Christopher Young bought his first property in the district in the mid-1880s, and this included the land on the south side of East Street on part of which the present foundry and engineering works still stands. In the 1880s, this block was just outside the town boundary, on land that was unincorporated until the formation of Gostwyk Shire in 1906. While Young may have saved himself the payment of rates for a number of years by purchasing this particular block, he has made the task of researching the history of the present foundry more difficult, as there are no rate book records that cover the early years of Young's occupation of the East Street land which may indicate the progression of building works and activities that took place there.

The registration of the transfer of Young's purchase from Alexander Mitchell of Portions 92, 93, 94 and 95, Parish of Uralla, totalling just over 45 acres, was made on April 29th, 1885,51 and he is shown as a "freeholder" in the electoral roll for the years 1885-86. But Young must have been in occupation on this land some little time previously, for on March 25th of that year, in recording the business of a meeting of Uralla Municipal Council, the local newspaper notes that Young was given approval to remove some trees from East Street "opposite his premises".52

At one stage, Christopher Young appears to have been lucky to be able to continue to carry on his trade as a blacksmith. In an accident in October, 1884, Young was welding when a sharp piece of steel struck his left eye. Doctors in Uralla and Armidale were unable to remove the fragment, and it was not until the blacksmith had been taken to Sydney that surgeons were able to extract the piece of metal. His sight, however, was found to be lost, and the eye was removed.53 An interesting postscript to this accident was the recent discovery by the present owners of the foundry of a tobacco tin containing four of Chris Young's glass eyes!!

Just over a month after the accident Young was able to insert a notice in the local paper saying that he had recovered sufficiently to resume his blacksmith's business. It appears that, by the time this incident occurred, Young had already left Bridge Street and re-established his business in East Street, as the 1885 Rate Book show's Davidson's shop and dwelling unoccupied.54 The East Street location, handy to the recently opened Uralla railway goods yard, should have been one where Young should have been well-placed to pick up passing trade.

Unfortunately, we do not know precisely what buildings and workshops made up Young's East Street premises. One of the present owners of the works, Mike Money, believes that some casting may have been carried on in Young's smithy in the nineteenth century, but we have been unable to find any documentary evidence to support this view. In the entries on Uralla in Moore's Almanac, blacksmiths are not listed until the year 1891, but from 1892 to 1901 C A Young is listed under that trade (other smiths listed in the town in the 1890s were B J Smith, W A Jones, and J Hogbin), while the New England Foundry and Engineering Works receives a separate mention every year.

Sands NSW Country Directory for 1884-85 lists Young as a 'blacksmith' while Henry Goddard is listed as an 'iron founder'. When Young registered the birth of his son Christopher in Uralla in 1900, he gave his occupation as, simply, 'blacksmith'.

Moore's Almanac lists the New England Foundry and Engineering Works, without a break, over the years 1895-1903, under the names of Henry Goddard (up to 1900), H Crapp (1901) and then C A Young (1902 onwards). In the later years, Young is also listed separately as a blacksmith. These entries provide some evidence that Young may have initially carried on operations at the foundry at the Salisbury/Queen Street site before removing the plant and fixings to his East Street premises.

A number of probate papers survive listing property owned by Henry Goddard at the time of his death. Schedule No 7 refers solely to mining plant that Goddard must have made for a client engine, pump, winding gear, stamper battery, grindstone and vice. Schedule No 8, Tools, covers engineering and foundry tools, such as stocks and dies, drills and bits, wood-carving chisels, and smith's tools. Schedule No 9, Stock in Shop or Business, includes stocks of castings, wrought iron and pipes, two scales, and iron saw bench, and no less than seven tons of moulding boxes. No mention is made in any of the schedules of any of the wooden patterns made for moulding, many of which clearly survive today.

No individual mention is made, either, of the larger machines that must have been used in the works. Schedule No 1 Real Estate included "Machinery (Fixtures)', but the machinery was not separately valued. The total value of Goddard's real estate at the time of his death was #700, and the property included an old wooden cottage, stable, small wooden cottage, workshop, and pattern shed, as well as the fixed machinery.55 A summary of Goddard's assets at the time of his death may be found in Appendix II.

In an undated student assignment (but c.1970), Margaret Barr claims that all the machines in the machine shop of the present foundry came from Goddard's original New England Foundry, except three. Regrettably, the schedule she then provides does not relate to this claim, nor to the fact that Young is recorded in 1905 as having made a large lathe (see reference next page). Barr's list of items is:

  • Two lathes, one for surfacing, the other for turning (from Goddard's)
  •  Shaping machine
  •  Double-ended emery grinder (bought by Chris Young)
  •  Power hacksaw (patented by Les Young)
  •  Light drilling machine (patented by Les Young)
  •  Heavy drilling machine (from Goddard's)
  •  Portable electric grinder (not from Goddard's)
  •  Surface grinder (made by Les Young)

Margaret Barr states that Christopher Young learnt his blacksmith's trade at Lancasters in Tamworth, and was taught the foundry trade by an English craftsman named Fred Berry. Barr also states that the bellows that may be seen in the blacksmith's shop at the East Street premises today came from Young's early-1880s smithy in Bridge Street. Presumably this information was gained from her interviews with Les Young.56

Christopher Young appears to have acted fairly promptly to set up his new foundry in East Street. As early as July 31st, 1901, The Times referred to the "near advent in our town of the erection of a thoroughly up-to-date foundry and engineering works". On December 31st, 1901, Young placed a notice in the paper announcing that, with the completion of a FOUNDRY and ENGINEERING SHOP, he was in a position to execute orders for CASTINGS in IRON and BRASS, also TURNING, at reasonable prices. Agricultural machinery repairs and blacksmithing work of any kind were able to be done on the premises. The notice named the establishment the PHOENIX FOUNDRY and ENGINEERING WORKS, and the address was given as East Street.57

In the early years of this century, a series of references to the new foundry appeared in The Times. On April 29th, 1904, the representative of the paper who visited the works candidly admitted that he was "considerably astonished at the up-to-date mechanical appliances contained in the spacious workshops". The reporter asserted that, with perhaps the exception of Maitland, "no such extensive plant, outside of Sydney and Newcastle, exists in this State". Castings up to 15cwt could be made in one piece. The steam engine which provided the power for the engineering plant also ran a "miniature" saw-mill and a chaff-cutter.

In the middle of the same year, The Times reported on the manufacture of 13 cast-iron columns, each 10ft 6ins long and weighing 3i/4cwt, for an Armidale hotel.58 Early in 1905, the paper noted that repairs were being carried out at the works to a number of portable engines, as well as to the engine of Richardson's flour mill in Armidale. The works had recently constructed "a large and powerful lathe", and in the shop on view were an assortment of cast-iron verandah posts, columns, ornamental caps, brackets, balcony friezing, firegrates, grave-railings, &c., "all made on the premises". The foundry was hopeful of securing pavilion space to exhibit a number of these items at the forthcoming Uralla Show.59

Chris Young seems to have been not unlike his predecessor, Henry Goddard, in his relationships with the local councils. He served on the Uralla town council at the turn-of-the-century. In 1913, when the Gostwyck Shire President and Inspector had called on Young to look at the sanitary accommodation at the works, they had been met by an intransigent owner who locked the gate and refused the inspecting party admission!60 But perhaps Young was just irritable and feeling the pinch from declining business, due chiefly to a change in building styles and materials requiring less cast iron, as well as the closing down of local mining ventures which had in the past been major clients of the foundry.

Back in 1910 The Times had given the Phoenix Foundry another complimentary review, but one that indicated even then that business was not good. The report stated that the foundry's fine work could be seen in some of the principal buildings in Armidale, and in the crushing plants of the Hillgrove mines. The machinery of the firm was said to be "complicated, costly, and extremely modern", and the turning-lathes and emery-polisher had to be seen to be properly understood. The article continued;

One of the great advantages the firm enjoys is the superior kind of clay or earth that exists here for the making of designs for mouldings. So good is it, in fact, that very few of the castings, no matter of what design or shape, turn out with flaws or blisters, so common and vexatious in most establishments of the kind. Mr. Chris. Young, who is deservedly-popular for his good citizenship, is head of the firm, and the work is under his careful supervision; and as he is one of the most skilful iron and brass founders to be met with in the State, there is certainly no need to send to Sydney for any article pertaining to the trade.

But The Times sounded a warning note when it commented:

Few people at a distance are aware of the capacity of the Uralla Phoenix Foundry. For this reason, it does not enjoy the amount of patronage that the completeness of its producing power deserves.61

3.4 C A Young & Co

Right from the time of setting up a foundry at his East Street premises in the early 1900s, Christopher Young styled his business C A Young & Co. Four cottages now lining the south side of East Street are said to have been once associated with the foundry ~ Nos 2, 4, 8 and 12 East Street. Young and his family would have lived in one cottage, and the others are said to have been built out of timber from an hotel from the nearby gold-town of Melrose.62

(Check with Arnold about this story, and for a date)

Chris and Barbara Young had twelve children, of whom six were boys. A 1968 newspaper report claims that Frank, Herb, Bill (young Chris), Arthur and Walter worked at some time in the foundry.63 But Leslie Young (born 1893) was the only son who was to work at the foundry for a lifetime.

It was Les, who, as the traditional casting and engineering side of the business declined, sought to diversify into other fields of activity. The fortunes of the business must have been at a very low ebb in the early 1920s, as C A Young & Co did not place an advertisement in the 1925 Back-to-Uralla Souvenir. From the mid-1920's onwards Les Young acquired dealerships for Chrysler cars, and certain brands of farm machinery. While the foundry is listed under C A Young & Co in Moore's Almanac right up until the last edition in 1940, from the year 1929 onwards Young Brothers are also listed in the same publication under 'garages'. Some of the brand names handled by Young Bros in these years included Nash, Rio, Plymouth and Vanguard motorcars, and the products of Buzacott, Shell, Dunlop and Krupp. The entire casting floor of the foundry was boarded over to make room for the display of motors and other equipment, although a small section was fitted with removable flooring to enable any casting to take place. With the onset of the 1930s depression, further diversification was obtained by operating a sawmill on the site.64 The relative unimportance of the foundry side of the business in the inter-war years can be interpreted from the signage on the building shown in the well-known c. 1928 photo of the premises. C A Young & Co are then depicted as GENERAL ENGINEERS, and the front of the building displays a prominent sign advertising CHRYSLER Sales and Service. Seemingly the foundry business didn't at that time warrant a sign.

Back in 1910 The Times had given the Phoenix Foundry another complimentary review, but one that indicated even then that business was not good. The report stated that the foundry's fine work could be seen in some of the principal buildings in Armidale, and in the crushing plants of the Hillgrove mines. The machinery of the firm was said to be "complicated, costly, and extremely modern", and the turning-lathes and emery-polisher had to be seen to be properly understood. The article continued;

One of the great advantages the firm enjoys is the superior kind of clay or earth that exists here for the making of designs for mouldings. So good is it, in fact, that very few of the castings, no matter of what design or shape, turn out with flaws or blisters, so common and vexatious in most establishments of the kind. Mr. Chris. Young, who is deservedly-popular for his good citizenship, is head of the firm, and the work is under his careful supervision; and as he is one of the most skilful iron and brass founders to be met with in the State, there is certainly no need to send to Sydney for any article pertaining to the trade.

But The Times sounded a warning note when it commented:

Few people at a distance are aware of the capacity of the Uralla Phoenix Foundry. For this reason, it does not enjoy the amount of patronage that the completeness of its producing power deserves.61

3.4 C A Young & Co

Right from the time of setting up a foundry at his East Street premises in the early 1900s, Christopher Young styled his business C A Young & Co. Four cottages now lining the south side of East Street are said to have been once associated with the foundry ~ Nos 2, 4, 8 and 12 East Street. Young and his family would have lived in one cottage, and the others are said to have been built out of timber from an hotel from the nearby gold-town of Melrose.

Chris and Barbara Young had twelve children, of whom six were boys. A 1968 newspaper report claims that Frank, Herb, Bill (young Chris), Arthur and Walter worked at some time in the foundry.63 But Leslie Young (born 1893) was the only son who was to work at the foundry for a lifetime.

It was Les, who, as the traditional casting and engineering side of the business declined, sought to diversify into other fields of activity. The fortunes of the business must have been at a very low ebb in the early 1920s, as C A Young & Co did not place an advertisement in the 1925 Back-to-Uralla Souvenir. From the mid-1920's onwards Les Young acquired dealerships for Chrysler cars, and certain brands of farm machinery. While the foundry is listed under C A Young & Co in Moore's Almanac right up until the last edition in 1940, from the year 1929 onwards Young Brothers are also listed in the same publication under 'garages'. Some of the brand names handled by Young Bros in these years included Nash, Rio, Plymouth and Vanguard motorcars, and the products of Buzacott, Shell, Dunlop and Krupp. The entire casting floor of the foundry was boarded over to make room for the display of motors and other equipment, although a small section was fitted with removable flooring to enable any casting to take place. With the onset of the 1930s depression, further diversification was obtained by operating a sawmill on the site.64 The relative unimportance of the foundry side of the business in the inter-war years can be interpreted from the signage on the building shown in the well-known c. 1928 photo of the premises. C A Young & Co are then depicted as GENERAL ENGINEERS, and the front of the building displays a prominent sign advertising CHRYSLER Sales and Service. Seemingly the foundry business didn't at that time warrant a sign.