The Kellogg Boys of Thomas Road

  In 1953, construction began on the Australasian Petroleum Refinery in Kwinana. The size of the project demanded a workforce of over 400 men, but the relative isolation of the site made transporting labourers in and out of the area a significant challenge. Some men undertook a 40 minute bus ride to Perth and back, but in order to increase efficiency Kellogg International Corporation, the company … Continue reading The Kellogg Boys of Thomas Road

Fun at Medina Fair

In May 1955, the Medina Parents and Citizens’ announced that a Medina Fair would be held in November 1955, and would be of a size and scope to rival the then famous Canning Show.  The main purpose behind the Fair was to raise £2,000 towards improvements and works at Medina School. The inaugural Fair commenced with a grand opening ceremony featuring asbestos-clad members of BP Refinery’s … Continue reading Fun at Medina Fair

Then and now: Lipscombe Court, Medina

  While Kwinana is not known for its heritage architecture, No.3 Lipscombe Court deserves a special mention for its role in the early days of Medina Town. Prior to the construction of other entertainment facilities, this house operated as a social hub for Medina’s early residents as it was the family home of BP Refinery’s first Manager, Mr. George Cessford.  It was built in 1951, and … Continue reading Then and now: Lipscombe Court, Medina

From Medina’s Maestro to Tuesday Girls – Music binds Kwinana

In the early days of Medina Town, television had not yet touched Perth, let alone the remote industrial outpost of Kwinana! And so the BP Band stepped up to fill the entertainment void. One of the band’s first conductors was BP engineer, Walter A. Cooke.  Born in Sheffield, U.K. in 1910, Wally Cooke had considerable musical experience playing with the Salvation Army and had been … Continue reading From Medina’s Maestro to Tuesday Girls – Music binds Kwinana

Archivist Amnesia – Can You Help?

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?

Shipwrecks along the coast near Kwinana

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

Oil men look to the West

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

Building the refinery

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

Named after a wreck

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