Pates Potteries

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Originally, Alfred James Pate made slip cast pottery in his backyard at Campsie before moving to Belmore due to increased demand around 1946 and formally registering Pates Potteries Pty Ltd.[1] He soon founded Pates Potteries with his brother John and John's son Ron, and they set up their business at 61 Lakemba Street Belmore in four ex-army huts. The business was immediately successful, catering for the huge demand for decorative items for the home after the austerity of the Second World War.

The company was known for its range of colourful slipcast domestic wares, made for the popular market; a reaction to war-time austerity. It was at its most popular in the 1950s, when these items were produced. In more recent years it has become collectible.

The company employed 95 staff at the height of production in the 1950s and 60s and continued operation right up until around 1990. [2] Les Pate, Alf's nephew, was the production foreman and later a director. Alf's wife Barbara was an artist, particularly with the application of gold. Vases were their mainstay, and their range included plaited baskets, fruit baskets, flower bowls and troughs, wall vases, jugs, ashtrays and later lamp bases. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 1954, Pates brought out a line of products marketed as "Regents Ware".

Small art potteries proliferated in Sydney in the post-war period, but Pates was one of the largest and most successful. Its main rival was Diana, in Marrickville. Other potteries in our region included Kalmar, also in Lakemba Street Belmore (later Punchbowl and Riverwood), Studio Anna in Marrickville, and Rohova and Meroh in Bankstown. Pates ceased manufacturing pottery in 1970.

The PowerHouse Museum has a collection of Pates pottery, including moulds from the former factory. Most Pates were stamped with "Pates Potteries Sydney Australia" or "PP Pty Limited". Ron Pate confirmed that many pieces were produced without a mark.


From as early as 1953, Pates had diversified into supplying raw materials to other potteries, and the company very successfully continued trading as the Ceramic Supply Company (CESCO), selling clay, glazes and other pottery supplies until Ron Pate retired in 1990. The factory site was sold and the buildings demolished in the early 1990s, but the CESCO business was sold and continued to trade.


  • AUSTRALIAN POTTERY AT BEMBOKA (2016). Retreived 20 Septmber 2016 from
  • Bilney, Elizabeth (ed), 'Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum', Powerhouse Publishing, 1991
  • Davenport, John, 'Pates Post-War Australian Pottery', Crown Castleton Publishers, Bendigo, 1998
  • Graham, Marjorie, 'Australian Pottery of the 19th & early 20th Century, David Ell Press, Sydney, 1979
  • Hammond, Victoria (ed), 'Australian Ceramics', Sheparton Art Gallery, 1987
  • Johnston, Dorothy. 'The people's potteries: stories of the art potteries of Sydney - post WW2 [the author], Cooranbong, 2002.