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There wouldn’t be a construction industry if there weren’t any bricklayers, commonly known as “brickies”. Bricklaying is one of the most important aspects to building a home, commercial office buildings or even a large mine site.

According to Wikipedia, masonry bricklaying or masonry “is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar”. Mortar is a workable paste with a mixture of cement, lime, sand, and water that bonds materials together. To the lay person it would be commonly known as a cement mix.

To build sound structures a bricklayer needs a great understanding of the various materials available for use in the construction of a building. Common materials include, concrete blocks, bricks, stones, granite, marble, cast stone, limestone, stucco, tile, travertine and glass blocks.

What does a bricklayer do?

Some may find they want to enter this exciting field of stone artistry after doing a DIY project at home or by reading a “how to bricklaying” manual. On-the-job training and bricklaying apprenticeships are the two most often used avenues to enter into the bricklaying industry. Specialised training institutes also offer bricklaying courses as either a short course or as a certificate course.

Bricklayers are used to build different structures like walls, floors, fireplaces, partitions, chimneys and brick pathways. Most of the work takes place outdoors and requires physically fit and strong workmen. Bricks are quite heavy and can have sharp edges. The bricklayer might be climbing scaffolding so it is imperative to wear safety hats, gloves and shoes.

Skill is needed in cutting the stones and other materials to fit around doors, windows and other openings. Bricklayers need to know how to read blueprints, handle various tools, including power tools and have good mathematical knowledge so they can calculate the different angles when determining the meeting of corners.

For more information about apprenticeships, visit our Training and Development section.

Refractory masons

Refractory masons are a specialised type of bricklayer often employed in the oil and gas industry. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,

“Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing firebrick and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial establishments. Most of these workers are employed in steel mills, where molten materials flow on refractory beds from furnaces to rolling machines. They also are employed at oil refineries, glass furnaces, incinerators, and other locations requiring high temperatures during the manufacturing process.”


As the population and new mining initiatives increase, bricklayers are in high demand. Mining jobs are constantly advertising for bricklayers in all aspects of mining construction including building community homes to house their workers. Oil and gas refineries are also in need of refractory masons.

On-the-job experience or bricklaying apprenticeships will fast track your career allowing you to be employed by the construction industry or gearing you for self-employment.

Master Builders Australia

The Master Builders Australia website provides informative newsletters, articles and employment information on bricklaying. Their main aim “is to promote the viewpoints and interests of the building and construction industry and to provide services to members in a broad range of areas including training, legal services, industrial relations, building codes and standards, industry economics and international relations.”

Visit our Construction Sectors page for more information on all the sectors needed to support the resource industry.

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