Preserving
Australia's
Pottery Relics.

Ozpotterycollectors

Wanted

We are always chasing pre 1930 Australian pottery.
Ginger Beer bottles, demijohns, teapots, water filters, butter coolers, bread plates, and more!
Top prices paid!
Please drop a line to ozpotterycollectors@gmail.com
Or give us a call:
Scott: 0422 479 480
David: 0407 821 767

Further Research

Moreton Pottery, Sydney
Leak Pottery, Sydney
Skinner Pottery, Sydney
Government Pottery, Sydney
McArthur Pottery, Sydney
Field Pottery, Sydney
Fowler Pottery, Sydney
Irrawang Pottery, Hunter Valley



Leak Pottery

Jonathan Leak, was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, in 1777.

After learning the pottery trade, possibly with Enoch Wood, in Burslem, Leak married Miss Mary Wood, niece of Enoch Wood on the 13th November 1798.
Around 1805 to 1810 Leak established a pottery works in Commercial Street, Burslem with other members of his family.
Leak and fellow potter Jonathon Moreton, were caught stealing a quantity of silver from the home of Mrs. Chatterley, in Shelton. On the 11th March 1819, they were tried in the County of Stafford, and convicted of burglary and sentenced to hang. Their death sentence was commuted to transportation to Australia for life, arriving on the 18th of December 1819, on board the brig 'Recovery.'
They were both assigned to the Government Pottery at Carters Barracks, Brickfield Hill. Whilst there he would have worked alongside or under Jonathon Moreton. In 1821 he was granted a ticket of leave and, using his knowledge from running his own pottery previously, immediately set up a pottery on land granted to him on Elizabeth Street.
Both Leak & Moreton rented the Government Pottery kilns and shop for 20 pounds per annum, payable in pottery. Whilst Leak established his own manufactory, Moreton rented the Government Potteries manufacturing equipment until his ticket of leave was revoked.
It is most likely his prior working knowledge of operating his own pottery made Leak's business more successful than Moreton's.
His family soon joined him from England, bringing moulds from home potteries to use. By 1828 it was reported he employed in excess of 20 people and was exporting bricks and crockery ware to Tasmania.

The Monitor, Friday 26th May 1826 - Leak's earthernware shop in George St.

The Australian 14 October 1828

During 1832 this land was auctioned off in 8 lots, at this time the auction notice stated:
Lots 1 and 2 were used as his vegetable garden (Lot 1 being government reserve),
lots 3, 4, 5 & 6 were vacant,
Lot 7 housed a comfortable skilling and stable,
whilst Lot 8, which also was government reserve, had erected upon it a pot, a stone and a pipe kiln as well as a workshop, a cottage with four apartments and a skilling with 2 rooms.
Leak was able to secure Lots 6 & 7 in the auction, Lot 8, which is on the north corner of Wentworth Avenue and Elizabeth Street, was retained as government ground and then on sold to John Brown & Joseph Nobbs. Which implies that these were in fact some of the Government Pottery kilns he rented. There is also no mention of brick kilns on any of the parcels, which suggests Leak may have used or leased other off site kilns to fire bricks, most likely the Government Potteries. A substantial set up would have been required to be capable of turning out 40,000 bricks weekly. It appears Leak continued to use these kilns as he advertised his works as at the bottom of Elizabeth Street near the new bridge. The stream which traversed this lot crossed Elizabeth Street here. The parcels of land sold for 572 pounds.

Sydney Survey Plan 1833

Leak became the licensed publican of the Currency Lass during 1830, and most likely he handed over the running of the pottery business to his sons during this period. An unfortunate accident befell his wife whilst they were landlords of this inn, when she died. It is probable that the ginger beer bottle to the right was made for Leak during this period whilst his sons ran the pottery.

Right: Approximately Pint sized ginger beer bottle stamped twice with "Leak" at the shoulder.



The Leak Pottery made; smoking pipes, malt kiln tiles, oven tiles, crockery ware (cups, saucers etc) bricks, ginger beer bottles as well as other types of bottles, blacking jars stone jars and jugs and earthenware. Their wares were impressed stamped: J LEAK, J L or LEAK and have mainly been seen on ginger beer bottles, sometimes having the merchants name also stamped on the bottle as below.

H P / LEAK

NED SMITH / LEAK

One of Leaks final orders before his death was for an order to supply a 100 gross of blacking bottles for a newly established manufactory in Sydney, several examples of these 100 gross he made still survive, having the name "LEAK" stamped to their neck. Jonathon Leak died on 26 December 1838, leaving his estate to his sons Elijah and Lewis.