Tanning and Bootmaking Activities in the St Marys District



At least four tanneries had been established at St Marys by the 1850s

  • Thomas Paskin, Saddlers Shop and Tannery. (Located on the south-western corner of the Western Road and Mamre Road).(1)
  • John Page, Saylhurst Tannery. Located on the eastern bank of South Creek at the end of the present day Pages Road).(2)
  • Samuel Thompson, Thompson’s Tannery. (Located on the eastern bank of South Creek, on the southern side of the Western Road). (3)
  • Thomas Harford, Tannery and Boot Making Factory. (Located on the southern side of the Western Road and the eastern side of Market Street).(4)


The tanners of St Marys listed in the Post Office Directory of 1872 (as collated in Stapleton, E., Other Days, Other Ways) were:

  • Thomas Paskin (as above)
  • Thomas Harford (as above)
  • Saddinqton & Sons, Colonial Tannery. (Page’s former tannery. Purchased by Saddington in 1866 and subsequently sold to Thomas Henry Alcock and Joseph Davenport in 1879).(5)
  • Matthew Webb & Sons, Webb’s tannery. Located on the northern side of the Western Road between South Creek and Windsor Road (Queen Street). Matthew Webb, junior, purchased a new, three hectare tannery site on the eastern side of Windsor Road in 1876 (6).
  • Daniel Lord (site not identified)
  • Other tanners operating during that decade included
  • Andrew Thompson, Thompson’s Tannery.Established on the site which had been developed by his father, Samuel Thompson, during the 1850s. Later closed .(7)
  • R. Hamilton, Parkhill Tannery. Established in the vicinity of the present-day Desborough Road in about 1874.(8)
  • Martin Brell, Brell’s Tannery. Brell purchased a small tannery owned by Alexander Simpson of Wilberforce, storekeeper, in October 1879. This was located on the southern side of the Western Road and the western side of Market Street.(9)


The tanners operating at St Marys in 1887 were

  • W. Carberry, manager of Harford s Tannery and Boot Making Factory. (As above)
  • Martin Brell, Brell’s Tannery. (As above)
  • Mr Forsyth, manager of Webb’s Tannery. (As above)
  • Robert Hamilton, Parkhill Tannery. (As above)
  • Andrew Thompson, St Marys Tannery. Established on a new site on the southern side of Saddington Street in 1881 (10) 
  • John Herford, Herford’s Tannery. Purchased from Thomas Paskin in about 1882 (11)
  • Ebenezer John White, Colonial Tannery. Purchased from Alcock and Davenport in 1882 (12) . In 1882 this site was purchased by Frederick Alfred Adolphus Wilson of Sydney, but was largely idle until the management was taken over by Mr Farrell in 1887. In 1888 the site was sold to Frederick Clissold, but the tannery continued to be managed by Farrell (13)


In 1890 there were eight tanneries, including one large boot manufactury and tannery combined, operating at St Marys, but in 1891 Mr Herford’s business had extended to such an extent that he took up new premises on Eastern Creek and the tannery originally established by Thomas Paskin ceased to operate. (14). In the same year Webb’s tannery was sold to Andrew Thompson, and was subsequently developed as his ‘No 2 tannery’ (15). Similarly, Harford’s Tannery was purchased by Martin Brell and incorporated into his adjoining works in 1895 (16).

New works opened in St Marys during this decade included the boot-making factory of Mr. Worthington (17), and Robert Desborough’s Tannery which was opened on the present-day corner of Desborough and Bega Streets in 1894 (18).


The tanners listed at St Marys in Sands Country Commercial Directory for 1901 were:

  • Andrew Thompson & Company, St Marys Tannery
  • Martin Brell, Brell’s Tannery
  • William Armstrong, manager of Clissold’s Colonial Tannery. This site was sold to Joseph Francis and Lewis Joseph Aushau in 1902 (19)
  • Robert Desborough, Desborough’s Tannery
  • R. Hamilton, Parkhill,Tannery. (Hamilton closed these works in 1901 and Atoved ‘to Botany)
  • F.J. Harford, Jnr (Site not identified)
  • Two other tanneries were being operated in nearby Werrington by Fred Jones (Jones’ Tannery) and the Paskin Brothers (Nepean Tannery).


The tanners listed for St Marys in Sands Directory of 1910 were :

  • Andrew Thompson Co., St Marys Tannery. This tannery closed after Andrew Thompson’s retirement in c.1915.(20)
  • Martin Brell, Brell’s Tannery
  • Anschau & sons, Colonial Tannery. In 1911 the Anschau family closed their St Marys works and moved to Windsor. (21)
  • Robert Desborough, Desborough’s Tannery
  • Fred Jones, Jones’ Tannery, Werrington
  • Paskin Brothers, Paskin Bros Tannery, Werrington


In 1924 seventy-two tanners were listed for New South Wales in ‘The Australian Leather Journal, Boot and Shoe Recorder Diary’. Five of these were based in the St Marys district:

  • Martin Brell, St Marys
  • R.W. Desborough, St Marys
  • Fred C. Jones, Werrington
  • William Millen, Kingswood
  • Paskin Brothers, Kingswood

By this time the major tanning centres were at Botany and Willoughby which had 27 and 9 tanneries respectively.


In 1930 five tanners were listed for the St Marys district in Sands Directory:

  • Martin and Francis Brell, St Marys. (This tannery closed down after Martin Brell’s death in 1934)
  • Robert Desborough, St Marys
  • Fred Jones & Co, Kingswood
  • T. Paskin, Kingswood
  • W. & J. Millen, Kingswood


In 1942 four tanners were listed for St. Marys in Wises NSW Post Office Directory. All of these were located away from the town in Werrington and Kingswood

  • Harry Giles, Werrington
  • Jones’ Tannery, Werrington
  • William Millen, Kingswood
  • Paskin Brothers, Kingswood

The last tannery to close down was Millen’s, which ceased to operate in 1956.


1. Nepean Times, ‘Old St Marys – As It Was’ in the Fifties’
2. Nepean Times, ‘Old St Marys – As It Was in the Fifties’;
     Land Titles Office, Register 41, No 527
3. Nepean Times, 9 November 1918 : Thompson’s obituary;
     Penrith City Library.Local History Collection, Local Collection Vertical File – St Marys, Notes prepared by        Mr.  Evans
4. Land Titles Office Register 29, No 735;
     Nepean Times, 15 June 1907 : Letter to the Editor
     Nepean Times, 20 January, 1934 : Brell’s obituary
5. Land Titles Office, Book 97, No 242 and CT Volume 464, Folio 26
6. Land Titles Office, Register 1630 No 781
7. Nepean Times, 9 November 1918 : Thompson’s obituary
8. Nepean Times, 26 November 1921: Hamilton is obituary
9. Land Title Office, Register 196,, No 466
     Nepean Times, 20 January 1934, Brell’s obituary
10. Nepean Times, 9 November 1918, Thompson’s obituary
11. Nepean Times, 19 March 1927 : Herford’s obituary
     St Marys Historical Society, Spotlight on History No 5 : 18
12. Land Titles Office, CT Volume 536, Folio 125
     Nepean Times, 23 August 1884
13. Land Titles Office, CT Volume 536, Folio 125
     Nepean Times, 26 February 1887
14. Nepean Times, 4 July 1891
15. Land Titles Office, CT Volume 1042 Folio 51
     Nepean Times, 16 October 1897
16. Land Titles Office, Register 557, No 731
     Nepean Times, 6 April 1895
17. Nepean Times, 21 November 1891
18. Land Titles Office CT Volume 1039 Folio 68
     Nepean Times, 20 April 1895
     Mr L. Stapletong St Marys Historical Society
19. Land Titles Office, CT Volume 905, Folio 75
20. Nepean Times, 9 November 1918 : Thompson’s obituary
21. Land Titles Office, CT Volume 905, Folio 75, Sands Directory