In May 1956, Goetz’s Hall Street neighbour RVB Engineering Products were celebrating their 21st anniversary. Not being one to usually advertise in the papers, Goetz took out a half page ‘congratulations’ style advertisement on page 9 of The Argus, 22nd May 1956 as part of the RVB celebration and promotion. Roy Butler is featured in the ad along with a photo of employees posing in front of the old Bickford, Smith & Co. Explosives building, which is set back from Hall Street, in between RVB and Goetz.
The caption reads ‘MR. ROY V. BUTLER, managing director of R. V. B. Engineering Products Ltd., surveys (top left) a picture of the company’s first home at North Melbourne, 21 years ago, and the staff of 230 at the present great Spotswood plant.’
Underneath , Goetz are saying ‘”WELL DONE” to an old friend – R.V.B. ENGINEERING PRODUCTS LIMITED’. RVB made tyre guages, automotive horns and other pneumatic equipment – some of it using Goetz machinery.
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Directors of RVB at times included names associated with W.G. Goetz and Sons. A newspaper clipping from The Argus on January 23rd 1951 regarding an RVB share offer following its conversion to a Public Company, lists directors including Captain J.H. Moss, O. Goetz, A.Goetz, F.C. Craddock and R.J. Burns.
RVB Engineering Products Limited was renamed as RVB Limited on 28 March 1974, which was in-turn deregistered on 26 April 1985. They had 11 patents listed with Intellectual Property Australia from 11 March 1954; the last being 24 March 1985 – a month before they were deregistered.
In April 1939, W.G. Goetz and Sons Pty. Ltd. became a public company, renamed with the dropping of ‘Pty’ and simply becoming ‘Limited’.Above: The Argus reports W.G. Goetz as a new public company, 30th March 1939 p.9.
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Below: W.G. Goetz and Sons Limited business registration certificate, entitling commencement of business as a public company from the 29th of April, 1939. Click image below for larger version.
This article appeared in The Herald, Thursday September 4th, p.19. The article mentions the forthcoming celebration dinner to be held the next day at the Southern Cross Hotel. For more info and a look at the dinner menu, go to the post ‘Centenary Month & Dinner 1975
The article contains some errors:
- W. G. Goetz’s death as 1917. Recorded death 12th May 1913.
- His arrival from Germany in 1875. Gottlob Wilhelm Paul Götz actually arrived in Australia aged 23 at the Port Melbourne Pier, on 14th December 1863 aboard the S.S. Great Britain, from Liverpool. No information regarding his journey from Germany to Liverpool has been found so far. One can only speculate that the reason for his emigration was to avoid military service. Had he remained in Germany, he may have been caught up in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 when his native Würtemberg took up arms on behalf of Austria. Austria was defeated by the Prussians, who promptly occupied northern Würtemberg. W. G.’s relocation to Australia turned out to be a good move!
- No evidence has been found that his business commenced in 1875. Contrary evidence suggests later dates. For further discussion see this page Beginnings — Queen Street, Melbourne
A scandal broke out in the press in 1896 when W. G. Goetz was accused of inflating prices for supplying items to the post office and bribing Thomas Carroll, a senior post office engineering employee.
In the Public Service Board inquiry, Goetz was accused of giving ‘commissions’, shouting Carroll free drinks at Flanagan’s Treasury Hotel in Queen Street (a few doors up towards Little Lonsdale Street from Goetz’s 140 Queen Street workshop), and giving Carroll a ham! (Carroll couldn’t recall if it was a Christmas or Easter ham!)
Although denying specific allegations other than over-charging for articles supplied, it seems that the crux of Goetz’s defence was basically that everyone was doing it!
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 4 September 1896, p.6
The outcome was that several heads rolled with Carroll and a number of other officials being dismissed from service.
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From ‘The Argus’, Monday November 7th, 1955. p.25, this advertisement featuring the Goetz Model 400R can making machine was included as part of a souvenir lift out celebrating the opening of the then new H.J. Heinz factory at Dandenong.
According to articles elsewhere, young Henry John Heinz commenced by growing, packing and selling his first product, horseradish, in his neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the USA in 1869. His product ‘lines’ soon extended to and beyond the famous ’57 varieties’, which became the company slogan in 1896.
Although Heinz products became available in Australia from around 1895, demand was such that an Australian factory had to be set up. Its Australian operations commenced in October 1935 in a converted former piano factory in Richmond, Victoria. Perhaps as a nod to H.J.’s original product, bottled horseradish was the first product off the line at Richmond. By 1939, there were 40 employees, but the move to Dandenong saw an expansion of the workforce to 350 employees.
Although still headquartered in Melbourne, Heinz closed the Dandenong factory in 2000.
Youngest son of Gottlob and Sarah Goetz, Otto Theodore ‘Jack’ Goetz served as Chairman from July 1953 to 196?
Above: From The Herald (Melbourne), 7 July 1953 p.6. Otto was elected Chairman of Directors. Peter Moss appointed as director to replace Albert Goetz, who had died 27 December 1952.
Below: The Age, 8 July 1953 p.6 reports that Otto’s appointment was to replace James Moss.
Otto, Albert and James Moss had also served as directors with RVB Engineering, next door to the W. G. Goetz factory in Hall Street, Spotswood.
Otto ‘Jack’ Goetz (middle row, left) pictured at the 1951 Australian Canners Conference in Melbourne. Weekly-Times, September 12th, 1951 p.54
Below: Otto Theodore Goetz business card. Chairman & Managing Director.
Otto Theodore Goetz became a great fan of horse racing, and a member of the Victorian Club, 141 Queen Street. Built in 1880, the club became the scene of the Great Bookie Robbery on 21st April 1976, where robbers stole between $1.5m and $15m in untraceable notes; the takings from 116 bookmakers after the Easter weekend races at Caulfield and Moonee Valley.
Below: Otto’s membership card for 1965-66
Below: Otto ‘Jack’ Goetz, 29 September, 1955 on the day of his daughter Shirley’s wedding.
Otto died on 23rd December 1971, aged 75, remembered in this obituary in the Australian Food Manufacture magazine, 19 January 1972, p.8.
A collection of job advertisements from ‘The Age’ newspaper.
27 January 1951. p.12.
In the early 1950s, Goetz brought skilled tradesmen from the U.K. under a migration scheme sponsored by the Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers. As part of the scheme, Goetz was obliged to provide accommodation for workers and therefore purchased suitable properties at Newport and Williamstown.
In addition to the cost of the accommodation properties, extra finance was needed as Goetz had acquired an interest in a foundry in Grace Street Dandenong in 1948, and made outright purchase in 1949 whereupon they commenced construction of an ‘up to date’ facility on the site. By 1951, the new foundry was still incomplete, requiring an additional ₤8,000 to complete the work.
Therefore, in April 1951 the company made available an issue of 35,000 ₤1 5% Cumulative Preference Shares.
The extra requirements of wartime defense production at Goetz saw the construction of a new building adjacent to the main factory in Hall Street Spotswood.
Registered on 29 November 1940, Goetz Annexe Pty. Ltd. was formed as a subsidiary company of W.G.Goetz and Sons Ltd. Renamed Goetz Annexe Limited and finally Goetz Manufacturing Pty. Ltd., the company was deregistered on 11 July 2003. (ref: businessofaustralia.com)
These September 1941 newspaper clippings report that double 12 hour shifts had been undertaken in the preceding year, doubling regular production output. By October 1941, the defence annexe was in full production.
Goetz was noted for taking part in ‘patriotic programs which help the war effort’. Commercial Broadcasting journal, 28 January 1943, p. 12
Below: Some of the Goetz made munition percussion and timer caps from WWII. These particular items in the photos were used by my grandfather Otto Goetz at home as paperweights. As a small boy, I used to play with them when I visited him. Neal
The land on which the Goetz annexe operated was actually owned by the Department of Munitions. Following the war, in May 1947 W. G. Goetz and Sons Ltd. purchased the land, including all ‘buildings and services’ through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission.
Below: Sales advice from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission regarding Goetz’s purchase of the annexe site from the Department of Munitions, 16th May 1947. Click image for larger version.
Below: A letter dated 22nd September 1947 from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission to advise the Department of the Interior that the land owned by the Department of Munitions (on which Goetz had been operating the annexe), had been sold to Goetz. Goetz paid £10,000 on 16th May 1947. Click image for larger view.