Curl

George Edward Curl (1892-1973) born in Mt Gambier, worked as a blacksmith/ engineer with local engineering company Varcoes (a windmill manufacturing company) for 36 years. He began making reels in early 1930’s and continued through after the war. His early reels were made of Brass, obtained from Varcoes. The brass star backs were made by a firm in Ballarat, the timber spool centres and some reels were made from Red Gum which was abundant around the Glenelg River. The later reels were made of scrap stainless steel which was obtained from the local milk factory (old milk vats etc.). The reels were all made on his 3” belt driven treadle lathe in a tin shed at the rear of his property. No. 3-5 Wehl Street Mt Gambier. There were only around 500-600 of these reels produced. The costs of the reels were 3 pounds for a small model and 4 pounds for a larger model. The reels were sold mostly in the Mt Gambier area and the western district of Victoria. The reels were not named because of fears of patent infringements. He often repaired reels for locals and an occasional Bakelite and wooden reel with a Y-back Stainless Steel back can be found. His son Brian George Curl provided this information to Jeff Overington when he visited him in early 1999 and acquired some reels. Later research has found that Brian also made some reels with the assistance of his father George. Curl reels became a sought after and valuable trophy of the Glenelg River Angling Club. Burt Lockwood, who has just celebrated who has just celebrated his 104th birthday and worked for George Curl at Varcoes said “George was Varcoes top blacksmith and he could do amazing things with a bit of hot metal. He had a workshop and a small foundry in his backyard and he remembers George had a particular interest in fishing.”

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