‘Can it’


In 1951 the company Gadsden-Hughes was formed by the merger of J. Gadsen Pty Ltd and Richard Hughes Pty Ltd, two of Sydney’s largest tin and metal container makers.

J. Gadsden Pty Ltd began in Melbourne in 1889 when Jabez Gadsden started experimenting with the processes of printing on tinplate. In 1896 Gadsden imported a flatbed lithographic press from Britain and established a tinprinting and decorating works. The company produced the first printed can in Australia – a tea caddy commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The company continued to expand and by 1936 operated twelve factories throughout Australia and New Zealand.

In Five Dock the firm of Richard Hughes Pty Ltd had similarly found a ready market for tin and metal plate containers. In a 1940 advertisement, above, the company claimed to be ‘the largest can-makers in the Southern Hemisphere’. Located at Queen Street, Five Dock the company was an important local employer, producing everything from paint cans for Berger to fancy chocolate tins.

The photograph below shows the Richard Hughes Pty Ltd factory in 1937.


(A special thank you to Lois at the City of Canada Bay Heritage Society for providing information)

Posted on November 22, 2016, in Five Dock and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I think the building is still there cnr of Queens Road and Williams Street near the Five Dock Leisure Centre.

    Google street view

  2. Hello, Thank you for your informative post. May I use the photo of the ‘Can it’ poster in my blog post about a lady who worked at the factory?

  3. Barry J Piggott

    Next door to Gadsden Hughes in Queens Road Five Dock was a wholly owned subsidiary All Packs P L, established mid fifties manufacturing flexible printing utilising rotogravure printing to produce cigarette packets for Rothmans and laminated foil wrapping for Marrickville Margarine as well as printed cellophane wraps for Arnotts Biscuits. I worked there in admin from 1960 to 1970

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