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A PBÖMISISS INDUSTRY
In no other respect nave the dis vantages of Federation from a Vi Australian standpoint been so sevei felt as in the obstacles that have b raised against the encouragement
weal manufacturing industries. ] turaily enough, this has given to
industries that we do possess an ad value, though, perhaps, it has not
all instances stimulated the State ( vernment and the State Parliament assist their development to the ext) that might be desired.
Amongst the promising local ind tries that is deserving of more enco agement than it receives is the Cia line Fire-brick Company, whose ope lions ere carried on about 14 mi from Northam and a mile west of 1 Clackline railway station. The h ' .tory °f the formation, of this compa
is almost romantic. In the days
the gold boom a syndicate was form in Perth for the purpose of prospectá for gold amongst the ranges in t neighborhood of Clackline. Sevei shafts were Bunk, but even the slig indications of gold required in thc days to secure the successful fiotati af a company were not forthcomin One of the shafts, however, stru what appeared to be a huge depoi of fire-clay, and eight years ago, wh the gold fever had somewhat subsi ed, the Clackline Fire-brick Compaj was formed to test this deposit. Sin then the company has been in contin ous operation. it bas opened up
very extensive quarry, and has demo Etra. ted that fire-clay-the qaality
which is unsurpassed-exists in prac cally unlimited quantity.
Notwithstanding the immesnse nat ral advantage aSorded by the si and the quality of the deposit of rt material, the career of the compaj has not been ail plain sailing, in t. lirst place, there was a prejudice overcome. Local predilection is thing that is easily understood; it
born of the spirit of patriotism, ai is admirable, even when misguide But prejudice against the local artie -merely because it is local-is le easy to understand, and, therefor more difficult to overcome. Even s ter more than one comparative anal; sis and more than one practical te had established the quality of tJ Clackline fire - bricks as againi those' imported, from Scotlai and England, the prejudice continue and to-ciay the imported " article cor mauds a much higher price in. tl marltit. - 1
For some time past there has been 15 per cent, duty on ike-bricks, thong bricks for rever bera tory furnaces wei imported free. It was held that thes latter could not be made in the Coo nionwealth, and that to impose a dat upon them would be to merely pena ise the mining industry. However, tl Commonwealth Parliament has recen ty agreed to place the bricks for ri verberatory furnaces in the sanie cati gory as fire-bricks, and it wili fe learned with satisfaction that ti Clackline company has recently sen 50,800 fire-bricks to Phillips River fe reverbera to ry furnace purposes.
Clackline fire-bricks and fire-lump have received very nattering testimc niais from their users during the pas few years. As far back as 1901, MJ Mephan Ferguson, at his works, a Falkirk; near Perth, found that Clad line fire-bricks would stand tests undi which.the best imported bricks failee The Railway Department has used th company's product for locomotive pm poses for the past six years, with mos satisfactory results, whilst the . Pert! Gas Company, the Fremantle smelter and the Great Boulder Perseverahc
Company have au lound tue Ciacklin hre-bncKs to supply a long-felt want
Tue Great Boukler Perseverance Com
pany uses fire-bricks and tube-tiles io: its Heine boilers-for which purposi they " seem particularly adapted. -
Railway heights constitute a di3i< cul ty against which every manufacture rug and producing ino us try has tc struggle. The great concessions tba: have been deemed necessary to aid tnt development of the coal and timber in due tries have been frequent matters o public comment. Not long ago tin company sent a truck of fire-bricks tc the Anaconda mine-between Maleólo and Mount Morgans. The value o: the bricks was '£23 10s., and th« height amounted to £32. In one re- spect it is. contended that the freight is not equitable. Fire-bricks- axe charged about 50 per cent, more freight than ordinary bricks, presum- ably because they are of greater value and can bear the heavier impost. The imported fire-brick, however, is carried at the same price as the local article, although it commands a much nigher figure in the market. Apparently what is sauce for the Local goose is not sauce for the imported gander.
Recently a small party from Nor- tham, including the member for the district (Mr. James Mitchell) visited Clackline, and were shown over the extensive works by the managing part- ner'(Mr. A. A. Hunter). Just at the moment, the company is working un- der a great disadvantage, the duplica- tion works having deprived it of its usual railway facilities and forced it to use a crossing some distance from the works. It is understood, how- ever, that the railway authorities are fully, alive to the necessity of meeting the convenience of so valuable a cus- tomer, and that suitable provision will
be made forthwith.
After conducting his visitors through the quarry, from which thousands of tons of kaolin-like fire-clay have been mined without making any appreciable impression upon the enormous deposit, Mr. Hunter showed them through the works, which are equipped with up-to date machinery. The drying-sheds pre- sent a very interesting spectacle. Many of the fire-lumps used for loco- motives, and other large articles, take as long as six weeks to dry before being placed in the furnace. They are entirely hand-made, and the process is an interesting one. Becently the com- pany has gone in largely for the mak- ing of paving bricks, garden tiles, sur- face drain blocks, and other requisites for stables, kitchens, lavatories, la- trines, shelter-sheds, etc. For these there should be a large and general de- mand when once their merits are fully appreciated. The paving bricks, 9in. x 9in- x 4|in., are being used by the Perth CiW Council in Wellington street. Altogether, the visitors were greatly pleased with what they . saw, and, having partaken of Mr. Hunter's hospitality, they departed with the conviction that in the near future the Clackline fire-brick industry will as- sume larger proportions, and give per- manent employment to a considerable
number of men.