James Martin Phoenix Foundry Subsequent Useage

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Fast Facts
Type of organisation: Business
Street number: 1
Street name: Calton
Street suffix: Road
Town or locality: Gawler East
Date established: 1907
Established by: Henry Dutton
Business or purpose: Machinery Manufacture
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[RHresearch] After James Martin died contracts were secured from the South Australian Railways to build bridges, boilers and valve casings. Increased competition [particularly from May Bros.] meant that for the next 10 years no more than 400 were employed.

After liquidation of the business in 1907 it was divided into two separate companies: 1. the foundry and engineering side of the business was purchased by Henry Dutton and commenced operation 2nd January 1908, under the name of James Martin & Company; 2. the agricultural side of the business was purchased by local businesses and farmers and traded under the name of the Gawler Implement Manufacturing Co.

On 1st April the first meeting of the Gawler Implement Manufacturing Co. was held and the board was formed from important owners of large local businesses.

Henry Dutton offered to continue to supply all the types of equipment manufactured by James Martin but also was prepared to expand the Mining Machinery business to supply whatever the Mining Companies wanted. SA Government promised Dutton a contract for 10 engines and 100 trucks. Phoenix restarted 2nd January 1908. May 1910 he received a contract for 140 railway trucks and in July 1910 22 locomotives and vans were contracted. In 1910 and 1911 the business was plagued by strikes.

Henry Dutton was able to keep the foundry operating until his death on the 25th August 1914.

Samuel Perry purchased the foundry, including the existing government contracts in 1915.The company was known as Perry Engineering but was unable to secure any further major contracts and was forced to close in July 1928.

The buildings were demolished in 1932 and the heavy machinery sold.

Perry Engineering retained ownership of the property until 1946.

Between 1946 and 1996 the land was broken up into smaller portions, some of the uses were, as a GMH Car Dealership by John Doran Motors, an Ice Works and an operations yard for Telecom.

In 1996, Chamberlain Investments Pty Ltd, trading as LRM Constructions were able to recombine most of the smaller plots into a storage facility for their heavy earth moving equipment.

The site was sold in 2008 and now operates as Phoenix Plaza, a Retail Shopping Complex.

Additional photographs are available here.

Related Articles


  • The Advertiser. Adelaide. Thursday 29th April 1937. page 20
  • James Martin & Co. Phoenix Foundry. Number 21 in a Series of Historical Pamphlets produced by Gawler Public Library 2009. Researched and written by Anne Richards. Librarian. Reference & Research Services
  • History of Gawler 1837 - 1908. E H Coombe. 1978 Reprint ISBN 0 85872 224 0
Christmas 1922 in Blacksmith's shop. Perry Engineering
Christmas 1922 in Blacksmith's shop. Perry Engineering
John Doran. Holden Dealer
John Doran. Holden Dealer
Telecom Line Depot c2005
Telecom Line Depot c2005
Rear yard. LRM
Rear yard. LRM
Phoenix Plaza main entrance. 2012
Phoenix Plaza main entrance. 2012

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