Sunday, November 14, 2010

National Museum of Australia Open Day

The National Museum of Australia held an open day of their store yesterday. It was the first time in over 10 years that they had opened the store in Mitchell and the four of us went along. The store contained items that aren't on display or are undergoing renovation.

We were amazed by the throngs of people heading to the out of the way part of Canberra but managed to find a park in a nearby street.

There was loads of things on display from an old ABC Outside Broadcast van, to old computers, carriages, motor bikes and a pink caravan!

Because of the Black Country connection my personal favourite was the Bean 14 racing car which took part in a record breaking dash between Darwin and Melbourne in 1926 and the first overland drive between London and Melbourne in 1927.

I found an original picture of the car here (when it was manufactured in Dudley)
compared to how it now looks in situ in Canberra in 2010..
Highlight of the day (by far) for the children were the original Play School windows. They weren't really displayed as such (just highlighted on the second shelf of a warehouse). Nevertheless we had to go back 3 times to look at them! Here's some more pictures

The 1948 Daimler landaulette six of which were built specifically for King George VI's tour of Australia (which was cancelled!)
Amy, Eli and Audrey by the ABC OB van


Dad said...

I think the Bean factory is still there. I'll go and have a look

Trevor said...

Hi Dad, yes it sounds like some of the office in Cosely and Tipton are still there.

It sounds like Beans Engineering became Bruhl UK and then subsequently Ferrotech before closing down in 2005.

This is quite a good link too

David Boaz said...

Beans Engineering was a separate company to Beans Foundries on an adjoining site. Beans Engineering after a management buy-out made the fatal mistake of supplying Reliant Cars with engines and was dragged into bankrupcy after the Reliant Car company failed. At the time of that management buy-out the foundry company was bought by Eisenwerk Bruhl who invested a significant of capital in the newly named Bruhl UK Ltd. After some years the Group, which also included the aluminium foundries West Yorkshire Foundry (based in Leeds) and Giesserei Mandel and Burger (based in Lintz) was bought by VAW (Vereintige Aluminum Werke), a subsidiary of VIAG who later retained the aluminium foundries but sold the grey iron foundries back to the original owners in Germany. They later agreed a management buy-out of Bruhl UK for a pittance and wrote off its very significant outstanding loans and cleared its large bank overdraft. Within a short time the company was presented with what seemed like a golden opportunity when its only serious UK competitor (Qualcast Derby) closed down and Ferrotech secured the bulk of the company's order book. Unfortunately the new owners (the directors) were lacking in the technical and commercial knowledge to meet the challenge of launching so many new products and processes, a situation exacerbated by the commercial pressures being faced by the European ferrous foundry industry (spiralling costs of ferrous scrap and coke) caused principally by the rapid expansion of the Chinese ferrous foundry industry and its enormous demand for those basic raw materials. These factors led to the demise of a long established company and the loss of so many more of the traditional jobs of the Black Country.
David Boaz,
employee of Beans Industries, Beans Foundries, Bruhl UK and Ferrotech for 36 years.