It’s time for a History Lesson! Yawn.

Well, once again a decent update is long overdue, so I’d better get on with it I guess.

The weekend. Yes, the weekend. I spent most of it working on Abandoned in Perth. On Saturday I went in to the State Library to do some research on the various sites I’ve photographed. In particular I wanted to check out the Maylands Brickwork since the website of a certain politician suggests that they…

  1. Are/were in danger of demolition due to road widening
  2. Have/had round kilns, like over at the Belmont Tileworks

Since I know of no round kilns anywhere on the peninsula I was worried that they’d actually been demolished during all the residential development that’s gone on down there over the past few years.

As it turned out the politician (like most of his breed) has no idea what he’s talking about. The photos on his site are the Belmont Tileworks – he’s got the two sites confused. The Maylands Brickworks (what’s left of them anyway) are perfectly safe – well, apart from the brickwork falling off the chimney (although that’s probably more of a danger to visitors to the place than the actual site itself 😉

(The Belmont Tileworks are in danger though, which really sucks)

Anyway I also found a brilliant map of the East Perth Power Station. It covers everything on the entire site, the interior of the main building and even the basement. My floor is now covered with photocopies 🙂

I also turned up a bunch of interesting (or at least interesting to me anyway 🙂 factoids about the station. For instance…

  • The small blocky building to the north of the main station is a frequency switching facility built in 1951 at great expense to compensate for the fact that the Government skimped on the original station in 1914 and built it at 40 cycles instead of the more standard 50.
  • In 1947 the No. 1 Turbo Alternator spontaneously disintegrated throwing high speed debris all through the station and leaving the metro area at 25% of minimum power requirements.
  • There’s supposed to be an alternator in the river by the station – it ‘jumped’ when an out of phase circuit breaker was forced closed (which apparently causes ‘bad things’ to happen :).
  • Rolf Harris’s father worked there as a turbine operator.

How about that then?

I also managed to dig up a scant few details on the Albany Bell Hatchery. The property was bought in 1910 by Peter Albany Bell, a tea-room magnate (I am not making this up!) who wanted to build a large “country style” house on it. He built the house in 1912 on the northern side of the property (where the Hatchery now stands) and in 1914 built the ‘castle’ (a confectionery factory and bakery for his tea-rooms) on the south side. In 1928 the company got out of the tea-room business and started renting out the castle for various other purposes.

Ten years later in 1938 Peter’s son Albany Maston Bell started a hatchery in a vacant section of the castle and in 1942 built a new facility on the current site (presumably the house was demolished at this point). The hatchery was still running in the 50’s (by which time the art-deco building on the front of the site was in existence) but from there the trail goes cold.

I suspect the house on the back of the site was a replacement for the 1912 house, but I don’t know for sure. There are some audio interviews with Albany Maston Bell in the State Archives, I might have a listen to them and see if I can dig up any more info. The whole thing has got me intrigued 🙂

Anyway that was Saturday. Yesterday I walked down to the Brickworks to have another look round and take some more photos. I also wanted a look at the old areodrome before it gets demolished for a housing development. I ended up walking all the way round the peninsula to Tranby House. The level of development down there was so depressing (the family used to know the caretakers, we’d visit them each Christmas) that I turned around and walked home. Three hours round trip all up, not bad.

So yeah, that was the weekend.

I’m sure there was something else I was going to write about, but I can’t for the life of me think what. So I’ll shut up now 🙂

P.S. Who Wants to be a Millionaire? does it again! The lightest metal is Hydrogen not Lithium! The fact that it’s a gas at room temperature doesn’t make any kind of difference!

I think 🙂

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