George Threlfall (engineer)

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George Threlfall
Personal details
Lancashire, England
Died8 April 1897
Ballangeich, Victoria, Australia
Spouse(s)Bridget Hickey
ChildrenGrace Mary, Thomas Kyle, William Michael, George Sylvester, Catherine(Kitty), Henry, James Murtagh, Mary Catherine (Kitty), Richard Vincent Cornelius
ParentsWilliam and Catherine Threlfall
OccupationEngineer, farmer

George Threlfall (1819–1897) was an English-born Australian engineer and entrepreneur who founded the mining company that later became the Phoenix Foundry.

The Phoenix Foundry was a company that built steam locomotives and other industrial machinery in the city of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Over 30 years they built 352 locomotives for the Victorian Railways, of 38 different designs.



George Threlfall was born in Lancashire, England in 1819. He trained as an engineer in England before sailing for Australia in 1851. [1] He arrived at Williamstown, Victoria where he set up an engineering business. With the discovery of gold later that year thousands of immigrants moved to Ballarat. In 1852, George decided to move and set up business in Ballarat at the height of the gold rush, making and repairing picks and tools for miners and mining machinery.

Lancashire County of England

Lancashire is a ceremonial county in North West England. The administrative centre is Preston. The county has a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2). People from Lancashire are known as Lancastrians.

Williamstown, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Williamstown is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 9 km (5.6 mi) south-west of Melbourne's central business district in the local government area of the City of Hobsons Bay, Williamstown is also the main town where the Australian television program Blue Heelers was filmed.

Ballarat City in Victoria, Australia

Ballarat is a city located on the Yarrowee River in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. The city has a population of 105,471.

In 1854 this business was renamed Carter & Co in Armstrong Street, Ballarat with the addition of partners, iron-founder William Shaw, moulder Robert Holden and engine smith Richard Carter, producing a wide range of products. He left this business in January 1858. [2] The business was later renamed the Phoenix Foundry employing 96 men by November 1861. [3]

William Henry Shaw was an Irish-born Australian engineer and ironfounder who founded the company that later became the Phoenix Foundry.

He married Bridget Hickey in 1861 in Ballarat and had nine children, eight reaching adulthood. He remained in Ballarat for many years becoming a shareholder in the Sons of Freedom Gold Mining Company at Napoleon Lead near Buninyong in 1863. [4] He acquired a property in Ballangeich in an unusual way. He decided to swap his property in Ballarat with Captain John Eddinton who owned Ballangeich Station, Mr Eddington taking Mr Threlfall's property and Mr Threlfall taking the old Ballangeich homestead and portion of the property. This enabled him to enjoy fishing and shooting and join many sporting clubs in the area. He was a member of Mortlake Shire Council for many years, replacing Cr Eddington. [5]

Buninyong Town in Victoria, Australia

Buninyong is a town 11km from Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Midland Highway, south of Ballarat on the road to Geelong.

Shire of Mortlake Local government area in Victoria, Australia

The Shire of Mortlake was a local government area about 220 kilometres (137 mi) west of Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia. The shire covered an area of 2,137 square kilometres (825.1 sq mi), and existed from 1860 until 1994.

He remained at Ballangeich until his death at his residence, Hopkins-house on 8 April 1897 [6] at the age of 78. His widow remained at the Ballangeich homestead until her death on 14 January 1926 at the age of 86.

George Threlfall who played Australian Rules Football for Richmond was his grandson. [7]

George Sylvester Threlfall was an Australian rules footballer who played with Richmond in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Mary Threlfall, matron of Greenslopes Private Hospital was his granddaughter.

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  1. The Victorian Centenary Book page 291
  2. The Star Ballarat 4 January 1858
  3. Weston Bate, Lucky City: The First Generation at Ballarat 1851-1901. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1978, p. 123. [Federation University Australia, Mt Helen Library]
  4. The Star Ballarat 9 December 1863
  5. Camperdown Chronicle 8 February 1888
  6. The Australasian 1 May 1897
  7. The Warrnambool Standard November 1899

Further reading