The Sutherland Shire was booming with trade businesses in the 1970s and it is where many successful local companies like Curran Plumbing really began.
With Sydney’s population increasing in the mid-1960s, and developments such as the Captain Cook Bridge (1965) at Taren Point, the Sutherland Shire opened up rapidly with new suburban housing on quarter-acre blocks plus factories, shops, infrastructure and services. In the 1970s a small business run by James Curran, the father of Curran Plumbing’s present owner, became busy providing building and plumbing services to the people of the Sutherland Shire.
James D Curran and Sons employed many local workers to meet the fast-paced demand for commercial and residential plumbing services. Among them were the sons of the business owner, James D. Curran (known as Jim) and his wife Patricia, who worked in the office. The four sons Jamie, Rodney, Ian and Patrick all worked for the James D Curran and Sons company for some time. Patrick Curran, the youngest, would later establish Curran Plumbing.
Sutherland Shire growth kept James, a plumber and licensed builder, in work throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and his business flourished. James D Curran and Sons operated from 388 Port Hacking Road Caringbah (now units near the current Caringbah library), with Mrs O’Sullivan the company’s secretary working with them for years. It was responsible for building many Sutherland Shire homes, including 408 Port Hacking Road. As unit blocks became more prolific, especially around Cronulla, the company worked on the new units as well as commercial buildings.
As James D Curran and Sons expanded the company was able to upgrade vehicles and take advantage of current technology. When the business began, staff drove trucks with timber trays – featuring hand-painted signwriting advertising James D Curran and Sons on the back. The timber-tray trucks would be replaced with utes and vans.
Patrick Curran remembers working on a large unit block project situated on the hill on the road heading towards Cronulla. It was a big job for the time, and he recalls how it was innovative for the company to use ‘walkie-talkies’ for staff to communicate.
Raised in the Sutherland Shire, James D. Curran was a proud member of the local community. His father James White Curran had been a fireman and Captain of Cronulla Fire Station that was originally located near South Cronulla.
In addition to his company, James D. Curran was heavily involved in Sutherland Shire life. He built a home at in Maple Street Caringbah, was a long-time member of Caringbah Rotary, played bowls at Taren Point and attended the local church in Caringbah. During the time of his building business he managed to own a fish and chip shop at Cronulla. In the early 1970s James built a prawn trawler from iron. Named the Barrametre, the iron trawler was moored in Gunnamatta Bay for some time before being sailed to Ballina. James was also interested in local government and in 1964 ran for Sutherland Shire Council.
Launch of the Barrametre, circa 1970 Video
James Curran decided to step down from the business when ill health took its toll in later life. He subsequently purchased a dairy farm in Berry and eventually moved there. Meanwhile, his four sons were playing their own part in the development of the Sutherland Shire.
Patrick Curran completed his plumbing apprenticeship while working for the family business. As well as working for James D Curran and Sons he gained plumbing experience working for plumbing company Crawford and Samuel at Botany.
In 1990 Patrick started his plumbing business PD Curran Plumbing Pty Ltd, alongside wife and business partner Kerrie, who was raised in Kirrawee. The company mainly offered domestic and commercial maintenance services around the Sutherland Shire. Patrick and Kerrie Curran established a thriving small business and soon looked for somewhere to expand it.
In 1991 Patrick and Kerrie moved the business operations centre from Sydney to the South Coast, basing it near Patrick’s father in Berry. Over the next twenty-one years the company has gone from strength to strength, and now has more than 20 people on staff. Patrick and Kerrie’s business continued to service the Sutherland Shire and now also covers a large part of the South Coast region from Wollongong to Shoalhaven. Curran Plumbing has received many accolades and business awards throughout the years.
Shire-raised Patrick has retained his links with the area, and his membership of the Sharks. His company has been a corporate sponsor of the Cronulla Sharks Rugby League team. Curran Plumbing was also a corporate member of the Miranda Business Chamber.
Curran Plumbing now employs many qualified plumbers, including Patrick’s son Sidney Curran, who is a third-generation plumber.