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Abandoned Clackline Refractory and Quarry

Home > Perth > Escape the City | Free | Unusual Things to do | Vintage and Retro
by Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg (subscribe)
Freelance writer and photographer with an interest in science communication. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries!
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.
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Why? Abandoned spots are becoming rare
Where: Refractory Road, Clackline, Western Australia
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