Australia Day Celebrates the Migrating Bricklayer

aust day photo 2.fwWith the First Fleet landing in Botany Bay on 26 January, 1788 arrived a very valuable passenger: Australia’s first bricklayer James Bloodsworth. James was a ‘migrant’ of sorts, a convict from the English penal system. His skills were quickly evident and he became a very important part of Captain Arthur Phillip’s settlement building team.

Later he was pardoned due to his great contribution to the development of the colony; his leadership and skills in manufacturing and laying bricks, as well as being the prominent builder of the early settlement.

Since that time, many skilled bricklayers have chosen to immigrate to these shores helping create a quality bricklaying workforce that continues to build our nation.

Today, building activity is strong with housing starts at record levels and we need more migrating bricklayers to satisfy the high demand for the trade. Growing apprentice numbers over recent years have not been enough to satisfy the demand and industry is looking at migration options to bring in skilled tradesmen.

ABBTF welcomes migrant bricklayers under the various temporary and permanent visas. With bricklaying listed on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) there is a great opportunity for skilled bricklayers from countries that offer formal qualifications in the trade, to get sponsored for work in Australia.

The United Kingdom and Ireland have produced the majority of migrating bricklayers joining the workforce but many other countries provide such qualifications and now send bricklayers who settle here or spend a few years building their work and life experience.

The first bricklayer ‘immigrated’ in 1788 and we welcome many more of these talented tradesmen in the future.


Geoff Noble



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