I've spotted a handful of these bricks across our neighbourhood, mixed with other salvage bricks in old driveways and garden edges. The one to the left was half-buried in a flower bed. And then, a few weeks ago, I came across an old garden path with dozens of bricks with the same heart-shaped "frog mark".
We know that bricks were made from the very first days of the penal settlement, and we also know that convict-made bricks were generally marked with either an arrow, heart, club or diamond. I haven't come across any commercial manufacturer using this mark, from the mid-1800s and beyond.
If they are convict made, then perhaps they were used in a building somewhere in the city which was demolished early last century, the bricks sold as salvage material to local tradesmen. It would make them about 180 years old. But on the other hand, they look and feel like pressed bricks - quite different from the coarse and crumbling sandstock bricks of the early penal colony. The research continues.
|1830's "Sandstock" brick mold with heart-shaped frog mark. |
Picture courtesy of NSW Gov. Education and Communities
- NSW Government, Education and Communities, http://lrrpublic.cli.det.nsw.edu.au/lrrSecure/Sites/Web/13651/artefacts/show_tell11881_text.htm, retreived 09/05/2013
- Australian Building, a Cultural Investigation, Miles Lewis. Retreived 04/02/2013