By Sean Reynolds

    An unmistakable landmark along Geelong Road, this expansive iron foundry stands as a reminder of the industries that once thrived in Victoria in the 20th Century. 

    Graham Campbell was established in the early 1900s, growing from a small shop doing general cast iron items to becoming a major supplier of castings for major Australian firms. 

    By the 1950s it was one of the largest foundries in Melbourne’s western suburbs. 

    The building was constructed sometime around 1920 as Graham Campbell Ferrum grew into a larger regional foundry. George Graham joined the foundry in the early 1900s, becoming company partner in 1922. He worked at the foundry until he was an astonishing 92 years old. In George’s time, the foundry had three main customers: the Tramways, Board of Works and The Gas and Fuel Company.

    Yet, despite its storied history, the foundry’s furnaces extinguished in 2013, succumbing to a combination of fines from safety issues, lack of funds to upgrade to more environmentally sustainable practices and a tough economy. Peter Graham, third generation of the Graham family to run the business, lamented the loss of talent with the closing of the iron works. Now the building lays dormant, its furnaces extinguished. 

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    A column by Sean Reynolds. If you’d like to read more stories about Melbourne’s past, follow me on Instagram @melbourne_ghostsigns.

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