WENTY years have elapsed since the Booklet “ Twenty years of Wunderlich Industry " appeared, primarily as a souvenir of the great meeting of Architects and Builders, held on the 12th October, 1908, on the occasion of the opening of our new Administrative Building at Redfern. To-day we publish a similar record, extending over a period of a further twenty years.

This book arises out of a desire on the part of the brothers Wunderlich to set down concisely the results of their life work, and to dedicate it to their friends and patrons through whose support the firm of Wunderlich Limited has prospered. It is not intended to be an advertisement, in the ordinary sense, but rather a record of achievement, as showing what can be done in Australia.

After forty years of close association with the building trade of Australia and New Zealand, we are able to judge of the great strides made since Ernest Wunderlich landed in Australia in 1885. The difference between the Sydney of forty years ago and the Sydney of to-day can only be adequately realised by those who have lived through the period. Similar expansion may also be observed in other Australian cities.

Many of our early patrons have passed away. But our personal friendships with those of the older generation of Architects and Builders still living are as firm and cordial as ever. To those still among us, we would like to express a deep sense of gratitude for their generous support during our early struggles. In those days, an Architect had to possess courage and strength of character to convince his client and persuade him to adopt something better but more expensive than that which was in general use. Our thanks are also due to the younger generation of Architects, with whom, to our regret, owing to the increased work in the conduct of the business, the Directors are unable to come into personal touch as often as they would like.

It was ever our aim to justify the confidence placed in us by the Architectural profession, and that aim is still the corner stone of the Company's policy. Our motto is ** Quality and Service," in pursuance of which we may claim to have set the standard for the various types of products manufactured, and to have been the first to anticipate the architect's requirements with regard to the modern building materials we have introduced.

Efficiency in every department of our business is the keynote of our success, and explains why our standard products are available at bedrock rates, notwithstanding their high quality. Our staff of craftsmen and technical experts is of a superior order, and highly paid, and we make provision for them in their old age ; virtually, they are partners in the business. With a sound organisation, ample capital and the co-operation of our employees, we are equipped to render the highest service, and are satisfied if we succeed in giving a fair return to our shareholders.

We claim to be idealists in business. We recognise that there is more in commerce than mere money-getting. Commerce, in our opinion, is, in fact, civilisation itself. To soften working conditions, to mitigate the conflict between capital and labour, requires the exercise of principles that are exceptional and, we believe, are justified. We are content to be judged by our works.

Redfern, June, 1927.

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Frontispiece .... Founders of the Wunderlich Industries

Foreword . . .......


Forty Years of Wunderlich Industry .....


Wunderlich Industries and Achievements.

Art Metal Ceilings .......

. 25

The Ceiling of Metal ......

. 26

Manufacturing Processes ......

. 28

Some Works Completed ......


Architectural Metal Work ......


Architectural Metal Work ......

. 52

Manufacturing Processes ......


Some Works Completed ......


Shopfronts and Showcases ......

. 81

The Metal-Framed Shopfront . . . . .

. 82

Manufacturing Processes ......

. 84

Some Works Completed ......

. 86

Durabestos (Asbestos-Cement) Building Sheets . .


Durabestos Building Sheets . . . . .


Manufacturing Processes ......


Some Applications of Durabestos . . . .

. 103

Terra Cotta Roofing Tiles ......

. 107

Terra Cotta Roofing Tiles. . . . . .

. 109

Manufacturing Processes ......

. hi

Examples of Tiled Roofs ......

. 118

Architectural Terra Cotta ......

. 123

Architectural Terra Cotta ......

. 124

Manufacturing Processes ......

. 127

Terra Cotta Treatments ......


The Organisation To-Day. The Managing Directors .....













194 196 198

Head Office .......

Sydney Branch ......

Melbourne Branch ......

Adelaide Branch ......

Perth Branch    ......

Brisbane Branch ......

Hobart Branch ......

Publicity .......

Welfare Measures ......

Profit Sharing with Employees    .    .    .

Profits Made and Distributed ....

Balance Sheets ......

The Wunderlich Roll of Honour    .    .    .

HE history of the Wunderlich industries reads like a fairy tale. The founder, Ernest Wunderlich, arrived in Australia in 1885, to start business as agent for European manufacturers. Most of the agencies he came out with were not considered worth troubling about. He concentrated upon reckoned to prove remunerative, but did not concern himself about one for Zinc Roofing, the catalogue referring thereto being discarded as not likely to secure business. But chance made this very agency, from which nothing useful was expected, the corner stone of the future undertaking.


A couple of years later, during which Ernest Wunderlich had been doing business in his various lines, a friend — a master builder — was at his house. After dinner a visit was paid to the nursery, where, scattered on the floor, some architectural pictures from a torn and tattered catalogue attracted the friend's attention. Gathering them up, and hitting upon an illustration of a stamped Zinc Mansard Window, he exclaimed : u Why this is the very thing I have been looking for and cannot get in Australia. I could use them on some houses I am building at Rushcutters' Bay.” He placed an order for their supply, and further orders soon followed from other builders and architects.

That was the birth of the Wunderlich business as now known. It was a queer working of fate. Zinc ornamental roofings for several large buildings — the Colonial Secretary's Office, the City Bank, the City Mutual Assurance and others — were imported into Australia from abroad. In 1887 Alfred Wunderlich, who had represented his brother in London, came out to Sydney.


In 1888 the Sydney Town Hall (then called Centennial Hall) was nearing completion, and the great hall was to have what at that time was perhaps the largest organ in the world. The plans showed a highly ornate

Ornamental Zinc Roofing to t he Colonial Secretary’s Office (now Public Works Dept.), Sydney ; erected 40 years ago, and still well-preserved.

plaster ceiling, with supporting consoles, domes and heavy projecting cornices, all of plaster. As a musician, it occurred to Ernest Wunderlich that when the lower pipes of the organ, with their powerful vibrations of 32 per second, began to sound, there would be every likelihood of their bringing down the plaster on the heads of the audience. Following up the idea “ how to make that ceiling safe," he said to himself : Why not make it of sheet metal ? ” He argued, “ If stamped zinc has been found suitable for roof decoration, why not so for ceilings ? ” He confided his scheme to the City Organist, the late Neville Barnett, who was quite enthusiastic about it. Misgivings as to metal interfering with acoustics were removed, after consultation with architects and practical builders. Leaving nothing to chance, he took out letters patent for stamped zinc as applied to ceilings. The next move was to obtain the support of the joint architects, the late City Architect (George McRae) and the late J. F. Hennessy, which was readily given. Ernest Wunderlich then put his case to the Mayor of Sydney, the late John Harris, as forcibly as possible, following this visit up with a personal canvass of each alderman of the Sydney Municipal Council. In due course the matter came before the Council, Ernest Wunderlich in attendance, and it was an exciting moment for him when the resolution to substitute stamped zinc for plaster was carried.

The material for this vast ceiling was mostly imported, but assembled here in a workshop at Kent Street, under the supervision of the foreman sent out by the home factory. After thirty-nine years this ceiling, covering a surface of 2,500 square yards, is still in position, intact, and without the slightest sign of wear and tear — as good as when erected.

Numerous ceiling contracts followed. To mention only a few Beale's and Paling's Piano Showrooms, Adams’ Cafe, the more important

Perfect to-day ! The Zinc Ceiling to Adam’s Hotel Bar,

George Street, Sydney ; 39 years in position.

ceilings of the Hotel Australia, Aaron's Exchange Hotel Dining Room ; also others in Melbourne. All these ceilings, except where the buildings have been altered, are perfect at this day.


The greatest difficulty was the want of skilled tradesmen to carry out the fixing. Ernest Wunderlich therefore left for Europe and brought out a batch of superior metal workers, with a view to instructing our Australian journeymen and starting the manufacture of stamped metal in Australia. A site at Baptist Street, Redfern, was acquired, and there the first small factory of wood and iron was built and the first baby stamper installed. The motive power was supplied by a small second-hand portable engine.


Meanwhile the prejudice against Metal Ceilings was being overcome by sheer quality of work and reliable execution of Architects' plans. “ Wunderlich Ceilings " began to figure freely in architects' specifications.

Applied in 1890. Zinc Roofing to fourteen domes of Sydney Hospital, as well as Wunderlich Ceilings throughout.

Among some of the larger buildings in which they were fixed throughout may be mentioned the Mutual Life of New York, Martin Place, and the Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street (the fourteen domes of this block of buildings were of zinc also).


The first set-back was experienced over this Hospital contract. The ceilings and domes were all but completed when the contractor failed in his payments, and this meant practically wiping the brothers' modest capital off the slate. Such a misfortune might have wrecked any similar organisation. With characteristic energy the brothers set to work to retrieve the position. Fortunately, they had a staunch friend in the person of the late George Turnbull, Manager of the National Bank of Australasia Ltd. He had sufficient confidence to promise he would see the young concern through, and he did, for which kind act he will ever be held in grateful remembrance. The sequel has shown that his confidence was not misplaced — the young beginners he helped have meant good business for the Bank over a period of nearly forty years.


In 1890 the firm's operations had expanded to all the Australian States and New Zealand. To cope with the business offering in Victoria, a branch in Melbourne appeared essential, but as this required a greater capital than the brothers could muster, arrangements were made with W. H. Rocke & Co. Ltd., in Melbourne, to run the metal department as a separate section of their business, Ernest being engaged as Manager. He spent three years in Melbourne, establishing a factory in Leicester Street, Carlton, his efforts resulting in Metal Rcofs and Ceilings being used for many public and private buildings in Victoria.


In 1893 — fateful year of financial crisis and disaster in the Colonies — Ernest relinquished his post at Rocke’s and re-joined his brother in Sydney, where his major interests lay. The business was formed into a limited liability company, with a capital of £10,000, under the name of the Wunderlich Patent Ceiling and Roofing Company Limited. By this time the business had become firmly established ; nothing was too big or too difficult to undertake, and architects knew that however intricate their

The Wunderlich Display at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, held in Sydney in 1892.

An early view (probably about 1895) of the Sheet Metal Working Department at Redfern.

designs, they would be carried out properly. Only good work was attempted. “ Indifferent work is never Wunderlich’s " was a slogan that appeared again and again in the literature pertaining to Wunderlich products. The name became a synonym for high-class work, and that reputation has endured. It pervades the whole of the Wunderlich organisation, whose metal workers, trained as they are to the highest standard, could not produce inferior work even if they were asked to do so.


It was during this period that a substitute was found for the more expensive metal—zinc. The great firm of Lysaghts, in Bristol, England, supplied thin sheet steel of a highly malleable character at a much lower price than zinc. Steel thus began to be used for ceilings on a still larger scale on account of its lower cost, and every year several thousands of tons were stamped into ceiling material.


It was only to be expected that the great success of metal ceilings would bring into existence numerous imitators, keen to profit by the demand that had been created. But all had more or less brief careers, and the pages of Wunderlich history are replete with the names of rivals who have “ given up ” or been absorbed by the original concern.


In 1896 the Palace Theatre was built. The treatment of the auditorium was of Wunderlich stamped metal, and manufactured in its entirety in the Redfern works. The decorations were of Mcorish-Indian style, comprising groined arches, domes, columns, pendentives, gallery fronts, boxes, minarets, proscenium, etc. The designs were by the scenic artist Mr. Phil Goatcher, who also carried out the colouring and gilding. Unfortunately, this jewel box of a theatre was too small to pay, so it was enlarged and entirely reconstructed a few years ago — an artistic loss to the City of Sydney. The same artist also designed and decorated the metal enrichments, in Moorish style, for Singer's Showrooms, Queen Victoria Market Buildings. Never having been touched for thirty years, they nevertheless look as if they had been applied yesterday.


The brothers' reefing tile business also originated by a happy chance. In 1892 the first cargo of tiles from Marseilles was consigned to a Sydney firm, who was unable or unwilling to undertake the financing thereof. A deadlock ensued, and the Belgian Consul in Sydney (Mr. Alfred van Rompaey) received cabled instructions to intervene. Being a friend of the Wunderlichs, and knowing them to be in the building trade, he placed the sale of this cargo in their hands. Account sales and remittance followed in due course, which, being satisfactory to the shippers, opened up relations with the Tile Manufacturers in Marseilles, and led to regular shipments and an extensive turnover of the French product in Australia. Up to 1914, when vessels were no longer obtainable, no full cargoes were discharged at the Firm's Wharf, Neutral Bay, representing 75 million tiles, sufficient for the roofs of 40 thousand houses of average size. What the introduction of terra cotta roofing tiles meant to the appearance of Sydney is known to these who recollect the drab and grey aspect of Sydney when entering Port Jackson. Wunderlich's have literally “ painted the town red." The suburbs have now assumed a rich red hue that harmonises with the dark green of the eucalyptus. To the Wunderlich brothers belongs the credit of this transformation. Indeed, this striking innovation showed Australians how to make their homes bright and colourful outside ; the Wunderlichs had already shown how to make them refined and artistic within.


In 1900 the third brother appears on the scene. Dr. Otto Wunderlich, having, in the course of travel, journeyed half way to Australia, thought he might as well come the rest of the distance and visit his brothers there. What he saw impressed him so much that he expressed a desire to join.

Up to the outbreak of War, sailing ships from Marseilles had landed at the Wunderlich Wharves about 75 millions of Tiles — sufficient for the roofs of forty thousand homes.

His scientific turn of mind enabled him to visualise the vast possibilities the future might hold for the young firm. His offer was accepted, and he threw in his lot with the brothers. To return to England, sell his practice in London, and come out again to Sydney was a matter of a few months. His contribution of capital ensured him Directorship, and with enthusiasm he at once entered into questions cf organisation and administration. His trained mind concentrated on one problem after another. He established an improved costing system ; he standardised manufacture ; introduced improved methods of selling, and deputed many responsibilities that had hitherto devolved on the principals. His efforts resulted in exact prime costing, greater economy in manufacture, a reorganised selling scheme and, above all, relief to the principals, without impairing the successful conduct of the business ; on the contrary, making it more thorough than it was before. The principles established by Dr.

Workshop additions in 1904 evidence the expansion that was taking place in the Wunderlich Industries.

Wunderlich have been the basis on which all the subsequent expansion has been made possible.


1901 saw the States of Australia federated into the Australian Commonwealth — an event that gave a great impetus to trade.


In 1904 the Company's capital was increased to £25,000. In that year a branch was opened in Melbourne. Export trade to Java, India, etc., took an upward turn in consequence of a visit of Dr. Wunderlich to those parts. Now that the production of steel ceilings exceeded all bounds, attention was given to the question of a distinctive style and a greater range of the Company's designs. The work was entrusted to Mr. S. V. Rowe (now art instructor at East Sydney Technical College), who had just arrived in Australia, fresh from the South Kensington School. His art has been a potent factor in maintaining that supremacy of design for which the Wunderlich productions have acquired a name both in Australia and abroad.


The next years witnessed intense rivalry between Rocke's and Wunderlich’s, and in 1908, to put an end to disastrous price-cutting, their interests were pooled, and an amalgamation effected. Wunderlich Limited was thus formed, with a nominal capital of £200,000, paid up to £144,500. Rocke's Directors made it a condition that the Wunderlich Brothers should consent to become Directors for life, and this was embodied in the articles of association. A local board for Melbourne, subject to control of the full board, consisted of the Hon. W. L. Baillieu, the Hon. Theodore Fink, and the late Mr. W. Densham.

Thus, after twenty years of spade work, the business became the public company and took the form as it is known to-day.


In that year the new block of administrative offices, erected at Redfern, was officially opened in the presence of a large gathering of architects and builders, and gentlemen representative of the commercial and political life of New South Wales and Victoria. Factories were opened in Wellington, N.Z., and Perth, W.A. The Brisbane Branch was inaugurated in 1909 and Adelaide in 1910. Hobart and Launceston Branches soon followed. Embosteel Limited, a competitor in Sydney, was absorbed in 1913, Mr. H. P. Wormald taking, for a time, a seat on the Wunderlich Board. In the same year the nominal capital was increased to £300,000, with £222,591 paid up.

A new activity was launched when, in June, 1914, the Company acquired the shopfront and show case business conducted in Sydney by John Hughes Ltd. The move proving successful, departments along similar lines were soon established in the various Branches, where they now rank as important adjuncts.


This year, a scheme of profit-sharing was inaugurated, whereby employees of marked ability or long service are awarded shares in the Company, the amounts being regulated by the success of the year's operations. As will be seen from reference to a later chapter devoted to the subject, the scheme has operated with marked success, bringing tangible benefits to the participants and drawing closer their relations with the management, to the betterment of that spirit of harmony which makes for happiness and prosperity in any enterprise.


On the heels of these events came the war, causing momentous changes in the fortunes of the concern. The first thing that happened was the stoppage of steel supplies — the next, that tile shipments from France came to an end. The two main arteries of the business were severed. How to carry on and provide dividends to shareholders was a problem that confronted the Directors. No time was lost in building a tile factory on the Company's clay land at Rosehill. By 1916 the factory was in full swing, producing at the rate of three million tiles per annum. The establishment of similar factories in the other States quickly followed. In the matter of ceilings, things were not so easy. It was the potency of the name that stood the Company in good stead in those trying times.

In the experimental shed, the first Wunderlich Tiles of Rosehill clay were manufactured.

Clients permitted contracts to be executed in almost any materials plaster, wood, cardboard, etc.— as long as Wunderlichs gave their imprimatur to the work. In this way the Redfern factory was partially transformed into a plasterers' shop during the latter period of the war and for some time after. In the hunt for ceiling materials, a subsidiary company was formed in 1915 to manufacture Asbestos Cement Sheets. The factory was erected at Cabarita, on the Parramatta River, and the product bore the name “ Durabestos." The Company worked up its asbestos fibre from its own mines in Beaconsfield, Tasmania, and Barraba, N.S.W. Wunderlich Ltd., having a preponderating interest in the Company, decided in 1918 to consolidate it with the major Company.

These various measures to cope with war conditions enabled the Company to keep faith with its shareholders, even though the rate of dividends had to be reduced. The tabulation of figures from the firm s Balance Sheets, published in this book, shows how profits were affected during the war years, and how they recovered after the armistice.


Following the return to peace conditions, the business rapidly regained its old activity. Extra capital being needed, the nominal amount was increased to half a million pounds, of which the sum of £380,000 was issued. Orders for millions of terra cotta roofing tiles for War Service Homes kept the Tileries at full pressure, while the revived demand for steel ceilings brought back almost normal conditions at Redfern Works and similar plants in the Branches.


In the midst of this, the Company, being established in the clay working industry, with an ample area of land available, and having a large technical staff, decided to enter upon the manufacture of Architectural Terra Cotta for the facing of buildings, and investigations were made as to the suitability of local materials. A laboratory was established for the study of local clays and glazes. Messrs. Ross & Rowe, Architects, about this time decided upon ceramic facing for the proposed new Government Savings Bank, Sydney, and learning that the Company proposed establishing this industry, arrangements were made to undertake the work. When the protracted negotiations respecting Martin Place extension were finalised, and the concrete structure erected, the fixing of the terra cotta facing was commenced in 1926. This is now practically completed, and is recognised as a monumental work. What are probably the largest Ionic columns and capitals ever built are here carried out in this imperishable ceramic material.


In 1923 the erection of a new works adjoining the Company’s Tileries at Rosehill was at once proceeded with. The latest methods were investigated, a leading American Ceramic Engineer and an expert Works Superintendent were engaged. During 1924 production commenced. Temple Court, in Melbourne, was the first large work completed. A

Huge Ionic Columns and Capitals are a notable feature of the Wunderlich ceramic treatment to the facade of the new Government Savings Bank, Martin Place, Sydney. The accompanying illustration of the model of one of the Capitals furnishes an idea of their size —probably they are the largest ever made.

Architectural Terra Cotta, the latest Wunderlich manufacture, finds widespread employment as a facing for city buildings. In the work illustrated, the material is anchored to the concrete beam at each floor level, and bonded in with the brickwork between floor levels.

period of intense activity set in. Extensions were made during 1925 and again in 1926, until to-day upwards of 100 men are employed in this particular factory alone, and many works have been completed to the satisfaction of our clients. During 1926 a second works was erected at Sunshine, Victoria, to supply the local market ; this is now producing. The quality of the new product made an immediate appeal to Architects, many of whom are adopting it for important buildings in the Capital Cities, thus settling any doubt as to the success of the enterprise.


Towards the end of 1926, a further addition was made to the paid-up capital of the Company, by the issue of 120,000 shares at a premium of 7s. 6d. per share. Within the next few months, when this issue is finalised, the total paid up capital will stand at £500,000.


After forty years of manufacturing and trading, the Company now possesses Offices and Works, with highly trained staffs, in each State of the Commonwealth, besides sub-branches at Launceston (Tasmania) and

Newcastle (N.S.W.). The permanent staff numbers about 1,100, most of them long service men, who have grown up with the concern and assimilated its methods, aims and ideals. The policy of the Company has always been to remunerate its employees without any hard and fast restriction to the lowest ruling rates ; and never to set up the mediocre or mere “ average " man as the standard in any class or group of workers. Services are remunerated in proportion to the employee's energy, efficiency and responsibility incurred.

Throughout its history, the business holds the remarkable record of never having experienced serious industrial trouble. This solidarity between employers and employees is no mere convention. In their factories and offices, Wunderlichs have made every effort to create a “ home atmosphere." An inspection of the Head Office at Redfern reveals comforts for the clerical staff probably unexcelled in Australia. Visitors to the factories at Redfern, Rosehill and Cabarita, as well as similar plants in other States, are impressed by the tidiness and order prevailing ; by the sanitary conveniences, the dining rooms, the flower gardens and lawns, the sports reserve and grandstand ; tangible evidence that Wunderlichs are in the vanguard of concerns who have at heart the welfare of their workers.


Forty years of industry have demonstrated the value of real cooperative effort between employer and employee. For that reason, the Company was able to weather the dislocation and losses caused by the war, and to continue paying dividends though supplies of its raw materials were cut off. It explains why, during those fateful years, the value of its shares on the Stock Exchange fluctuated only in a small degree, and now stands amongst the highest quoted of industrial concerns.

An aerial view of the Metal Ceiling, Architectural Metal Working and Shopfront Plants at Baptist Street, Redfern. The Office Block is in the foreground, and the Tile Display Lawn on the extreme right. (Surrounding properties are tinted lighter.

ALTHOUGH the use of metal for ceiling purposes is probably as old as civilisation, most of the earliest examples recorded relate to the more precious metals, such as brass and bronze, or even gold. The Greeks used metal in their temples, and the Romans employed it for their monumental edifices. Pliny refers to the “ great gilt bronze plates on ceilings within the city." The elaborate interior and exterior metal decorations of the Pantheon in Rome were filched by the later Emperors. But all this work was probably cast, not stamped.


The first Wunderlich ceiling manufactured in Australia was stamped in Zinc, a highly malleable metal, responsive to the most exacting requirements of decorative design. Later on, steel ceilings, because of their lower cost, began to supplant zinc for ordinary work, the sheets used being of a specially malleable quality, obtained from John Lysaght, Bristol. To-day the material utilised for Wunderlich Steel Ceilings is rolled by this firm at Newcastle, N.S.W.


On arrival at the Works, the steel sheets are given a thick film of oil paint as a safeguard against atmospheric influence. The ceiling design is imparted by placing the steel sheet between a cast metal die and a matrix, the latter being attached to a weighty drop-hammer, which descends with several well-regulated blows until the pattern becomes clearly defined. In the preparation of the die, considerable skill and knowledge are required, necessitating the employment of highly talented artists and craftsmen. The artist's design is firstly modelled in clay, and then cast in plaster. The latter passes to the foundry and is cast in zinc. This is termed the “ die." Thousands of plaster castings are stored at Redfern Works, carefully catalogued so as to be readily available for die-moulding

as the need for the design arises.

From the foundry, the zinc die is taken to the stamping department, where the operator, placing it on the bed of the stamping machine, casts from it a type-metal matrix, which he secures to the drop-hammer. Preparations are then complete for the embossing of the design on the steel


In the case of popular patterns, of which thousands of sheets are stamped at frequent intervals, iron dies are prepared, thus obviating the constant casting of zinc dies.

After being embossed, the steel ceiling material is trimmed to size by powerful guillotines, inspected, checked and received into the warehouse. Certain of the stampings, such as centreflowers and mitre leaves, are taken to the pressing department, where they are perforated on toggle presses or trimmed by band saws or circular cutters.


The parent works for the manufacture of steel ceilings are situated at Baptist Street, Redfern, Sydney, where three acres of floor space are given up to the industry. Offshoots are in operation in the other States. Up till the outbreak of the Great War, approximately 30,000 tons of steel sheets had been converted into ceiling material — sufficient to pave a tract, two feet wide, from Sydney to London. During the war period, the industry experienced a set-back, owing to shortage of supplies of raw material, but normal conditions have brought a renewed demand for Wunderlich Ceilings, to cope with which the Works were enlarged recently. Apart from steel, there are many tons of sheet zinc, copper and galvanised iron used annually for stamping into ceiling material for various special purposes.


As the pages of this book demonstrate, Wunderlich Art Metal Ceilings have been installed in buildings of all types. They are also in general use throughout Australia for railway carriages, effectively withstanding the extreme conditions which tend to impair the stability of any applied surface fabric.


In Sydney, the ceilings of the Banking Chamber of the palatial new premises for the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales, Martin Place, are now being executed in embossed zinc of rich classic design, and the cornices and girder soffits of all remaining ceilings throughout the building are of steel. Two other important structures, the emporiums of David Jones Ltd. and Farmer & Co. Ltd., are to have extensive cantilever awnings on three street frontages, with ceilings of Wunderlich hammered bronze, to special design. Another work in progress is the Wunderlich ceiling treatment to the Palais Theatre, St. Kilda, Melbourne, comprising cornices, mouldings, friezes and embellishments in plain and enriched stamped zinc, to special design.

The road into the Redfern Works leads past lawns and garden plots.

All available space bordering the paths and roadways is converted into grass plots.


The Architectural Department attends to the preparation of designs and working drawings for ceilings, shopfronts and metal work, as well as plant extensions.

In the Modellers Studio, designs are modelled in clay, and plaster dies are prepared.


In the foundry, with the plaster models as patterns, zinc dies are cast.

Thousands of plaster models are kept in the die store, ready for immediate use.

Steel Sheets for stamping purposes are handled by electric hoists and travellers.


A protective film of oil paint is applied to each side of the steel sheet.

In the Stamping Department, the zinc die that has been cast in the foundry is placed on the stamper bed, and a metal matrix is cast from it, then secured to the drop hammer.

Regulated blows of the drop-hammer impress the design in the steel sheet.

At Redfern Works there are ten stamping machines, the largest of which will emboss an area 3ft. by 3ft. in one blow.

Trimming of the stamped material takes place on guillotines or metal cutting


Toggle presses are employed for various operations, such as blanking, forming and folding.

Accurate trimming by guillotines is essential to ensure that the stamped material is true to size and, consequently, easy to fix.

In the warehouse, finished products are examined and faulty materials rejected.


Material for rail or steamer is packed in close boarded cases.

Sheltered from the elements, vehicles on this concrete roadway can be loaded in any weather.

This engineering shop is fully equipped, net only for repair work, but also to turn out some of the new machinery required in the Wunderlich industn .

A full sheet of Steel Diaper (actual size, 6ft. by 2ft.)

Moulding, embossed in Steel.



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Cornice of Embossed Steel.


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Wunderlich Art Metal Ceilings are produced in various stock units, comprising diaper sheetings, panellings, borders, mouldings, cornices, beam soffits, centre-flowers, etc. Being standardised in size and method of jointing, the various patterns can be assembled into an unlimited number of combinations, producing complete ceilings of ever-varying character. The above is an illustration of one of the effects attainable with stock patterns.

Zinc Celling in the Town Hall, Sydney (see description on page 9).

   JT Ji

Wunderlich Ceiling in Parliament House, Sydney. 39

The Town Hall at Wellington, N.Z., has ceilings of Wunderlich Art Metal.

Wunderlich Ceiling in the Board Room of the Queensland National Bank.


Richly coffered zinc ceiling in the R.C. Cathedral, Wellington, N.Z.

Another coffered ceiling, installed in the Timaru Cathedral, N.Z,


Zinc Ceilings of classic richness are installed throughout the Basilica, Dunedin, N.Z.

Rare quality of design characterises this ceiling treatment to the R.C. Cathedral, Christchurch, N.Z.

Wunderlich Ceilings are installed in Banking Premises in every city of the Commonwealth.

Hygienic properties of Wunderlich Art Metal are responsible for its installation in Hospitals.

Wunderlich Art Metal is an effective medium for imparting a decorative finish to the underside of the modern cantilever awning.

A typical instance of a Wunderlich Ceiling Treatment to a city shop.

Portion of the Wunderlich Ceiling Treatment to the King's Theatre, Adelaide

A highly decorative treatment, with Wunderlich embossed metal, to the proscenium and around boxes of a modern theatre.

Metal enrichment to balcony fronts of (left) Lyceum Pictures, Sydney, and (right) King's Pictures, Brisbane.

Heavily embossed bronze ceiling to awning of Lennon’s Hotel, Brisbane.

Above : Metropolitan Fire Station, Murray Street, Perth.

Below :    A.M.P.

Building ; Goode Durrant ; Viking House.

Above :    Public

Library, Perth. Centre : Boans Ltd.

Below : D. & W. Murray Ltd.

Seven Important Buildings in Perth, W.A., Treated Throughout with Wunderlich Art Metal Ceilings.

Wunderlich Ceiling Panels to Railway Parlour Car, Observation Room.

Parlor Car, Queensland Government Railways, showing Wunderlich Ceilings.


During the past 25 years, the N.S.W. Railway Department has employed enriched zinc panels in the treatment of walls and ceilings of carriages built for long-distance traffic. These panels have been designed by Wunderlich artists, and modelled to suit the various areas treated. The above picture of a First-class Drawing Room Compartment, illustrates the “ Wheat ” design, symbolic of the valuable primary product of the great fertile areas of the State. Various Railway Departments throughout the Commonwealth have adapted Wunderlich embossed metal panels to the same purpose.

Domestic architecture finds a prolific use for Wunderlich Ceilings.

Simple, as well as highly ornate designs are available in Wunderlich Art Metal



|F all the mediums that have been employed by the architect to give expression to his genius in decorative design, nothing has excelled metal in the versatility of its adaptation to various purposes, or the richness of the results obtained. History testifies that, amongst the Assyrians and Egyptians, bronze was the favoured metal. The great gates from Balawat, about 2,800 years old — now in the British Museum — are a magnificent tribute to the skill of the ancient workers in hammered bronze. Later on, the Greeks used bronze freely, a notable architectural example being the covering of the entire interior of the treasury of Atreus, at Mycenae, with a lining of bronze plates. In the Roman period, the metal was employed as a roofing material for the Pantheon portico, and in mediaeval days this practice was widely adopted, as in the case of the roof of St. Mark's, Venice. The middle ages are marked by the liberal use of bronze, for doors of sumptuous splendour and supreme quality of design.


In modern times, with various metals at hand, the architectural uses for decorative metalwork have multiplied enormously. What was formerly prohibitive on account of the relatively high cost of bronze is now attainable in an alternative material, such as zinc or galvanised iron. Certainly, pride of place still belongs to bronze, which is unrivalled for beauty, durability and delicacy of surface. But for roofing and exterior enrichment of extreme permanence and pronounced decorative value, zinc is an economical medium that now receives widespread recognition.


The basis of all achievement in hammered metal is the malleability and ductility of the material employed. Sheet metals can be made to assume almost any shape under the hammer, or by pressure, provided the property of malleability is maintained by timely annealing. In the Wunderlich plants devoted to the production of architectural metalwork, there is installed up-to-date machinery for the stamping, pressing and bending of sheet metals, attended by expert operators who are familiar with the virtues and limitations of each metal. Modelled ornament is usually reproduced by placing the sheet metal between a die and matrix, and subjecting it to controlled blows from a drop hammer, as previously related in the description of metal ceiling manufacture. This process ensures crisp and sharp rendition of the modelled detail. If the work in hand involves square or moulded unornamented members, there are powerful presses that perform the operations with mechanical precision, and guillotines that trim with the utmost degree of accuracy.


After the embossing or pressing is complete, the various parts are assembled by the sheet-metal worker. His occupation involves a knowledge of such processes as soldering, brazing, rivetting, filing, seaming, annealing and metal-beating, as well as a capacity to interpret drawings and develop patterns. When he has assembled the work, it is taken to the polishing department, should the specification call for other than the natural metal finish, and is polished or oxidised as desired. Bronze, brass, copper and gilding metal lend themselves to such treatments, but zinc is probably most attractive in its natural grey colour, when exposed to the weather ; or painted an appropriate shade, when used as an interior decorative material.


The basis of the Wunderlich business in architectural metalwork was laid forty years ago, when Ernest Wunderlich obtained the first order for zinc roofing. Within a few years, plant was installed on the present site at Baptist Street, Redfern, where an entire block of buildings is now given up to metal working, and its related industry, the manufacture of metal ceilings. Separate plants, with the necessary trained staffs for handling work of any probable dimensions, are in existence in each Capital city of the Commonwealth.


As the illustrations on succeeding pages of this book demonstrate, there is practically no limit to the range of metalwork which architecture involves. It includes enrichments and treatments to roofs, facades and interiors of buildings, as well as the higher achievements in bronze, such as nameplates, tablets and statuary groups which, by their refined gracefulness and dignity of design, mark the supreme expression of the architect’s genius. Apart from metalwork of a purely architectural character, there are numerous metal products manufactured by the Wunderlich plants, including copper, brass and nickel silver tip-up wash basins, interlocking galvanised iron roofing, steel siding and ribbed flooring for the Railway Departments in the various States, and pressings and stampings for other manufacturers.

Sharp and crisp pressings are produced on this powerful machine.

The metalworker completes the assembling of stamped and pressed metal parts.

Architectural Metalwork of every conceivable type is handled in the Wunderlich Finishing Departments.

Metal Spinning is an art that has been largely superseded by the mechanical processes of stamping and pressing, but it is still a useful accessory in the shaping of various sheet metal materials.

The metal to be spun, usually copper, brass, nickel-silver or zinc, is firstly cut to the form of a flat disc, then placed in a lathe, where it is held firmly against a wooden or metal pattern of the same form as the metal is intended to assume. As the lathe revolves, the metal is bent into concentric curves by means of gentle and continuous pressure, applied with a blunt-ended metal tool held against the disc, until finally it is spun into the shape of the pattern. Very intricate shapes, such as those of vases or terminals, can be produced in this way.

Ornamental Copper treatment to domes and tower of the Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne.

Zinc Cornice, Terminals, Hip-rolls, and Griffins (over 7 feet high) to the Records Office, Melbourne.

Centre : St. James’ Church, Sydney.

Below : The Rialto Melbourne.

Above : The Arts School, Melbourne University.

Below : The Horsfall Chapel, Melbourne University.

Typical Wunderlich Treatments in Copper, Muntz-Metal or Zinc, to Spires and Fleches.

Sheathing of interlocking Copper Tiles, to dome of Pear's Building, Prahran, Victoria.

Extensive treatment, with diminishing interlocking Copper Tiles, to the domes of the Synagogue, St. Kilda, Victoria.

Grace Bros., Sydney (Zinc Griffins).

The Old Stock Exchange, Melbourne.

Fisher Library, Sydney University.

Bandstand, Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy.

Copper and Zinc Roofing and Enrichments to Domes, Turrets and Fleches.

Interlocking Galvanised Steel Roofing and Muntz-Metal Vent Cowls to N.S.W. Railway Carriages.

Wunderlich Interlocking Roofing, also Steel Sheathing below windows, to N.S.W. Electric Railway Carriages.

Public Trust Office, Napier, New Zealand. The panels under windows, also entrance light brackets, nameplates and coat of arms, are of Wunderlich hammered and built bronze.

The Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society s Offices, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, showing the copper treatment to oriel windows, parapet frieze, domes, and awnings.

The N.Z. Insurance Co.’s Offices, Auckland, enriched with Wunderlich ornamental hammered bronze panels, under windows. The column casing, capitals and metalwork around entrance are also of bronze.

Rofe Chambers, O’Connell Street, Sydney; illustrating the Wunderlich bronze panels under windows of the upper and ground floors. Modern construction finds a prolific use for bronze in work of this character.


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Bronze-encased entrance doors to Rofe Chambers, Sydney. Although the use of bronze for purposes such as this dates back 3,000 years or more, modern architecture has discovered no substitute rivalling, in dignity and permanence, this time-honoured and ornamentally responsive metal.

The bronze frames and spandrils of windows between piers are Wunderlich


Parcels Post Office, Melbourne, carrying a Wunderlich bronze treatment to panels and frames of windows, between columns.

Three pairs of entrance doors of the Commonwealth Bank (Head Office), Sydney, are encased with Wunderlich wrought bronze. The treatment is carried into the feature

above the doors.

The Wunderlich treatment to the entrance lounge of the Hotel Australia, Sydney, is an impressive tribute to the merits of bronze. The work comprises hammered and wrought bronze cornice and pilasters to the lounge, as well as moulded bronze ceiling over the entrance. In addition, the enriched cornice and girder soffits of the lounge ceiling are of Wunderlich embossed zinc. The work was carried out for Howie Moffat & Co. Ltd., Contractors, to the designs of Robertson and Marks,


Another view of the bronze treatment to cornice and pilasters of the entrance lounge, Hotel Australia, Sydney. The grille of the Booking Office is also

of bronze.

This sepulchral effigy, and the Fallen Soldier’s Memorial statuary group, are fine examples of hammered and built bronze, carried out by the Wunderlich Branch, at Perth, W.A.

This statuary group, which surmounts the Perth Office of the Australian Mutual Provident Society, is a striking example of the skill of the metalworker. In the carrying out of such work, the figures are firstly modelled in plastic clay, and reproduced in plaster. From the latter, plaster dies are made, and then cast in zinc, so that a stamping in sheet bronze can be prepared for each part. Finally, the stamped parts — in this case numbering hundreds — are carefully rivetted and brazed together, a task that occupies many weeks. The group illustrated above was produced, in its entirety, at the Wunderlich Works in Perth.

Size : 2ft. by 5ft.

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Size : ift. 8ins. by 2ft. ioJins.

Cast, wrought and engraved metals are shown here in happy combination. To the left is a cast, engraved and built bronze tablet, above which is an engraved bronze plate with hammered bronze laurel-wreath surround. To the right is an oxidised brass tablet, with cast brass surround, and applied, hand-wrought lettering of nickel-silver.

Size : Approx. 8ft. by ioft.

This memorial tablet, of cast bronze and polished marble, erected by the people of Boulder City, Western Australia, in honour of citizens who served in the Great War, is an outstanding Australian example of memorial design and craftsmanship. A brass tablet, bearing the names of the soldier-citizens, was finally inserted in the central bronze frame.

Size : gft. 6ins. by 6ft.

A tablet of polished blackwood, with engraved nameplates framed with bronze mouldings.


Size : ioft. 6ins. by 6ft. 5ins.

This tablet is of hammered and built bronze, with nameplates of engraved

brass, oxidised.

Names of those who served with the new Zealand expeditionary forces


COUNCILLOR. Hislop. Thomas c A





Size : 4ft. 71ns. by 7ft. 3-iins.

An example cf the combination of cast bronze surround, hand-wrought lettering and engraved name tablets, with background of heavy sheet bronze, and mounting of polished timber.

At left : Memorial Plaque. At right : Emblematic Plaque ; modelled to architects’ designs, and finally cast in bronze ; finished oxidised.

Business nameplate of hammered and built bronze, with cast bronze surround.

Nameplate of plain design, with lettering and surround of cast bronze.

The examples illustrated above are representative of the wide range of light fittings, to architects' special designs, that have been manufactured at the Wunderlich metal-working plants. On the left is shown a bracket, approximately 8ft. 6in. high, built up of hammered and wrought bronze, secured to an iron core. Another example of a Wunderlich light bracket is pictured on page 62, gracing the entrance to the Public Trust Office, Napier. The light bowls shown above were made for city buildings, where the quantity needed justified the extra expense which special designs involve.

Altar Gates and other Ecclesiastical Fittings are amongst the finest of the products of the Wunderlich Metal-working Craftsmen.







The Altar Gates illustrated were built up, to special design, from metal tubing, castings, and stamped and pressed metal ornament.

Tip-up Wash Basin, of polished nickel-silver, as supplied to the Railway Departments of the various Australian States.

Wash Basin, of stamped and built copper, silver-plated inside, with electro-bronze exterior. The wash bowl and container are notable examples of deep embossing by drop hammers. Many hundreds of these basins have been manufactured to the order of the Railway Department of New South Wales.

Menzies' Hotel, Melbourne, showing the Wunderlich ceiling and fascia to awning.

The George Hotel, Melbourne, with awning fascia treatment in bronze.






of efficiency

HOPFRONT fitting, with its attendant manufacturing processes, is an industry that possesses no vast background of historic precedent, since the display window only originated in the 12th century, when glass came into general use in England. Its development to the present advanced stage has been stimulated by two factors — firstly, the restricted width of shop-frontages, due to soaring city land values ; and secondly, the greatly multiplied requirements of merchandise display — which have created the need for carefully planned show-windows, offering a maximum of unobstructed display area. The expert shopfront fitter, in evolving a solution to the problem, has been favoured by the advent of the rolled steel joist, which usually relieves the windows of any heavy structural responsibility, and by the production of plate glass in expansive sizes, involving only a minimum of glazing-bar support.


In the up-to-date treatment, the essential unit is the drawn metal moulding, of which numerous stock profiles, suitable for the sills, tran-somes, mulhons, stiles, etc., of show windows and cases, are available for incorporation in either the simple or the complicated shopfiont design. They are obtainable in brass, copper, nickel silver and gilding metal, with either polished or oxidised finish. Generally, the mouldings are of diminutive profile, sufficiently rigid to hold the glass in a firm grip, but quite a contrast to the old-fashioned heavy wooden sections which obstructed a clear view of the window display.


The process of manufacture is interesting, and simple to follow. A wooden u core ” of precise section is “ milled,” and on to this a strip of metal, of a width necessary to provide the right amount of cover, is clinched by “ drawing ” through a steel die. In this operation, the metal assumes the profile of the wooden moulding, and is held tightly to it by the pressing of the edges into the timber. Finally, the moulding is polished on power

driven buffs.


The assembling of the drawn mouldings into “ frames/' which constitute the setting for the glass window of the shopfront, is attended to by a staff of specialists, termed Shopfront Fitters, who are versed in the fabrication and working of both metal and wood. Up-to-date machinery for various operations in joinery, such as planing, morticing and tenoning, which enter largely into the daily work of the craftsmen, is installed in the Shopfront Department.


The launching of this industry came about in July, 1914, with the purchase of the business of John Hughes Ltd., of Redfern, N.S.W. It has since extended to the various Wunderlich Branches, each of which possesses a complete plant for the “ drawing of mouldings and the mechanical operations relating to joinery, with the necessary staff for the fitting and installation of shopfront treatments. An adjunct to this work is the manufacture of showcases, shelving, fitments, etc., for shops and stores.


The most important contract completed to date is the re-modelled treatment to the entire display frontage of Anthony Hordern & Sons Ltd., Sydney. A series of show windows, alternated with showcases and an occasional entrance or cartway, forms a continuous shopfront for a distance of 745 lineal feet in Pitt, Goulburn and George Streets. An additional display space of 102 lineal feet has been gained by showcase installations in the entrances.

Features of the treatment are the wrought bronze column clusters at the doorways, and the convex glass showcases with semi-hemispherical tops, bearing bronze trade-mark replicas (an oak tree) on a background of blue enamel.

Other extensive works are the shopfront installations to Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney ; the Economic Stores and Bon Marche Emporium, Perth ; and the premises of the Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd., Brisbane.

Metal Polishing.

Milling Wooden Cores.

The process of “ drawing ” a shopfront moulding (see page 82).


The Shopfront Department is equipped with up-to-date machinery, for various operations in joinery.

Drawn Metal Mouldings are here assembled into Frames, which constitute the setting for the plate glass in the modern shop-front.

Wunderlich Shop-fronts and awning ceilings to Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney. The top view shows the Druitt Street corner, while the lower illustrations feature the George Street elevation.

Hammered Metal treatment to entrance and pier of Beard Watson Ltd.’s premises,

George Street, Sydney.



In addition to the entrance treatment, in bronze, the shell-pattern frieze and cornice above shopfront, are of stamped and built zinc.

The Wunderlich Shop-front Treatment to the Emporium of Anthony Hordern & Sons. Ltd. In the top view are shown the Goulburn and Pitt Street elevations ; and below, the George and Goulburn Street, frontages.

As is related on page 83, the special features of the Wunderlich shop-front treatment to the Emporium of Anthony Hordern & Sons Ltd., are the wrought bronze column clusters and convex glass showcases, with bronze trade mark

device at top, set on a background of blue enamel.


Shopfronts to Padbury Buildings, Forest Place, Perth.

A complete shopfront installation to the Economic Stores, Perth.


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Bon Marche Stores, Perth, showing the Wunderlich Shopfront Treatment,

T. & G. Mutual Assurance Co.'s Building, Brisbane, showing bronze treatment to shopfront and around piers.

Wunderlich Shopfront Treatment to National Building, Pitt Street, Sydney.


A typical glass counter showcase, with polished wood base.

Another showcase, introducing hinged doors and enriched bronze base, set on cabriole legs.


( A s bes tos-Cement )




The Wunderlich Durabestos Works at Cabarita, on the Parramatta River, near Sydney.


URABESTOS, a modern Wunderlich product, is composed of two fire and water resisting materials, asbestos-fibre and Portland cement, both of which have been known, from the earliest times, as amongst the most refractory of substances. Asbestos, or mineral flax, as it is often called, because of its peculiarity of crystallising in fibres instead of in ordinary crystals, as is usual with mineral substances, has remained exposed to the elements for countless centuries, without deterioration. Its incombustible qualities were recognised by the Egyptians and, later, the Venetians, who spun it into fireproof cloth. But comparatively little use was made of the material until modern invention showed how to turn to decided advantage its valuable and exclusive properties.


The scientific combination of asbestos-fibre and Portland cement, to produce a fireproof and indestructible building sheeting, was perfected during the present century. Nothing was done towards establishing a manufacturing plant in this country until after the outbreak of the world war, when it was recognised that, with the asbestos deposits and cement at hand locally, conditions were favourable for embarking on the new industry. A factory site was chosen at Cabarita, on the Parramatta River, the latest machinery was installed, and by 1917 the new works were producing a material which at once proved acceptable to architects and builders.


In the process of manufacture, the asbestos-fibre and cement are placed in huge vats and there mixed until a proper consistency is reached, when a valve is mechanically released and the mixture falls into another vat — the agitator. This keeps the compound on the move until eventually it passes out on to a wide and endless belt, along which it travels slowly, the while all surplus water is extracted by a vacuum process. Coming to a steel cylinder, the semi-plastic mixture is picked up off the belt and revolves around the drum in layer after layer, until a quantity is homo-

geneously collected, sufficient to form a sheet of pre-determined size and thickness. At this stage, the ring of a bell announces, with mechanical accuracy, that the correct amount has been accumulated on the drum. An operator, with a pointed instrument, at once makes a quick cut across the accumulated material, which is then unwound from the drum.


Being now of a consistency somewhat resembling rubber, permitting of handling with safety, it is spread out flat on a steel plate, which is placed on a truck. This operation is repeated, one plate after another, with its contents, being piled on the truck, until a sufficient quantity is assembled, when the stack is wheeled under an immense hydraulic press. In this press, the asbestos-cement is subjected to hydraulic compression, an exclusive Wunderlich process, which produces that extreme density and smoothness of surface particularly noticeable in the finished Durabestos product. After this treatment, the sheets are trimmed to correct sizes, then stacked to mature, under careful control, over a period of several weeks.


The works site at Cabarita has an area of about five acres, with river frontage and wharf, providing easy access for vessels carrying supplies of raw material or consignments of the manufactured sheets. As the machinery employed is extensive, and of an exclusive character, the capital outlay in the industry is particularly heavy. Every year, thousands of tons of asbestos-fibre and Portland cement are converted into Durabestos Sheets, the output of which attains a total of many millions of square feet per annum. Towards the end of 1926, an offshoot was established at Sunshine, near Melbourne, to cater for the requirements of the Southern States, and manufacturing has commenced there.


The standard product is a sheet of rock-like nature, in colour and appearance resembling set cement. It is available in two nominal thicknesses, viz., 5-32nds of an inch (suitable for the lining of interior walls and ceilings), and 3~i6ths of an inch (for exterior walls and partitions). Sheets of greater thicknesses are made to order, for special purposes. Numerous stock sizes are on hand, ranging from 3 feet to 10 feet long, by widths of 3 feet and 4 feet. Despite its great rigidity, the material is readily pierced by a blunt pointed nail, and can be sawn much in the same manner as timber, or severed like glass after an incision has been made with a blunt chisel drawn along a straight edge.

A Peep at the Entrance to the Office and Works at Cabarita, showing the Lawns and

Flower Beds.

A Concrete Road, bordered by Garden Plots, leads into the Durabestos Works.

Asbestos Fibre and Portland Cement are carried by Electric Hoists, to the Upper Floors.

From this Floor, the Fibre and Cement are fed through a Chute into a Mixing Vat below.


Falling into this Vat, the materials are mixed to the right consistency.

A wide and endless belt carries the mixture to a steel cylinder, or “ drum.”

When sufficient of the mixture has collected on the drum, it is unwound and placed

on a steel plate.

A truck of steel plates, with their contents, is wheeled under the press, and submitted

to hydraulic compression.

Guillotines then trim the compressed sheets, to standard sizes.

The trimmed sheets remain in stacks for several weeks, to thoroughly mature.


Crates for delivery by steamer are loaded on to trucks and carried along a steel track from the Works to the Jetty.

This cottage home has exterior walls of Durabestos.

Another suburban home, lined with Durabestos.

A typical example of the use of Durabestos Sheets — a building in Papua.

Mediaeval half-timber work here finds its modern prototype, in a treatment achieved with Durabestos and wooden fillets.

Millions of square feet of Durabestos have been used to line Interiors.

Partitions, as well as ceilings, are here panelled with Durabestos.

City building construction finds a ready use for Durabestos. 106


The Wunderlich Tileries (at left) and Architectural Terra Cotta Works (at right), situated at Rosehill (near Sydney).

Parramatta River is in the background.


UST at what stage in history the clay-worker applied his knowledge to the making of Terra Cotta Roofing Tiles it is impossible to say. Most parts of the world have yielded fragmentary specimens, of primitive manufacture, disclosing much variety of design ; and there is evidence that the

inhabitants of Egypt, Babylon and Assyria were familiar with the processes of forming and burning clay tiles. What are probably the earliest examples of well-preserved tiles in existence to-day were unearthed from the ruins of the Temple of Elera, at Olympia, dating about 800 b.c. The Romans developed tile making into an industry of considerable importance, which extended to other countries as conquest followed conquest. In mediaeval times tiles were in general use, but only began to be manufactured on a large scale with the discovery of the steam engine.


Little was done in Australia in regard to their manufacture prior to the war. Importations ceased soon after its outbreak. Some years previously the Company foresaw the possibility of a European war, and installed experimental plants in Sydney and Melbourne, and purchased clay lands. Exhaustive tests were made, and when the necessity arose it was only a matter of a few months before buildings were erected and machinery installed on sites at Rosehill and Brunswick (Melbourne). Thus, by the middle of 1916, Tileries at both places were producing terra cotta tiles at the rate of several millions per annum.


The clay used for tile making at Rosehill is won from a pit that has been sampled and tested to a depth of 50 feet, the whole being proved of excellent quality. A " fall ” of clay from the face is brought to the claypreparing department by an endless haulage system, and is ground while in a moist condition, thus acquiring an extremely dense nature. Passing through the mixer into the pugging machine, it emerges from the latter as a continuous, homogeneous mass, which travels along rollers to a cutting device, where it is cut automatically into “ bats of uniform shape. These


pass along a belt-conveyor to the tile presses, where each bat, as it arrives, is shaped and consolidated under considerable pressure, between two dies, the surplus water being eliminated during this process. The formed tiles are then placed on trays and hoisted on an endless elevator to one of the several drying floors. Here the “ green " (unburnt) tiles are stored on racks, to remain, under close observation and carefully controlled conditions, for a period averaging about 14 days.


When sufficiently rigid for safe handling, the tiles are trucked to the kilns and stacked or set " in tiers, after which the entrance to the kiln is sealed and the fires are set going. Day and night the tiles are subjected to a gradual burning process, scientifically controlled by pyrometers, and carried out in careful stages so that all free moisture may be removed before the temperature is raised to the level which produces the steel-hard tile. Then, after slow cooling and annealing, the tiles are “ dragged " and graded into stacks, any faulty product being rejected.


For the daily output at Rosehill, about 80 tons of clay are needed — a supply that is assured for many years to come, as the Wunderlich property comprises over 100 acres, most of which is still virgin country. Outside of New South Wales, the demand for tiles is catered for by extensive plants at Brunswick, Victoria ; Edwardstown, South Australia ; and Perth, Western Australia. The standard product is termed the Marseilles pattern, previously made known by Wunderlich importations from the Mediterranean French city for many years preceding the war. Other patterns are manufactured as called for, including picturesque " Mission," Spanish, and shingle tiles. Besides the well-known shades of red, there are now available brindle, buff, chocolate shades, blended colours and full and semi-glazed effects.

The lawns and flower plots are a pleasing feature of Rosehill Works.

Equipped for a yearly output of many millions of tiles, the Rosehill Works are a centre of activity, day and night.

Clay from the pit is ground while in a moist condition.

A fall of clay, from the face of the pit, is loaded into trucks, which are railed to the centre of the pit and conveyed by an endless haulage system to the grinding pans.

The ground clay is fed automatically into the mixing machines, through which it passes

into pugging machines.

Dies for the Tile Presses are made here, in plaster.

Travelling along belt conveyors, from the pugging machines, the wet clay bats are formed into tiles on these presses.

The clay tiles from the presses are stored on racks, to dry.

When dry, the Tiles are set ” in a kiln ; the entrance is sealed, and “ burning commences under “ pyrometer ” control.

The Rosehill Works are handy to rail, road and steamer,

Typical Products of the Wunderlich Tileries.

The Roofing Tiles are available in shades of red, chocolate, buff, brindle, and blended colours.

One of the many returned soldiers’ homes in Sydney, roofed with Wunderlich Red Tiles.

6i x

Most of the modern homes in the suburbs of the capital cities of the Commonwealth are roofed with Marseilles pattern Terra Cotta Tiles, shades of red predominating. Millions of these tiles are produced annually at the Wunderlich plants in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.


As an outcome of prolonged experimenting at the Wunderlich Tileries, there is now available a range of colours that was undreamt of before local manufacture commenced in earnest. Novel effects can be obtained by a judicious intermingling of these colours, as shown above.

1 21

This colour-blend roof, in a suburb of Melbourne, is typical of the prevailing taste for colour-interest in the home exterior.


Besides developing new colours in the roof, the Wunderlich Tileries have made available various alternative types of roofing tiles, such as shingle, Spanish and Mission. The latter, used in blended colours on a Melbourne home, is illustrated above.




ERRA COTTA — literally "burnt earth" — is a material that is as old as civilisation. The great quantity of Terra Cotta Tablets from ancient Babylon, with records in cuneiform writing prove how general was their use. The wonderful terra cotta vases and figurines of Ancient Greece show the perfection of workmanship attained in these early days. Many examples of glazed terra cotta for the ornamentation of the interior and exterior of buildings have come from excavations in Mesopotamia. It is only necessary to mention the celebrated “ Archer " frieze from the throne room of Darius ; the Lion Frieze that graced the Pylons of Artaxerxe's Palace in Susa (both in the Louvre), and the various decorated enamelled bricks from Khorsabad and elsewhere, in the British Museum. In mediaeval times the art lay dormant until it was revived in Italy by Della Robbia.


Modern construction finds a much more extensive use for the material than its ancient votaries conceived. With the advent of reinforced concrete construction, entire facades of buildings are now clothed with Terra Cotta, warranting the assumption that a true Renaissance of ceramic architecture is taking place to-day.


In its simplest state, Architectural Terra Cotta may be described as blocks of burned clay, usually about four inches thick, left hollow at the back, so that each block actually comprises face, horizontal sides and ends, with an occasional vertical rib for stiffening purposes. When the designs for a Terra Cotta facade are received from the architect, a staff of draftsmen sets to work on the preparation of shop drawings to " shrinkage " scale, which determine the jointing, construction and position of each specific block of Terra Cotta. Clay models are then prepared for all ornamental features, and plaster moulds for each separate size of block. Into these moulds the prepared clay is pressed until it takes the desired shape, when it is lifted out and set aside to dry. Numerous repetitive pieces can be pressed from the same mould.

The clay used for the purpose is the result of careful selection and testing, to determine the correct chemical and mechanical properties. In

its semi-plastic state, as taken from the mould, it is readily re-touched and pointed up by hand to the degree of crispness and feeling characterising the original model.


When the blocks are dry, the face that will eventually be exposed to the weather receives a coating of glaze to give the colour decided upon ; and the ware, ready for “ firing ” is set in the kiln. Subjected to intense heat, the Terra Cotta body becomes almost flint-hard, the surface colour develops, and the glaze vitrifies. Finally, after careful cooling, the blocks are “ drawn " from the kiln, taken to the fitting shop, and there assembled, fitted and inspected, each piece bearing an identification mark indicating its ultimate position on the building.


The parent works for the manufacture of Architectural Terra Cotta are situated at Rosehill, near Sydney, where the highly specialised activities monopolise about eight acres. Towards the end of 1926 Branch Works were established at Sunshine, near Melbourne, and they are now producing.


As the illustrations on succeeding pages of this publication indicate, the general use of Architectural Terra Cotta is as a “ facing ” for buildings, but it may be employed, also, to embellish a facade of brick, stone or other standard material ; or as a decorative element in the treatment of interiors. There are available the natural burned-clay finishes ; also glazed effects, of either dull-matt or lustrous appearance. The scope for colour treatment is almost unlimited, embracing shades of red, chocolate, buff, grey ; and the matt-glaze palette, ranging from milky white and cream tints to brilliant yellows, warm browns and bronze j from emerald to dark greens ; and from delicate lavenders to bright or deep blues. Also, there are mixed colours, harmonising closely with natural geological formations. During the period of about two years that the industry has been in existence in Australia, a representative range of these colours and finishes has been reproduced in the work carried out.


In addition to the treatments herein illustrated, numerous contracts have been undertaken, some of them only partially completed at the present date. They include :—

Dangar Gedye & Co. Ltd. (Malloch House), Sydney.    H. E. Budden

Terra Cotta to Ground Floor.    ' \rr.u:toJ

Berkeley Court, Bondi, Sydney. Terra Cotta to Ground Floor.

E. P. Nunn, Architect.

Mark Foy’s Emporium, Sydney.

Terra Cotta Cornices, Columns and Trim.

H. E. Ross & Rowe, Architects.

J. & N. Tait’s Building, Melbourne. Terra Cotta to First Floor.

R. M. King, Architect.

National Bank of Australasia Ltd., Geelong. Terra Cotta to Portion of Facade.

H. W. & F. B. Tompkins, Architects.

Claridge House, Adelaide. Terra Cotta Trim.

Philip R. Claridge, Architect.

City Railway, Sydney (Underground Stations). Terra Cotta Arches.

Dr. J. J. C. Bradfield, Chief Engineer.

Christian Brothers' College, Strathfield. Terra Cotta Columns, Arches, etc.

Matthews, Thompson & Co. Ltd., Sydney. Terra Cotta Roundels.

Sir Thomas Henley, Drummoyne, Sydney. Terra Cotta Panels.

F. Albert, Esq., Elizabeth Bay, Sydney. Terra Cotta Columns and Arches.

R. C. Church, Clifton Gardens, Sydney. Terra Cotta Columns, Trim, etc.

W. G. Conley, Darling Point, Sydney. Terra Cotta Window Boxes.

Doery & Tilley, Melbourne.

Terra Cotta Entrance Doorway.

Mclvor Hotel, Maryborough, Vic. Architrave to Entrance Doorway.

Fire Station, South Brisbane.

Terra Cotta Panels,

Hennessy, Hennessy, Keesing & Co., Architects.

Francis J. Hood, Architect.

Geo. Durrell, Architect.

H. Neville Hampson, Architect.

E. A. Scott & Green, Architects.

Spain & Cosh, Architects.

Bates & Smart, Architects.

E. J. Peck, Architect.

W. J. Ewart, Govt. Architect.



Busts of famous scientists, modelled by Rayner Hoff, for Professor Leslie Wilkinson, and executed in Wunderlich Terra Cotta — Sandstone Finish.

As this view shows, the manufacture of Architectural Terra Cotta has developed into

an extensive industry

In the right foreground is the experimental kiln, and, to the rear, the additional kilns constructed during the past three years.

Clay for Terra Cotta manufacture is stored in the open, and allowed to “ weather.”

The clay is finely ground and mixed with ” grog,” consisting of burnt earthenware,

broken to fine particles.


Drawings are prepared, showing the size and position of each block of Terra Cotta that the treatment in hand necessitates. Ornamental features are then modelled in clay {centre illustration). Finally, a plaster mould is made (see illustration below) for each size of Terra Cotta block involved.

i, i . : i i

Numerous semi-plastic clay blocks can be pressed from the same plaster mould.

Whilst sodden, the pressed clay block is re-touched by hand.

The mixture producing a glazed finish is imparted to the face of the clay block.

During unfavourable weather, mechanical drying of the clay blocks is necessary.

The clay blocks are carefully set in kilns and “ baked for several days.


Kiln fires are kept going continuously, at scientifically controlled temperatures



Taken from the kiln to the fitting

shed, the burnt clay blocks are checked and “ fitted.”


Each block of Terra Cotta is made for a specific position on a building, and bears a mark indicating its final location.


H, E. Ross and Rowe, Architects.    Concrete Constructions Ltd., Contractors.

Government Savings Bank of N.S.W., Martin Place, Sydney.

The Wunderlich ceramic finish to this huge structure consists of small units which produce the effect of a mosaic. Pilasters, Columns and entablature will receive this ceramic finish, which involves the manufacture of innumerable small blocks, treated on the exposed face with a matt glaze of a delicate

shade of pink.

Barlow and Hawkins, Architects.    Bolton and Aitken, Contractors.

Temple Court, Collins Street, Melbourne.

From the first floor level to the parapet cornice this imposing building is faced with Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, finished cream matt glaze, lightly speckled. Contrasting with the Terra Cotta is the Wunderlich wrought bronze treatment to the panels under bay windows and the cornice surmounting the building.

Barlow and Hawkins, Architects.

Simmie and Co. Pty. Ltd., Contractors.

Royal Exchange Assurance Offices, Queen Street, Melbourne.

Treated to the full extent of nine stories above the granite base, this facade is a classic in Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, the finish being a cream glaze with umber coloured trim. The architects for the work have excelled in their endeavours to give distinction to this towering edifice on a small



Eastment and Clark, Contractors.

5. H. Buchanan, Architect.

Manufacturers’ House, O’Connell Street, Sydney

From the sandstone base to the full height of the seven upper floors the facing is of Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta of a deep biscuit shade, with bronze coloured matt glaze spandrels under windows. A Wunderlich wrought zinc cornice surmounts the building.

H. A. Norris, Architect.    F. E. Shillabeer and Sons, Contractors.

Nicholas Building, Melbourne

From the pavement level to the full height of the building, the facing of both elevations is of Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, grey granite

(matt) finish.

E. A. Scott and Green, Architects.

Max Cooper, Contractor.

Sun Insurance Office, Bridge Street, Sydney

The facing of the Ground and First Floors (above plinth) is Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, glazed finish, resembling dark brown granite. The incised lettering of the frieze is glazed golden yellow.

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Peck and Kemter, Architects.    Clements, Langford Pty. Ltd., Contractors

Bankers & Traders Building, Melbourne.

Architectural Terra Cotta, matt glazed, of green and black mottled appearance, provides the exterior finish to this structure.


F L. and K. Klingender, Architects.    Simmie and Co. Pty. Ltd., Contractors.

Shopfront, Pauline et Cie, Melbourne.

A colour scheme of delicate lavender, relieved by the cream glaze of the frieze panels, contributes to the impression of dignified restraint that pervades this Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta treatment to a remodelled shopfront. There is a most pronounced business value in the new opportunities which Terra Cotta provides for unique and impressive effects in store-front


Hennessy, Hennessy, Keesing and Co., Architects.    Kell and Rigby, Contractors.

Chapel for the Christian Brothers’ Novitiate, Strathfield.

This view illustrates the ornamental features in Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta to a brick structure. Entrance Columns and Archivolt, Wheel Window, Columns to Clerestory Lights and Campanile, Cartouche and Lions’ Heads are all executed in Terra Cotta, resembling in texture Sydney sandstone, although of a somewhat lighter colour.

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Un rniumi? : uiutuüi

r^asas y*r~i*c9usmx'3


F. H. B. Wilton, Architect.

Beat Bros. Ltd., Contractors.

Dymock’s Book Arcade, George Street, Sydney.

An artistic rendering of the Elevator Vestibule, to be treated with Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, mottled grey on cream coloured background, lustrous glaze finish.

F. H. B. Wilton, Architect.    Beat Bros. Ltd., Contractors.

Dymock’s Book Arcade, George Street, Sydney.

The entire facing to the George Street elevation and returns of this impressive structure will be matt glazed Architectural Terra Cotta, resembling dark

grey granite.

Bursary Board Building, Hobart. 146

Dept, of Works and Railways, Architects.    G. Hogden, Contractor.

William Street Post Office, Sydney.

Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, of sand-finish cream matt glaze, black speckled, is the medium employed for the facing of the entire facade of this structure. The name panel is achieved with incised lettering of a light

brown colour.

Top Illustration, Page 146.

The entire facade of Metiers Building, Adelaide, is faced with Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, finished cream matt glaze, with lettering of dark

green glaze.

Woods, Bagot, Jory and    J. King & Son,

Laybourne Smith, Architects.    Contractors.

Bottom Illustration, Page 146.

Now in the final stages of completion, the Bursary Board Building, Hobart, is faced with Matt Glazed Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, similar in appearance to grey granite.

Glaskin and Ricards, Architects    W. Cooper & Sons, Contractors.

Gawler and Drummond, Architects.

Christiani and Nielsen, Contractors.

Business Premises for Duerdin and Sainsbury Ltd.

View of the Entrance Treatment, comprising glazed wall tiles and Wunderlich Architectural Terra Cotta, to a concrete structure. The Lintel, Pediment Cornice, Architrave, Shield Ornament and Rosettes were executed in Glazed Terra Cotta of a spotted dull sap-green shade, the lettering being treated in golden yellow glaze.












INCE the formation of Wunderlich Limited, in 1908, the brothers Wunderlich — Ernest, Alfred and Dr. Otto — have held office uninterruptedly as Managing Directors. In this capacity they have brought to the conduct of the Company’s affairs a wide knowledge and experience, gained in the pioneering stages of the business they founded and developed. Under their control the Company has grown into a nation-wide organisation, with assets valued at three-quarters of a million sterling, equal to five times the figure that appeared in the first Balance Sheet of the present concern.

“To get this business and its remarkable growth into the right focus,” says the Sydney “ Bulletin’s ” financial monthly of May, 1927, “ you must first know the Wunderlichs. They are not mere money-spinners ; they are an unusual combination who apply art and idealism to a business basis of metal ceilings, shopfronts, showcases, tiles, architectural terra cotta and other embellishments that furnish or ornament the facades, roofs and interiors of buildings. One of the brothers was an importer whose hobbies are astronomy and music ; one a doctor with a leaning to literature ; the third, a musician too, trained for commercial life.    The three brothers, Ernest,

Otto and Alfred, born in London during the ’fifties and 'sixties of last century, and educated there and in Switzerland, set out in life with distinctly different aims, but came together and have built up in Australia a very successful manufacturing business for which none of them had any special training.


Of the three brothers, Ernest came to Sydney in 1885, and set up as an agent for some European manufacturers ; and, though from that moment he has been in the collar, he has found time to write much music, and has published books of song and pianoforte studies ; with this he combines an affection for astronomyhe is a councillor of the British Astronomical Association and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. A small but complete observatory which he built at Port Hacking was handed over in trust to the State three years ago.


Alfred joined Ernest in 1886. He strengthened the business on the financial side, devoting his spare time to the interests of Australian trade and the Philharmonic Society. He sat in the presidential chair of the Associated Chamber of Manufacturers in 1911 and 1912, was President and for many years a Councillor of the N.S.W. Chamber, was a member of the controlling body of the French Chamber of Commerce, and is on the Board of Meggitt's, the Federal Match Co., and the Atlas Insurance Co.


“ Otto was a doctor with a practice in London, who, besides his professional degrees, had graduated in Arts. In 1900 he came to Australia on a visit to his brothers. Impressed with their work and their ideals, he decided to throw in his lot with them. He brought a keen and analytical mind to bear on the problems of the young industry, and soon set to work to standardise the processes of manufacture, evolve more exact systems of costing, improve the selling organisation, and lay foundations for future developments. To these must be added his far-sighted profit-sharing scheme, whereby every employee may become a partner and so have a tangible interest in the business. Naturally, the medical side of factory life did not escape his attention either, and many improvements for the health and betterment of the staff have been introduced.”

The Board Room at Head Office, Redfern.


A View of the Directors’ Room, Redfern Office.



HE Registered Office of the Company is situated at Baptist Street, Redfern, near the corner of Cleveland and Crown Streets, on a site adjoining the Metal Ceiling Works. From this centre, the Managing Directors administer the numerous activities of the business. In addition, there is a Managerial Group, consisting of the Secretary and other executive officers of long experience in the Company's service, for the co-ordination of effort in the Works, Sales and Accounts Sections.

The general organisation consists of an accountancy branch, for the collation of statistics and figures relating to the Branches and Industries, the recording of transactions in the Company's Shares, and the control of properties ; an Export Department, which handles an extensive trade with New Zealand, the South Sea Islands and the East ; a Publicity Department, for the preparation of catalogues, literature and press advertisements devoted to Wunderlich products ; and an Architectural section, which undertakes the designing and construction of alterations and additions to buildings and plant.

The present Office Block, erected in 1908 and since then considerably extended, is a two-storey building, roomy, well lighted and comfortably appointed. Alongside is a spacious garage, housing the firm's Sydney fleet of motor cars and lorries, and equipped with machine tools for the efficient carrying out of repairs.

Left :

S. G. Evans, Chief Architect.

Right :

W. J. Hanson, Publicity.

The Head Office and Sydney Showrooms, Baptist Street, Redfern, Sydney

Motor cars employed in the Administrative and Sales Sections of the business are housed in the Garage adjoining the Office.

Export and Accounts Departments, Head Office, Redfern.

Finance and Statistics Section, Redfern Office

A corner of the Architectural Department at Redfern, where alterations or additions to Wunderlich Buildings or plant are designed.

An electrically operated Printing A^achine, for duplicating drawings.


NTIRELY distinct from the Head Office administration at Baptist Street, Redfern, although located in the same Office Block, the Branch in Sydney is an organisation on similar lines to those in other States. It caters for the requirements of architects, contractors and home-builders resident in New South Wales, and in fulfilment of this virtually absorbs the output of the Wunderlich manufacturing plants in Sydney.

From the first years of its existence, the Branch has been conspicuously successful. It has been in the van in exploiting new products, such as Shopfronts, Durabestos Sheets and Architectural Terra Cotta, and has built up a regular business, of considerable magnitude, in metalwork for N.S.W. Railway Carriages.

Several contracts of unprecedented volume have been undertaken by the Branch since the conclusion of the war period. They include the supply of millions of Terra Cotta Roofing Tiles for War Service Homes ; Patent galvanised Roofing, Steel Siding and Vent Cowls to over ioo Railway Carriages ; the re-modelled Shopfront Treatment to the Emporium of Anthony Hordern & Sons Ltd. ; and the Ceramic Facing, as well as Zinc and Steel Ceilings to the Head Office of the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales, Martin Place. Each of these contracts has attained a value of at least five figures.

The Branch maintains a highly-trained sales force in the city, suburbs and country, and has established a local representative in Newcastle, with an office and showroom at the Builders’ Exchange, King Street. Orders entrusted to them are fulfilled direct from stocks at the Works at Redfern (Metal Ceilings), Cabarita (Durabestos Building Sheets), and Rosehill (Roofing Tiles). Where clients require materials fixed complete, the work is carried out by the Branch Staff of tradesmen, experienced in Metal Ceiling Fixing, Tiling, Architectural Metal Working or Shopfront Fitting.

W. Jones

Redfern Metal Works

D. Say

Rosehill Tile Works

S. Sangster

Cabarita Durabestos Works



SYDNEY BRANCH Works, Sales and Accounts

Sydney Branch Sales and Country Order Department, Redfern.

Estimating and Costing Departments, Sydney Branch Office, Redfern.

A corner of the Sydney Branch Showroom, Baptist Street, Redfern.

The local Showroom at the Builders’ Exchange, King Street, Newcastle.

Garden display of Roofing Tiles at the rear of the Redfern Office.





Portion of the fleet of motor cars for the use of Suburban Representatives, Sydney Branch Sales Department.

A Group of 265 employees at the Roofing Tile and Architectural Terra Cotta Works, Rosehill, Sydney.


The ten Departmental Foremen in the above Group have been in Wunderlich employ for a total of 283 years. The length of service ranges, individually,, from 22 to 33 years.

Aerial views of the Works in Sydney. Top : Rosehill Tile and Terra Cotta Works. Bottom :

Redfern Works. Centre : Cabarita Durabestos Works.


ROM the earliest years of the Wunderlich industries, the State of Victoria — its Capital City in particular — has proven a fertile field for Metal Ceilings and Architectural Metalwork, the business in which was conducted from Sydney up till 1904, when a Branch Office was opened in Melbourne. This policy was soon justified by the success of the Branch in securing an extremely valuable order for copper roofing to the domes and clock tower of the Flinders Street Railway Station, as well as metal decorations for various exterior and interior features and Steel Ceilings throughout the structure.

In 1908, business in Victoria was consolidated by the amalgamation effected with the Metal Department of W. H. Rocke & Co. Ltd. As an outcome of this development and the coincident formation of Wunderlich Limited, a local Board of Directors was created, consisting of the Hon. W. L. Baillieu, the Hon. Theodore Fink and the late Mr. W. Densham, all citizens of prominence in the public and business life of the State. Of the original Board, the Hon. Theodore Fink has held office continuously until the present day. The other Directors have been succeeded by Mr. Clive Baillieu and Mr. E. L. Wunderlich.

In common with the Wunderlich business generally, Melbourne Branch enjoyed a prosperous career until the outbreak of War, when a set-back occurred through the stoppage of supplies of steel and roofing tiles from England and France. It was then that the pioneering efforts to establish the Roofing Tile Industry at Brunswick bore good fruit. A decision to proceed with the manufacture of tiles had been arrived at in 1913 ; and by 1916, when importations from France were at a standstill, the Brunswick Tileries were well established, handling an output of one and a half million tiles per annum.

Within the past twelve months, further expansion of manufacturing activities has taken place in Melbourne, through the establishment of works at Sunshine for the production of Architectural Terra Cotta and Durabestos (asbestos-cement) Sheets. As will be seen from an inspection of the next few pages of this book, these Works have commenced operations. Although comparatively new to Australia, the former material has been favourably received by Melbourne architects, and valuable contracts for Architectural Terra Cotta ** facings ” have been undertaken by the Branch,


amongst them being the facades of Temple Court, Royal Exchange Assurance Office, Nicholas Building, and the Bankers and Traders Insurance Co.'s premises, illustrations of which appear on pages 136, 137, 139 and 141 respectively.

Apart from manufacturing facilities, the Branch possesses a staff of experts, trained in the Company’s employ, for carrying out the installation of Metal Ceilings, or fixing Special Metalwork. In addition, there is a staff of tilers who attend to the fixing of Terra Cotta Roofing.

The Office and Showrooms are located at 243 Collins Street, Melbourne.

W. Dinnell

Sunshine Durabestos Works.

G. Junck Works

J. V. Nelthorpe Secretary.

W. Johnson Sunshine A.T.C. Works


Melbourne Office and Showrooms, at 243 Collins Street.

Accounts Department, Melbourne Branch.

Sales Administration and Country Order Departments, Melbourne Branch.


General View of the Showrooms at 243 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Exterior View of the Metal Working Department and Store, South Melbourne.

A corner of the Architectural Metal Working Department. 172

The recently established Works at Sunshine, for the manufacture of Durabestos and Terra Cotta.

Interior View of the Durabestos Works at Sunshine.

Durabestos Sheets at Sunshine Works—stacked to mature.

Architectural Terra Cotta Works at Sunshine—erected in 1926.


Some of the first Terra Cotta blocks manufactured at the Sunshine Works.


The Wunderlich Tileries at Brunswick, equipped to produce several millions

per annum.

Clay Deposit at Vermont, which provides the raw material for Brunswick Works.


E3|j ONG before the opening of a Wunderlich Branch in Adelaide, m a valuable business in Metal Ceilings and Roofing Tiles had been developed in South Australia, largely through the able efforts of the local distributors, Harrold, Colton Sc

_Company Limited, and Geo. P. Harris Scarfe Sc Company

Limited ; the former handling the metal manufactures, and the latter, Marseilles Tiles. In April, 1910, the arrangements with these merchants were terminated, by mutual agreement ; their stocks were purchased, and Wunderlich Offices and Showrooms were established at 109-113 Currie Street, Adelaide.

Throughout the years that have intervened, since this event, considerable expansion has taken place in Wunderlich activities in the State. A Workshop for Architectural Metal Working has been added, and a drawbench installed, incidental to the launching of a Shopfront Fitting Department. In addition, the Branch has been rendered independent of other States, with regard to its supplies of Roofing Tiles, through the establishment of an extensive Tile-making Plant, at Edwardstown. This plant commenced to produce in 1919, and was recently enlarged to meet the growing demand for its products.

Early in 1926, the site in Currie Street was disposed of, and more spacious premises were erected at the corner of Grote and Morphett Streets. The new office building is of special interest, in that it is faced with Architectural Terra Cotta, manufactured at the Company's Works at Rosehill, Sydney, this being the first work of its kind in Adelaide. Adjoining the Office is a building housing the Metalworking and Shopfront Departments.

V. Wilson Sales

R. Johnsen Works

F. J. Luscombe Secretary

A peep at the Showroom, Adelaide Branch.

The recently extended Tile works at Edwardstown, South Australia.

Metal Working and Shopfront Department and Store, Grote and Morphett Streets, Adelaide.


ERTH BRANCH came into existence in May, 1909, when the local manufacturing establishments of Massey & Co., and Splatt, Wall & Co. were acquired, and a Wunderlich plant for the production of Art Metal Ceilings and Architectural Metal Work was installed at East Perth. For some years prior to these events, the Company had been represented in the West by McLean Bros, and Rigg, whose agency was brought to a termination by mutual agreement, coincident with the opening of Wunderlich Showrooms at St. George’s Terrace, Perth.


In the years that immediately followed, the young Branch demonstrated that it was capable of emulating the achievements of the parent concern in Sydney. Not only was Metal Ceiling Manufacture carried on successfully, but many notable works were produced in wrought and hammered bronze, foremost amongst these being the statuary and memorial groups illustrated on pages 71 and 70 of this volume.


With the advent of war, and the subsequent cessation of supplies of French Tiles, experiments were carried out with a view to testing the suitability of local clays for tile making. The outcome of this was the establishment of a Tile Works towards the close of the war period.


In recent years, a feature of Perth activities has been the volume of work carried out by the Shopfront-fitting Department. Show windows of several leading emporiums have been completely remodelled, and a considerable amount of shopfront-fitting to new premises has been executed. Illustrations of three important undertakings in this respect will be found on page 90.


Apart from Shopfront hands, the Branch has in regular employment a staff of Metal Ceiling Fixers, Metal Work Specialists and Roofing Tilers, for the complete installation of Wunderlich materials. Its spacious offices and showrooms are situated in Lord Street, East Perth, adjoining the manufacturing plants.

H. L. Brisbane    E. R. Niblett    J. Duncan

Sales.    Works    Secretary


The General Office, Perth Branch.

. mima]

I HF.H l.

Perth Showrooms, with Sales Department in the background.


Perth Metal Ceiling Works, with Metal Working Department at rear.

Perth Office, Works and Yard, situated in Newcastle, Lord and Short Streets.

Another View of the Perth Tileries and Metal Ceiling Works.


1RISBANE BRANCH was inaugurated in July, 1909, when the local Wunderlich agency which, for several years, had been held by Philip Frankel & Company, was terminated, and Offices were opened at 363 Queen Street. Three years later, a Factory for the manufacture of Metal Ceilings and Architectural Metal Work was erected in Water Street. At the time, a rival concern, the Queensland Metal Ceiling and Roofing Company Limited, was operating in Brisbane, but in July, 1913, it was merged, with the Wunderlich Brisbane Branch, in a new Company, registered as Wunderlich and Steelart Limited. Under that name, the business in Queensland was carried on until December, 1918, being then absorbed by Wunderlich Limited, which held the controlling interest.

The Office and Works are now situated in Amelia Street, Valley, where there is a complete plant for the manufacture of hammered and wrought Metal Work of the highest quality. The main product is, of course, Metal Ceiling Material, embossed in a wide variety of designs on replicas of the dies used at the parent Redfern Works. Apart from this, the Branch has demonstrated that it can do justice to work of special design, a creditable example of which is illustrated on page 46.

A staff of Metal Ceiling Fixers and Roofing Tilers is maintained in constant employment, in the execution of supply and fix contracts, while, in addition, the Shopfront Fitting Department carries out an appreciable amount of show-window installation. Evidence of skill in this direction is provided by the illustration at the top of page 91 of this publication.

J. Alroe Secretary

C. J. Taylor Sales

H. F. Brice Works

Brisbane Office and entrance to Works, Amelia Street, Valley.

Brisbane Branch Metal Ceiling Factory, Store and Tile Yard,



N pursuance of the policy of the Company, to establish itself in each State of the Commonwealth, a Branch was opened in Hobart towards the end of 1909, with an Office and Showrooms at 107 Collins Street. For several years prior to this, an extensive trade in Wunderlich materials had been carried on by Hedley Button, of Launceston, but with the inauguration of the Branch, the arrangement with this agent came to an end and, at the same time, a local Wunderlich representative was established in Showrooms at 71 St. John Street, Launceston.

The virility of the infant Branch was evidenced, in the years that followed, by the volume of important contracts secured, chiefly for Metal Ceiling installations. Business in Terra Cotta Roofing Tiles also showed considerable development, which has been maintained, some of the recent work calling for the picturesque Mission Tiles now so popular on the mainland for better-class homes.

Within the past twelve months, the Branch has added another achievement, having secured the contract for the Architectural Terra Cotta facing to the Bursary Board Building, Hobart — a work that is now practically complete.

The Hobart Office and Showrooms are now located at 139 Macquarie Street, where supplies of Wunderlich Manufactures are kept in stock. For the execution of treatments, in their entirety, the Branch has in its employ a staff of Metal Ceiling Fixers and Roofing Tilers. It is also equipped to carry out Shopfront Fitting, having installed a drawbench for the production of metal covered Shopfront Mouldings.

Right :

V. P. Jones Local

Representative' Launceston.

Left :

A. C. Johnson Sales and Works



METAL CEILINGS roofing Tiles.

Hobart Office, 139 Macquarie Street.


|23JIT DMnoO^



A córner of the Showroom, Hobart Branch. 187


ROM the earliest years of its existence, the Wunderlich business has made free use of Publicity in connection with its Sales campaigns. Broadly, the present day plan embraces advertising in the Daily Press, Country Newspapers, and Building or Art Journals ; regular mailings of illustrated literature to architects, contractors and suppliers of building materials; pictorial road-signs ; and, most important of all, periodical distribution of catalogues and bulletins relating to the various products.

On the two following pages are shown reproductions of recent newspaper displays, and of Wunderlich Catalogues, all to greatly reduced scale. The originals were prepared by the Publicity Department at Redfern Office, which maintains its own commercial-art and advertising staff for the work.

The Publicity Department at Head Office, Baptist Street, Redfern.

Beautiful Ceili,

Utilise this 'lliodem Wall-lining

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building Sheets


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Reduced examples of daily-press advertisements, designed and written by the Wunderlich Publicity Department.

Some recent Catalogues produced at Head Office, Redfern.


prove their failing years.

ROM the inception of the Wunderlich business, the principals have at all times taken a personal interest in the welfare of the employees, and this has found practical expression in various measures designed to mellow their conditions of employment, enlarge the opportunities for recreation, immaterial well-being, and provide against distress in their

In the various Factories, the Workshops are roomy, well lighted and ventilated, and cleanliness is maintained by a staff employed for that sole purpose. Each Department has its own dining room and cloak room, and sanitary conveniences of the most improved types are installed.

Sport is fostered and subsidised, trophies are donated and Interbranch visits are encouraged. During the recent cricket season, four Wunderlich Clubs in Sydney were entered in Junior competitions, and combined teams were selected from them to play against a visiting eleven from Melbourne Branch, at Easter. Some of the matches are played on the Wunderlich Sports Reserves adjoining the Works.

The Wunderlich Rifle Club, founded in 1909, is assisted financially, and holds its Social Evenings in the Club Room at Redfern. One of its members (J. E. Face) won the King’s Prize in 1920.

Meritorious efforts in the Sales Branch are generously rewarded, and Heads of important posts are given the opportunity at least once in their lifetime to broaden their ideas and enrich their practical knowledge by a trip to Europe, America and the East. Staff Dinners are held at regular intervals, when the Directors and Heads of Departments come together for a friendly exchange of ideas, over a glass of wine.

Employees of long standing are usually paid a weekly wage, irrespective of Wages Board stipulations, and participate in the Profit-Sharing scheme outlined on page 193.

The Club Room and Library at Head Office.

Portion of the Steel Locker installation in the Staff Cloak Room at Redfern Office.


HE Staff-Partnership and Profit Sharing Fund marks an epoch in the development of the Company. Owing to limitations of space, it is not practicable here to furnish more than a brief outline of the scheme, but anyone interested and desiring further details will find the information in a publication by Dr. Wunderlich entitled “ Profit Sharing, in Theory and Practice," obtainable at leading booksellers or on application to the Company.

The scheme provides for the old age of employees, and for the rewarding of meritorious services. The participants are selected by the Directors, the amount allotted to each being at their discretion. The general rule is that if a man has not proved worthy of allocation after ten years’ service, his employment is discontinued, but length of service is not a necessary qualification, as each case is treated on its merits. The security to the allottee is in the form of a Certificate under the Seal of the Company, stating the amount allotted, in which the Company binds itself to pay the amount on the death of the holder, or on his reaching the age of 60 years. In the meantime, he is entitled to a dividend of 5 per cent on the amount of the certificate.

The fund has now reached £87,000, and includes 179 employees. Freed from worry regarding their future, the participants apply themselves to their work, while those not already participating endeavour to qualify for admission. Although having no voice in the management, the holders are virtually partners, and as such they realise that their success is bound up with the welfare of the Company. Measured by freedom from labour troubles, the application of the manual workers, and the initiative and resource of the staff, the scheme is considered to be selfsupporting.

Profits Made and Distributed

During the 19 years since Wunderlich Limited was formed, by the amalgamation of Wunderlich’s and Rocke’s













Staff -Partners.

Staff -Partners Allotment.














































































































































Premium on Shares


















PROFITS MADE BY WUNDERLICH LTD. Since Its Formation in 1908.

This diagram illustrates the fluctuations in the net earnings of the Company since 1908. The graph shows how profits declined during the war period, then recovered after the Armistice, and again suffered through the reaction that followed the post-war inflation.

















(After the Company's first year of business)





Authorised Capital, 200,000 Shares of £1 .. ..

.. 200,000



Capital issued 27,500 7 per cent Pref. Shares of £1

.. 27,500



117,007 Ordinary Shares of £1 ..

.. 117,007







,, unissued 55,493


Sundry Creditors, Acceptances, Bankers and Mortgages

.. 20,627



Leasehold Amortisation Fund . . .. . . ..

.. 1,246



P. and L. Account Balance .. .. .. ..

.. 11,364










Freeholds, Leaseholds and Goodwill . . .. ..

.. 90,698 14


Machinery, Plant, Furniture and Fittings .. ..

.. 28,420



Stocks and Work in Progress, Less Reserves .. . .

• • 35,285



Book Debts and Bills Receivable, less provision . .

.. 17,364



Cash on Hand and at Bank .. .. • • • •

.. 4,091



Catalogues, Stationery, Prepayments, etc.....

.. 1,884












Nominal Capital . . .. . . .. ..




Issued Capital —

40,000 7 per cent ist Pref. Shares of £i each




40,000 7 per cent. 2nd Pref. Shares of £1 each




300,000 Ordinary Shares of £1 each . . . .




120,000 Ordinary Shares paid to 10/- each ..


Less Calls in arrears .. .. . . ..








Sundry Creditors, Bankers, and Acceptances . .




Staff-Partners’ and Superannuation Fund . .




Reserves . . . . .. .. . . . .




Profit and Loss .. . . .. .. ..











Freehold Land and Buildings . . .. . . ..

.. 272,211



Leaseholds . . . . . . .. .. . . ..

.. 1,228



Machinery, Plant, Fittings, etc., less Depreciation Reserve

.. 181,890



Stock on Hand and Work in Progress . . .. . .

.. 156,352



Book Debts and Bills Receivable, less Provision ..

.. 135,719



Cash in Hand, on Deposit, and at Bankers . . . .

.. 4,032



Goodwill .. .. .. .. .. .. . .

.. 68,701






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A cross appears against the names of soldier-employees who made the supreme sacrifice.