John Valves closed its doors in 2008. More than 130 workers lost their jobs as a result of the closure of the Creswick Road factory. However this business had a long history in Ballarat and employed many people over the years. 

The business started by Morgan B John in Lydiard Street South in 1896 with three men employed. However it grew quickly from a machine shop and foundry to a large complex including offices, a social club, and a pattern shop on the west side of Armstrong street, now the site of Cameron's.

The firm of MB John Ltd was incorporated in 1927. In 1954 MB John moved to a 12-acre site in Creswick Road on the corner of Norman Street and became the large scale manufacturer "John Valves". By 1960, 850 men were employed. The company manufactured industrial valves for use with steam, water, oil, air, gas, and chemicals. They designed and produced an extensive range of valves from raw materials such as bronze, cast iron, cast steel, and alloy steels for both domestic and global markets.

By 1996 around 115 people were employed but John Valves was put into liquidation on the 1st of July 2002. At the time 160 people were employed by the company. Within weeks new contracts were found and 30 employees were once again working on the site. However in November 2008 once again 130 employees found themselves locked out of the factory and the building was marked for demolition.

The Ballarat & District Genealogical Society was contacted and advised that there were employment cards being thrown out and that most had gone to the tip. The demolition company was contacted and said that was correct but there were still a number of cards floating around. We were able to collect a number of these cards, but unfortunately many thousand had already gone. 

These cards yield a history of a major workforce in Ballarat. Over 1200 have been scanned and indexed. Most have where the employee was born and their addresses, which is interesting in itself. Not all have every detail filled in; some having only a name, but many do include, date of birth, parents, previous employment, education, dependents, and some have listed their hobbies and where they were going to when they left the company.

One of these shows a man born in 1883 while others show some born in the 1970s. (Restrictions on later ones will be in place for privacy reasons) 

Carmel Reynen