Every now and again we come across a photo or document we don’t know much about. When this happens, we ask our community to help! Do you know a thing or two about refinery construction? Can you identify what’s going on in this photo? What we know already: Image taken for Head Wrightson Pty Ltd to document the construction work at the BP Refinery, Kwinana, … Continue reading Archivist Amnesia – Can You Help?
The large number of ships wrecked along the coast of Western Australia was sometimes due to the powerful storms and gales which occur at certain times of the year when the wind is normally onshore. There was also a problem of sandbanks, islands and reefs which presented formidable obstacles for mariners and many sunken vessels have never been located. The shipwrecks near the Rockingham-Kwinana-Cockburn coastline … Continue reading Shipwrecks along the coast near Kwinana
When the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company sent a letter to the WA Manager of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries stating that they were looking for a location to establish an oil refinery somewhere in Australasia worth 40 million pounds – it was no time to panic! A significant development in Western Australia’s history would have been lost if the government officials at the time, led by the Premier … Continue reading Oil men look to the West
While the contractors worked on the steel towers and tanks near Cockburn Sound, a new town was emerging just a couple of kilometres away. BP Refinery (Kwinana) Ltd employed around 750 people. They and their families were to live, for the most part, in the township of Medina, which was built by the State Housing Commission. The State Government had committed to providing 1,000 homes … Continue reading Building a town
Initial construction work on the refinery began on 1 October 1952, when subcontracts were let for fencing the site and for preliminary scrub clearing and road building. Within six months, the area was cleared and levelled, roads completed and temporary buildings to enable construction installed. Excavation work for the refinery began, and cement was poured in April 1953. By the middle of that year, 1,000 … Continue reading Building the refinery
The rusting remains of the SS Kwinana used to be well known to thousands of holidaymakers. Although known as the ‘Kwinana Wreck’ it was not really a wreck. The 3,295-ton steamship had already been stripped of everything of value before she was abandoned. In her good years she was a coastal trader. At Carnarvon in 1920, fire broke out in the bunkers. After a hard … Continue reading Named after a wreck
Throughout 1953 contractors were hard at work erecting a steel city for Anglo-Persian (later BP) and Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd down on the beach front. Most of the contract workers were men who would have little to do with Kwinana’s future, and who were housed in a temporary construction camp. They knew that when the project was over they would be sent to some other … Continue reading Building an industry
Kwinana Alumina Plant was officially opened for Alcoa on 21 February 1964 by the Premier, Sir David Brand. By 1979, the plant’s capacity had been increased to 1.4 million tonnes of alumina a year. Continue reading Alcoa comes to town