Friday, 14 February 2014

Passport for Kwinana

When the S.S. Darius was built in 1892 by Doxfords of Sunderland for the Melbourne Shipping Company little did it know that under a new identity it would give its name to a town in Western Australia for the ship was later purchased by the Western Australia State Shipping Service and renamed, S.S. Kwinana, which is Aboriginal for 'pretty maiden'. It made a profit on its first voyage which was to carry coal from Newcastle to Freemantle.

However, in 1922 it was damaged by fire and whist awaiting repair it was blown from its moorings and wrecked on the beach near Rockingham. The owners decided that it was not worth repair and stripped and abandoned it. The hull was filled with limestone and covered with concrete and the Kwinana became a landing stage. The area became known as 'Kwinana Beach' by the locals and when British Petroleum arrived in the 1950s to construct an oil refinery there, they naturally used this name to identify their refinery and the workers' village which they built nearby. The village grew into a town and so this otherwise unremarkable ship gave its name to a settlement of 40,000 souls -- Kwinana.

What a lovely smile!
Sharni, the library assistant at Kwinana
library holding up their copy of my book.

My cousin Jeremy took me to Kwinana Library where we found library assistant Sharni who showed us their copy of The Passport, one of the three to be found on the catalogue of Perth Libraries Western Australia.

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