Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations      HubGarden      Recipes
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Abandoned Clackline Refractory and Quarry

Home > Perth > Escape the City | Free | Unusual Things to do | Vintage and Retro
by Rhiannon B (subscribe)
Freelance writer, photographer and science communicator. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries. Find out more at www.lagom.com.au
Published February 14th 2016
Derelict, eerie and spectacular all at once
With development in Perth sprawling ever further it's rare to find abandoned spots. But one known to locals in the Avon is the abandoned former refractory, located just outside of Clackline.

The iconic feature of the site is the imposing brick chimney, which sits surrounded by furnaces and production areas. To the rear is the equally impressive former quarry, simply jaw dropping.

refractory, quarry, abandoned, clackline, northam
Former Clackline Refractory Pic: Lagom Agency


As well as the obvious disrepair, the site is also quite eerie; it looks like the workers just downed tools one day and walked out never to return. Apart from some minor remedial work that seems to have taken place in the last year or so, the site has been unchanged for decades.

furnace, clay, refractory, clackline, northam, history
Former Clackline Refractory Pic: Lagom Agency


Aside from its fascinating state, the site also has a place in local history. The story goes that fine quality clay was discovered here by accident in 1898 by John Ford and James Murray, who were actually prospecting for gold. Two years later the duo founded the 'Clackline Firebrick Company' to test for deposits and begin a quarry.
clackline, northam, abandoned, refractory, clay
Former Clackline Refractory Pic: Lagom Agency


The bricks made at the site were used extensively in government projects throughout WA. By 1908 the business had the latest machinery of the time, but had also passed through several hands. Facing labour shortages and market pressures, the final death knell seems to have come in the 1960s or 1970s. It's important to note the former railway line here closed in 1966 so this was possibly a contributing factor. Perhaps the strangest part is the fact so little is recorded about both its demise and its future.

clay, clackline, abandoned, northam, refinery
Former Clackline Refractory quarry Pic: Lagom Agency


To find the site, turn off Great Eastern Highway onto Refractory Road and it's hard to miss. You can view many of the buildings safely from the gravel road at Refractory Road, there is a lot of broken asbestos in the site. If you follow the road around to the left, around the rise, and further up you can walk up to the fence for a spectacular view down into the quarry.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  59
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Abandoned spots are becoming rare
Where: Refractory Road, Clackline, Western Australia
Your Comment
'As well as the obvious disrepair, the site is also quite eerie; it looks like the workers just downed tools one day and walked out never to return.'

It looks that way because that's what actually happened - my father worked here in the mid-90s under a Brit named Derek Morgan (who owned or managed the place), and he ran off back to England after not paying workers at the refractory for months.

I'm not entirely sure what happened after that but from having gone back there over the last two decades, pretty much nothing has changed except that the old decrepit house once inhabited by Morgan and his family was demolished sometime in the last ten years.
by slays (score: 0|2) 244 days ago
More Perth articles
Articles from other cities
Featured
Foodi Photoh Classie
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions