George John Flakelar 1870’s – 1918 of Kalgoorlie

GEORGE JOHN FLAKELAR was born to John and Mary Ann Flakelar c 1870 in Cooma, NSW. He was one of seven sons of this couple and his brother Alfred, born in 1871 also ventured to Kalgoorlie where he became a hotel proprietor.  His other brothers, Thomas, Lawrence and William also spent some time here. In May 1897, he married Annie Smith in Coolgardie.

He settled in Kalgoorlie where at this time Francis Richard Flindell was the manager of the I J K Cohn factory, the Westralian Aerated Water Company in Forrest Street. Flindell applied for a Gallon Licence for the business on Block 382, Forrest St in August 1898. Flindell and Flakelar stayed together producing cool drinks, cordials and bottling beer etc until 15 September 1899 when Flindell continued at the factory and George Flakelar started his own aerated water company. Flakelar’s, Shamrock Cordial Factory in Wilson street, Kalgoorlie opposite the Railway Hotel, is first mentioned in November 1899. He registered his “Harp of Erin” trade mark on 15 June 1900 with a harp in the centre of a circle of Shamrock leaves and G Flakelar, Kalgoorlie is embossed on his marble bottles and also the name Harp of Erin. The aqua blue tint marble bottle, had FBH on its base, being the mark of Frederick Bolton Hughes, bottle maker, of Adelaide, South Australia.

In July 1900 he produced a mineral water bearing the name Zet Spa on his labelled bottles, which was an infringement on the Zetz Spa Propriety Ltd Company and he had to undertake not to sell this line, with the similar name and pay the costs of the Eastern States company, on bringing this action against his company.

In December 1901, Flakelar had his Shamrock Cordial factory in Wilson St, Kalgoorlie and William Watkins also had a factory with the same name but in Richardson Street, Boulder. Both factories operated for a number of years.  As both areas are close by, this must have caused confusion for customers.

George was registered to produce aerated and mineral waters and ginger beers. He lived in Wilson Street, Kalgoorlie between 1901 – 1903 and his last ad for his Shamrock factory is in December 1903. In March 1904 he took over the running of the Great Western Hotel in Hannan Street. This business had been owned by his brother Alfred. He remained at the Great Western until May 1904.The Shamrock factory would continue under management of Mr J Turner. He was soon back making aerated waters when he joined Walter T Herdsman in December 1904 in Hannan Street west, on the corner of Nethercott street/Hannan street, not far from the West End brewery.  Their factory was called The Swan Bottling Works. They expected to have thousands of bottles of prime ale and stout bottled for the Xmas season. Beer bottles were in short supply and a message was placed in the papers for customers to return same. They enjoyed success, however a fatal accident in January 1906, to employee Robert Murray, who lost his life while delivering bottles and fell under the wheel of the horse drawn cart, saw the firm saddened by this accident to a young family man. In early September, Flakelar, decided to retire from the business and when Herdsman was away in Perth at the end of the month, the factory was engulfed in flames at 3am in the morning. One of the “Carboys” full of gas exploded with the heat and debris hit buildings close by. The back part of the building was saved, but the factory was devastated. It was made of wood and iron with a hessian ceiling, so fire spread quickly. Prior to the fire, Herdsman and Flakelar had listed the factory for auction and included were plant, plus 30 dozen mixed cordials, 20 bottle crates, 150 dozen 6oz bottles, 150 dozen 12 oz bottles and 200 gross mixed bottles etc. Herdsman was mainly a beer bottler from 1899 and had the Queensland Hotel in Forrest St, Kalgoorlie 1902 – 1904.

The Shamrock Cordial Factory was amalgamated with the Crown Cordial Factory in Dugan Street, Kalgoorlie in February 1908. George Flakelar would represent the Crown factory in the capacity as a traveller for the firm and all business would be from the Dugan street factory. Flakelar’s, Shamrock factory on Town Lot R 529 was listed for auction in March.  From February 1910 – May 1911 he is named as the Proprietor of the Terminus Hotel in Trafalgar. However, he filed for bankruptcy as customers didn’t pay on time and he went to Southern Cross to look for work. He was unsuccessful here and travelled for the Crown company for 18 months. His marriage to his wife Annie failed and as they had not been together for some years, he was granted a divorce in 1915. He met Cordelia Avonia Thomson while living at the Inland City Hotel in 1914 and he moved to Lane Street and married Cordelia in February 1916. She was the daughter of Harriett Eliza Thomson (Harriett was later the wife of Jacob Asher). They joined Asher & Company in the Eclipse factory in Dugan street. The Flakelar/Asher partnership continued until Georges untimely death on 7 October 1918. He left Cordelia with three young children. Sadly, their baby son John, died only a week later. George was reputed to be a practical joker and was well liked in the community.  George and his son John are both buried in the Kalgoorlie Cemetery. Cordelia moved back to the Inland City Hotel and Jacob Asher who had married her mother in 1918, concentrated his time establishing his new Eclipse factory in High Street,near Montreal Street in Fremantle. Cordelia Flakelar moved to Highgate in 1924 to be nearer her mother and passed away at Safety Bay in 1959.

Author – Vivienne Sinclair.