In the 1860s a foundry was opened in Seaby Street, Stawell West, by Mr Alves. Mr Alves also had an Engineering Business in Commercial Street, on the Gold Fields, in partnership with Mr George Kay.
The gold fields created a demand for crushing machinery and other machinery castings and as land was taken, a demand for farm machinery also appeared. This foundry later passed into the hands of Wayman, Kay & Co.
In 1869 it was relocated to Wimmera Street, Stawell by this new company and the partnership remained for a few years until Mr. Wilkinson Wayman retired and Mr. George Kay became the sole proprietor.
Kay & Co. manufactured crushing plants, a patent rock drill that was used extensively in rock drilling operations, horseworks, chaffcutters, steam engines, internal combustion stationary engines, air compressors, winches, pumps etc.
WANT TO READ TODAY'S NEWS? CLICK HERE
The foundry was by no means large, but some huge projects were undertaken. The foundry boasted a lathe capable of turning a shaft, 24 ft long. From all accounts the foundry machinery was driven by a six horsepower engine and overhead gear.
During their busy years, machinery and castings were supplied extensively to Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia mine areas.
In October 1927, Kay & foundry was almost totally destroyed by fire. It was regarded as an important link in the industrial activities of Stawell.
The firm had earned a reputation for its quality farm machinery [chaffcutters and horseworks] which were in great demand in many districts.
A lasting example of their work are the memorial gates at the main entrance to Central Park in Stawell.
Following the fire, this report was extracted from the local newspaper.
"One particularly fine piece of workmanship was the manufacture of the Memorial gates at Central Park. These will, for all time serve as a monument to the soldiers who served in the South African War and to affirm who made the gates." The cost of the gates exceeded 300 pounds.
Wayman, Kay & Co. were responsible for the construction of the first Gasworks in Stawell, on the site of the old foundry. They supplied reticulated gas and coal gas to business premises in the Main Street. The Gas works were taken over by the Gas Supply Associated Company of which Mr Wayman retained the position of Manager and Secretary.
Mr Wilkinson Wayman passed away on October 20th 1901 and George Kay on February 25th 1902. Both are buried in the Stawell Cemetery.
The Stawell Historical Society is currently closed, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Members can be contacted by phoning the group on 5358 3789.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Northern Grampians shire, sign up here.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Stawell's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.