Description of the Sunshine Harvester Works' Annealing Department

Year established: Between 1904 and 1906.

Annealing is the process of heat treating the metal to modify its properties. It was heated to a specific temperature and colour. The metal is then cooled at a controlled rate. As a result of this treatment, metal is made tougher and stronger, allowing it to be cut and shaped easily.

At Sunshine Harvester Works, large coke and coal-fired furnaces annealed various types of castings over a seven-day period. The Annealing Department's workers were responsible for loading the castings and other materials into the furnaces. In the early years, this was done manually until forklifts were introduced by World War II. The larger furnaces measured approximately 10 ft wide by 15 ft deep and 8 ft high (3.04 x 4.6 x 2.4 m). Loading the furnaces took a considerable period of time. Additional two or three days were needed to unpack the furnaces and separate the parts once they cooled down.

The work space consisted of several annealing furnaces in a row. The area required a large amount of floor space to allow the packing, loading, unloading and dispatching of materials. Some furnaces were large enough to park a car inside them.

The work environment could get intense. Noise included the banging of castings, while furnaces produced fumes and strong heat.

The original Annealing Department was located on Russell Street, adjacent to the Bulk Store. In the mid-1940's, the Annealing Department was re- located to rear of the factory on Hampshire Road and became part of the new Foundry.

Ray Browne and George Hales (former Sunshine Harvester Works employees), personal recollections held at Museum Victoria, September 1999; April and December 2000; October 2002.
Site Plan – H.V McKay, Factory Plan, 1904. Held at H.V McKay Sunshine Collection, Museum Victoria, registration no. HT 9474.
Site Plan – H.V McKay, Factory Plan, 1906. Held at H.V McKay Sunshine Collection, Museum Victoria, registration no. HT 9476.
Related narratives
A Postman's Route at Sunshine Harvester Works
Blacksmiths' Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Factory Site of Sunshine Harvester Works
Factory Whistle at Sunshine Harvester Works
Feeding the Factory 'Ratters' at Sunshine Harvester Works
Fire Brigade at Sunshine Harvester Works
First Aid Room at Sunshine Harvester Works
Industrial Chaplaincy at Sunshine Harvester Works
Quarry at Sunshine Harvester Works
Russell Street Gate at Sunshine Harvester Works
Woodmill at Sunshine Harvester Works

More Information