Standing at the entrance to Waratah Village is a lasting reminder of where once stood one of the City of Newcastle’s thriving businesses which played a vital role in the development of the region – the Turton and Son’s Brick Works, Waratah.
Novocastrian sculptor Julie Squires is rightly proud of her latest sculpture, her first work for Newcastle in 17 years, which was handcrafted in her studio at East Mayfield and installed on 23rd September, 2016.
The bronze sculpture represents an 1860’s brick worker from Turton and Son’s Brick Works, which once operated on the Waratah Village site. Robert Turton was an English brick maker and potter who arrived in Newcastle in 1851 and started brick making in Darby Street before moving to Waratah, then East Maitland
History records show that Turton’s Brick Works, located on the corner of Turton and Georgetown Roads Waratah, had a brick kiln made of pressed bricks standing 84 feet high, which was a landmark in the community. The works met a high demand for bricks, due to the construction of a large number of buildings throughout the district at that time, but also made a wide range of handmade pottery including water-filters, jars, bottles and flower pots. Clay drain pipes were also supplied in large quantities to various municipalities for reservoirs that needed to be built.
The owner of Waratah Village’s commission brief to Julie was to create a bronze statue of a brick worker depicted in an historic photo.
“I wanted a model who had a cheeky swagger,” Julie commented. She also had to find someone who was slim with a size 28” waist, as the costume depicting the 1860s was typical of the size of men of that era. To be authentic, Julie’s costume was sourced from the ABC TV’s costume library of some 40,000 pieces of historic clothing.
“I was looking for someone who worked with their hands and would look the part in the historical clothing,” Julie said. “The personality of the model is a crucial part for me, if the sculpture is to succeed in capturing the real embodiment or essence of a character…
Story Helen Ellis, Calvary Mater Newcastle.