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Posts from the ‘Australian Factories’ Category

Kalmar Australia

I’ve long been a fan of the flamboyant style of ceramics produced by Kalmar Pottery in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s. Pieces from this pottery with their shiny lustre glazes and gold trim, display a high level of skill and craftsmanship. They are also representative of the very popular style of this era, purchased by the ordinary person for display in their home.

Kalmar was a husband and wife pottery operated by Irene and Julius Kalmar, emigrants from Hungary after World War II who arrived in Australia in 1949. Like so many post WWII emigrant and refugees Artists and Potters to Australia their contribution to the Art and Craft landscape of Australia was significant….but overlooked. There are some fascinating snippets in the TROVE Database about their escape from communist Hungary, and how they had to leave their children with their Grandmother for safety, to be finally re-united in Australia several years later for a huge monetary cost.

The Kalmar pottery operated in Sydney during the 1950s to the mid 1960s when it was forced into liquidation.

Irene was the modeller and decorator of the work, while husband Julius looked after all the other pottery processes. The name later changed to Australian Art Ceramics Products (AACP) when it was registered as a company, albeit short-lived.

Fish, Birds, Flowers, Cornucopia, and Animal Figurines were common subjects. The base of Kalmar pottery is usually (but not always) stamped with Kalmar and a form number. Some pieces will have both the Kalmar stamp and an AACP stamp.

After the pottery closed Irene apparently went on to creating mosaic murals according to the Australian Women’s Weekly which has an article about her mural works in February 1962. I’ve only read about these mosaic murals and can not find any photos of them – so would love to hear from anyone who has a record of them…or any other information I can add to the Kalmar story.


Kalmar Australia Pottery Kalmar Australia Pottery Kalmar Australia Pottery Kalmar Australia Pottery Kalmar Australia Pottery



Westminster Australia

You would think by it’s name, that “Westminster China” was British…but alas no…Australian!

I bought an interesting set of demitasse coffee cups by Westminster some time ago, and have just got around to looking at them properly.

Before now I can’t recall ever having heard of Westminster, but It is or was apparently quite a popular brand here going by the amount for sale online nowadays.

The wares are more traditional in style, mainly domestic, with some very smart designs from the 1950s to 1970s. They also produced quite a lot of souvenir ware for the Australian market.

This design stood out to me at auction with its strong pattern and retro black and gold look. It appears to be from the 1960s.

Westminster Australia

Westminster Australia

There is an excellent website for Westminster Australia, set up by a keen collector. It has a lot of excellent information including history, pattern numbers/names, backstamps and more.

This is an excerpt of the history of Westminster Fine China from the website….I recommend going to the website to see a lot more of the interesting history of this producer.

Westminster Fine China Australia started in the Melbourne suburb of Cheltenham at 7 Arnold Street, in 1954 by Stanley Rogers and Son Ltd.  They moved to 228 Bay Road, Sandringham in 1977 into a 60,000 square foot ( about 5,500 square metres) building that housed the factory, warehouse, office and showroom.  They initially used imported blanks from Japan, which were made to their specifications, and which were then decorated locally.  They produced a standard range of shapes for souvenir ware, later expanding into a wide range of tea sets, dinnerware and many other styles of china ware.

In the early days, skilled staff were brought into Australia from both the United Kingdom and Italy and the focus was on the souvenir and giftware trade.  In the late 1960s they introduced to the Australian market a range of medium weight porcelain hotel ware under theFineceram brand and later registering another brand, Duraceram, in 1984. By this time, Westminster was part of a wider organization called Badgin Nominees Pty Ltd, presumably a holding company for the Rogers family interests.  The 1980s also saw the production of a large number of limited edition plates for other companies.

Westminster had an in-house art department that put together the designs, and used computer generated designs in the later stages of the companies life.  These were placed onto the pieces by ceramic transfer printing and fired to seal them onto the items in  large capacity electric kilns .In the late 1980s and early 1990s there are blanks made in  both Japan and Taiwan and marked with the last of the Westminster  markings. 


Westminster Australia

Westminster Australia – image via “FunkyKoala” Etsy

Westminster Australia

Westminster Australia – image via “youvintagekitsch” Etsy



Diana Australia, Fish Ramekin Set

Have a look at this fabulous and fun set of fish ramekins or bowls from Australian pottery “Diana” c1950s, possibly early 1960s.

They are made from slipcast earthenware, as most production pottery would have been at this time. Typical of the colours of this time – which all work so well together. I like the attention to detail like the grey shading on the exteriors, the hand painted eyes, and the fins which have managed to survive intact for about 60+ years.

The stamp you see on the base of one of them below is of course depicting Diana the Huntress (Roman Mythology), the logo of this pottery during that era.

If you are not familiar with Diana Pottery, see my previous post Diana Australia (which has further links for more of the history of this pottery)

Diana Australia - Fish Shaped Ramekins c1950s

Diana Australia – Fish Shaped Ramekins c1950s

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