New South Wales Government and as a result the business began to move towards metal rather than woodwork.
The business was a success and expanded to such a degree that a new workshop was needed to accommodate the staff and equipment. As a result Hudson Brothers moved onto two hundred acres of land at Granville in the Western suburbs of Sydney in 1881. It was after this move that Hudson Brothers began to diversify and started making agricultural equipment such as harrows and windmills. In 1884 they made their first windmill which continued to be produced through to at least the early 1900s under the new name of Clyde Engineering.
Unfortunately the recession of the 1890s hit Hudson Brothers hard, forcing it into receivership. The Clyde Engineering Company was reconstituted from the collapse of Hudson Brothers and its fortunes were soon linked with the Commonwealth and State governments which contracted Clyde Engineering to make carriages for the expanding rail network.
At the same time agricultural goods continued to be produced at the Clyde Works. In 1909 Tom Irons (one of Clyde's directors) was quoted in the Cumberland Argus as saying that "he said he doubted whether any firm in America or Europe undertook work of such diversity as Clyde did. They manufactured all classes of engines, from locomotives to windmills, from triple expansion marine engines to horse gears, from high class milling machines to ploughshares, a Pullman car to a wheelbarrow, the highest class of cabinet work to every grade of agricultural machines"
Clyde did substantial business in ploughshares and by the early 1900s they were producing a range of ploughs which included the Clyde CW, two-, three- and four-furrow plough. They were also making 17 and 22 spring tine cultivators marketed under the name of the Granville. They also produced a huge range of other agricultural equipment including: the Noakes patent combined plough and seeder, the Rex chaff cutter, wheat graders, feed grinders, farm water carts, land rollers, strippers and harvesters (both of Australian invention), horse drawn and traction wagons, and even a rabbit poisoning machine.
The scale of the production of agricultural material at the Clyde works can be seen in this image. Here the railway wagons are loaded with ploughs ready for delivery to Wagga in New South Wales.
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, December 2007
Buckland, J., 'Notes on Railway Photography', in The model engineer in Australia and New Zealand, May 1937
Nowra District Historical Society,
http://members.westnet.com.au/caladenia/ManuC~E.html, cited September 2007
Murray, J., Phoenix to the World; the Story of Clyde Industries and Sir Raymond Purves, CBE, Playright Publishing Pty Ltd., 1992
Wharton, J., (ed), 'The Clyde Works Granville' cited in The Jubilee History of Parramatta, T.D. Little and R.S. Richardson, Parramatta, New South Wales, 1911
The Land, 1904?
The Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Visit to Clyde Works of the delegates of Chambers of Commerce of the British Empire, 21 September 1909, Cumberland Argus Printing Works, 1909?
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