May Bros and Co
|Type of organisation:||Business
[RHr] Alfred May born 5th December 1852 [died 22nd September 1920] arrived in Australia in 1858.
[According to John Clift, Frederick May was a superintending engineer at Moonta Mines for 18 years. He joined James Martin's workforce in Gawler in 1873.]
May Brothers & Co. Limited was established in July 1885 by Frederick May and Alfred May, and ultimately occupied Lots 8 - 14 in 18th Street, Lots 19 and 20 [25 to 27 19th Street], and Lots 11 and 12 in 23rd Street [showroom].
The business began with a handful of men and one building near the Gawler Railway Station in Gawler South. Within a very short time orders were rolling in and the business was expanded: extra land was purchased, more buildings were erected, engaging up to 300 employees.
What began as a small company producing strippers and seed sowers grew to a large manufacturing concern which produced smelting, crushing, pumping and winding plants. Orders were received from far and wide, including the other states of Australia, New Caledonia and British Columbia. Prominent customers included mining companies of Broken Hill and the smelting operations of Port Pirie.
After the death of Frederick May in 1897, Alfred May continued the business until, in 1924, it was wound up.
May Bros were plagued by strikes and considered moving the business to Port Adelaide. Gawler was considered to be the most unionized town in SA.
Please Click Here to watch a video presentation by Andrew May on 21/04/2016
Click here to read Memories of Gawler 1923+ by Colin Hillier re May Bros scrap on page 24. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1t46sIGz7_J3T34GOYtfOLIj27BDiXAxy
Please <click here> to view slides used during Andrew May's presentation "The Mechanical Genius John Frederick May".
- History of Gawler 1837-1908 compiled by E. H. Coombe pp. 97-101.