Henry Binney Hawke arrived in Adelaide on the ship “William Money” on the January 3, 1849 at the age of 21, and took a job at a foundry in North Terrace. H.B. Hawke & Company began business in Kapunda, South Australia in 1857 making castings for the nearby Copper Mines and, by 1867, the company was manufacturing and installing weighbridges. In 1884 Hawke sold out to William Thomas and Rees Rees.
By 1890 H.B. Hawke & Company employed over 90 people including pattern makers, moulders, fettlers, fitters, turners, apprentices and clerks. In 1912 Sir Sidney Kidman took an interest in the business investing some operating capital. In 1926 Kidman purchased all the company’s assets and liabilities.
Horatio Rees, a son of Rees Rees, was enticed back to the business from Castlemaine in Victoria. Horatio promised Kidman that he would revitalise the company, which had slumped some what, and within five years was so successful that he repurchased the business from Sir Sidney. At the age of 37, he became the sole proprietor.
In 1931 Hawke & Company produced the first Australian designed hydraulic car hoist, which was an instant success. The company continued to manufacture weighbridges, along with hydraulic presses, road rollers, kerbing machinery, and general engineering and repair work.
In 1945, Hawke & Company became Hawke & Company Pty Ltd. In 1957, Horatio Rees died and his daughter Enid, who had been the company secretary since 1937, became Managing Director.
In the late 1960s, Ultra Scales Pty Ltd, owned and operated by Eric Brabham, became the representative for Hawke & Company weighbridges on the east coast of Australia. By the mid 1970’s, Ultra Scales Pty Ltd were selling, installing, and servicing many Hawke and Company Pty Ltd weighbridges in eastern Australia, with Eric Brabham having an influence on new designs and manufacturing techniques.
During this time, Eric was able to purchase a minor shareholding in the weighbridge side of the business. In 1983, when, due to recession, the Hawke & Company Pty Ltd closed in Kapunda, Eric Brabham purchased the remaining major holding in the weighbridge business and moved manufacturing to Melbourne.
Eric Brabham was an innovator in the Weighing Industry, and introduced much forward thinking to a product that hadn’t changed in basic design for nearly 100 years. He was quick to introduce loadcell technology in to weighbridges, and he would always be open to build in the latest technology.
When Eric decided to retire in 2000, he passed the company on to the current owners, a company that was also an Industry Leader in the field, a position it still holds today.
In 2007, UltraHawke celebrated its 150th anniversary. A Press Release is available ( 1-Page, 24kb).