Founded in 1982, the Old Red Brick Company is South Australia’s oldest and largest brick recycling company. The company is also one of SA’s leading demolition & construction firms with a long and storied history.
The Old Red Brick co was one of the first companies in South Australia to recognise the value of recycling heritage red bricks from Adelaide’s demolition market. First operating out of the former Woodroofe’s Factory in Norwood in 1982, the mum and dad operation soon outgrew the site and moved to Murray Street in Thebarton in 1989 before settling at its current home in 1992 at William Street, Beverley. Throughout this period, operations centred around purchasing old red bricks from established demolition companies, hand cleaning and palletising these bricks and then on selling them to members of the public.
It wasn’t until 1994 that the Old Red Brick Company first entered the demolition industry. The growth into this sector was driven by the companies need to source the old red bricks on which it depended. Demolition practices during the early 90’s were very different to demolition methods today. The company’s first demolition plant was an old bulldozer which would be used to drive through a building and push over the walls. This was after the building had been completely stripped of every single piece of salvageable timber that was used in its construction.
Throughout the late 90’s and 00’s the company expanded and refined its demolition operations within the residential demolition market in Adelaide, slowly upgrading its fleet to include excavators and semi-trailers. This expansion included demolition of not just red brick domestic buildings, but demolition of all types of houses across greater Adelaide.
It was in 2012, with a change in directors and the passing of the baton from one generation to another, that the company again adjusted its focus with its first forays into commercial demolition. From 2012 to 2017, the company dramatically expanded its operations and along with it, the company’s capabilities and technical expertise. This culminated in a wide variety of projects during this period from schools, churches, warehouses to multi-storey buildings and large site clearances within the commercial asbestos removal and demolition sectors.
Since 2017 the company has again expanded and diversified its services to include bulk earthworks and minor civil construction. Whilst continuing to evolve and adapt, the Old Red Brick Company hasn’t expanded to the detriment of its traditional products and services. At present we recycle more old red bricks per year than at any point in our history and we continue to demolish residential buildings across South Australia.
The Old Red Brick Company’s home for the last 27 years has been the site of the former Willis and Williams’ brickyard on William Street in Beverley, South Australia. We are proud of our connection to the early brick manufacturing industry through our site, as this industry was so important to Adelaide’s early establishment and growth. For more information on the history of the brickyard see the timeline beneath.
HISTORY OF THE BRICK YARD
167 – 169 WILLIAM STREET BEVERLEY
1882 TO 2019
Willis & Williams Pty Ltd begins manufacturing bricks from the site named York at this time. The clay for the bricks is excavated from a natural deposit on site.
Willis and Williams Pty Ltd sponsors skilled migrants from Germany, Italy, Poland and Hungary to emigrate to Australia. These migrants both live and work onsite at the brickyard.