I wish I had more photos for you. The day before these were taken I took myself along a little dirt road which ran lengthways along the Brickworks building (I found out later this was ‘not allowed’). All along the road I was just awestruck at the size of this industrial infrastructure. Nothing computerised, everything just massive and manual. Chutes coming from and leading to nowhere in particular. I could not comprehend how men would have worked here, the machinery seemed immense to my very inexperienced eyes. And how the building stood up was another matter, everything appeared to be made out of corrugated iron, rather dilapidated and very exposed. There were tunnels many feet above the ground, just hanging there.
Granted the building is 100 years old, built in 1913. It was apparently one of Canberras first buildings and many of the older buildings (which are slowly being demolished, although my Nonna still lives in an original specimen) are made of the stuff. The iconic red bricks this Brickworks produced can be recycled and are sold for $1/brick, and they are rather beautiful to my mind.
The tall chimney, which can be seen from around Canberra proved difficult to get to, the whole site being closed off excepting the workers of Thors Hammer. You can get in to buy wood from these guys. For now they are the caretakers and I am glad such a worthwhile business has their hand in it.
The building stopped functioning as a brickworks in 1976 and has had a few attempts at a new life since then. When I looked at it I saw a potential vibrant community of craftspeople entrenched in history. It is a perfect venue for a craftspersons marketplace, a music venue, gallery, even perhaps a recording studio and artists space. The kind of things that should happen here ought to reflect the building itself and in a way hearken back to the days when most things were done by hand and by people with real skill. Bootmakers, woodturners, painters, glassmakers, weavers, spinners, food producers and makers, musicians. I would love to see something like this installed in this beautiful old building and if, one day, I had the money I would invest it heavily into this place, it is worth restoring for the preservation of Canberras history and ought to belong to all and be freely accessible, and not as it is now, locked behind fences with security signs strung up.
Here’s a photo from wikipedia. I don’t often include these pictures, but the Brickworks is a very sentimental building to me. My childhood was spent very much under its gaze in the surrounding suburb of Yarralumla and its beautiful pine & oak forests. The chimney is worth showing off.
This is the back of the Brickworks, I kept my walk to the other side where there are piles of discarded bricks embedded into the side of the hill and the old quarry where the red clay was mined can be clearly seen.
This is the entrance to the brickworks, I remember going under the front part of this building while it was still neglected and there were no fences to keep anyone out. We saw the smaller kilns and invented spooky stories for the vast, darkened interiors. There used to be market days here, held in the outer area.