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East Matthew Henry

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth
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Place of birth England
Date of arrival
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Principal occupation Blacksmith, Founder of East Brothers Manufacturing
Date of death
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Place of decease Mallala

Matthew Henry East, who came out from England with his parents, was the founder of East Bros & Co. of Mallala. His father, Mr East Snr, came to South Australia in 1861, for the Moonta Mining Co., to manage and work the old Parramatta Copper Mines between Wallaroo and Kadina. At 15, Matthew obtained employment in the Moonta Mines Blacksmith Shop, thereby gaining his knowledge of the blacksmithing trade.

In 1886 he came to Mallala and, with one of his brothers, opened up a general blacksmithing business in the town. After about 12 months he bought his partner's interest and continued business on his own. The chief line of manufacture at this time was the heavy type 3 wheel S.J. (stump-jump) Plow. In conjunction with two local farmers, Messrs H.B. Moody and G. Bischoff, he patented the prong mould board plough (skeleton board), which proved to be a gigantic success in heavy sticky soil. M.H. East was among the first of the plough makers to make the stump plow of 4 wheels. The plant in the factory was rather crude, as most of the machinery was designed by M.H. East himself, and to drive the plant a horseworks was necessary. This condition of manufacture continued for several years, and was eventually replaced by an oil engine.

In 1906 two sons, Messrs R.C. East and R.R. East joined their father in the business, and the trade name was altered to East Bros & Co. From 1906 until the outbreak of World War I, the seasons were prosperous, and trading in farm implements made rapid strides. In 1914-18, the World War I period, manufacturing was somewhat slowed down, because of scarcity of materials. In 1933 East Bros became East Bros & Co. Ltd. Mathew Henry East died on 7 October 1940, just short of his eightieth birthday. The business he had started continued to operate for a further 30 years, until its closure on 7 August 1970.

Mathew East was recognised by the Commonwealth for his contribution to South Australia, by the naming, on 13 April 1976, of East Place in Kambah, ACT. In the notes accompanying the dedication of the name, Matthew East was described as a pioneer of Mallala and founder of East Brothers (machinery construction firm), one of the first who made a stump-jump plough, patented a prong-mould board plough and designed an early reaper-thresher.

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Memories of East Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry East arrived in South Australia on the "Murray" in September 1862. His father, Matthew Henry East Sr, was contracted to manage the New Cornwall mine 2.5 km east of the Wallaroo workings (ie a little to the east of Kadina a little to the north of the road to Port Wakefield) at 33 degrees 58 seconds South and 137.43 East. This information was added by Davidgrove on 21.5.2010

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