RUWOLT, Ernst Johann Carl , "Charles Ernest“

Born on 19 March 1873 at Mieckenhagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany,
Arrived SA 1878 from Satow/ Doberan aged 5 years with his parents and brothers.
He worked from 1902 in Victoria, Australia, as a farming machinery manufacturer.
Naturalised Australian in 1916. Then in 1945 in Victoria, Australia he was an ordnance manufacturer. (see more below)
Charles established the large Vickers Ruwolt Engineering business in Victoria Street, Richmond. The Stained Glass Window in the Combe Martin stairwell depicts Charles Ruwolt as a young man working within his businesses foundry.

Married on 7 December 1898 at Warrnambool to Emily, née Loch, (Emily LOCK) Emily was born approximately 1877
Charles died on 4 November 1946 (aged 73) at home at Toorak and was cremated with Anglican rites
Emily Ruwolt, nee Lock; died 1965, Tocumwal

RUWOLT, Johann Ernst ChristianVR-richmondworks.gif (spelled Ruwoldt on naturalization papers)
RUWOLT, Maria Catharina Anna born Engel

Common ancestor with Ruwoldts was: Peter RUWOLT

Siblings at emigration 1878:
RUWOLT, Pauline Wilhelmine Johanne aged 3 years in 1878
RUWOLT, Frieda Marie Johanne aged 1 year in 1878

1. Rupert Charles (Chas) RUWOLT born 1899
2. Franklin Lock RUWOLT born 1903
3. Claude Engel RUWOLT born 1905

  • Biography
Full Biography in Aust Dictionary of Biography
Charles Ernest Ruwolt ( 1873-1946), engineer and industrialist, was born on 19 March 1873 at Mieckenhagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, son of Ernst Johann Christian Ruwoldt, farmer, and his wife Maria Catharina, née Engel. The family migrated in 1878 and took up wheat-farming at Mount Gambier, South Australia. Charles was educated at Yahl Paddock and Mount Gambier Public schools. During his apprenticeship in 1886-90 with James Martin & Co., machinery manufacturers at Gawler, he attended the State technical school there. For the next decade Ruwolt worked with various Victorian foundries and engineering manufacturers, including James Alston & Co., Warrnambool, the Phoenix Foundry, Ballarat, Austral Otis, South Melbourne, and Thompsons, Castlemaine. He married Emily Loch at Warrnambool in 1898 and subsequently had three sons.

  • Factory
Cannon_Ruwolt_factory_WW2.jpg He opened his own foundry at Wangaratta in 1902, initially making windmills and repairing farm machinery. In those days there was a need for windmills and farm machinary as well as the maintenance and repair of dredges operating in the alluvial gold fields of northeast Victoria.
However he developed a specialty in mining dredges in the next decade.

The corner of Burnley Street and Victoria Street Richmond was occupied by Thomas Cole's 'Richmond Nurseries' and the Victoria Street cable tram depot (established in 1886) until 1912, when the firm Charles Ruwolt P/L started building their factory, and moved from Wangaratta to Victoria Street, Richmond in 1914. Within six years Charles Ruwolt was a public company.
From dredge manufacture, the firm diversified into other products, including rock crushers, brewing machinery and toolmaking for automobile manufacture.
Experience with manganese steel castings and the installation of heavy machine tools equipped the company to make major components for earthmoving, locomotive and rock-crushing machinery, and for heavy engineering.
The company became a major source of heavy casting and forgings for other firms, and during World War II produced gun howitzers, tank-attack guns, mortar bombs and armour-piercing shot. Many 25-pounder guns and other items were produced by Richmond firm Chas. Ruwolt Pty Ltd. The works was a 24-hour operation at the height of wartime production. There was a display of Completed Ordnance Equipments at the works, 9 May 1944, to mark the occasion of the completion of the 1000th Gun.

Melbourne University Archives holds all Ledgers, Managing Director's minutes books, order books; catalogues; drawings; pattern books; publications; photographs.
Victoria Museum holds the Vickers Ruwolt photographic collection: over 1000 glass plate negativesGears_for_Mining_Industry.jpg documenting one of Australia's major heavy engineering firms, 1920s-1960s.Severs2.jpg
Victoria Street, Richmond sold in late 80's for $ 33 million for redevelopment. Victoria Gardens, Richmond, is the site is the old Vickers Ruwolt site, extending from the Yarra River, at the Victoria Street Bridge, to Burnley Street. The original masterplan proposed boat landing facilities and a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses.

By the late 1930s, his engineering firm and steel foundry were among the largest in the country, the plant occupying over 20 acres and the employees numbering near 700. The firm was deployed to manufacture field artillery in World War Two and Mr Ruwolt held a senior position in the wartime administrator of home-front resources. Many 25-pounder guns and other items were produced by his Richmond firm. The business was bought by the Vickers Ltd (UK) group in 1948, and subsequently operated as Vickers Ruwolt Pty Ltd.

  • HousesGlenburvie_Rd.JPG
  1. His Melbourne residence was in Toorak. 'In 1924 Charles Ruwolt , a director of Vickers Ruwolt a large Abbotsford engineering works, engaged architect Arthur R Barnes to design a Georgian Revival mansion for him at 11 Glenbervie Road, Toorak . His family lived there until it was purchased by the Education Department in 1951'. Until 1957 it was the Toorak Teaching College at its original location in the former Ruwolt residence in Glenbervie Avenue, off Toorak Road, where the college had been founded in 1951.
  2. ' Combe Martin house ':
    This beautiful mansion was built in 1939 for Charles and Emily Ruwolt for their summer house. They built it in 1939-40 at 819-820 Esplanade, Mornington, VIC, for Mrs Emily Ruwolt whose husband Charles owned a large engineering factory in Victoria Street. Richmond. (see footnote).

3. Yarramundee (NSW); Baringa, Mulwala, New South Wales, Australia, Nov 1937
After the War, Charles and Emily retired to their family property named 'Yarramundee' on the Murray River, 430 Ruwolts Road, Mulwala, NSW 2712 which housed his large Australian Art Collection. This was the old 'Wyuna' homestead.
Yarramundee, NSW

  • The Charles Ruwolt Art Collection. Charles and his wife were prominent collectors of Australian Art, building the Charles Ruwolt Collection of Australian Paintings, and Lionel Lindsay designed this bookplate for him in 1937.
    Plate by Lionel Lindsay
This quotation is from Pedigree and Panache :
  1. 'Charles Ruwolt was an engineer and industrialist, as well as a prominent collector of Australian art. The art collection had adorned Ruwolt’s New South Wales homestead. The Charles Ruwolt Collection of Australian Paintings was sold by order of The National Trustees, at Leonard Joel’s rooms at 17 McKillop Street, Melbourne on 17 November 1966.
  2. The sale comprised most of Ruwolt’s collection of historical works, covering the Heidelberg School, late colonial and modernist paintings. The catalogue foreword noted that Charles and Emily Ruwolt built up the collection in the 1920s and 1930s and it is possible that they were inspired by the high prices obtained for Australian art at the Baldwin Spencer auction and may thus have had investment in mind from the outset.
  3. According to the catalogue: 'The unique offering of Streetons is in itself the most impressive that has been offered since the Baldwin Spencer Collection in 1919. All the pictures in this offering are outstanding works, and although some of the great names in Australian traditional art are missing, the Collection is the most important to have been offered for many years.'

Mr Ruwolt died on 4 November 1946 at home at Toorak and was cremated with Anglican rites. He was survived by his wife Emily, née Loch, whom he had married on 7 December 1898 at Warrnambool, and three sons. His estate was sworn for probate at £157,557. Two years after his death his firm was purchased by Vickers Ltd (UK), ( More about Vickers ) continuing as Vickers Ruwolt. His great industrial enterprise, built in only one generation, was bought in 1948 by Vickers Ltd (U.K.) for £750,000 and subsequently operated as Vickers Ruwolt.
This was bought byAustralian National Industries (ANI), a Kerry Packer company. ANI comprised a number of specialised engineering divisions including ANI-Ruwolt.
ANI bought Bradken in parcels between 1978 and 1982. (more history)
In October 1990 ANI moved its head office, from its original location at Alexandria, back to Newcastle. In 1991 Consolidated Press (the peak Packer company) sold its ANI shareholdings. At this time, ANI changed its organisational structure, and Bradken, Comsteel and ANI Ruwolt amalgamated to form ANI Manufacturing: On August 18, 2004, Bradken Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • ANI-Ruwolt

ANI Products formed to merge Bradken and ANI Ruwolt mining businesses. Operates at:
- 170 Railway Pde, Bassendean, WA, Australia
General Industrial Machinery and Equipment
  • ANI Mining Services Pty Ltd (Ani-Ruwolt)

Level 5, 235 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, NSW, Australia - Steel Foundries,
and also at Karrabin, Rosewood Rd Ipswich QLD 4305
Part of Bradken Limited.

  • Select Bibliography
  1. D. M. Whittaker, Wangaratta (Wangaratta, 1963); Institute of Engineers, Australia, Journal, 6, no 10, Oct 1934;
  2. Age (Melbourne), 23 June 1938, 5 Nov 1946, 14 Feb 1947, 1 Mar 1948;
  3. Herald (Melbourne), 21 June 1940, 5 Nov 1946, 28 Feb 1948;
  4. G. D. Hayes, Charles Ruwolt, a History to 1927 (M.Eng.Sc. thesis, University of Melbourne, 1981). More on the resources,
    Author: G. Hayes
  5. Print Publication Details: G. Hayes, ' Ruwolt, Charles Ernest (1873 - 1946) ', Australian Dictionary of Biography , Volume 11, Melbourne University Press, 1988, p. 490.
Combe Martin house was built in 1939-40 for Mrs Emily Ruwolt whose husband Charles owned a large engineering factory in Victoria Street. Richmond.
Combe Martin - 820 Esplanade

This beautiful mansion was built in 1939 for Charles and Emily Ruwolt for their summer house. Ruwolt owned a large engineering factory in Richmond, Melbourne.
The house is the Arts and Crafts style, made of clinker bricks and shingle tiled roof. The size is 80 square metres and is complete with servants quarters.
In the 1960's the Hattam Family became the owners and in the early 1970's Ian and Paula McKenzie along with Iris Grey became the owners. Unfortunately The Mornington Shire Council allowed them to subdivide the rear yard into two lots facing Morell Street. Even so, this is an imposing mansion with sensation ocean views.
Combe Martin (Residence) (819-820 Esplanade, Mornington, VIC, Included on the Victorian Heritage Register under the Heritage Act 1995) is significant within Victoria as an outstanding example of the neo-Tudor or Old English style as applied to a summer house sited by the bay. It represents a new approach to this type of house design.
The house is also significant for its close association with a nationally known figure, Charles Ruwolt, and has a high integrity to the period when the Ruwolt family occupied it.

Combe Martin was built over a three year period 1936-1939 for Mrs. Emily Ruwolt whose husband Charles established the large Vickers Ruwolt Engineering business in Victoria Street, Richmond. The Stained Glass Window in the stairwell depicts Charles Ruwolt as a young man working within his businesses foundry. The property is named after the seaside village hamlet in North Devon, England the birthplace of Mrs. Ruwolt.[1]

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