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S. Schlank & Co., Adelaide, South Australia

Salis Schlank was a Jewish jeweller who emigrated from Prussia. Salis worked for the firm P. Falk & Co., General Merchants of Birmingham, Melbourne and Adelaide, which had been founded in 1864. It appears that Phillip and Silas Faulk looked after the European side of the business, Abraham Benjamin the Melbourne side, and Salis Schlank the Adelaide operations. It seems that the partnership dissolved in 1878 with Schlank retaining the Adelaide division, renaming it S. Schlank & Co. After Salis' death on the 28 June 1892, his wife Laura (nee Beaver), took over the running of the firm, followed later by son Michael.

The company made the oldest Parliamentary Mace in Australia, at its Beaver Factory (named after Laura) in Adelaide, at a cost of seventy pounds. The mace was designed by the WA State Works Department in 1887, and is made of silver with gold gilt. It was first used in the Legislative Council in 1888, and was transferred along with the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Legislative Assembly upon its establishment in 1890.

The firm employed Jack Ellerton Becker (later Sir Ellerton Becker) as an apprentice in the 1920s and helped develop his long lasting interest in design. Becker found work with the firm as Mr Michael Schlank, was his next door neighbour and a close friend of his father.

In 1936 S. Schlank & Co. Ltd. manufactured a medal to commemorate the centenary of South Australia (NU 31143).

Laura and Salis had 10 children and were prominent members of Adelaide's Jewish community. Their daughter Rachel 'Racey' Schlank was a poet and author, a prominent founding member of the Women's Branch of the Liberal Union and has been credited with conceiving the idea of Wattle Day, one of their other daughters Hilda was a well known artist in early South Australia.

References:
Western Australian Parliament website http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/home.nsf/0/feba2af806f38f67482568f6001c2997?OpenDocument
Australian Literature Gateway http://www.austlit.edu.au/run?ex=ShowAgent&agentId=A)n6
Australian Science Archives Project, University of Melbourne, website http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/bsparcs/aasmemoirs/becker.htm.

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