Photos | Kirrawee brick making history to be commemorated in display and Kiln Park at South Village

A heritage display of the history of the former brick pit site at Kirrawee will be incorporated into the South Village development.

In further recognition of the previous industrial use, the 9000 square metre public park in the residential, commercial and retail project will be named Kiln Park.

Plans to capture the brick making history were detailed in a heritage interpretation strategy document, which was part of the original development application.

Between 1912 and 1961, the brick works produced millions of bricks and clay pipes a year for rapidly developing areas of Sydney.

The ready availability of the products made it easier and more economical for the construction industry in Sutherland Shire and surrounding areas up to the closure of the works.

A spokesman for project partners, Payce, Mirvac and DeiCorp said the centrepiece of the historical display would be the archaeological remains of the bee-hive shaped Pipe Kiln 1, one of the last kilns of its type in the final stages of development of pipe kiln technology spanning five decades.

The spokesman said the remains of the kiln would be conserved within an interpretative area located on the north-west portion of the site near Princes Highway.

Salvaged bricks and pipes and the remains of the kiln floor and footings of external walls would form part of the display.

The spokesman said historical site and aerial photographs and interpretative panels would describe how the brick works operated.

Payce director Dominic Sullivan said it was important the new development reflected the history of the site.

“What we are building is a new community, but the site has a rich history and we want that incorporated and recognised on site,” he said.

“The plan is to recognise and educate the community and visitors about the site and the critical role it played in the development of the area.

“It is also recognises the many workers who spent time at the brick works.”

The heritage document said the Kirrawee brick works were among many similar factories scattered across metropolitan and regional locations of NSW during the 1990s, producing not only bricks for the construction industry, but also clay pipes for sewers.

Soon after production started in 1912, the works were turning out up to two million bricks a year and, by 1939, annual output had reached seven million.

Clay and shale quarried from the southern portion of the Kirrawee site significantly reduced the cost of transporting materials from other areas and kept the factory competitive with other suppliers, particularly through the war years and Great Depression era.

Records show that the brick works had several owners over time, starting with the Sutherland Brick Company (1912-1917), Refractory Bricks Limited (1917-1926) and finally the Punchbowl Brick and Tile Company Limited (1927-1961).

Following its decommissioning in 1968, the site was cleared of all buildings and the landmark brick chimney was demolished.