Dingo Flour

Cycling back from Fremantle I stopped by the iconic (and heritage listed) Dingo Flour building, owned by Great Southern Roller Flour Mills Ltd. I sketched the same view almost exactly 5 years ago (25 June 2015) when the silos were still standing to the left of the main shed and it was rather rusty then (renovated in 2016 – new corrugated panels and repaint). 20200621_154648

South Fremantle Power Station

The abandoned Fremantle Power Station, in North Coogee, I sketched this ruined building in November 2015 and have returned again to have another crack at it, this time an autumn day when it wasn’t so scorching hot. Opened in 1954 and closed in 1985 it has been empty and unloved for the last 35 years. Now surrounded by new apartments and luxury homes it looms as a ghost from the past on the horizon. My sketch squashed the long building onto a small rectangular page but that’s how this building felt to me,  looking up at the solid concrete structure with the dark empty window frames (most glass is missing, just the odd one high up that remains intact).



Rail Heritage Museum Bassendean

Urban Sketchers Perth met at the Rail Heritage Museum WA in Bassendean yesterday afternoon, it’s right next to the train line, packed with old locomotives and carriages from bygone days. Volunteers do a fantastic job to restore and maintain everything, apparently some of the Locos do still work but the insurance is too high to allow the volunteers to start them up.

Claremont Goods Shed


The historic Claremont Goods Shed (next to Claremont Station) was the venue this morning for the Perth Plein Air Painters gathering for a paint-out.


The Goods Shed was built in 1887 a year after the Claremont station opened to the public serving the new Fremantle to Guildford rail line which had opened in 1881. This shed served as a small warehouse for goods that would have arrived by ship in Fremantle.

Unbelievably the passenger services on the Fremantle to Perth were abolished for 4 years between September 1979 and July 1983 (allegedly due to poor passenger numbers, the service was only reinstated with a change of government).

The shed has been restored and re-purposed as a not-for-profit arts hub run by Form and has a little cafe (opposite side to my sketch).

Claremont train station, 1902




TWSBI Eco fountain pen with EF nib, De Atramentis document black ink, Pentel waterbrushes broad and fine, various watercolours in homemade Altoids paintbox on Clairefontaine A5 plain notebook.


South Fremantle Power Station (disused) – Coogee

20151123 Coogee Power StationA quick visit to the abandoned South Fremantle Power Station today, a real quick sketch done at midday in the full sun, sitting on top of the sand dunes. This power station was built just after the second world war and constructed on North Coogee beach where it had its own seawater ponds for cooling the coal fired generator (there were originally four chimney stacks). It was decommissioned in 1985 and is heritage listed with various plans spruiked over the years to convert it to real-estate or commercial use but so far nothing has happened…it’s slowly deteriorating in the salty air. The building is fenced off and considered unsafe (asbestos and missing floors) although there’s lots of graffiti on the exterior walls and apparently a vast amount of paint on the inside walls. All the massive banks of windows appear to be devoid of glass. It’s a very striking building with strong lines and the huge windows appear to be several stories tall letting a lot of light inside (you can see right through the building from one end to the other from near the car park.)

20151123 Coogee


Painted perched on top of the sand dunes at North Coogee beach, Mc Taggart Cove road, midday sun. (Usual painting equipment)

East Perth Power Station (disused)

20151119 East Perth Power StationQuick sketch of part of the East Perth Power Station this morning.

Built around 1916 it originally provided power for the whole of the Perth metro area…. it’s location close to the CBD and on the banks of the Swan River enabled shipments of coal to be delivered to the door and the elevated shed in the picture was part of the coal delivery system…the conveyor led out into the main building for firing the generator. The station stopped operating in 1981 and is now heritage listed with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority hoping to turn it into apartments (though in the present economic climate it could stand empty for another 30 odd years).


Fremantle E Shed Markets

Caught the train to Freo this morning to catch up with painting friends next to the “E” shed markets. After a false start (tried sketching on “proper” watercolour paper with pencil and made a really rubbish drawing) I swapped to my sketchbook and drew directly in ink the “A” shed below. I have no idea what’s inside the “A” shed – apart from a some warning signs (no parking, Fire Extinguisher etc) there was no indication of who or what is inside. Anyway it has a lovely curve to the building as the row of doors and windows veers towards the Maritime Museum.

20151019 Freo A Sheds20151019 Freo A sheds photo

20151019 Freo No 16Next up a quick sketch of one of the cast iron bollards fixed to the wharf-side, this one is number “16” (they’re all numbered consecutively along the wharf) it was rather rusty but looked immovable – just as well – the tall ship STS Leeuwin 2 was attached to it with a yellow and black stripey hawser.

20151019 Freo Ports Building 20151019 Freo Port Building photoFinally… a really rapid sketch of the “Fremantle Ports” authority building – a rather attractive 1960’s office block in white and blue complete with observation tower on the top, bristling with antenna and radar.

Lamy Safari fountain pen, extra fine nib with De Atramentis black Archive ink, various watercolours, Pentel waterbrush, home made sketch book and Arches 300gsm rough watercolour paper, white gel pen.

UK Holiday Sketches – Rochdale Canal Manchester

UK 2015 Rochdale Canal small

Visit to the UK over the last couple of weeks, a quick sketch of a section of the Rochdale Canal as it picks it’s way through central Manchester. The decaying old mill buildings (most of which had been neglected for many years and in very bad repair) are being done up as flashy new apartments or replaced with trendy new bars and cafes.

Sailor Fude Fountain pen, DeAtramentis Black Document ink, Watercolour with Pentel waterbrush, about 30 minutes total, drawn on location, colour later on home made sketchbook made of Westart 225gsm heavyweight cartridge paper.

Dingo Flour Fremantle

20150625 Dingo Flour20150625 Dingo Flour Location

Driving home from an art class at Fremantle Arts Centre I stopped at Leighton Beach to do a quick sketch of the iconic “Dingo Flour Mill” which was glowing in the winter sunshine. The wikipedia entry reads….

“The Dingo Flour sign is a well-known landmark of a stylised silhouetted dingo in red on the side of an historic and heritage-listed working flour mill in North Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia. The mill is in a complex known as the Great Southern Roller Flour Mills Limited. On the site (which dates from 1922) are silos, an office and laboratory and other buildings.

The Heritage Council of Western Australia says: “…the place has a landmark quality with strong vertical proportions, height and massing of the mill and silo structures, the Dingo Flour brand image, and the Norfolk Island Pine; the place has been commonly referred to as ‘Dingo Flour Mill’ for many years, showing the impact of the symbol, and has developed its own set of myths, including that it was painted by Alan Bond, demonstrating that the ‘dingo’ contributes to the community’s sense of place…” The mill was designed by architect J.F. Allen, of Allen and Nicholas, and the office building was designed by Powell, Cameron & Chisholm Architects. The sign and the rest of the site was heritage-listed in 2008.

The dingo logo was painted by artist Les Nash in 1940 for £40. It is about four storeys high. It was painted over during World War II, but its outlines were still faintly visible. Refugees and migrants coming to Fremantle saw the sign, and it remains a useful reference point for boaters and anglers. It was most recently re-painted in March 2001. In 2010 the flour mill was renovated, and the dingo now gets re-painted every month.

The front of the mill is due to be completely replaced soon as it has corroded so badly after decades in the salty air, but it will be rebuilt anew with the dingo restored to pride of place.

[Pencil, Lamy Safari with DeAtramentis black document ink, watercolours on heavyweight cartridge paper (225gsm) about one hour]