This 30 cm high two-handled vase of classical form has a tenmoku glaze breaking to rust in narrow horizontal stripes on the ribbed body, which is also decorated with vertical lines of white slip. The vase is impressed on the base with the single word ‘Montville’. We now have quite a few Montville Pottery works in our collection. This one, found on a visit to Lismore, presents so well in the gallery that it prompted me to find out more about its makers, and to share that knowledge here.
Montville Pottery was the first craft workshop in the Sunshine Coast hinterland area. It was set up by English emigrants David and Audrey (Bimmy) Everett in 1966, and quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its production line. The New Zealand potter Royce McGlashen worked there in 1973 on his way to England. Ian and Jennifer MaCrae managed the pottery for the Everetts from October 1973 to December 1975. The pottery was then sold to Ian Lawrence, who leased it to Sonia Anketell from 1976-late 1979.
Our vase dates from the first half of the 1980s, after local entrepreneurs Helen and Peter Brierty had bought into the pottery, and before they left for Thailand in October 1985. The Briertys modernised the pottery and expanded the range from domestic tableware to more decorative pieces like ours. As part of this process, they invited the Melbourne potter, Stephen Fletcher, to manage the pottery for eighteen months, and he introduced new glazes and techniques. Alan Stirling then took over as manager until moving away from the district in 1985.
After the Briertys left, Ian Reid, and then Richard Owens, took over the pottery. I am still not certain of the details from this period, or when the pottery closed, but I do know that it was demolished in 1998 to make way for a new complex called ‘The Pottery Building’ which now houses a variety of shops. Locals and tourists, and the people who worked there, still recall the days of the old Montville Pottery and there have been several moves to bring galleries and working artists back into the main street.
Corrections and additions to this information are welcome!
Dating Montville Pottery
The flyer accompanying the ginger jar, on the left dates it to the Everett years. All of the pieces in this image have an impressed ‘Montville’ mark in a quirky font. The ginger jar also has Bimmy Everett’s personal mark, and the pourer has a second impressed ‘VH’ mark for Val Harvey, one of the Everett’s trainees. During the Brierty years all the work bears the title case mark on our vase. The press-moulded leaf and the utensil holder celebrating the pottery’s longevity on the left are both impressed with an upper case ‘Montville’ mark. This dates them both, I think, after 1985.
Here are two more marks for Montville Pottery added to the Montville Pottery entry on Identifying Australian Pottery by essjt. One is a pencilled ‘Montville’ with a circle around it, the other a ‘Montville Pottery Est 1967’ printed stamp which also has an impressed stamp saying ‘Made in Australia Inga Szimke’. So here is the name of another person working at Montville for a time, possibly during the 1966-1973 period.
I’ve just read in Glenn R. Cooke, “Archaic Investigations”, Craft Arts International, No. 32, 1994-5, p.39 that Glen Manning spent time as manager of Montville Pottery in 1980. This must have been before Stephen Fletcher arrived.
- “Montville Pottery story”, Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, 29 August, 1974, page 26.
- “Art & Pottery return to the Pottery Centre”, Montville Times News Archive
- Correspondence with Sonia Anketell, Helen Brierty, Stephen Fletcher, Ian MacRae, Joe Ottaway, Graham Suttor, and others, still in progress.