Pottery

Pottery was a pioneer industry in Willoughby.

The primary resource used to make potter is clay. Potter’s clay is a sedimentary material formed by rocks, deposited as mud by rivers and streams which is latter placed under pressure by later layers of deposited material. The mud dries and shrinks, becoming the shale that is known as “Potterr’s Clay’.

Some of the world’s oldest human artifacts are clay pots made to hold food and particularly water.

In Sydney, Brickfield Hill became the centre of the clay industry. The clay was used to make bricks as well as pots and also clay tobacco pipes.

On Sydney’s North Shore, brickworks and potteries were established in the early 1880s. There was a clay band of Wianamatta shale extebding across Chatswood (used in potteries) and Artarmon (brick-making).

In the late 1800s there were a number of potteries operating in the Lane Cove area (between 1865 to 1895, Lane Cove was part of the Municipality of Willoughby). There were also potteries operating in North Willoughby.

The Phoenix Pottery was located in Lane Cove. It was worked by John Stamper.

Pottery Green is the oval and park situated just behind the Lane Cove Pool and Municipal Chambers, between Little Street and Phoenix Street. It was originally home to a number of Lane Cove’s earliest industries, from which its name derived. Potters found that the clays from the headwaters of Gore Creek between Dorritt Street and Pottery Green were suitable for the production of traditional ‘Toby Jugs’, teapots, money boxes, vases and sanitary ware and work was commenced on a small scale by Robert Leiper. Various potteries were operating in the area from 1883. The Phoenix Pottery Company was established in 1883 on the north east corner of Little Street and Longueville Road, previously Nichols Road. The Sydney Pottery Company was built in 1886 on the northern side of Phoenix StreetOwnership of the potteries frequently changed hands, but they continued to operate on the site until about 1910.

Pottery Green is named after the two potteries which operated in the vicinity between 1883 and circa 1910. One pottery was situated on the northern side of Phoenix Street and the other on the north-west corner of Little Street and Longueville Road.

References
Pagett, John A. Pioneer Industries of Lane Cove p.16-17 Lane Cove Library. Local History
Russell Eric. A Century of Change. Lane Cove Municipality 1895-1995 Lane Cove Council 1995
Washington J. Industries of Lane Cove Lane Cove Library. Local Studies
Washington J. Exploring Historic Lane Cove by car or foot, Lane Cove Library 1993.
Lane Cove Council. A History of the Municipality of Lane Cove 1895-1938, Lane Cove, Lane Cove Municipal Council, 1938.

Primary source: Jean Miller, 1999, POTTERY A Willoughby Pioneer Industry, Wild & Wooley

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