Margaret Feilman (22 June 1921 –24 September 2013)

In 1951 Margaret Feilman began a long association with the Western Australian State Housing Commission where she had been given a four-year cadetship allowing her to qualify as an architect. After travelling and gaining experience both interstate and overseas, including gaining post-graduate qualifications in town and country planning at the University of Durham, Margaret opened her own practice as a town planning consultant and architect. … Continue reading Margaret Feilman (22 June 1921 –24 September 2013)

SS Kwinana – a sad end for a pretty maiden

In 1912 the West Australian Government bought the SS Darius for the north-west coastal run and renamed it Kwinana, an Aboriginal word meaning “pretty maiden”. On Christmas Day 1920, she was severely damaged by fire at Carnarvon, and a year later was brought to Fremantle, stripped, and towed to a mooring in Cockburn Sound. She was originally offered for sale, but no takers. Her fate was decided … Continue reading SS Kwinana – a sad end for a pretty maiden

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

From Road Board to City

The Kwinana Road District was established in 1953 by severing the northern part of the Rockingham Shire (Kwinana Road District Act 1953).  A new township was needed to house the proposed BP Refinery as well as its workers. Harry McGuigan was appointed the first Commissioner of the Kwinana Road Board from 1954-1956, which was then extended for two years until December 1958. On 11th of February 1961 … Continue reading From Road Board to City

Building a town

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

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