Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Little Bit of History

My studio is in a heritage listed building built in 1876 in one of the worlds last remaining intact Victorian era paper mills. I have become quite fascinated by the old place and have started to gather bits information and photos about its varied and sometimes crazy life. First it was a paper mill, then an ice factory and during the wars as an explosives factory. Yes, a little crazy.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting some photos I have found via the State Library archives and from some very old photo albums I found a few years ago that have many photos of the area from 1921 to 1936.
I hope you enjoy these images as much as I have enjoyed learning more about this amazing old building I work from. (And, no, these photos aren't from Instagram, this is just how photos were back then (-;)

These photos were taken in around 1880 when the Mill was in full swing. Back then 'Paper' was made out of fabric, hence the term 'rag paper'. The ladies would work in the top of the buildings snipping buttons off collected clothes from the rag merchants and then sort the rags out into giant bales that would then be loaded onto horse and cart and taken down the ramps into the mixing race. In the race giant machines called mashers would tear it all up into a pulp to make the paper sheets.

This is my favourite photo. It's of giant revolving boilers that would feed the machinery in the floor above. The reason I love this photo is this is my studio. My office is in front of the windows to the right of the boilers. And the place still has those gigantic timber beams. When I started investigating all of this, I at first thought I had the old rag house, but that is the building next to mine. This is the boiler room....I wonder how many ideas we can cook up in this place now! We have already been rollerskating in here.

When the paper got to the end of the machines, the ladies would check the sheets for quality and then it was packed into heavy cloth bags that they made on site in the bagging shed.

One of the bagging machines.

If you do come to visit you can still see some of the remains of the old machinery here and there.

1 comment:

  1. How fantastic to now have a claim to such a fascinating building Jen! Well done on discovering its history! Can't wait to see it!