History

Yarloop Workshops Site Plan!
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Situated on the site of the first 1895 mill in the Yarloop area, these workshops began operations in 1901 and closed in 1978. Originally housed in the remains of the old mill buildings, they were gradually developed until they became the centre of Millars' milling operations in the South West.

Many of the buildings were constructed just after 1900, mainly of timber with corrugated iron roofs. Although designed as industrial buildings, they are unusual in their attention to window and door details and machinery housings. Wherever possible these have been restored.

The workshops maintained the steam locomotives of the extensive and complex Millars railway system developed to transport the felled timber, and to service the other 26 South West mills. In addition the workshops manufactured some rolling stock and mill equipment and serviced stationary steam engines that drove the mills. The workshops were particularly noted for the construction of replacement parts (necessary to avoid the delays in acquiring these from the United Kingdom) and still house an extensive collection of wooden patterns. The task of cleaning, identifying and cataloguing all the machine tools, pattern books and other artefacts began in 1987.

In 1930 more than 100 people worked at the workshop and Millars employed an additional 500 for their operations in the Yarloop area.

Locomotive maintenance was of prime importance overhaul work was carried out in the loco-running shed, which now exists as a northern extension to the main workshop building. At night, apprentices would clean and fire the locomotives ready for work in the morning when the locomotives would leave at 3.00 a.m. travelling to mills at Waterous, Nanga Brook and Hoffmans.

The Yarloop Workshops demonstrate early manufacturing and production techniques used in the South West and were still operating in 1978, when Cyclone Alby caused severe damage to the workshop buildings. Millars then moved to their top yard on the South Western Highway. In 1983 they were taken over by Bunnings.

Courtesy: Chairperson, W.A. Heritage Committee