The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
A7437-4/1 Roof tiles (2), bee symbol, terracotta, made by Guichard Carvin et Cie, Marseille St. Andre, France, 1890-1914, salvaged from Wunderlich factory, Redfern, New South Wales, Australia,1980. Click to enlarge.

Roof tiles by Guichard Carvin et Cie

This roof tile was imported by Wunderlich Limited from the Marseille region in France.

Australia was first introduced to the Marseille tile in 1888, when they were shown at the Centennial International Exhibition in Melbourne, winning a first order of merit and a silver medal. [1] The first major importer of Marseilles tiles into Australia was W. H. Rocke and Company [2], however they fell victim to the depression that engulfed Victoria in 1892 and became insolvent in Sydney later that year. …

Parts of this object


Object No.


Object Statement

Roof tiles (2), bee symbol, terracotta, made by Guichard Carvin et Cie, Marseille St. Andre, France, 1890-1914, salvaged from Wunderlich factory, Redfern, New South Wales, Australia,1980

Physical Description

Two terracotta roof tiles each featuring a bee insignia on either side of each tile.



This terracotta roof tile was collected from the Wunderlich Limited factory in Redfern in 1980. This particular type of tile is referred to as a Marseille, or French style roof tile.

In 1892 the Wunderlich brothers had purchased a wayward shipment of roofing tiles from France. The shipment established a profitable relationship with the Tile Manufacturers of Marseilles. It was the first of 110 cargoes to arrive by 1914, totalling 75 million tiles. This type of interlocking tile was developed in Marseilles during the 1850s, and was produced by several tileries whose products were sold through the syndicate which dealt with Wunderlich. Only the export tiles were red; European French tiles retained a slate grey.

Sydney's love affair with red Marseilles tiles commenced here, more or less superceding slate or iron roofs. Tiled roofs were a perfect match for the Arts & Crafts 'Federation' domestic style architecture of the time. However they have remained popular right up to the present, regardless of prevailing architectural styles and philosophies.

Most of the tiles collected from the Wunderlich site were branded with one of ten symbols, which could be traced back to manufactures and locations in the Marseilles area.

The brands collected from the Wunderlich site included the following:

(Symbol, Company Name, Location)
Turtle, Tuileries de la Mediterranee, Siege Social Marseille, France
Cock, Saumati Freres, Marseille, France
Spade, Pierre Amedee, St Henry Marseille, France
Maltese Cross, Arnaud Etienne et Cie, Marseille St. Henri, France
Star, Pierre Sacoman, St. Henry Marseille, France
Anchor, Antoine Sacoman, Usine La Plata Marseille St. Henry, France
Lion, Guichard Freres, Seon St. Henri Marseille, France
Bee, Guichard Carvin et Cie, Marseille St. Andre, France
Horse, Les Fils de Jules Bonnet, La Viste Marseille, France
Horned animal + entwined anchor, Gustavo Gavotti, Lungaville Voghera, Italy

Wunderlich was unable to satisfy the demand once the Great War stopped the shipment from France. The Wunderlich Company had foreseen the possibility of the European war and had installed experimental tilery plants in Sydney and Melbourne, at the same time purchasing clay lands in these areas. [1] By the time the war made importation of Marseilles tiles impossible, Wunderlich Limited was ready to start full scale production of their own branded tiles.

[1]Forty Years of Wunderlich Industry 1887-1927, Wunderlich Ltd, 1927
[2]Trade Brochure, Colour in Wunderlich Products, Wunderlich Ltd, Museum Research Library



This roof tile came from the Wunderlich factory in Redfern, and was acquired by the Museum in 1980.

In 1969 the Wunderlich Company was taken over by Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited (CSR) and de-listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1970. In 1979 CSR sold Wunderlich's Redfern site, with all the original buildings to be demolished to make way for a shopping centre. In November, that same year, CSR gave the Museum $20,000 to rescue the collection of the Wunderlich Factory, before it was lost forever.[1]

The Museum employed the assistance of Industrial Archaeologists to help preserve and document the site before its demolition. The Curator in 1980, John Wade, thought it imperative to act quickly as demolition had already begun by the time Museum staff could get to the buildings, and numerous objects were being stolen from the demolition site on a nightly basis. The archaeologists were racing the bulldozers to preserve what was left of the site and worked quickly to preserve anything they could.[2]

Before museum staff began work on the site the main factory buildings and timber mill were roofed with Marseilles tiles, and a number of buildings were roofed with Wunderlich branded tiles [1]. By the time Museum staff began work on the site the demolition of the roofs was almost complete and most of the factory's buildings were littered with broken roof tiles. Staff scavenged the entire site salvaging both Marseilles tiles and Wunderlich tiles, attempting to gathering representatives of each tile on the site. Ten different examples of the French style tiles were recovered along with numerous different Wunderlich branded roof tiles.

This collection is again being worked on in 2008, as part of the Total Asset Management Collections Project, to increase accessibility of documentation relating to the Wunderlich objects. This collection project has not only preserved some of its products, but has given an insight into the development, operation and impact of a great Australian company, which became an institution.

[1]Susan Bures and Barry Groom, Wunderlich Project Report, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 1980-1981
[2]Memo from John Wade to acting director D. Walsh, Museum Archives

Cite this Object


Roof tiles by Guichard Carvin et Cie 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 September 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Roof tiles by Guichard Carvin et Cie |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 September 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}