Northern Clay

HIST_QVM-1991-P-0896 (1).jpg
Queen Victoria Museum at Inveresk

Launceston residents familiar with places like Brickfields Reserve and Pipeworks Road may not often consider where these names originated.

But these names bear witness to Launceston's past as a major pottery and ceramics hub; a legacy celebrated in Northern Clay, exploring the story of the rise of ceramics in northern Tasmanian beginning with two former Launceston pottery companies: John Campbell Pottery and McHugh Brothers.

Both McHugh's and Campbell's were industrial manufacturers, producing pipes and bricks for major infrastructure projects like the Albert Hall, the Cameron street post office and Launceston's sewerage system.

However, they also produced many small-scale decorative ceramics, such as character jugs, Launceston souvenirs, vases, decorative ornaments as well as garden fountains and water filters.

McHugh Brothers was established in 1873 while John Campbell Pottery was established in 1880.

Both factories were situated on Wellington Street, South Launceston, and enjoyed a friendly rivalry while sharing moulds and employees.

At the heart of both businesses were two men who had a fundamental love of pottery, who supported independent studio potters, and who have left an amazing legacy to be celebrated in Northern Clay.

Image: Campbell's Tasmanian Pottery display, in the Tasmanian International Exhibition, Albert Hall, Launceston, Tasmania, 1891. John Campbell is visible on the right.QVMAG Collection QVM:1991:P:0896