Hack barrow

Nineteenth century

Convict brickmakers working at the Brickfields (now Haymarket) used hack barrows like this one, stacking 20 or 30 wet bricks on the timber palings along the top, for transporting them from the moulding table to the ‘hack’ yard for drying. In 1819 Major George Druitt reported that a gang of eight men were expected to make 3000 bricks a day, so a barrow like this that could move bricks quickly, was essential to achieving the daily total. In the hack yard, the bricks were laid out on wooden planks in single layers and left to dry for a couple of days to a leather hard state, then turned over and left for a few more days. The brickmakers would then build them into ‘hacks’ - long open walls or herringbone stacks of about eight or ten bricks high. Only after drying for a further several weeks were the bricks ready for firing in the kiln.

‘In making bricks there are 8 men to a stool who are obliged to make 3000 bricks a day, which I consider an easy task.’

Major George Druitt, 5 November 1819, in Ritchie, Evidence to the Bigge Report, vol1, 28.

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