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A History of Brickmaking in WA

Where it began, and the Guinness Book of Records

Western Australia has a long and proud history of brickmakers dating back to the late 1800s. Lewis Whiteman, who was one of the first, founded Whiteman’s Brick in 1896.  This long-established brick works has been in operation since that time, although not always under the Whiteman name.

Probably one of the most influential brickmakers of the 20th century was Ric New (pictured above), who together with his brother Gerry, established Midland Brick in 1946. As brickmakers they became the backbone of the industry - and for almost 75 years led the way in developing new products and building techniques that have made Perth houses so highly regarded for quality and cost-effectiveness.

In 1985 Midland Brick purchased Whiteman’s, and these two pioneering family companies combined to become one of Australia’s leading brick makers, operating the world’s largest ‘single site’ brick works – recognised in the Guinness Book of World Records.

To the moon and back – 3 times!

Surprisingly, WA has probably more experience of with double clay brick home construction than any other state, and would stand in the top tier internationally in terms of quality and manufacturing knowledge.

A surprising fact is that Midland Brick alone has made over 10 billion clay bricks: enough to stretch to the moon and back 3 times! That’s a lot of bricks… and being clay, they’re all totally recyclable. 

Your choice today - be creative

With the millions of dollars invested in new technology and local know-how, the choice of bricks has grown at an amazing rate; especially when you consider that just over a generation ago, brick makers only gave you a choice of a couple of reds and a cream. By comparison, today’s choice is mind-blowing. The diversity is only matched by house styles and architectural trends. Your options now range from all the old favourites to unique handmade styles, double height and textured bricks. Some brick makers – like Midland Brick – even offer glazed, slimline or imported bricks. So, whatever your preference, you’ll find a brick size, colour and texture to suit every home style and personal taste.

Then of course there’s a whole range of brick pavers… but that’s another story.

All this is testament to the skills and commitment of today’s WA brick makers and those pioneering West Australian brickmakers of a century ago. To explore Midland Brick’s range of bricks, click here.