In Feb 1902 Henry Baker arrived in Manilla with a background in blacksmithing and implement making in the southern states.
 Land was being made available from numerous large holdings and experiments in wheat growing had proved that the soil around Manilla District was ideal for the purpose. Machinery would be needed for the farmer and a fully equipped factory would be required to meet the demands of a rapidly growing agricultural industry.

Baker selected the site of a former stockyard on the north-west corner of Court and Manilla Streets for the establishment of his enterprise.

H. Bakers Letterhead Fragment
Manilla Coach & Waggon Factory invoice c.1903

Work rolled in and in a short time, Baker's 2 forges were hard pressed to cope. In September 1903, business had developed to the degree that the size of the existing shop would be doubled, by a building measuring 60x30ft (18.3m x 9.1m). This provided for a 3rd forge. At this stage the staff of tradesmen had grown to 15.

H. BAKER_Feature Images

Baker's Factory 1907 Sydney Mail & Advertiser

The development of the wheat industry and the subdivision of Keepit, Durham Court and other Stations in 1907/1908, brought an influx of trade, necessitating additions to the building to its full size of 165 x 60ft (50.3m x 18.3m).
Paint & trimming workshops covering an area of 14 x 50ft (4.3m x 15.2m) were also erected at the northern side of the main building.
All classes of farm machinery were made and repaired here; buggies, sulkies and carts constructed, while horse-shoeing remained a specialty, carried out in Baker's first workshop, by this time a forge solely given over to the task.

1907 Bakers Factory Feature Photos - Tex

Baker's Factory 1907 Sydney Mail & Advertiser
[Image captions)

By 1909, there were approximately 40 permanent employees in the foundry, which housed a steel furnace and a melting furnace for cast iron duplicates and fittings.

The construction of wagons was the main aspect of Baker's business and in 1909 and 1910, large numbers of these vehicles were built. At that time, the factory was known far and wide and was one of the largest of its kind in NSW. However, a business reliant on a productive farming industry would be  subject to seasonal fluctuations. Times would become tough for Baker's Factory and the years ahead would bring great change.

Baker's Factory ManillaNSW_Syd.Mail&Adv.

Baker's Factory exterior 1907 [looking northwest]

Baker's Factory Interior Manilla NSW_Syd

Baker's Factory interior 1907 [pictured from the rear]



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Images: Manilla Community Archive unless otherwise stated.
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