Know your Perth history: Dingo Flour Mill

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 2:02 pm
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mike Atkinson

The Dingo flour mill has been a prominent icon in North Fremantle for more than 93 years and contrary to popular belief, the huge dingo logo was not created by late West Aussie businessman Alan Bond

The dingo logo was painted by artist Les Nash for the astronomical cost of £40 in 1940. But why was the building even there in the first place? Here are some flour mill fast facts:

  • The Co-operative company operated the subsequent flour mill at Narrogin from 1903 to late October 1912, when a new company was formed to take over from the Co-operative company.
  • The new company was to be named Great Southern Flour Mills Ltd, with Michael Brown as Chairman and Stanley Connor as Company Secretary.
  • For a number of years Connor tried to persuade the Board to set up a mill in the Perth Metropolitan area. He eventually got his way by proposing the enlargement of the Narrogin Mill and when this was rejected he tendered his resignation, saying that he was going to set up a mill in North Fremantle.

Source: State Library of WA/The Great Southern Flour Mill in 1950

  • Local conditions recovered following the First World War recovered and a bumper wheat harvest in Western Australia of over 11 million bushels meant that the decision by Great Southern Roller Flour Mills Limited to expand with the building of a new mill at North Fremantle was very timely.
  • On 28 March 1922, the flour mill was officially opened in the presence of the Governor, Sir Francis Newdegate, and 200 guests.
  • The opening of the large 22 sack capacity mill at North Fremantle provided the company with ‘the capacity to become a major force’ in the milling industry.The mill was kitted out with state-of-the-art plant plant ‘to ensure that only the best grade of flour is produced’; all the machinery had ‘the latest improvements’, and was electrically driven.
  • The brand name ‘Dingo Flour’ was in use in this period for flour from the North Fremantle Mill and Henco was the brand for flour from the Narrogin Mill.
  • In the mid-1930s, as the economy recovered from the Great Depression, the company considered the situation at its North Fremantle Mill, where long storage of wheat was causing problems.
  • In late 1940, the Dingo sign was painted on the side of the 1936-37 Timber Silos, facing towards Stirling Highway and the ocean and soon became a landmark, on land and water.
  • Those aboard marine craft sailing into Fremantle looked for the large sign as an indicator of their close approach to the port.

Podcast: Richard Offen from Heritage Perth with Drive

  • During World War II, in 1943, the sign had to be painted out as part of the war precautions.
  • After the war, in 1946, using the still visible outline of the original, the dingo was repainted by Fred Parnell of Parnell Signs, who gave it an eye.
  • Although the Mill is often referred to as the ‘Dingo Flour Mill’, this has never been the official name of the place.
  • In January 1948, it was agreed Stanley Connor would retire from the company at the end of February 1948, aged 75, ending his 40-year association with the business.
  • The Great Southern Roller Flour Mills Limited continues in operation as a flour mill, one of the two largest mills in the State, and the only remaining large mill in operation in the metropolitan area.
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