Banbury Village marks a new chapter in the remarkable history of Footscray and the Olympic Tyre Factory. Sir Frank Beaurepaire began the Olympic Tyre & Rubber Co in 1933, expanding in 1939 to include an administration building and large banbury machines. These banburies revolutionised the factory and remain on the site to this day. The factory’s expansion was officially opened by Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1939.
At the start of the Second World War, Olympic Tyre & Rubber Co was the only manufacturer of insulated cable in the southern hemisphere and made a significant contribution to Australia’s wartime effort. As a prominent landmark of Melbourne’s manufacturing hub, Olympic Tyres frequently made the headlines, as did its founder, Sir Frank Beaurepaire.
Born in 1891, Sir Frank is renowned for much more than his multi-million dollar rubber empire. An accomplished Olympian, Sir Frank set 15 world records and won six Olympic medals. He also served with the Australian Defence Force in World War 1, received a knighthood in 1940 and was elected Lord Mayor of Melbourne that same year. Sir Frank Beaurepaire passed away in 1956.
Cedar Woods will honour the legacy of the site through preservation of the two art deco buildings and by naming streets after long serving employees of the company. An interpretive trail will also showcase the history, culminating at Beaurepaire Park with the installation of the banburys as urban art – a fitting tribute to the significance of the site and the remarkable man behind it.