History

History Sun FoundryDuring the Victorian Era, June 1837 to January 1901. There was a huge demand for decorative cast iron throughout Great Britain, America and South Australia. In South Australia, this demand reached it’s climax in the last quarter of the 19th century. Thousands of villas, cottages, houses and maisonettes were enhanced by local ironfounders and blacksmiths which have become an integral part of South Australia’s heritage

One of the most famous foundries was the Sun Foundry, which was set up by Colin Stewart and Allen Cameron Harley. Colin Stewart left Glasgow and his position in the original Sun Foundry to travel to Australia. It seems likely that Stewart bought out the Fulton Foundry in Adelaide, and with a Mr Harley established the Sun Foundry of Harley and Stewart around 1867. AC Harley bought out Harley and Stewart in 1910, but retained the foundry name, becoming Forwood Down & Co Ltd in 1924. It is not known if this was undertaken with the blessing of George Smith & Co Ltd, the original founders of the Sun Foundry in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Sun Foundry produced a range of excellent designs for gates, railings, bandstands, and their speciality, ornamental fountains. One of the best examples of Scottish architectural ironwork is their fountain in Fountain Gardens, Paisley, complete with cast iron walruses and rocks. There is also a wonderful example of the Sun Foundry’s work in The People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. It is from the Australian reprint of the Harley and Stewart catalogue containing the Glasgow foundry’s original designs that our collections are inspired.