Business directory 1904 mentions Ardwicke Brick Works, Jasper Rd, Btn E.|
Dr Joyce's Remembers in 1938 As It Was
Before building 'Redholme', at the corner of Point Nepean Road and Station
Street, Moorabbin in 1901, Dr Joyce lived in Vickery Street, Bentleigh
A long time ago the district was famed for its orchards. They went gradually,
helped along by the land boom, which caused many orchard properties to be cut up
for residential blocks. Apart from the orchards, the rest of the district was
comprised of market gardens. Then dairying started in a mild way, after the land
boom burst. There was an old brick works in Jasper Rd then, but it closed down
soon after I came. There were no sand pits then.
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May 16th 1862 the Moorabbin District Roads Board was proclaimed, giving
independent local government to the areas East and South of Brighton, that is,
most of what we know as Moorabbin, Sandringham, and Mordialloc.
The roads were all heavy sand tracks, apart from a section of Arthur's Seat Road
(Nepean Highway) and Centre Road which were formed with crushed metal. Former
Councillor Gerald Basterfield stated that the Nepean Highway near South Road
runs along a clay ridge.
By 1881 the railway had reach Mordialloc.
Halley Park has been formed through the processes of settlement in this area.
It's earliest history is not known to me but here is what I have found.
The Marquis family had births registered at Brighton from 1856. Joseph Marquis,
the father, is listed in Sands and McDougall Directory for 1873 as a gardener in
Jasper Rd, along with many others. Robert Smith, dairyman, is another who lived
in Jasper rd in 1873. There was a need for some bricks for the houses lived in
by the early settlers.
In 1871 Frederick and Isaac Watts were gardeners in South Road Brighton, and
James Watt was in Jasper Rd, the list on the west side of Jasper rd from South
Rd being Andrew Henry, James Watt, Thomas Ethell, Brickmaker, Patterson Rd. That
is of interest as the East Brighton Primary School No 213 had James and Elsie
Watt as students, children of a Brickmaker, in similar years to student No 723
Arthur Ethell, 1882-18886, and his brother Edmund Ethell, no 745, who in 1911,
was a Constable at Clifton Hill.
Mr. G. Ethell recalled that the area had little need for bricks in the hard
years of the early 1890's, and that the Ethell family went to Western Australia.
Jack helped put up the telegraph line near Cue near Meekathara, W.A. All except
Jack were back in Moorabbin in the late 1890's.
Thomas Ethell was first listed in the Directories as a Brickmaker, Jasper Rd,
East Brighton in 1892. About 1910 the family worked toward floating the Ardwick
Steam Brickworks to operate the business. The enormous shed was there at this
time. In 1911 he was listed with Ardwicke Brickworks. Thomas Ethell was still
there in 1913.
It may be co-incidence, but a Thomas Ethell was at the Royal Mail Hotel, Diamond
Creek in 1899-1990 according to Wise's Victorian Post Office Directory.
Thomas Ethell, son of Daniel Ethell, died 21st April, 1918 at his home,
"Ardwick". Bentleigh. He was 79 years of age, and was laid to rest at Cheltenham
Cemetery. His wife lived until 1924.
By 1922 the following are listed along Jasper Rd from South Rds:-
C. Madsen, nurseryman
J.R. Henry, dairyman
Mrs. Isabella Sheppard, dairyfarm
Geo. H. Sheppard
Mrs Ann Ethell
Nicolson Tile Works
In 1928 there was Atkinson Street, then R.L. Kemp Pty. Ltd. Tile Manufacturer,
then Patterson Road.
Dee Brothers had the tile works in 1933.
In 1933, Jasper Rd had no tile works. The directory noted Atkinson St, then
Patterson Road.. Mortimer St on the east side of Jasper Rd had two houses at
The 1941 Directory included Allnutt and Anderson Streets but no Ethell or
Ardwick or Mortimer Street.
Things changed by 1949, No 69 Jasper Rd and 97 were occupied, and another house
near Patterson Rd was being built. The site of Halley Park, 4 acres 1 rod, 3
perches measured 860 x 180 feet. (Bill Jacobs) Gerald Basterfield recalls that
the perimeter of the pit extended from near the Mortimer Street, Ethell Street
and far boundary next to the back fences but not so close to Jasper Rd. The edge
of the pit was just six feet from a brick fence adjoining the park. An open
drain, formerly Elster Creek, went through the park. An extension of the network
of streams which eventually lead to Elster Creek. It was initially valuable for
the ready supply of water for the puddling of the clay to remove grit and other
undesirable material before brick or tile making, or sale of prepared clay. The
flooding of this area occurring with a heavy downpour of rain was solved with
the new large drain put through in the early 1970's, across the Park, down
Patterson Road, across Victory Park (which had also had been a clay pit) and on
to the Elster Creek Drain.
There had been a building at the Park Mr. Basterfield had no direct knowledge of
the use of the use of the building, but knew of the many tiles lying around the
park in the early days. Mr. A. Marriott recalled a very large shed, perhaps an
acre in extent, used for drying off of the tiles, etc, manufactured at the site.
Mr. Marriott was sure that the production ceased before 1924 that the clay was
no longer dug there, but it was taken out of the South Rd pit. He estimates that
the site was of approximately 10 acres in extent, from Jasper Rd to the railway
line. Mr. Graham Ethell told of his father, Edmund after coming home from the
Boer War, where he served in the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles, and before
joining the Police Force, helping at the Brickworks. One particular horse, when
his cart was loaded, would amble three parts around the block, giving Edmund
time to have a cup of tea after shifting the heavy load before driving the horse
to the delivery site!
The pit was not as deep as that at the South rd/ Brentwood Street pit, which was
about 60 feet deep. It could have been lack of deep of clay caused the works to
stop. For some time the water-filled pit contained blue and yellow coloured
fish, regarded by the local boys as strange and wild looking fish, possibly
poisonous. This was in contrast to the Brentwood Street hole, which had golden
carp and redfin and other good fish, caught for 6 pence for all day, with bait
of flour dough on their hooks. One boy drowned there, but no deaths were
recalled at Halley Park.
Many houses built locally in the 1920's were tiled with locally made tiles.
"Star Tiles", on Nepean Highway were big, but mostly made cement tiles.
Mr. Bill Jacobs recalls a photograph taken looking from Patterson Rd across to
the Town Hall, across the end of Halley Park, showing the gorse bushes and
scrubs growing there. He said that council did have some horses within a wire
fenced area in the park for some time, but the council depot was elsewhere.
More houses had been built by 1952. Cheltenham library did not have the
directories between 1952 and 1957 available. It was in the 1957 directory that a
recreation ground between 71 and 97 Jasper rd was mentioned.
The Scout Hall was noted in the 1959 directory.
Mortimer Street was listed for the first time, on the west side of Jasper
Street, in 1960.
No name was listed for the park in the last available directory, 1974. Local's
knew the park by the name Halley's Park, honoring Mr. Ern I. F. Halley, a centre
ward councilor who was Mayor for 1951-52, a builder responsible for many local
homes. It was mentioned by Mr. Brian Deam of the Moorabbin Historical Society
that Cr. Halley built many homes in Lawson Street. He was on the committee that
formed the Bentleigh Club. In 1976 it was decided to officially recognise the
names used commonly to recognise local parks, so the name Halley Park became the
official and recognised name for this recreation ground authorized by the Place
Names Committee. "Moorabbin, a Centenary History" P. 63 says that it was named
after Mayor Halley.
I began by noting one of the early families on Jasper Rd. In Weston Bates "A
History of Brighton" P. 91 he states "In consequence, in Brighton most of the
building materials were sought locally. The rougher the dwelling the closer the
source of its materials might have been found." On P. 92 he states "There were
four brickfields in Brighton in 1859, of which at least one, operated by Dendy's
immigrants, the Lindsay brothers, could have been manufacturing in 1842."
Halley Park is well within the Dendy Special Survey, bounded by North Road, east
Boundary road, South Road and the sea. It is possible one of the very early
brickworks for this district was established at this park. I state this having
read the History of of Brighton and seen the house at 14 Atkinson Street, which
was owned by Thomas Ethell and later his widow. The floor plan of this house and
the appearance of one room in particular suggests that the house was built in
several stages, the earliest part (by an amateurs guess) being similar to the
houses built in the late 1840's or early 1850's.
Weston Bate, P.92 "Houses still standing a hundred years later were made with 9
inch walls , although it is true that where no stucco has been applied the
bricks have shown the effects of weathering in weak spots". This would appear to
be so at 14 Atkinson Street.
No history prior to 1892 has been firmly established for the site.
An article in the "Victoria and it's Metropolis: past and present" p, 636 casts
some light on the origins of Mr. Thomas Ethell.
"Ethell, Daniel, Armadale (Deceased), arrived in Victoria in 1857, and started
working for Mr. Preston in Prahran, where he remained for about 12 months, and
in 1859 commenced as a Brickmaker for himself in Hawthorn, carrying on that
business for four years. In 1863 he removed to the present site in Pohlman Road,
where he conducted the business until his death in 1876. The yard is now carried
on by his widow, under the management of Mr. H. Ethell. There are from 6 to 8
hands employed, and the turn-out is 15,000 bricks per week, as against 8,000 to
10, 000 at time of starting. The clay is hoisted and ground by horse power: the
bricks are handmade and of the ordinary description. The business is principally
in the district. Mr H. Ethell has been connected with the brick industry here
and at home for thirty-five years,"
Daniel was 63 years of age at his death, far from his old home of Stockport near
Manchester. He had come to Melbourne on "Marco Polo" in 1856, with other members
of his family arriving on the "Empress Eugenie" .Henry, probably a son, took
charge of this brickworks as well as his own on Commercial Road. Thomas Ethell,
who was the the son of Daniel (Record of death, Index of Births, Deaths and
marriages, Victoria) had his brick makers address at High Street Prahran in
1971, 1872 directories. His grandson Graham Ethell recalls that Thomas went to
the Moorabbin area in the 1870's. In 1880 and 1882 daughters were born to Thomas
and his wife at Brighton East and Brighton, evidence of a long association with
this area. Surviving members of the family were Daniel, William John, Edmund and
Ann. The land occupied by Thomas extended from Jasper rd to the Railway line. At
one stage it was 17 acres in area. A search of land records and survey maps is
needed to establish some boundaries and ownership of the land.
In "Battlers tamed a sandpit", Tom Sheehy, p, 29, says "The Moorabbin Progress
Association's members were highly incensed when they attended there first
meeting for 1936 (in late February) to learn that nothing had been done to clean
up the unsightly, dangerous and offensively smelling Moorabbin Tile Works Site
(now the site of the attractive Halley Park).' This site was not so attractive
within the memories of some nearby residents, who have recollections of car
bodies being buried there , and the subsidence as the iron rusted away. Children
for some years enjoyed the free play and the hiding places available amongst the
There is also a recollection of tennis courts going from 28 and 30 Atkinson St
through to Uonga Road. This would be the line with Council leasing of suitable
land to sports club while sufficient interest was shown to maintain viability.
However, who owned the land? Would it have been market garden or just scrub?
A local resident recalled that the first Scout Hall was in the corner of the
park, close to the Mortimore/Allnuttt Street intersection. This well recalled
with clear memories of a group of healthy, active normal youngster's, acting in
the time-honoured way but not always well received manner, every Tuesday
morning. The new and attractive hall was built, by memory about 30 year's ago to
relocate the hall to the former site, as the attractive gardens were appealing
to wedding parties and others, and there was a desire to further develop them.
There had been toilets by the gardener's shed at the playground. These were
removed, and toilets built at the scout hall.
In this mixture of quotation, government records and recollection is the nucleus
to a history of "Halley Park".
Please contact Rosemary Martin, 3 Miles St, Bentleigh if you van offer any