41One of the nice things about getting around a city on foot is that you have the opportunity to explore nooks and crannies you might not otherwise see. So it was that en route between one sight and another I looked down Tavistock Lane and saw this rather rundown building with signage indicating ownership by Gerard & Goodman Pty Ltd. Given its state of disrepair, I surmised that it was another relic of Adelaide very limited industrial past, a case of signage remaining long after the demise of the company.

In 1907, Alfred Edward Gerard (1877–1950) started an electrical merchandising business here in the east end of Adelaide, Gerard & Goodman. In 1921 he began making electrical fittings and by 1936 the company had out-gown its city centre premises and opened a new factory in Bowden (in the northern suburbs of the city) and at the same time became Gerard Industries producing the, by then, nationally known Clipsal range of products.

In addition to his electrical fittings business, Gerard was a tireless supporter of the welfare of Aboriginal children through the United Aborigines’ Mission (of which he was a founder) as well as a more general Indigenous rights activist and a staunch member and lay preacher of Highbury Street Methodist Church.

The Clipsal brand was sold to the Schneider Electric Group in 2010 (though the group had an interest in it since 2003) thus ending its association with the Gerard family. Today Clipsal is one of South Australia’s largest manufacturing companies with worldwide sales as part of the Schneider Electric Group. The Clipsal brand is well known to V8 motor racing enthusiasts as sponsor of the Clipsal V8 Supercar races held annually in Adelaide.

I wonder if the executives of the Schneider Electric Group are aware of the existence of this modest building in the city centre – the birthplace of Clipsal.

Worth a looking in passing.

Location – Tavistock Lane – off Frome Street – noting that this is the rear of the building and that the former entrance (not accessible) was on Synagogue Place.

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