Australian Glass Manufacturers

Australian Glass Manufacturers

Female employees at the Australian Glass Manufacturers in Waterloo in 1947 (photograph courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW - Home and Away 24966)

Location: 849 South Dowling Street, Waterloo

Sydney has long been a magnet for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking work opportunities, shelter and connections with community and family. Many worked in private industry in Sydney’s southern suburbs.

Local industries where Aboriginal people worked were the Henry Jones & Co IXL Jam Factory on Golden Grove Street in Chippendale, Francis Chocolates on Stirling Street in Redfern, and the Australian Glass Manufacturers on South Dowling Street at Waterloo.

Glass production was one of South Sydney’s main industries in the late 19th century. A number of glassworks were established at Redfern, Alexandria and Waterloo to manufacture bottles for the pharmacy trade; brewers, distillers and winemakers; and domestic use, mainly jars used for preserving and pickling fruit and vegetables.

By the 1920s, Australian Glass Manufacturers (AGM) had a monopoly on glassmaking in Sydney. Crown Crystal Glass Pty Ltd was a subsidiary company of AGM formed in 1926. It produced crystal as well as cut, pressed and blown glassware for industrial and household use, including pyrex. By the late 1930s, the company was producing 9634 different types of glass bottles and containers.

In 1968 Crown Crystal Glass joined forces with an American company, Crown Corning Limited, to become Crown Corning Ltd. The partnership ended in 1988.