Spotswood, Hall Street from 1939

For Goetz Roof Sign, Hall Street article, click here

On the move

With the onset of WWII and the need for the local manufacturing industries to supply defence equipment, the Goetz directors decided that the Batman Street site in West Melbourne was by now inadequate for the tasks that lay ahead. Although still operating from Batman Street when the news articles (below) appeared in March and May 1939, the company had purchased land in Hall Street, Spotswood, and a new factory was under construction. Goetz also changed from a Pty Ltd company to a public company from April 1st 1939, certified later that month (see below).

Below: Goetz goes public and plans to build a factory at Spotswood.
From The Herald. 30th March 1939.
Click image to enlarge.

Below: Goetz (still operating from West Melbourne) purchase land in Spotswood so they can expand operations ‘to produce the necessary plant and equipment’ for the war effort.
From the Adelaide News. 30th May 1939, p.25. Click image to enlarge.


During November 1939, among a report of Goetz earnings and profit, it was noted that “the new factory at Spotswood was nearing completion and is expected to be in production before the end of the year.” The Herald, 23 November 1939, p. 5


Below: W. G. Goetz and Sons Limited certificate of entitlement to commence business as a public company, dated 29th April, 1939. Click image to enlarge.


See also Goetz Annexe page War Years – Goetz Annexe


Batman Street Site Sold

It was around this time that Goetz paid off the mortgage for the Batman Street site. Discharge from the mortgage is recorded on the Certificate of Title dated 22nd May 1939. Following the move to the new site in Spotswood, the Batman Street site was sold to Demco Machinery Co. (Victoria) Pty. Ltd., the transfer of title dated 2nd September 1939.

Above: ‘The Sun’ 3rd May, 1939, p. 30. Click image for larger version

Above: ‘The Age’ 5th May, 1939, p. 9. Click image for larger version


Hall Street site, Spotswood

Below: 136-140 Hall St. Spotswood, with Burleigh Street on the right looking east towards the Yarra River (out of shot), showing the Goetz roof sign (still on the building as of 2020, but in need of restoration!) and the caretaker’s house next to the office block. c1960


Below: With the Yarra River in the background and looking in a similar direction as the 1960s photo above, the vacant site on the corner of Hall and Burleigh Streets (with the two lone trees) that would become the Goetz factory is clearly visible in the middle of the photograph. The Bickford, Smith and Co. Explosives factory is the large building to the left. Fronting Hall Street next door to the vacant block is the caretaker’s house seen in the 1960s photo above.

Airspy Collection, Charles Daniel Pratt 1892-1968 photographer, State Library of Victoria. Identifier: H91.160/87 c1933. Click image for larger version, or see SLV image here.


Below: Spotswood aerial photo looking south-west, around 1928 – 1930. Bickford, Smith and Co. Explosives, who had become associated with the chemical firm, Nobel (Australasia),  built their factory in Hall Street in 1911. When Nobel moved in 1939, Roy Butler of RVB Engineering bought the land: “about 520,000 square feet: Mr. Butler retained 240,000 square feet and sold the remainder to Messers. Goetz”. The Argus, 22 May 1956 p.15

At times, both Otto Goetz and Capt. J H Moss would serve on the RVB Board of Directors.

On 22nd June 1939 Goetz purchased the land at the corner of Hall and Burleigh Streets from RVB (part of CA 50, Lot 1 of 7 Parish of Cut Paw Paw) and began construction of their factory soon after; then in 1947, Goetz purchased more of the land from the then owners, the Department of Munitions (for whom Goetz operated a munitions production annexe during WWII), through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission.

Airspy Collection, Charles Daniel Pratt 1892-1968 photographer, State Library of Victoria. Identifier: H29860 c1930. Click image for larger annotated version, or see SLV image here.

Below: Similar view, Aug 2022 Google Earth view.


W. G. Goetz listing (incorrectly as ‘Goetz SG’) in the final edition of the Sands & McDougall’s Directory 1974, p. 809. Although Eastern Metalurgical Founders was located in Dandenong, the registered address was at the Goetz Spotswood premises.

Also in the Sands & McDougall’s Directory 1974, p. 8a, Goetz are listed in the index of advertisers.


Heritage listing

Below: Two views from Heritage Council Victoria, Victorian Heritage Database. W Goetz & Sons Ltd Complex, Hobsons Bay Heritage Study 2006. Read more about the ‘Statement of Significance’ of the Goetz site on the VHD web page.

The caretaker’s house in Hall Street (see also in the two b/w aerial photos above), demolished by the new Goetz owner, despite a heritage overlay. Behind the Goetz site and to the rear left (between light pole and tree), there is a glimpse of the former Bickford, Smith and Co. Explosives Factory dating from 1911. Bickford, Smith and Co. sold part of their land (see aerial photos above) to Goetz around 22nd June 1939.


Hall Street site featured in a vintage-style poster by local artist Kerrie Gottliebsen.

Kerrie’s poster design entitled ‘Spotswood – Two Birds at Night’, celebrates the iconic Two Birds Brewing, which is one of the businesses currently located in the former Hall Street office building of W. G. Goetz and Sons. As part of the artwork, Kerrie was able to capture an image of the Goetz roof sign before its demise due to a graffiti attack, and then being painted over by the building’s owners. 

‘Spotswood – Two Birds at Night’ wall art poster
Click image above to purchase a print.

Kerrie Gottliebsen is a Seaholme artist celebrating passion for Melbourne’s west through the design of vintage inspired travel posters and art prints.
The colourful designs, which now exceed 80, help people to express nostalgia and pride in the different landmarks and places where we work, live, holiday and grow up. 
As a child of the 70’s Kerrie also likes to capture ghost signs in her artwork.