The Forgotten Factory – A Living History Exhibition was presented in three specially curated components: The Rodd Collection, The Bruce McCullough Collection and The History of G&E Rodd. The exhibition opened at The Laneway Artspace on Monday 30 January, 2017, and after two extensions by public demand, closed on Sunday 9 April.
The History of G&E Rodd Display
Clunie Walker's account of the Rodd family, from the 1840s to the 1960s, was displayed as a series of large format (A1) presentations.
The Rodd (Australia) Ltd Factory
With invaluable input from Mr Bruce McCullough, Clunie Walker was able to present a faithful reproduction of the vast extent of the Rodd factory layout, from its beginning at 37 Greeves Street, to the eventual extension up to Barkly Street.
The Table Setting
The centrepiece of The Forgotten Factory exhibition was a dining table set for two, featuring a fine dining display of selected Rodd and Hecworth tableware.
Gemtation Jewellery by Carol Robinson
Carol creates a unique jewellery range, hand-crafted in Melbourne from solid silver vintage/antique spoons and forks from around the world. Carol’s stunning hard-crafted pieces, fashioned from sterling silver Rodd cutlery, were on display and for sale as a part of The Forgotten Factory exhibition.
Special visitors to The Forgotten Factory Exhibition
Throughout the three-month run of The Forgotten Factory exhibition at The Laneway Artspace, we were honoured to be able to welcome some very special guests who shared invaluable, personal associations with the story of the Rodd company and the Rodd family.
The Rodd family: Nan Rodd, Suzy Speirs, Pamela Barkley and her daughter Dianne Banks, John Rodd, Sally Rodd and her husband Bill Bachman. Bruce McCullough, who started his career with Rodd (Australia) Ltd as an apprentice in 1961. Even though he was unable to make the exhibition in person, Bruce contributed a wealth of invaluable memories, insight, information, and his personal collection of photographs and documents about the history of the Rodd factory in St Kilda. Billie Low, who began his career with Rodd (Australia) Ltd in 1947. Brian Goldberg, who having begun his career with Rodd (Australia) Ltd as an apprentice in 1960, went on to become the company’s Head Jeweller. Jeffrey and Ron Deslandes, whose father Frank Deslandes worked for G&E Rodd and Rodd (Australia) Ltd in the 1940s as a die-sinker and engraver. Jeffrey and Ron were accompanied by Ron’s wife, Jan Robinson. Geoffrey Oliver, who having started as an apprentice in 1962, went on to become General Manager of Rodd (Australia) Ltd. Peter Jones, whose father Maurice Jones worked at the St Kilda Rodd factory in the 1930s. The exhibition was dedicated to the memory of Maurice, who sadly passed away in December 2016. Tobias Nash, Local History Assistant, Port Phillip Library Service. Anthony Stutterd, a relative of the Rodd family. Friends of the Rodd family: Michael and Sharon Letho, Neil and Bo Melville, Pete Gardiner and Renata Gombac.
Front row: Sharon Letho, Nan Rodd, Sally Rodd, Renata Gombac, Clunie Walker, Bo Melville and Pete Gardiner.
Maurice Henry Jones – 1919–2016
'During my research, Mr Maurice Jones, a former Rodd employee, passed away at the age of 97. Mr Jones was thrilled to talk about Rodd again. He was articulate in his memories and provided me with many valuable leads as he, too, believed the Rodd story should not be forgotten. I would like to express my deep gratitude for all Mr Jones’ assistance. He forever has a place in my heart, and I dedicate The Forgotten Factory to his memory.' — Clunie Walker, Curator, The Forgotten Factory.
As Maurice recalled: ‘I can’t remember exactly when I started with G&E Rodd … I would guess probably in my late teens. I worked as a Jeweller predominantly, with cufflinks securing the different sleeve linkages, dumbbells, torpedoes, etc. I also worked in the metals department from time to time. When the 2nd World War started, I enlisted as soon as I could. I was assigned to the Australian 2/12 Field Regiment in the Western Deserts of Libya. I was one of the ‘Rats of Tobruk’.
I returned to Australia at the end of the war in about 1944/45. G&E Rodd had kept my job open for me all that time. I was welcomed back, but I knew I couldn’t stay. I told Arthur Burton I couldn’t do the work anymore. The time in the desert had badly damaged my eyes. Arthur wouldn’t hear of it and said, ‘Don’t worry just put on your apron it will be alright.’ “No!” I had to insist. “Things aren’t the same anymore”. It was at that moment Max [Rodd] put his arm around me and said, “You have to follow your own way – you have to do what is right for you”. So I did, leaving Rodd for another type of job I knew I could manage. I never forgot the kindness and understanding from Max, nor the time I worked for Rodd.’