Castlemaine Brewery (former) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Castlemaine Brewery (former)

Item details

Name of item: Castlemaine Brewery (former)
Other name/s: Regional Museum
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Manufacturing and Processing
Category: Brewery
Location: Lat: -32.9256302879 Long: 151.7580236310
Primary address: 787 Hunter Street, Newcastle West, NSW 2300
Parish: Newcastle
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Newcastle
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Awabakal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT103 DP1191992
LOT21 DP774313
LOT221 DP807219
LOT231 DP813910
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
787 Hunter StreetNewcastle WestNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandPrimary Address
Wood StreetNewcastle WestNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandAlternate Address
Parry StreetNewcastle WestNewcastle  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Newcastle City CouncilLocal Government26 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

The Castlemaine Brewery is of State Significance as a Newcastle landmark. Additionally, the item is unusual in the architectural sensitivity used during subsequent stages of construction, resulting in a significant industrial streetscape. The original Brewery was constructed in 1874, with substantial additions being constructed in 1878 and between 1911 and 1914.
Date significance updated: 20 Oct 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Oswald Lewis
Builder/Maker: Messrs Laing and Wylie; supervising architect Mr G.H. Cox
Construction years: 1874-1876
Physical description: Original Brewery Building:
Originally a four storey tower, with symmetrical two storey wings running to the east and west. The tower was roofed with galvanised iron with a central ventilating lantern running north-south with four accompanying ventilation dormers. Each floor had two windows on the northern face, with two on the east and west faces on the fourth floor. A verandah ran across the front of the tower, part of which was enclosed to form an office in 1878. The wings to the east and west terminated in brick gables that projected above the roof line.

In around 1880 the tower was enlarged and large openings created for vehicle access. Additional dormer windows and ventilation lantern was added. In 1911 the west wing was altered to allow the creation of a Gyle Room with three gyle tanks to be added to the first floor. In 1912 the east wing was altered internally by raising the ground floor to match the later additions and a parapet was added to the northern wall. Two more Gyle tanks in the western wing required supportive alterations. In c.1920 the dormers and ventilation lantern was removed from the roof of the tower. Pitt and Merewether, designed extensive internal modifications to convert the buildings into a storage distribution depot in 1938, including drastic alterations to the northern ground floor to allow for new awnings and a loading dock.

Wood Street Brewery Building:
A two story buildings, with lofts, constructed in two stages between 1878-1885. The ground floor was concrete with a timber first floor, clad in brick with a galvanised iron roof. The Wood Street facade features two projecting gables and the roof profile creates an "M" shape, with central box gutter and fascia gutters. The 1878 section was built by George Yeomans as a malting room with overhead storage. In 1897 the ground floor was converted to refrigeration storage through the addition of cork insulation and loading access was created from the Hunter Street courtyard. Major internal alterations were undertaken in 1911, designed by E.G. Castleden, as a response to innovations in brewing technology. New skimming rooms were created on a raised floor in the centre of the 1878 building and an office and laboratory were created on the first floor. Prior to 1938 a cart dock was created on the eastern wall to load from the ground floor cellars. In 1938, when the new garage was built, the openings in the eastern wall were bricked up.

An 1911 illustration by E.G. Castleden indicates a room was attached to the south east corner, also a shed, a Boiler Room, Chimney Stack and Engine Room to the south. These were demolished in 1938, along with workshops, harness room, bottle washing shed and earth closets along what was the eastern boundary.

Condenser Tower:
No documentary evidence exists regarding the construction of the Condenser Tower, which first appears on a Department of Lands Map in 1896, although it is believed to have been constructed in 1878. Castleden's drawing of 1911 describes the structure's purpose as bottle washing, however it has a shape traditionally associated with malting houses. The brick tower is square and topped with a pyramidal timber roof and ventilation lantern. Between 1911 and 1938 Castleden converted the tower from a malting house into a condenser tower. The pyramidal roof was removed and the masonry extended to three storeys. A refrigeration plant was located on the ground floor, with brine tanks on the first and second floors, supported by concreted and steel-framed barrel-vaults.

Bottle Store and Office:
A two storey construction, originally housing bottling equipment, with a single story section on Hunter Street for the office and reception area. The single storey section has a triangular pediment over an entry portico, with rendered pilasters to add continuity to the Hunter Street facade. The two storey section echoes the office, with the addition of a curved gable and a bullseye window common to the Federation style of the early 20th century.

The eastern facade was modified in around 1914, with the addition of a bottling house. The original roof of the loading gate was extended out to incorporate the new building. In 1938 Pitt and Merewether converted parts of the two storey section into additional offices, a canteen and toilets.

Bottle House:
An addition to the Bottle Store in 1914, it is thought to have been designed by Castleden as the detailing matches the Bottle Store. In 1938 the hoist room, which had projected through the roof, was demolished. The southern parapet was lowered and finished with a triangulated brick gable. A substantial addition was constructed in 1960 with a plain brick face to Hunter Street and a saw-toothed roof.

Bottled Beer Store No. 2:
The Store was constructed before 1938 as a single storey addition from the south east corner of the Bottle House. In the 1938 renovations the roof and southern parapet were lowered.

Receiving Platform:
Constructed in 1938 on the southern wall of the Bottle House, covered with a steel-framed cantilevered roof, to give access to the rear of the bottle store.

Vehicle Garage:
A single storey construction of steel-framing built between 1938 and 1939 as a lorry and car garage, with workshops and stores. Vehicle entry was via roller doors at the eastern end. Staff facilities were located on the southern side.

Courtyard Enclosure and Awning:
In 1912 the former loading court was enclosed through the construction of brick walls. Originally sections were covered by verandahs, these were replaced in 1938-39 by a steel awning.

Covered Cask Platform:
A free-standing raised platform with a galvanised iron roof supported by iron columns and trusses, built in 1938.

Oil Store:
A small timber shed constructed in 1938 as an oil store and pump. In 1974 the shed was converted into a confectionary sales outlet.

Return Beer House:
Removed from the main complex, a single storey brick building with a galvanised iron roof for draining returned beer kegs constructed in 1938.

A 25.6 metre (85 foot) platform was constructed on the southern boundary of the road in from Stewart Avenue.
Modifications and dates: See Physical Description above.
Current use: Newcastle Regional Museum
Former use: Brewery


Historical notes: History of the Castlemaine Brewery - taken from Brooks 1983

1856 - Arrival in Newcastle of the Wood Family. Family members were John Senior and Ann and sons, John Junior, Joseph and Edward.

1856-1857 - Edward Fitzgerald established a Brewery at Castlemaine in Victoria.

1857 - John Wood Junior was a miner with the A.A. Company in the D pit.

1859 - John Wood Junior became publican of the Ship Inn Hotel.

1865 - Wood Brothers and Co. opened a Spirit and Bond Store in part of the spacious premises known as Bingle and Co.'s stores in Bolton Street, Newcastle

1868 - Wood Bros. accepted from Mr. Fitzgerald the agency for the sale of Castlemaine Ale in Newcastle.

1874 - Fire destroyed the building in which the Wood Brothers' store was located.

1874 - Tenders were called for the construction of a new brewery to the designs of Mr. Oswald Lewis, Architect. Tender by Messrs. Laing and Wylie accepted.

1876 - The new brewery was opened and commenced operations. Water supply was obtained from a well on the site. The ale produced was of the highest quality produced by the most up-to-date methods.

1878 - Major extensions were made such that the Brewery was said to be amongst the finest in Australia. The expansion was largely to cater for the greatly increased beer trade and the new complex is described as being 'replete with every convenience.'

1883 - The company name was changed from the Castlemaine Brewery and Malting Company Limited to the Castlemaine Brewery Maltings and Wine and Spirit Company Limited. This was changed again a few years later to the Australian Brewer and Wine and Spirit Limited.

1887 - A limited company was formed named The Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Bros. and Company, Newcastle, New South Wales Limited which acquired the brewery business carried on in Newcastle and elsewhere under the name of Prendegast Wood and Co., and the wine and spirit business carried on at Newcastle, West Maitland and elsewhere under the name of Wood Bros and Co., together with the freehold land and brewery in Charlton Street (now Hunter Street) and the freehold land and store in Bolton Street, Newcastle. The Victorians retained 35% of the shares in the new company.

The first directors of the company were Joseph Wood, three Victorians, Edward Fitzgerald, Nicholas Fitzgerald and Malcolm Donald McEecharn and James Burns from Sydney.

1888- The building of the Great Northern Brewery Wine and Spirit Co. Ltd. on the south-western corner of Wood and Parry Streets was constructed to the designs of Messrs. Bennett and Yeomans, Architects. The Castlemaine Brewery purchased the Great Northern Brewery in 1891 to prevent local competition, although there were other breweries operating in the Newcastle and Maitland areas. There is little to indicate that Castlemaine used the Great Northern premises until 1897.

1889 - Profit and turnover performance by the Brewery in 1888-1890 was considered to be most satisfactory with dividend return to shareholders of 12 percent.

1893 - The Depression and strikes of the 1890s had a serious effect on the brewery business and the dividend payment was reduced to 7 percent.

1895 - The Depression deepened and was made worse by a drought which affected the previously strong country sales. Dividends however were held at 7 percent.

1897 - The dividend was reduced again to a level of 5 percent and the Chairman during his annual report spoke of the evils which had overtaken the Company, but which were now past. major modernisation of the equipment had been undertaken in the previous year and the Brewery was now producing among the best beer in the Colony.

Other improvements at the plant included asphalting the enclosure, repainting throughout, weather sheds to protect casks from sun damage, new cellars and vats.

The 'evil' which had overtaken the Company was a cessation of production for four months due to a bacterial growth in the brewery. During the complete renovations undertaken to counter this problem, brewing was transferred to the buildings purchased earlier from the Great Northern Brewery. Once the renovations were again completed brewing returned to Castlemaine and the Great Northern was used for only secondary purposes such as laboratories.

Partly as a result of the loss of trade during this period and due to increasing competition from Sydney, the dividend never rose above 4 percent during the remainder of the 1890s.

1898 - The renovations were completed at a total cost of 10,000 pounds and the Brewery was noted as being equipped with all the most modern appliances and capable of producing up to 800 to 900 hogsheads per week and up to 100 dozen bottled beer per day.

1899 - At the Annual General meeting the Directors complained that Tooth and Co. and Toohey from Sydney had plenty of money and were using it freely to secure business. This period saw a considerable effort to maintain the Brewery's position in the market.

1911 - The chairman, Mr. H.H. Long, noted that performance had been satisfactory given the adverse circumstances under which the Brewery had been working during the previous twelve months.

Extensive alterations had been made which involved the installation of practically a new plant and a new system of brewing which necessitated important structural alterations and a great increase in engine, boiler and refrigeration plant. Under the guidance of Mr. Pfrander, the head brewer, both the quality and quantity of the beer being produced had increased.

The alterations had been carried out while brewing continued which resulted in a staged alteration process. They had been undertaken under the superintendence of Mr E.G. Castleden, Architect, with the overall advice of Mr A. De Bavay of Melbourne.

1912 - This year marked the twenty-fifth annual meeting of the Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Bros. and Company Newcastle NSW Limited. It was noted that the alterations of the previous year had been very successful with the Company's beer now considered the most superior on the market. Partly, as a result, beer output had increased by 40 percent and the spirit department had also expanded dramatically.

Further improvements costing almost 20,000 pounds had been made which included about 6,000 pounds expended in the building and equipping of a new bottling department, rendered necessary by the increased demand for the company's product. This reference is to the building facing Hunter Street designed by Castleden to house offices in the single storey section and the bottling department in the two storey portion to the rear.

1913 - The Brewery's business continued to expand in both the beer and spirit departments as the new machinery continued in efficient production. Dividends at the rate of 5 percent were announced. The Company had purchased the freehold on the Royal Exchange Hotel in Newcastle and arranged a long lease on the new Railway Hotel in Cessnock in an effort to popularise the Company's products.

The new bottling plant had reached completion and other alterations were nearing completion. If the prospects for turnover were maintained at their anticipated levels, further additions were foreseen.

1921 - Tooth and Co. Limited entered into an agreement with the Castlemaine Brewery and Wood Bros. and Company Newcastle NSW Limited and subsequently acquired the company's brewing, wine and spirit business and properties. Prior to this Tooths had a small depot in Telford Street which was closed in late 1921.

Brewing continued on the site until mid 1931 when operations closed as a result of the Depression. Competition from other Sydney and Melbourne brewers and an apparent partiality for these 'foreign' brews by the local people were given as reasons for the closure. The closure was not taken lightly by Newcastle as it had just lost its soap factory and biscuit works and the employment situation was not bright. More than 50 men were stood down and brewing ceased in Newcastle for nearly 40 years until Tooheys opened their Cardiff work.

1938 - As business improved after the Depression, tooth and Co. decided to use the former brewery as a Depot for the distribution of their products manufactured in Sydney. In order t conduct this change of use, major alterations and additions were carried out to the designs of Pitt and Merewether, Architects. Basically the alterations involved the removal of all the brewing equipment, demolition of the power generating plant and erection of garages and buildings for the handling of packaged beer.

This operation continued successfully with various additional buildings and alterations being required in the 1960s, until 1974.

1974 - Tooth and Co. ceased operations on the site and transferred to a new depot in Nelson Road, Cardiff. The site was sold and became the Pink Elephant Markets.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Operating a Brewery-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Castlemaine brewery is historically significant as being indicative of the development of breweries in New South Wales. Its position is indicative of the prominence of the brewing in Australian industrial development, and how, prior to the expansion of the transport system in Australia, each town had an independent brewery that was eventually bought out by a major brewing company and closed down as part of the gradual centralisation.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Castlemaine Brewery is of State significance as a set of 19th century buildings on a scale, massing and with a continuity of design that has a significant visual and landscape quality, particularly when viewed from Hunter or Wood Streets. The Brewery is an excellent example of strong, but simplistic industrial architecture of the 19th century and has been a major visual element and landmark in Newcastle's skyline since it's erection. The additions to the Brewery in 1910-1914 and again in 1912-1914 were undertaken in a sympathetic manner rarely seen in industrial buildings.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Heritage Act 1977
Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this order, grant an exemption from Section 57 (1) of the said Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule C by the owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land described in Schedule B on the items described in Schedule A.

Bob Carr, Minister for Heritage
Sydney 16 December 1986

Schedule A
The buildings known as the former Castlemaine and Woods brewery situated on the land described in Schedule B

Schedule B
All those pieces or parcels of land as shown edged heavy black on the plan catalogues H.C. 762 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

Schedule C
(1) Demolition of all buildings on the site constructed after 1912, except the faade of the 1914 building facing Hunter Street, and shown on a plan titled "Section 57(2) exemptions, December 1986, Heritage Council Meeting" attached herewith;
(2) The maintenance of any item on the site meaning the continuous protective care of existing materials;
(3) Change of use.
Dec 16 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0031202 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0031219 Dec 86 194 
Local Environmental Plan 198703 Jul 92 0834666

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5001219
File number: S90/05453, HC 32774, 12/16897

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