Logue’s Brewery

James Shaw: Logue’s Brewery 1863 (The Art Gallery of South Australia)

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900)  Mon 26 Jan 1863


Early in the year 1861 we gave a general notice of the breweries in and near Adelaide, amongst the rest that at Kent Town, the property of Mr. E. Logue.

We then remarked that this establishment apparently increases its dimensions every year, and either the fine quality of the water here available gives an unusual advantage to the proprietor, or he possesses more than ordinary skill in his trade, or both, conspire to give Logue’s ale a character which enables him to compete successfully with all other colonial manufacturers of the nut-brown creature comfort.

During, the year 1862, however, the brewery and its enterprising proprietor encountered vicissitudes that would have destroyed any less genuine trade and crushed many a less energetic individual. Mr. Logue sustained a serious personal injury, and his brewery and residence were demolished by two of the most awful of human visitations, a fire and a flood. In the month of March improvements that had long been in progress were perfected. Gentlemen of scientific acquirements and mechanical skill examined and approved them as increasing the cleanliness and economy of an establishment already a model of cleanliness and economy.

To all human speculation, a fresh start and an accelerated career of prosperity was open to Mr. Logue. But, alas, for man and his imaginings! The stern logic of events disproves his most careful calculations and frustrates his best laid plans. In the dead hour of night the frightful cry of fire was heard; friends— for every neighbour was a friend— rushed to the rescue; Mr. Logue’s family were removed to place of safety, and earnest but unavailing efforts were made to save his property. The machinery, which had as it were, grown under his cultivating hand, the stock upon which the continuance of his extensive trade depended, the home which had sheltered his infant family, were by daylight a chaos of blackened walls and smouldering ashes, intense heat of the fire spread devastation beyond the buildings; luxuriant vines and thriving orange-trees in the garden were consumed or. blasted beyond hope of recovery, and Mr. Logue did not, amid the mass of rubbish that encumbered his premises, have even a clear stage ‘on which to begin the world again. The plant and large stock destroyed were not covered, as the buildings were, by insurance but it was some small comfort to Mr. Logue to know that in a community where fires were often regarded with suspicion, the Coroner and Jury who held an inquest upon that which consumed his premises agreed that it was purely accidental.

A true colonist will not faint at reverses or yield to misfortunes and as such Mr. Logue lost no time in arranging to continue his trade and to restore the appliances necessary to do so with profit.

Scarcely, however, were new buildings reared than the winter floods came down with unusual intensity and force. A large culvert, built by the Corporation along the southern side of the brewery and cottage, to carry a creek under the roadway, became insufficient for its purpose. At first the water flowed over, washed down the wall enclosing Mr. Logue’s garden, began to fill his cellar, and threatened the entire destruction of his premises. Mr. Logue, with his men, endeavoured to dam out the water, and while so engaged the culvert, which was only about four feet from the wall, gave way, and two men fell with the fragments of its arched roof into the rapid and turbid stream below. The men were carried along its subterranean course some distance, when one, arriving at an open place, caught a fence, and escaped, greatly lettered and bruised, but the other poor fellow was drowned, and his body was not found for several days. This flood did comparatively as great damage in the garden as the fire had effected at the brewery, and taken together, the losses were such as would have utterly prostrated many an active man.

We visited the Kent Town Brewery a few days ago, and found the malt store, 103 feet long by 15 feet wide, which, situated at the eastern extremity of the premises, had escaped both fire and flood, was full of English and colonial malt. The malting-house was competed to yield part of its space as a store for hops, while a portion of the southern building which escaped the fire by reason of a party wall extending above the roof was stocked by isinglass, and other stores essential to the business of brewing. In place of the old cellar we found a vaulted chamber of mason- work, massive as a casemate, cool as a grotto and airy as a summerhouse. A curious and clever combination of arches is intended to be the future opening for the delivery of beer when the Corporation repair the culvert and make good the roadway broken up and damaged by the flood. Upon this vaulted base a new brewery has been erected, in which the machinery destroyed by the fire has been reproduced or replaced by superior contrivances. The building throughout is, as far as possible, fire proof, the doors contiguous to the furnaces are of iron, the stairs are of masonry. and the connection with the dwelling-house a series of arches, which defy the devastating element. The horse-mill for grinding the mall also disposes of it after it is shot into the stock-hopper without requiring any aid from the hands of the workmen. It is raised by elevators to a screening-machine, where it is separated from all foreign substances, and cleared from every impurity. It is then conducted by the machinery through various well-known states until it finds its way into the mashing-tun. The wort is then pumped by the same machinery into the copper, where it forms its first acquaintance with the hops. This copper is capable of boiling 35 hogsheads of wort. From thence the wort is allowed to run by means of a large tap and chute into the hop-back, an immense square vessel with a perforated cast-iron bottom, which acts as a strainer, and suffers the wort to escape clear and bright into the coolers. Having undergone the processes of fermentation and fining, the ale is finally committed to casks in the cellar, 161 feet long by 21 feet wide, where it remains until the brisk demand of Mr. Logue’s numerous customers sends it again on its travels to allay the thirst or raise the spirits of the million.

The new private residence exhibits the same spirit of improvement which we noticed in the brewery. One set of rooms are partly underground and must be deliriously cool in summer weather. The rooms on the other storey are lofty and spacious, and the garden is a little paradise. Many of the vines and orange-trees that were injured by the fire have recovered and those borne away by the flood have been replaced. An a-admirable system of irrigation increases the natural fertility of the soil in this well-kept garden, and perhaps in no part of the colony will there be a greater vintage in proportion to its size. Indeed, the vines which are trailed over the principal walks appear to be overloaded with enormous clusters of choice grapes. Those who saw the ruins of Mr. Logue’s house and brewery a few months ago, and know what they are now, must admire the perseverance and skill which raised in such a short time a place of business so complete and a residence so enviable.