Sawmills

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BARTON'S MILL   

Research by Gordon Freegard

The name "Barton" has stuck to first one mill then another in the area ever since. Alexander Barton was the foreman at Baxter and Prince's No. 1 Mill at Donnybrook in the period up to at least 1901. From 1903 to 1905 he was foreman with Millars at Denmark. After that he was cutting timber for Millars  and shifted along the Canning Mills bush line until in 1907 Barton set up a small mill about 3km east of Pickering Brook at the back of the Carilla Hall. Millars had bought this mill by July 1909, which was referred to from then on as Barton's Mill. After a change of site or two, the mill was burnt down in 1924 and another mill was erected 14km east of Pickering Brook.

 

 

BUSH LANDING 1 MILE FROM PICKERING BROOK,  
NEAR CARILLA SCHOOL SITE      #1

 

 WHIM TEAM AT BARTON'S MILL    #2

 

LOADING A WHIM  AT BARTON'S MILL    #3

 

VERY EARLY PHOTO OF BARTON'S MILL   #4

 

VERY EARLY PHOTO OF BARTON'S MILL    #5

 

John Alexander Barton died on July 13th, 1908 aged 42 at Barton's Mill. He was struck on the head by a join in a belt driving the saws, and was brought down to Harry Catchpole's house on a stretcher. Mrs. Catchpole and Mrs. W. Hewison were making lunch, but he was dead when they got him there. Although there is another record the states he may have died from heart trouble.

 

  BULLOCK TEAM AT  BARTON'S MILL  c1910   #32

 

When Millars took over the operations of the mill, and it was moved and became No. 4, two miles east of the original mill site. They appointed Alfred Cook as mill foreman under the management of Ernest Thompson, an ex-officer of the company's Hoffman and Denmark mills. On Thompson's death in 1931 cook became manager, remaining there till he succeeded F. L. Brady at Jarrahdale on his retirement in 1935. "Alf" Cook was a typical Australian. He had an enviable memory for faces, facts and fancies associated with men and mills in the West.

 

WHIMS AT  BARTON'S MILL    #33

 

LOG TRAIN AT BARTON'S MILL      #6

 

 LOADED LOG TRAIN AT  BARTON'S MILL      #7

 

 LOGS ON LANDING AT  BARTON'S MILL  c1910     #34

 

The original construction of Barton's Mill was an open-sided building with a tin roof supported by bush poles, probably 60 feet (18 metres) by 100 feet (30 metres). It was burnt down in 1924 and rebuilt by Millars. In 1978 Joe Brown was talking about his father, the teamster Johnny Brown explaining that the No. 1 (Carilla) and No. 2 (in the Kingsmill Road area) were true saw mills. There were other "mills" numbered from one to six which were in fact log landings. A mill was built by a man called McKenzie and was placed next to No. 6 log landing and became known as "McKenzie's Mill".

 

PLAN SHOWING LAYOUT OF BARTON'S MILL c1925
Information supplied by Rose Giumelli, Mac & Pam Beard, & Irene White  2009

NOT TO SCALE

Copyright: Pickering Brook Heritage Group 2008  - 2016

 

The W.A.G.R. took over the railway from Pickering Brook to Canning Mills on 17th November 1910 and a new extension was added to Karragullen on 5th August 1912, following the route of one of the old bush tramlines. Until then,  Millers locomotives were housed at the old Canning Timber Station and the locomotive workshop continued to operate, except for major repairs which were sent to Yarloop. After that they were based at Barton's Mill.

An extensive bush railway extended south-east from Barton's mill towards the Brookton Highway and Mount Dale and eventually totaled about 86 km. The longest spur was about 31 km from the mill to the forest. The mill closed during the World War 11 and was dismantled early in 1944, when the mill site became the Barton's Mill Prison settlement. The rails were recovered later that year.

LOGGING TRAIN BEING HAULED BY LOCOMOTIVE "COATES"
 
IN THE MOUNT DALE AREA c1930
L to R: LEVI WALLIS, HARRY BROWN, HARRY CATCHPOLE  
  #8

 

LOCOMOTIVE "COATES"  WORKING AT BARTON"S MILL   #9
 ARTHUR JONES, DRIVER (on left in cabin)

 

  "SKYLARKING" ON LOCO AT BARTON"S MILL   #10

 

One of the Drivers employed at Barton's Mill in the early days was Harry Catchpole, who drove locos for 26 years. Catchpole was born at White's Mill, Mount Helena, in January 1892 and went to Canning Mills area in 1912 to begin falling for Dave Anderson, a contractor who used a steam traction engine to pull logs to Barton's Mill. The steam traction engine was a jack-of-all-workhorses - a slow, cumbersome steam-driven leviathan with big steel wheels, capable of hauling heavy logs through the bush or of being used as a stationary engine to drive circular saws, as indeed was the case at Canning Mills. Anderson also used horses and whims, his teamster in the early days being a man called Johnny Brown. Syd Smailes was another contractor with a team of horses.

Before Harry Catchpole got his loco certificate in 1913 he was a fireman, stoking the boilers with the wood which, costing the company almost nothing, provided a plentiful and cheap source of power. Arthur Jones was his driver. Just after he got his certificate, Catchpole went off to the war, was gassed in the trenches along with so many of his contempories, and the gas, partly destroyed an optic nerve, causing him to go blind later in life.

  A DISASTROUS FIRE DESTROYED THE GREATER PORTION OF BARTON'S MILL IN MARCH 1924   #31   

 

    LADIE'S RACE AT BARTON"S MILL   #11

 

   MEN'S RACE AT BARTON"S MILL   #12

 

   LOG CHOP MEETING AT BARTON"S MILL   #13

 

   PLAYING TENNIS AT BARTON"S MILL   #14

 

People at these mill towns made their own entertainment with dances held regularly. Events like sports days were very popular with Ladie's and Men's races highly competitive. However the major highlights were the log chops which allowed these skilled workmen to show their skills. Competitors were invited from neighbouring mills and these meetings were held on a regular basis. Most mills had facilities where Cricket and Tennis could also be played.

 

BARTON'S MILL CRICKET TEAM    #36   

Back Row L - R:               ,                    , JOE BROWN, FREDDIE CURRELL , DICK WALLIS,                 ,              .
 Middle Row L - R:   NORM WOOD, BILL WEEDON, MICK FLANAGAN,                   , HERBIE JACQUES?.
 Front Row L - R:   "Big" Mr. WIGHT, "Pommie" WILLIAM WHITE.

 

    TENNIS AT BARTON'S MILL   - JOHN MCKASKILL  #15

 

  SINGLE MEN'S WORKERS HUTS PROBABLY AT BARTON'S MILL   #16

 

    JOHNNY BROWN'S HOUSE AT BARTON'S MILL   #17

 

   BROWN'S BRAND NEW CAR AT BARTON'S MILL   #18

 

WILLIAM WHITE'S COW YARD MADE OUT OF TIMBER FROM THE MILL
 BARTON'S MILL 1939     #19

 

WILLIAM WHITE WITH IRENE & YOUNG WILLIAM Jnr. 
 BARTON'S MILL 1939      #20

 

CHURCH & SUNDAY SCHOOL GROUP OUTSIDE PUBLIC HALL AT BARTON'S MILL 1933c  #21

Back Row:

1.   
2.   
3.   
4.   
5.   EVELYN McCASKILL?
 

 

 

Middle Row:

1.   
2.   GORDON CATCHPOLE
3.   JOHN BROWN
4.   MAVIS JOHNSTON
5.   MARIE WEEDON
6.   
7.              CATCHPOLE?
8.   Mrs WIGHT?
9.   Mrs BEATRICE WHITE
10.  Mr. WIGHT?

Front Row:

1.  
2.   BETH WEEDON
3.   
4.   
5.   IRENE WHITE
6.   WILLIAM WHITE Jnr.
7.   WALTER WIGHT
8.   RALPH WIGHT
 
 

Sitting:

1.   
2.   GLORIA WALLIS
 
 
 




 

       
       

CHURCH & SUNDAY SCHOOL GROUP OUTSIDE PUBLIC HALL AT BARTON'S MILL   1936c     #35    

Back Row:

1.   
2.   
3.   MARIE WEEDON
4.   LILY WHITE
5.   
6.   EVELYN McCASKILL
7.
8.   GWEN ANDERSON?
9.   JOANIE BROWN?
10.  Mr. BUSHBY Sunday School Teacher
 

Middle Row:

1.   RALPH WIGHT?
2.   WALTER WIGHT?
3.  
4.  
5.   JOANIE BROWN?

6.   BETH WEEDON

7.   IRENE WHITE
8.  
9.

Front Row:

1.   Mrs. BERRY
2.   
3.   
4.   ESTER RAY
5.   WILLIAM WHITE
6.   Mrs. BEATRICE WHITE
7.   Sunday School Teacher from Carmel

 

Sitting:

1.   ALAN BERRY
2.   
3.
4.   WILLIAM WEEDON Jnr.
5.
6.   WILLIAM WHITE Jnr.



   

 

 

"SPOTTER" POSITIONING A LOG READY FOR THE FIRST CUT AT BARTON'S MILL    #22

 

SCANTLING (BUILDING TIMBER) AT BARTON'S MILL BEING LOADED FOR TRANSPORT TO PERTH   #23

 

A LOG BEING PREPARED FOR THE SAW BENCH AT BARTON'S MILL   #24

 

BARTON'S MILL TIMBER YARD   #25

 

 

"SCANTLING" BUILDING TIMBER STACKED AT BARTON'S MILL   #26

 

LOADING SAWN TIMBER AT BARTON'S MILL   #27

 

LOG YARD AT BARTON'S MILL   #28

 

LOG TRAIN WAITING TO BE UNLOADED AT BARTON'S MILL   #29

 

LOADING THE LOCO AT BARTON'S MILL  (Note: Hall in background)  #37      

 

HAULING LOGS AT BARTON'S MILL   #38

 

HAULING LOGS AT BARTON'S MILL   #38

 

LOADED RAKES AT BARTON'S MILL   #40

 

TRAIN LOAD OF SAWN TIMBER AT BARTON'S MILL   #41

 

NEW BARTON'S MILL AFTER THE ORIGINAL MILL WAS BURNT DOWN       #30

 

Just prior to the biggest strike in the timber industry following an award which the men strongly protested against - it reduced their basic wage by sixpence and lowered a few margins. This mill was able to weather the storm that a strike of 12 weeks brought about.

References:     Article:      Pickering Brook Heritage Group
                                     Cala Munnda A Home in the Forest - John Slee & Bill Shaw

                                     Rails through the Bush - Adrian Gunzberg & Jeff Austin

                      Images:   1     Cala Munnda A Home in the Forest - John Slee & Bill Shaw
                                     2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17. 18       Pam Beard  

                                     4, 5, 16    Tom Price
                                     8, 9, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41         Pickering Brook Heritage Group  
                                     15     
Stephanie O'Meagher   
                                     19, 20, 21, 35       Irene White  
                                     30     Lyn Poletti   
                                     31     E. Yates (Sunday Times Sun 13th April 1924)
                                     32, 33, 34      City of Armadale Library
                                     36     Bethnay Pilling

 

 

 

 

Copyright : Pickering Brook Heritage Group  Inc. 2008 - 2019