T H Hicks and his marvellous machines: Fumigators, Firefighters and the Ideal Poison Cart

Thomas Henry (T H) Hicks was Mayor of North Botany in 1910, then Mayor of Mascot from 1914 to 1915 and again in 1920. You probably knew that but did you also know that he was a talented inventor, engineer and agricultural implement maker? 

With a background in blacksmithing and iron mongering, Hicks patented a range of intricate, beautifully-constructed machines. Today, we may see these inventions as quirky museum objects but in their day, they were popular and in wide use when industry was thriving in the Botany area.

Slop carts, road rollers, fumigators, lamb markers, pit traps, leather-polishing and wool-scouring machines featured in the Hicks repertoire. 

Did you know that lamb marking is part of the process of ‘tail docking’ of sheep? 
Tail docking keeps blowfly strike under control.

Click on any of the images in this post to see an enlarged version

T H Hicks Road Rollers

In May of 1912, Hicks wrote to the Town Clerk of Botany with a tender (below left) to supply his Street Watering Cart, touted as the most up-to-date in the Commonwealth. It was already in use by many councils including Redfern, Waterloo, Vaucluse, and Bankstown. His tender was accepted (below right).

Another of the machines Hicks was famous for was his ‘Ideal’ Poison Cart which was used to exterminate rabbits.The superb one you see here was used by the Briagalong Rabbit Suppression League in Victoria. It was lovingly restored by George Parker of the Stratford and District Historical Society.

Images (colour): Courtesy of Stratford & District Historical Society

Alderman Hicks suffered the tragic loss of his son, at the end of November 1918. Private Hector Fraser Hicks had worked in the family business as a mechanic.
You can read his story here.

All images, unless stated otherwise, are from the archives of the City of Botany Bay.

Paula Grunseit

Librarian: Local History/Community Engagement

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