Friday 16 November 2012

The Oar Factory

Campbelltown once had an oar factory. The factory, built of sawn timber framework, was founded in 1947 by Thomas William Gonsalves in a large garage in Queen Street. It was extended in 1954. It produced about 800 boat oars and 100 pairs of sculls per month. In 1957, the company branched out to make wooden crates for Crompton Parkinson and occasionally small boats and caravans.

To make the oars the factory used an oar shaped template to score out the basic shape from Mountain Ash wood. These were then shaped with a circular saw and sanded with a fine blue-metal sanding belt. A final dressing was applied and then the oar would be ready for the drying shed.

After Tom Gonsalves' death in 1956 the factory was run by his son-in-law, Brian Favelle.

In 1973, the factory closed as Rod Lawrence was interested in acquiring the property. The poor quality of mountain ash wood it received was another factor.

The factory was located at the northern end of Queen Street at what was once 20 Sydney Street which later became 32 Queen Street. The Brands on Sale business is now located on the site.

The oar factory was a recognisable landmark at the northern end of Queen Street for many years. (Photo supplied by Brian Favelle). 

Written by Andrew Allen


Favelle, Brian and Jennifer
The Oar Factory
In GRIST MILLS Vol. 3, No. 3, July 1986

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