Max Billman refers to it as a “hard, dirty game” but for close to 40 years Billman’s Foundry in Castlemaine has been producing a range of metal castings, from statues of Melbourne Cup winner Black Caviar to new Singaporean presidential gates, after a tank drove through them.
The foundry is the only Australian company to commercially produce cast iron camp ovens, and the three-generational business specialises in one-off work made from hand-crafted patterns and sand moulds.
Much of their work includes heritage reproductions and restorations for local councils and they produce aluminium, bronze, and cast-iron verandah posts and fountains.
Where once there were tens of thousands of businesses capable of casting metal, especially during the boom years of post-war Australia, Victorian president of the Australian Foundry Institute (AFI), David Sykes, estimates only about 100 to 150 businesses remain.
In an era of technological advancements, with robots replacing workers and 3D printing replacing old pattern making skills, Billman’s Foundry is one of about 50 smaller, low-volume businesses of its kind that remain in the country.
But even with staff reduced from nearly 20 employees to 12 in the past two years — with most of those left “pushing sixty” — Mr Billman is concerned.
Send us a message and one of our customer service representatives will contact you soon.Contact ×