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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.