The Rope and Twine Company

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CPM00438 Staff of WA Rope and Twine Company Pty Ltd, 1957

In 1912 two companies joined together to form The Rope and Twine Company, shared equally between George Kinnear Pty and James Miller Ropes Pty. Situated to the north of Boundary Road in Mosman Park, the factory was managed by Richard Bryant, originally from Tasmania who had worked for Kinnear in Melbourne as a rope and twine master. Later Bryant’s two sons Jim and Bert joined the emergent workforce. The Bryant influence continued down several generations with Robert R Bryant, the grandson of the original Bryant working as an eight-year-old in 1938 running errands on the factory floor.

Raw materials used in rope making were sourced from all the world and included highly regarded coconut yarn with its superior tensile strength, Yorkshire cotton shipped over from England, hemp from the Philippines as well as sisal sent in from South Africa. The company provided rope products both nationally and internationally as well as a supplier to the Australian Navy. One product in particular was highly specialised: the 27-inch coil rope (so called “springs”) deployed in high tidal flow ports in the North- West.

After failing fortunes and the ownership transferring to George Kinnear and Sons Pty in entirety, the factory was sold in 1989 by Boral Kinnears and within a year was demolished to make way for a wave of retirement villas.

Although no trace now remains of either the factory or some of processed of rope making associated with it, to this day one street running parallel with Wellington street and linking onto Boundary is called Rope Walk. The local name was derived from the walkway alongside the factory where ropes were stretched out in long, close rows to set the twist. The original rope walk was 330 metres long. (1080 ft). Office juniors were reportedly engaged in running in the rope on the specialist machinery up to 30 times a day, along its entire length.

Written by Georgy Hadwen for The Grove Community History Library.

 

References

Tuettemann, E. Between River & Sea. Town of Mosman Park 1991

Staff of WA Rope and Twine Company Pty Ltd. Accessed from http://www.photosau.com.au/TheGroveLibrary/scripts/ExtSearch.asp?SearchTerm=CPM00483

Quarrying in Mosman Park

Rocky Bay Quarry, 1893

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Mosman Park with its unique geological profile and position along the Swan River, offered limestone in abundance, with easy transportation along the river. Limestone remains the raw material for the manufacture of quicklime (calcium oxide), slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), cement and mortar. Pulverized limestone is used as a soil conditioner to neutralize acidic soils (agricultural lime). It is crushed for use as aggregate—the solid base for many roads as well as in asphalt concrete. Quarrying operations began during the mid-1800s and lasted in one form or another up to the 1960s, transforming the landscape along the way. Originally known for its seven sisters hills, just one remains today: Buckland Hill, with the quarry reducing and modifying the topology of the suburb.  The quarry, one of the first in WA extended from south of the jetty to the Chine and its stone provided the foundations for many of Perth’s significant buildings.

Lime kilns on Buckland Hill, c 1920cpm01447

Begun in 1850, quarrying largely utilised Convict labour and sourced from the Cliffs surrounding Mosman Bay, with stone transported to Perth on sail barges. When Western Australia’s convict era came to an end with the cessation of penal transportation in May 1865, convict labour diminished but prisoners serving out their sentence at Fremantle Jail were deployed up to 1870.

Stone was also quarried from the Western Face of Buckland Hill. This stone found its way into road construction, many fine buildings or was sent to the goldfields at Kalgoorlie.  The Eastern Railway and Fremantle Harbour trust also used the material to construct Fremantle Harbour and the Fishing Harbour. Fragments are all that remain of the old jetty where the boats docked to fill their holds with stone.

By 1899 two quarries were still operating in the area and stone from these was used to construct Glyde Street. The amount of viable stone quarried steadily declined as local complaints about the erosion of the landscape gained traction and by 1904 both quarries had ceased production. Smaller quarries remained over several decades, one owned by a well-known local figure Mr Kiesewetter, employed over 100 men.

The 1910 road board considered the limekilns significant enough to connect adjacent roads with the subsequent construction of Baring street in that year. By all accounts the work was hard on both labourer and Dray. In 1936 the quarries near Palmerston street were sold to the emergent Colonial Sugar Refinery who only utilised part of the existing quarry, predominantly for dumping ash. This pattern continued under subsequent ownerships until 1953 when the ground was levelled. Other ventures continued in Mosman Park with usage by furnace and smelting companies. However, by 1963 the demand for limestone had declined and all activity ceased The land was subsequently reclaimed for residential purposes.

Written for The Grove Community History Library by

G. Hadwen

References

Colebatch, Sir Hal (ed.) (1929). A Story of a Hundred Years: Western Australia, 1829–1929. Perth: Government Printer

Tuettermann E. (1991) Between River and Sea : Town of Mosman Park.

100 years of progress…

The view over Mosman Bay is one of the most spectacular in Perth. These two images show how the landscape has changed with almost 100 years of progress. Which do you prefer, 1915 or 2012?

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