historyExcell Blacksmith Shop History

Ernest Excell, the founder of E.E.Excell and Sons was born in 1877 at Koolunga SA.

He learnt his Blacksmith trade working at Broken Hill and Belanie North where Mr Heathersay employed him.

Ernest later worked at “Shearers” Mundoora assisting as a “striker” wielding a sledge hammer for Charlie Octoman.

Charlie had previously owned a Blacksmith and Wheelwright business at Tumby Bay in 1898. Realising the potential in Tumby Bay and the surrounding area, Excell and Fairbank paid a deposit on Charlie Octoman’s lease and business in 1905. The Excell family moved over and although the business names changed, the Excells worked it until 1920. They sold the business and moved to Port Broughton.

In 1928 Ernest and 2 sons Percival and Alex re-established the Tumby Bay business on Lipson Road as E.E.Excell and Sons.


In 1935 this current site on Barraud St, Tumby Bay was purchased and new premises were built in 1936. Ploughs, wheelwrights and major repairs from the developing mining and farming areas were carried out. The Excells worked most weekends, repairing Council tools, which were used 5 ½ days a week.

The “Brattenising” plough which was used for road making, was named after the Tumby Bay Council Overseer, Mr Robert Bratten, whose determination to construct the districts roads despite the obstacles was unsurpassed. The road from TumbyBay to Cummins formed by this plough is named the “Bratten Way”. The patent form of the 2 Brattenising ploughs proved to be a good income source for the Excell men.

One plough which had been used in constructing the highway across the Nullarbor can be seen at the Blacksmith shop.

The business closed in 1975 after Alex and Percival put down their hammers, leaving the Blacksmith shop untouched. It was not sold to anyone as more modern forms of repairs were being done.

The block was left to the Council in 1989 so a committee, realising the history of Excells and their skills, thought it should be retained as it contributed greatly to the development of Tumby Bay and the district.

In 1992 it was opened as an operational/working Museum as left by Alex and Perc.

In recent times it has been tastefully maintained without detracting from its original intentions; memories of a bygone era.