Courtesy State Library SA, Kangaroo Island Collection, B-17492 photo dated 1908Lord Dudley (William Humble Ward) the Governor General and party at China Clay Mine.

1908 ... there is the China Clay Coy's works which give promise of a great and prosperous future. News has recently been received by the manager at Hog Bay that the bricks made by him have been tested at some of the largest furnaces in South Australia with highly satisfactory results. It is reported that the imported brick melted under the great heat while the Hog Bay brick still remained intact even although subjected to greater heat. This is altogether very promising and the superior nature of the Hog Bay brick is now an established fact. The mine has now been working in a practical way for several years and there is a good deal of valuable machinery both at the mine and at the pottery at Hog Bay. At the mine the crushers and grinders are driven by a large steam engine, the clay and china stone being elevated from the mine into trucks which tip automatically into a bin and then finds its way to the grinders and silk sifter by gravitation. At Hog Bay extensive works have been erected at great cost which are not yet quite completed. The machinery here is of a most up-to date nature the power being obtained from a large Blackstone oil engine. Here as at the mine the stuff finds its way through the different machinery by gravitation. A large kiln is now being built out of bricks made locally and altogether the China Clay Coy. have something of which to be proud and we are pleased to welcome them to Paradise Island.

Hog Bay News. (1908, January 4). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 7.


HOG BAY (K.I.), July 22.— On Wednesday last Mr. J. Provis, the manager of the China Clay Company, had the misfortune to have his house burnt to the ground with all its contents. Mr. Provis left home in the morning, and on returning in the afternoon found that his house had been destroyed. It is supposed that the place caught alight through a fire being left in the fireplace. It is reported that Mr. Provis has sustained a heavy loss. He left for Adelaide by steamer the next day. Many valuable papers and a sum of money in banknotes were lost.

A HOUSE DESTROYED BY FIRE. (1906, July 28). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 13.

An extraordinary general meeting of share-holders in the Kangaroo Island China Stone and Clay Company was held at 3, Royal Exchange, on-Tuesday. Mr T Barnfield presided, over a fair attendance, representing over 30,000 shares. A resolution was carried increasing the capital of the company to 50,000 shares by the issue of 15,000 additional shares, of which 5,000 shares are to be offered to the present shareholders at the rate of one share for every seven shares now held. The balance of 10,000 shares to be held in reserve for future capital, and to be issued at the discretion of the directors.

KANGAROO ISLAND CHINA CLAY COMPANY. (1906, February 7). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 10.


In giving evidence before the Tariff Commission on Thursday, Mr. Joseph Provis, manager for the Kangaroo Island China, Stone, and Clay Company, referred to the operations of his company, and the character of the materials at their disposal. On Friday morning a representative of The Register obtained from Mr. Provis a few particulars about the mine, and inspected at the office the secretary (Mr. W. A. Kingsborough) samples of the products. The property is situated about eight miles east of Hog Bay, and within three miles of the main road to Cape Willoughby. The company has a concession over a large area, and has proved the existence of all the constituents for the manufacture of the finest china—with the exception of bone—over 400 acres. The presence of the materials has been demonstrated at a depth of 70 ft., and the quality improves as one descends. Immediately below the surface is a yellowish felspathic clay, which whitens as the depth increases. Under that is the pure white china clay. Then comes a band of semi-decomposed felspar, possessing the appearance of salt, and as white as snow. Below that is first-class felspar, succeeded by similarly high-class Cornish stone. A pure silica traverses the above formation diagonally, and has a width of 10 ft. This has been opened up for a considerable distance, and the quality maintained. Samples of the local product compare most favourably with the best imported article— are purer in colour, and of a much finer texture. In preparing china clay for market it has to be washed, and the residues after that process can be utilized in the manufacture of firebricks, crucibles muffles, and tiles. Placed alongside each other, it was difficult to distinguish the English from the Kangaroo Island made crucible, albeit that the former was better finished. The fiber clay produced by the company can be used for the manufacture of china and various chemical apparatus, and as an admixture to inferior clays, for all which purposes it has been proved eminently suitable. As soon as the capabilities of the mine were shown beyond doubt, Mr. Provis interviewed the leading manufacturers in the different States, and ascertained the character of their requirements. Forthwith a complete crushing, grinding, and refining plant, drying furnace, and the necessary sieves for grading were installed, and will be set in operation at an early date. An excellent supply of water is obtainable from the water shaft, and every advantage has been taken of the natural facilities for gravitation.

A NEW INDUSTRY. (1905, November 24). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), p. 1.




Much has appeared in the columns of The Register concerning the deposits of china clay at Kangaroo Island, and if, in addition to the favourable opinions which have already been expressed, the evidence of an expert potter counts for anything— one who has had a Staffordshire experience of 35 years, and whose forebears for generations were practical potters— much more will yet be heard. Than Mr. Alfred Capper few are better qualified to speak on this subject. After spending half a life-time in the famous potteries of the old country, he came to Australia 18 months ago, and founded the Australian Pottery Company, at Longueville, near Sydney. Like others in the Commonwealth who have been assiduously endeavouring to raise the pottery industry to the status of sup-plying at least domestic needs, Mr. Capper was beginning to despair that the requisite raw materials would be procurable except by importation from Europe. Firms are working at low pressure in each of the States, but the great obstacle which has barred the road to prosperity and success has been the absence of suitable clay on the spot. Some months ago the manager of the China Clay and Pottery Company (Mr. Joseph Provis) forwarded to Mr. Capper's works several crude samples from its deposits at Kangaroo Island. The latter tested them, worked them, and was so surprised at the excellent results obtained that he determined to come over and see the mines for himself. Accompanied by Mr. Provis, he went to the island on Saturday, and on his return he had nothing but good to say both of the material and the machinery for treating it.

—An Unbiased Opinion.—

'I visited Kangaroo Island to ascertain the extent and adaptability of the material for fine-class pottery,' Mr. Capper told a reporter, 'and I have no hesitation in saying it is quite equal to the English. There are apparently unlimited quantities of the clay, and I fully confirm what Mr. Provis has told your readers in that connection. Mind you, my enquiries were made solely in the interests of the industry, because I have found that the chief difficulty Australian potters labour under is the absence of accurate and satisfactory knowledge respecting clay deposits. As an expert potter, I am perfectly satisfied with what I have seen. There is, without doubt, a great future before the industry, and manufacturers may now confidently rely upon colonial supplies of raw materials. I repeat that I consider the duality of the china stone, china clay, and felspar quite equal to that found in England or on the Continent. So far all the material used in the manufacture of high-class china have had to be imported, but this discovery will fill the gap, and, I believe, prove the salvation of the industry out here.'

—Great Possibilities—

Clay used for the manufacture of earthenware and chinaware is composite containing four distinct varieties, and all of them are found in the Kangaroo Island clay. These jugs, cups, and teapots you see here— and a fine lot they were— were made and decorated by me from the samples Mr. Provis sent me. Besides this ware high-class (silica) firebricks can be made, which at present have to be imported. This brick has been subjected to the severest test the potter was able to place it under— 1,200 deg. Centigrade— and it has come out without a sign of cracking or of vitrification. Bricks of that description will supply the place of millions which are now annually imported. They are particularly suited for high temperature blast and smelting furnaces, and for the manufacture of crucibles, scorifiers and muffles, and assayers' materials. There is also a superior clay, suitable for the manufacture of roofing and flooring tiles. Practically all the tiles used in Australia; are made in France, but this clay is non-porous and the finest I have ever seen. There is also material largely composed of felspar and china stone which would make good insulators, and given the right kind of skilled labour we will also be able to supply our wants in that direction. The production of earthenware and china glazes, too, is important, for with the addition of metallic oxides they can be produced from the materials mentioned. That is almost an industry in itself. I was astonished to find that Mr. Provis had in-stalled such splendid machinery for manipulating the material. It is absolutely necessary that felspar, china stone, and silica should be ground to the finest possible state, and that which I saw treated was satisfactory.

—Australia Can Supply all Her Wants.—

"In Staffordshire the pottery industry is carried on to the highest degree of perfection. Generation after generation has been skilfully trained in the work of pottery manufacture. This constitutes an enormous advantage to English producers, be-cause, favoured with abundance of material and extremely good labour conditions, they are able to turn out articles at minimum cost. Now contrast these with the conditions prevailing in Australia and you will see what colonial potters have to compete with. On the other hand we have a 20 per cent, duty, and this, with other im-porting charges added, gives us a Protection of almost 50 per cent. It is highly desirable that young Australians should be trained in the art of pottery making. Steps are being taken in New South Wales as a result of my suggestion to include pottery in the technical schools of that State, with special regard to the decorative aspect. The absence of skilled hands represents a big handicap to Australian potters. The decorations increase the value of the article 25, 50, or even 100 per cent.; yet there are only two firms in Australia which do this work, and they are carrying on only under great disadvantages. My company is training girls in this department of the business. The inferior quality of some of the locally made pottery has created prejudice in favour of the imported, but now that manufacturers can obtain the material to turn out goods equal to the English prejudice must die. There are other considerations which will favour Australian potters— the quickness of dispatch and the promptitude with which breakages can be replaced:- the latter being of considerable importance seeing that one firm estimated its breakages at 10 per cent. I am fully convinced that there is now no reason why our potters should not supply the whole of the requirements of the Commonwealth."

KANGAROO ISLAND POTTERY CLAY. (1906, January 3). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 3.

To the Editor.

Sir—As I am being taunted daily in regard to the wonderful clay deposit of Kangaroo Island, I may state that I am not given to make fictitious statements in the press or otherwise. When the Tariff Commission

[see TARIFF COMMISSION. (1905, November 23). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), p. 1. ]

was sitting here evidence was given by representatives of kindred works of such a frivolous nature that I declined to go before the Commission. Nevertheless the statements made then by Mr. W. H. Holford were quite true, though he now wishes, as it is put, "to make the amende honorable." As to large orders being given to the China Clay Company by all the leading pottery manufacturers in the Commonwealth, I claim to be the one in South Australia, and I beg to contradict that statement in regard to myself. I have tried and tested the clay forwarded me some months ago, and have not been satisfied with it. If the China Clay Company have made any further discovery what have they to be afraid of in submitting me any samples? I should only be too pleased to test and try their clay in all its bearings, because I realise that their success would be mine. I should be only too pleased to note that South Australia is supplying manufacturers with china clay, china stone, Cornish stone, flint, felspar, &c., which they speak of throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth, as that is what the pottery trade is looking for, and has been for years.—I am, &c.,

J. C. KOSTER. Premier Pottery, North Norwood, July 14, 1906

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN POTTERY. CLAY. (1906, July 17). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 9.