The discovery of high quality clay in Northcote and Preston in the 1860s led to a booming trade in clay pit mining and brick making. The earliest of these included the pit behind the Carters Arms Hotel in Northcote (the Northcote Brickworks), and Gottleib Arndt's handmade bricks on the corner of Raglan and Hotham Streets.
The Clifton Brickworks was a relative latecomer to this, not starting until 1890 under the ownership of David Clifton. Like the Northcote Brickworks, the Clifton Brickworks found that business was very much boom and bust and both companies either rapidly expanded or just as rapidly reduced their workforces. In the 1890s it was not uncommon for them to close down for weeks at a time as business slowed.
By the late 1890s and into the turn of the century the Clifton Brickworks was closed for several years. But the business was bought by W. and A. H. Angliss and in 1907 it reopened.
Business soon picked up and by the 1930s was a booming industry, employing many local people. In the 1960s Clifton Brickworks bought out the Brunswick brickworks, afterwards selling off most of its assets.
When the Clifton Brickworks finally closed down in the 1960s, it left a huge hole, reaching at some points to 50 metres. In 1963 work began on filling the hole, the site being used as a garbage dump.
The site, on St. Georges Road Preston, is now the Ray Bramham Gardens.
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
CLIFTON BRICK COMPANY (1935, September 6). Preston Leader (Melbourne, Vic: 2001 -), p. 6.