Anschau was key to the success of our tanning past

Anschau House, Windsor. Picture courtesy D. G. Bowd Collection.
Anschau House, Windsor. Picture courtesy D. G. Bowd Collection.

Peninsula Tannery was located on the banks of South Creek in the 19th century and was noted for its production of quality leather including that used for harnesses and shoe soles.

It was established by John Scurr Busby in the 1860s and produced about one hundred hides per week.

Expanding the business in 1881, Busby introduced steam power and by the 1890s, employed at least a dozen people.

Buildings on the site included a “rolling shed, drying shed, beam shed, currying shop, bark store, engine shed, hide store and store for general purposes”  with between 250 and 300 hides produced weekly.

Tanning involved the use of a lot of water which was sourced from South Creek using an eight horse-power engine.

Further expansion took place in 1895, however F. B. Anschau took over the tannery from Busby in 1906 and commenced operations immediately, operating the business for over a century.

Francis Bernard Anschau was born in the district of Luddenham in 1870, one of 13 children born to Joseph and Bridget Anschau. Known as ‘Frank’ he learnt the trade of tanning then qualified as a master tanner, working at both Luddenham and St. Marys.

Shoemaking, saddlers and harness makers were all industries dependent on tanned leather.

Frank found himself a bride, Beatrice Gascoigne, and the couple married in Windsor in 1910.

As the business was flourishing, Anschau bought a motor vehicle and a fine residence was constructed in Windsor which became known as Anschau House.

The couple had two daughters, Frances and Mona. Mrs Anschau regularly held garden parties to raise money for the local Hospital and Home for the Infirm. 

In later years, the land surrounding the house in Windsor, known as Anschau's Paddock, was subdivided into Ross Street and Anschau Crescent, and in 1936 was sold as prime real estate.

Anschau was elected as a member of Windsor Council and served for about 14 years.

He was also a Life Member of the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society, and served for thirty years as Hospital Director. He was involved with the Windsor School of Arts and was also a keen billiard player.

Anschau operated his business until about 1957, just prior to his death on March 8, 1958 aged 85 years.

His funeral was held two days later at St Matthew’s Catholic Church in Windsor. He was buried at the Field of Mars Cemetery, Ryde.

The tannery was dismantled with the majority of the buildings demolished and most of the equipment sold.