Most of the group met at the clubrooms as usual on March 18, although some had elected to meet us in Adelaide. Anyway, we had an uneventful trip down the freeway and all arrived at Delway Brass at the appointed time. Parking nearby is difficult, but we all managed OK, especially Trevor Jericho in the Mini. Gee, I had forgotten how small those things are!
Lisa and Karl welcomed us then gave a short history of the company, which started around 25 years ago making bathroom fittings. This they still do, but concentrate on high quality and specialised fittings, as it is not possible to compete with cheap imports.
However they also do metal fabrication, metal finishing, plating and powder coating, initially because their own products require these, but increasingly to fulfill outside contracts and jobs for companies or individuals like us. Most of their fabrication jobs are “one offs”, so there is little opportunity to use jigs or “mass production” techniques. So then we were split into two groups to tour the factory, metal polishing and plating with Karl, fabrication and powder coating with Lisa. Lots of questions were asked and answered along the way. We then re-grouped for drinks, cake and buns and a final question session before a free raffle was drawn, which saw a gift pack of Delway’s metal treatment products won by Basil and Lyn Zadow.
By now we were seriously behind schedule. The Delway factory tour was supposed to take half an hour, but we managed to take over two hours. The Maid of Auckland Hotel took our delay in their stride and managed to feed everyone very efficiently, but there was no time to sit around and relax after our meal. We did however manage a quick “happy birthday” for Claude Minge, especially as it was a milestone birthday,but there was no way we were going to keep our booking time with Haigh’s Chocolates. I informed them that we were running late and to their credit tried to do the best for us, but they had another tour booked for 3.00 PM and had to honour that.
Never the less, our tour guide Beverly very quickly got into her stride, handed out some samples and gave us all a very good but quick look around. As an owner of a number of historic Ford vehicles she was quick to empathise with our groups but was certainly equally quick to keep everyone on their toes with her stirring. An extremely entertaining lady. I was struck by the lack of mechanisation of their operation. People hand rolling individual truffles into little balls, individually coating them, etc. Just like you would do in someone’s home kitchen. Very hand made, but priced accordingly of course. In a similar approach to Delway, they are catering for their own sector of the market as they would not be able to compete with mass produced items. All too soon Beverly ushered us out of the viewing area by dispensing Scorched Almonds to all. I managed to drop one, but was told to “leave it for the cleaners”, as she replenished my “handful” in a very generous manner. My joy was short lived, however, as Vicki had spotted how many I had, and confiscated her share. Still I had quite a few, and they were great. Back in the shop, many made some purchases then time to head for home, although some of us deviated through Hahndorf for a coffee and in some cases, sweets. In all, a pretty interesting day but my apologies for it turning into a bit of a rush to get to Haigh’s. Not quite the leisurely day’s activity I had in mind.
Report by John Courtney
Photos courtesy Graham Edwards