Katanning Roller Flour Mill


Shire of Katanning

Place Number



122 Clive St Katanning

Location Details

Cnr Austral Tce Associated with 14427

Other Name(s)

Premier Flour Mill
Swan Flour Mill

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1891

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Registered 28 Feb 1995 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 25 Jan 1996 Category 1
Register of the National Estate Permanent 18 Apr 1989
Classified by the National Trust Classified 06 Sep 1982

Child Places

  • 12893 Katanning State School Honour Roll

Statement of Significance

The cultural heritage significance of the Katanning Roller Flour Mill has been acknowledged in its permanent inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places. The Premier Flour Mill has high historic and social significance. It was the first major industry to be established in the Great Southern and was a major factor in Katanning becoming the leading town of the region. Its establishment provided a major incentive to agriculture and the settlement of the surrounding country. The Mill has aesthetic value, being one of the key elements in the streetscape of Austral Terrace and scientifically significant in that it was the first supplier of the town's electricity, the mill itself being the first building to have an electric light installed. It also had the most up-to-date machinery of its time. The mill also has rarity value for its "completeness, authenticity and condition". [Considine and Griffiths, p. 64] 195

Physical Description

The mill is a three-storey painted brick and corrugated iron structure in Federation Warehouse style. In 1912 alterations were made to the mill, including an additional plant with subsequent alterations taking place up until the 1950s. Conservation works in 1980s saw the shops around the Austral Terrace / Clive Street corner removed to reveal the mill's early 20th century fabric. A verandah was added to the building in the 1990s.


With the success of their store and the establishment of the railway in Katanning, the Piesse brothers decided to build a flourmill. The York firm of Thorne, Bower and Stewart and equipped with machinery supplied by Otto Schumacher of Melbourne erected the mill in 1891, officially being opened on 1st May. Head miller Charles Quigley carried out the installation of the machinery. The mill was to become the most dominant in the Great Southern region, having its production capacity doubled by 1909 and extensive alterations and additions in 1912. Upon the death of F H Piesse in 1912 his son Frederick took over the management of the mill. Further improvements were made, which included gantries, electric elevators and conveyors, a storehouse capable of holding 1,500 tons. In 1915 the mill also erected the five silos for wheat storage. The importance of the mill to the town was heightened when it became the sole supplier of electricity to the town in the early 1900s, "thanks to an act of Parliament introduced by F Piesse who was the member for Katanning at the time". [Lang, p. 163] After much debate and friction within the community, mainly due to the higher than average charges the mill levied, the electricity supply was taken over by the SEC in 1961. There were many factors that contributed to the eventual demise of the Piesse family's commercial dominance in Katanning and of the mill itself. The first was the death of Frederick Piesse in 1925, after which the running of the family company became lax. The second was the eventual poor trading position of the milling industry in 1927, primarily due to poor quality wheat, the relocation of poultry farms closer to Perth and the phasing out of horses. Then there was the extravagant lifestyle of the Piesse family, which resulted in major financial difficulties, even though they had already sold off their Kobeelya estate. The then WA Bank decided to clear up the Piesse estate and sell the mill. The 1927 a group of local farmers and business people formed the Katanning Flour Milling Co., and bought the mill for £25,000, with the Piesse family retaining a major shareholding interest in the new company. A new generator was installed, more export markets were established and the product continued to be used by all local bakers. The new company, which had adopted the name "Swan Flour" for the product, ran the mill until 1970, when the mill had become unprofitable and was going to be closed. It was projected that the site would be developed as a major retail-shopping complex, but this was prevented when a local company was formed and the mill purchased by them for $70,000. The mill then continued until 1979. The mill was then acquired by the Shire of Katanning and converted into a museum through the efforts of the Katanning Historical Society. In 1988 the Austral Terrace shop was removed and the verandah was replaced. Bicentennial funding was received to pay for these renovations. The main building now houses the Katanning Tourist Bureau.




Name Type Year From Year To
J J Talbot Hobbs Architect 1891 -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
"Katanning Roller Flour Mill, Katanning, Conservation Plan". Considine and Griffiths Architects Pty Ltd, December 1996
Lang E; "Grist to the Mill". Perth 1994
"Katanning's Jubilee: a complete history of the progress of the town and district from 1889 to 1939,". Great Southern herald; 1939

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
1918 Katanning Mill museum Report 1989
4375 Katanning Roller Flour Mill Urgent Works Report 2000
1919 Katanning Mill Museum : interpretation and management plan report. Heritage Study {Other} 1991
1917 Submission to the Western Australian Heritage Committee on acquisition and restoration of old flour mill Katanning Report 1981
1696 Katanning Roller Flour Mill : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1996
6647 Katanning Roller Flour Mill : conservation works (final report). Conservation works report 2003
5168 Roller Flour Mill, Katanning : conservation works. Heritage Study {Other} 2001
9227 Katanning Roller Flour Mill future use and conservation strategy. Heritage Study {Other} 2006

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Museum

Architectural Styles

Federation Warehouse

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Manufacturing & processing

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.