Topic: GW - August 1914
The big news from Launceston on 6 August 1914 was not the declaration of war by Britain two days before, but of a burglary that involved the injury of a police officer.
The sensational burglary at Rankin and Bond's Brass Foundery, 136 Cimitiere St, Launceston.
The Weekly Courier, Thursday, 6 August 1914, p. 8.
The foundery was a flourishing business and thus one of note in Launceston. Here is what the Cyclopedia of Tasmania, 1900 had to say upon this business. Extract from Volume 2, pp. 120-1:
Mr. W. Foster, brassfounder
Mr. W. FOSTER, Brassfounder and Finisher, (136) Cimitiere Street, Launceston. This old established firm was started by Mr. (Robert) Ikin, who came from Sydney, and carried it on for eighteen months, when Mr. FOSTER became a partner in the business. On the death of Mr. Ikin, Messrs. Bond and Carr managed the business for the trustees to the estate, and finally in 1893 Mr. FOSTER purchased it. The business is in a very flourishing condition, and a large increase of accommodation and an extensive addition to the plant have been necessary in order to meet the wants of customers. Mr. FOSTER has erected new premises close to the old ones in Cimitiere Street, at a cost of about £800, and has laid out £200 in additional machinery, including a new Otto gas engine working up to 31/2 horsepower. Six hands are constantly employed, but as the business is still increasing, more assistance will be necessary in the immediate future. The firm supplies the fittings, main water cocks, etc., for the Government, Gas Company, Corporation of Launceston, and the Electric Light Company, and is now supplying one ton of bolts for the new steel yacht being built for Messrs. Gunn and Stephenson, while an order has just been completed for Mr. G. Harrap for bolts, port lights, and all fittings connected with ship work and engineering of a new steamer built by Mr. Moore. The firm also manufactures engineers' and plumbers' fittings for steam and water of every description to order; also sluice nozzles for mines, etc. Mr. FOSTER's endeavour is, by constant attention to customers and turning out good work, to compete with foreign markets. He has followed this rule successfully in the past, and there is every reason to believe that even more satisfactory results will be obtained in the future. Mr. FOSTER is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He has little time for pleasure, his business occupying the greater part of his time: but he has been fond of the gun as well as hunting.
The former foundary, now long since gone, was located at 136 Cimitiere Street, about half way between Tamar and George Streets in Launceston city and very close to City Park. The complexion of the city has changed. Some of the older industrial buildings have made way for newer constructions although Albert Hall on the corner of Tamar and Cimitiere is a relic from that era of industrialisation. In contrast to the glass fronted shops, there are some wonderful old worker's terraced houses that are now considered to be trendy addresses amongst the upwardly mobile attracting rents commencing from about $500 per week. Things have changed.
But Launceston hasn't altered too much in its values. That makes this article all the more reflective of the communal values at the time. They appear very provincial and parochial. This was not common to Launcestion but very much an Australian phenomena.
Citation: Burglary at Launceston, 28 July 1914