Skip to main content

Historical Places - Samuel Ramsden's Paper Mill, Yarra Bank Melbourne 1868

Samuel Ramsden's Paper Mill, Yarra Bank Melbourne 1868

A Contemporary Account of the Beginnings of Samuel Ramsden's Paper Mill on the Yarra Bank Melbourne

(April 1868.)

Within a few weeks a great and important manufactory will be added to the numerous list of colonial industries that have lately sprung into existence. The successful erection of the first paper mill in the colony is due to Mr Ramsden, but with it will always be associated the name of the late Alderman Kenny, who first proposed to manufacture paper, and at a great outlay imported the necessary machinery for that purpose. Dight's mill, above the Yarra Falls, was selected by Mr Kenny as the site for his manufactory, but the erection of the necessary machinery had only been commenced a few weeks when the death of that gentleman put a stop to the enterprise. For months the machinery lay idle. Proposals were made to continue the work, but no one was found possessed of the requisite capital, and spirited enough to undertake the affair. At length Mr Ramsden came forward, and having secured the machinery, set about erecting it in earnest. 

Mr Kenny originally intended to work the machinery by a water-mill, the fall of water at Dight's mill enabling him to do so with advantage. Mr Ramsden, however, found that the pollution of the Yarra with the refuse from the works would prevent him carrying out the work as originally intended, and he thereupon obtained a grant from the Government of two acres situated on the south side of the Yarra, a short distance below Prince's-bridge. Four months since the necessary buildings were commenced, and have since been continued with such vigor that within a very short time paper-making will have soon commenced. At present all the buildings, with the exception of the boiler house, are completed; and most of the machinery put together. 

A recent visit to the mill showed the admirable state of state of forwardness to which everything has been brought, and the thoroughly practical manner in which Mr Ramsden has gone about his work, leaving nothing neglected that foresight could provide for or capital obtain. The mill is entered from the Sandridge-road by a street hereafter to be formad to the banks of the Yarra, and opposite the goods sheds of the Hobson's Bay Railway Company. To the right of the entrance gates will be the residence of the general manager, Mr Kerr, a good substantial brick and bluestone house being in course of erection for his especial use. After passing the gates, the visitor is at once in the yards, in the very centre of the work. Here are the sorting rooms, the cutting and dusting room, the boiling room, the engine-house, the bleaching room, and the machine room. Mr Ramsden will give permanent employment to about sixty men, boys and girls, the number being increased when fine paper is being made, as more hands are required to sort the rags, &c. 

As it is well-known that a great quantity of paper is made in England from straw and grass, it was resolved at the outset by Mr Ramsden to use grass in addition to rags if possible. Numerous samples of grass have been sent to Mr Ramsden from various parts of the colony, some of which, from their fibrous character, are admirably suited for the purpose of paper-making, and others are perfectly useless. On a recent occasion during a trip up the country with Mr Steele, who has superintended the entire erection of the works, Mr Ramsden discovered a grass that has been pronounced superior to any yet obtained in England. A number of experiments were made with it which fully bore out the expectations of Mr Steele, and Mr Ramsden has obtained two tons of it for using upon the first opportunity. Rags are, however, the principal material that Mr Ramsden relies upon for the manufacture of his paper. 

As already mentioned, Mr Steele, who was engaged, by Mr Kenny superintend the erection of the machinery, has been engaged by Mr Ramsden, and the manner in which he has carried out the entire work has given great satisfaction to his employer. Mr. Kerr, who has had a large experience in paper-making, has been engaged by Mr Ramsden as foreman of the works. The machinery, all of which is highly finished and furnishes with the latest improvements, was manufactured by Messrs James Bertram and Sons, of the Leith Walk Foundry, Edinburgh, who are the largest makers of paper machinery in the world, a sufficient guarantee that Mr Ramsden has a first-class article for his money. The entire outlay, when all is finished, will not fall far short of £20,000. To avoid any danger that might be apprehended to the mill from the rise of the flood-waters, Mr Ramsden has had the whole of the land upon which it is built raised above the highest flood level. The soil from the town hall excavations is now being used to fill up the remaining portion of the ground.

View Original:  Mr. Ramsden's Paper Mill (1868, April 25). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875), p. 6. 


Affiliate Advertisements:


Follow Remembering the Past Australia

Popular Articles

The First Stone Bridge Built in NSW - Road from Emu Plains, Over the Blue Mountains

*From: Sketches in Australia [1848]
This series consisted of 18 tinted lithographs issued in three parts - each part comprising 6 lithographs, and enclosed in buff coloured covers. Unsold copies were reissued in book form in 1852.
8. Road from Emu Plains, Over the Blue Mountains. The First Stone Bridge built in New South Wales.
Lithograph 21 x 25.4cm.Cream tint. The bridge, known as Horseshoe Bridge on Mitchell's Pass, near present-day Lapstone, was the first constructed by David Lennox, the famous colonial bridge builder. It was completed in 1833 and the original view for this lithograph was probably taken during the final stages of construction. Note the convict labourers and road gang at work on the bridge surrounds. Richard Bourke took special pride in the constructions of Lennox during his period of governorship. Reproduced: Spiers, p.49. Letterpress text:
This view, intended to represent part of a Road over the Blue Mountai…

List of Towns and Stations in New South Wales in 1832

A List of Towns and Stations

Arranged alphabetically, stating the County and the Distance in Miles from Sydney. Appin, At King’s Falls, where the road to Illawarra crosses the Georges’s River, called in the neighbourhood Tuggerah Creek, Cumberland, 45 miles.

Arthursleigh, on the Wollondilly, near Eden Forest, Argyle, 100 miles.

Bamballa, On the road to St. Vincent and Lake Bathurst, Camden, 101 miles.

Barber’s Station, On the Road to Lake Bathurst, Argyle, 107 miles.

Bargo Rivulet, Crosses the Road to Camden, 53 miles.

Bateman Bay
, On the Coast to the Southward, St. Vincent, 166 miles.

Bathurst Flag Staff, At the Township, Bathurst, 126 miles.

Bathurst Lake, At the Village Reserve, Argyle, 142 miles.

Best’s Inn, On the Road to Wiseman’s, Cumberland, 29 miles.

Bilong, On the Goulburn River, unnamed, 175 miles.

Bird’s Eye Corner, Ford over the Nepean River at Menangle, Cumberland, 38 miles.

Black Bob’s Creek, At the crossing on the Road to Goulburn, Camden, 86 ½ miles.

Black Head, A Point on the Se…

NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st January and 31st March, 1832 - Part I - A-C

Part I.

NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st January and 31st March, 1832 - Part I - A-C
NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st January and 31st March, 1832 - Part II - D-H
NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st of January and 31st March, 1832 - Part III - J-N
NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st January and 31st March, 1832 - Part IV - O-S
NSW Return of All Convicts Assigned Between the 1st January and 31st March, 1832 - Part V - T-Y
Note.—Those marked * have been re-assigned, the first Assignees having either refused or neglected to send for them.
1. ATKINS James, Morley, wheelwright, to E. C. Close, Hunter's River

2. Aschcroft Edward, Royal Admiral, stonecutter, to Robert Cooper, Sydney

3. Abernethy William, Norfolk (2), ropemaker, to Jacob Wyer, Sydney

4. Anderson John, Speke, shoemaker, to John M'Donald, Pitt Town