Old Ballarat Pottery was set up by John Gilbert as part of the Old Ballarat Village, opposite Sovereign Hill. Gilbert had lectured at Ballarat College of Advanced Education before establishing the Edinburgh Pottery at Sovereign Hill in 1972 to enable visitors to see traditional trades at work. The Old Ballarat Pottery was a much larger concern, producing wares for sale through department stores and on party plan via Faberware as well as through the village.
Early works looked as though they might have been made in the 1850s, with unturned bases, crude marks and dark treacle-like glazes. Peter Pilven, one of Gilbert's students, worked there after graduating from the Ballarat College of Advanced Education, teaching throwing to students like the potter John Ferguson, who was there from 1978-79.
Potters were initially employed by Gilbert's company Pontresina Pty Ltd, registered in 1973. (The Old Ballarat Pottery was registered as a company from 1984-1994.) Early works are marked with an impressed long-tailed 'B', or an 'OB' on either side of a mine tower. A printed stamp also features a mine tower surrounded by the text 'Old Ballarat Pottery Made in Australia'. Later work is impressed 'Stoneware Old Ballarat Pottery Australia' with a kangaroo.
Hand thrown black glazed bottle with lip.
Inscriptions & markings
Stamped 'Stoneware Old Ballarat Pottery' and impressed with a long tailed B.