FEMININE INFLUENCE IN THE BREWERY
Australian Woman Who Has Made
SUCCESS stories in the romantic genre are not rare. But an vement such as that of Miss Alice Cummins young barrister-at-
law who inherited a declining brewery and built out of the ruins a £125,000 brewery, is extra- ordinary enough to add to the laurels women have won in modern business
MISS CUMMINS, tall, dark haired and soft- voiced and quite the antithesis of all one can expect to find in a lawyer and business Le, came to Sydney on business last week modestly confessed that she was the Alice Cummins who was the first woman called to the
Bar in Western Australia.
"I don't practise," she added by way of explanation, "because all my time is given to looking after our breweries." And then she went on to describe how she was forccd by a hereditary to give up law so she could carry on management of two breweries, one of which the famous Hannans Brewery on the Kal- goorlie goldfields established nearly 50 years ago during the gold boom by her father.
this did not as one might imagine simply that she assumed control of a well estab- lished business which ran on oiled wheels. She decided to take contiol of a business which was fast ing because it was outdated, and she has organising it, and introducing modern methods, built it up to far beyond its boom-time when Kalgoorlie had 20 breweries and an available floating population whose pockets were lined with gold. She has just built at Kalgoorlie a new brewery which cost £ 125,000.
Cummins Brewery was established in 1892 after quite romantic circumstances by her
father, Mr Cummins had lost the whole of his except £100 in the East. He came to Southern Cross, left his wife in Adelaide with £80 and
left for Kalgoorlie, where gold had been dis-
covered. He walked from Southern Cross to Kal- goorlie because there was no railway in those days. He struck gold and looking around for a medium investment saw the need for a brewery. He shed a 10-hogshead plant capable of blew 1 gallons a day. Within the year there were 9 breweries in the precincts of the famous golden mile of Kalgoorlie, but Cummins elimina- ted them all and built up a brewery which for prior to his death was of one hundred hogs-
head capacity capable of producing over 5,000
of beer a day
For 40 years Mr Cummins had brewed the old b type of beer. But several years prior
to his death (he died in 1932 at the age of Is type declined in popularity in favour
new lager type. The brewery suffered the other plant which he had estab- lished at Merredin in the wheat belt of Western
Cummins's daughter who was by this time working in the office of the brewery because her father felt that she must be trained to carry on after his death, tried to convince him that the English type was no longer popular and that a change must be made. He refused, and the was in a dire state when he died.
MISS CUMMINS had since 1928 started in he humble capacity of cask, ledgerkeeper lad learned the whole business from the tal side of brewing to engineering and re- iton She immediately set about to re- ah the business.
arranged for the loan of money, installed plant and gradually won back the business had lost.
year she built the new £ 125,000 brewery -storey concrete and steel building, with output increased threefold and storage capacity 000 gallons.
Cummins was very fortunate in having able attitude to her work when she first entered the business. She knew that one day she would have to run the business.
" ad to get a complete knowledge of the whole business," she said, "otherwise I should have been at the mercy of my staff. If someone suggested machinery, I wanted to be in the position
[caption begins: MISS CUMMINS photographed at her desk in Sydney last week. She is on her way
home after spending a holiday in the East. [caption end].
of knowing whether it was really wise. I was determined to leam everything.
"I started in the humblest job in the brewery, and after a few years father placed me in charge of the smaller brewery at Merredin. First I learned how to brew, both in theory and practice, then I learned engineering and refrigeration, in theoy and practice. It has been worth while, I've worked incredibly hard, but it is fun to make a success of one's job ."
Success to the Young
MISS CUMMINS'S success in bringing new
methods into her brewery is comparable to the success a young engineer has had in rejuvena- ting one of the largest goldfields at Kalgoorlie by using modem machinery and reducing work- ing costs fiom 32/6 to 16/ per ton of ore treated. Some of the old hands had said that the "golden mile" was done and that Hannan's beer was done, but both industries have been rejuvenated by an engineer and a woman.
At Kalgoorlie the consumption of beer per head is 15½ gallons per annum—the largest in Australia. There are about 17,000 inhabitants, and the city has 40 hotels, electric trains and the most elaborate Olympic swimming pool in Australia. The water, which is brought from 400 miles away by pipe line, costs 7/6 per 100 gallons.
Because of the lack of deep drainage, Miss Cummins has to pay £5 a day to get rid of the waste water from the brewery.
Miss Cummins's employees, 100 in all, are men, with the exception of her private secretary. She has no difficulty in managing them, and she is courteously treated, without resentment, by her busi- ness associates and competitors.
She agrees that she has had a tough fight, and she believes that a legal training has helped her considerably. She believes that all business oppor- tunities should be open to women.
Clean as a Hospital
"PEOPLE say to me with awe in their voices:
'How do you possibly run a brewery?' Actually it's simple. I've learned my job. It's no more difficult or amazing than running a home; the basic principles are the same. One of the most important features of actual staff management is keeping the brewery scrupulously clean. If you dont, the yeast becomes infected, the brew goes, and then the business goes. My breweries, as a consequence are as clean as a hospital.
[caption]: In Singapore.—MISS CUMMINS and two small friends in her party.
We even keep a chemist to watch for germs. Another importont point is using tact in running a staff just as every woman has to use tact in managing her husband and her children!"
Miss Cummins is as far as she knows the only woman brewery manager in Australia.
In Milwaukee, USA, the widow of a former brewer carries on one of the largest breweries in the United States. The technical editor of the American Brewing Journal is also a woman.
In other parts of the world women bacteriologists are employed in breweries and Miss Cummins sees scope here in Australia in this work for women with scientific training.