Person Sheet

Name Daniel ETHELL
Birth 1812, Stockport, Manchester
Death 13 Jan 1876, Malvern Rd, Prahran Age: 64
Burial 14 Jan 1876, St. Kilda Cemetery Age: 64
Father Thomas ETHELL (-1860)
Mother Ann FILDES (-1870)
Birth 1812
Death 22 Sep 1896, East Melbourne Age: 84
Burial 24 Sep 1896, St. Kilda Cemetery Age: 84
Occupation House keeper
Children: Ann (1835-1916)
Charles (1837-1867)
Thomas (1839-1918)
Henry (1842-1909)
Mary (1849-1933)
Elizabeth (1851-1939)
Harriet (1853-1943)
Emma (1855-<1876)
Notes for Daniel ETHELL


Stockport, UK

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BIO:Daniel Ethell
Arrived in Port Phillip on the Marco Polo 6th December 1856 from Liverpool with 419 other persons on board. The Marco Polo left Liverpool with James Clark as the ships Master on the 5th August 1856. The ship Marco Polo was previously famous for the fastest trip to and from Australia when in 1852 Captain James Nicol Forbes sailed the great southern route via the Antarctic almost halving the time to 68 days out and 76 days back. Also on the same voyage, the ship lost 53 lives, mostly children to a measles epidemic brought about by overcrowding 881 passengers. Only two adults died in what was the second worst death rate amongst the so called Plague Ships.

 Daniel went brick making immediately on his arrival, working for a Mr Preston of Prahran for about twelve months. One of the most important brick makers was that of Hart and Preston. George Preston made bricks in 1853 immediately below the toll gate, near the Richmond Bridge, in Chapel St. This site is currently located near Malcolm St i.e. the Como Project site.

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Prahran was fortunate in the turn of events, the much despised swamps meant damp ground, and where there is ground, clay will generally be found. With a city rapidly growing upon the other side of the river , bricks were required . At the time of the gold discoveries bricks were selling for 20 Pound per thousand in Prahran. The manufacture of bricks required kilns in which to burn them, and wood for the fires. The hungry furnace maws of brick kilns consume tons of wood, and so it came to pass that Prahran not only enjoyed the profits of brick making, but at the same time was cleared of timber. The smoke by day, the glare by night of the brick kilns, at all points of the compass, was a notable impression of early Prahran. Daniel's wife and family joined him in Australia in 1858. The address given in his wife's departure record was Chapel St and Gardiner's Creek Road (Toorak Road). In 1859 he commenced brick making for himself in Hawthorn, carrying on that business for four years. Like Prahran, Hawthorn's emergence as a township with established residences and locally provided services depended on its economic relationship with Melbourne. While the timber cutters moved further out in search of new forests, brick makers tapped the Hawthorn area for clay. Hawthorn was described at the time as possessing the advantages of Prahran for "brick earth", claiming the deepest beds of clay were in Red Gum Flat (Auburn), the area east of the village, and in the lower parts about Gardiners Creek.

In 1863 he moved the business to Pohlman St, (now known as A'Beckett St) Armadale. The business directory of the time lists Ethell:-Charles, Daniel & William as Brick makers Prahran. Council Records show he payed rates on 2 acres in Orrong Rd Prahran. The clay pit and brickworks is now Orrong Park.

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At the commencement in Armadale the brickworks produced 8,000 to 10,000 handmade bricks per week. The clay was hoisted and ground by horse-power. Production went to supply principally local demand. Daniel Ethell died, aged 62, in 1876.

Victoria and its metropolis, past and present, 1888

Ethell, Daniel (deceased) Pohlman Rd., Armadale. (Brick making business carried on by his widow)

Daniel, Charles & Sarah Ethell's Grave St.Kilda (Foreground Headstone)

Brick making as practiced by the early colonists did not differ greatly from the time-honoured techniques derived from Flemish brick makers. The first step in the traditional practice was the preparation of the clay. The clay was initially broken up by pummelling or grinding. The clay should have been spread and allowed to weather for a reasonable period to allow organic materials such as limestone pebbles and iron pyrites to be broken down. A few days usually sufficed. the clay was then pugged, that is, intermixed with water to form a doughy consistency. The Pug-mill resembled a large tub with a vertical shaft running through the centre. Attached to the shaft were knives which kneaded the clay. A horse was harnessed to a long horizontal beam attached to the shaft which could be turned by the movement of the horse walking around the pug-mill. The pugged clay emerged through an aperture at the bottom of the barrel. The clay was then taken to the rough shelter where the brick making
team worked. The team might consist of a clot maker, a brick-moulder, a bearing boy, a setter to stack the kiln and others to assist in the
preparation of clay and hacking. The moulding process itself was quite simple. A lump of pugged clay or "clot" slightly larger than was required for the finished brick was rolled in sand and shaped roughly by the clot-maker. The brick maker then took the clot and threw it forcible into
the mould. The clay was then pressed into the corners and the excess removed by a wet board (a strike) to leave a smooth upper surface.
The mould was then dexterously flipped over and the mould removed leaving the brick lying on a pallet frog upwards. The green bricks were next carried to the hacking or drying area by the bearing boy. Each layer of bricks had to be left at least a day before it was strong enough to support another layer of bricks. The drying process might take from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the weather. Any bricks left in rain storms were easily spoiled. To acquire the durability characteristic the bricks had to be heated to 900 degrees centigrade or greater for three or four days in wood fired kilns. From 1870 steam powered extraction machines with wire cutters were introduced to the brick making but cost kept handmade bricks competitive till the next century.

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