Matthews Fire Alarm
Matthews Fire Alarms have been manufacturing quality products in Australia since 1922. Located in Eagle Farm Brisbane, MFA supplies hundreds of fire protection products made and tested to the highest standards. MFA prides itself on quality manufacturing and has done so for 100 years.
At the time, Captain John Hinton was Superintendent of the Brisbane Fire Brigade. Captain Hinton, with his progressive attitude, was improving Brigade operations when he persuaded Mr. Matthews to design and manufacture the first Street Alarm Mechanical Call Points in Queensland. These units were positioned in Brisbane city streets and thereby the Fire Brigade could be called out by simply breaking the glass and pressing the button, by a prearranged code system the Brigade knew exactly where to go.
This incident proved the practicability of the Matthews System to prevent extensive financial losses associated with large fires. Enough interest was generated by this fire at Morrow’s Ltd. for the Matthews Fire Alarm company to be incorporated to market the fire detection system.
The first premises protected through to 1930 included Morrows Ltd (1912), Plumridge Limited (1922), Canada Cycle and Motor Company (1922), Charles O’Reilly (1922), Brown and Broad (1922), Queensland Railway Stores (1923), Northcote Chambers (1923), F. Tritton Pty Ltd (1924), R.W. Kirby Limited in Rockhampton (1924), Denham Brothers Ltd. (1924), Telegraph Newspapers (1924), Colonial Sugar Refining Co (1924).
In addition to the Matthews Fire Detection Systems and Coded Street Fire Alarm Call Boxes, other firsts were:
- Foam fire Extinguishers (Foamite)
- Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers (Fyr Freez)
- Homelite Portable Pumps and Generators
- Front Mounted Fire Pumps (Barton U50)
- 24 hour Fire Alarm Continuous Servicing
- Electric Alarm Sirens
The fire alarm receiving panels were mounted on polished Queensland maple cabinets fabricated by Arthur Foote of Ipswich.
After all these years the panels were accepted as collectors items by museums of fire brigade equipment.
Throughout 1939, Matthews had a change in production, focusing on Fire Brigade hardware, away from the normal fire alarm business.
In view of our background and experience with fire brigades and the fire protection business, our services were continually called up.
There was a massive input of American personnel and materials into Brisbane and much of their fire fighting hardware had to be adapted for use with Queensland Fire Service connections.
Our company provided supply to the Australian Armed Forces, U.S. Army, Navy and 5th Air force, British and Dutch Royal Navy. In the meanwhile Mr. Henry Roberts became Chairman of Directors, with Mr. E.C. Matthews, Managing Director and Mr. T Offner Company Secretary.
Following the cessation of World War 2 there was a complete change of business operations.
The sudden release of merchandise through Army disposal sales was meeting the immediate demands of the market.
New fire production products were designed and manufactured, and new trade names registered. An increased range of merchandise was organized, including synthetic fire hoses from Japan and aluminium ladders.
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Matthews Fire Alarm becomes a member of the Fire Protection Association of Australia.
From humble beginnings to global powerhouse
Rich heritage brought us to where we are today, and we are extremely proud of it. And like many of the world’s leading inventions, our origins come from humble beginnings. For us, it was 1949 Brisbane, Australia, where we set up a small tool shop. Fast-forward to today and we’re one of the fastest growing publicly traded industrial companies listed on Australia’s Securities Exchange.
RWC is a powerful family of brands with a reputation to match. Passing down over 70 years of innovation, we strive to shape a better world by continuously creating breakthrough products to make customers’ lives easier and more efficient.