Charles Catt and Son Furniture in Western Australia

From the Mitcham and Colliers Wood Gazette, 12th September, 1969, page 5.

Mitcham Family Who Went To Western Australia

Now Among Leading Furniture Manufacturers

A former Mitcham cabinet maker, who migrated to Western Australia in 1961 from Riverside Drive, Mitcham, now owns one of the leading quality furniture manufacturing businesses in the State capital, Perth.

Mr. Charles Catt, 59, his wife Grace and their son Roy, run the firm Charles Catt and Son, whose reputation for making quality furniture has been founded on the West Australian hardwood, jarrah – once thought only suitable for railway sleepers or timber construction work. However they have made it fashionable to have jarrah wood furniture in the home and now export it to other parts of Australia.

Mr. Charles Catt left his son behind in London when he went to Australia, so that he could complete his diploma course at the London Furniture College. When Roy arrived a few months later he started work for a large manufacturer, but became frustrated at the lack of opportunity to do design work. So at a family conference it was decided they
would set up in business for themselves.

FIRST FACTORY

Mr. Catt said, “Our first factory was a converted shop with about 800 square feet to work in. Our first job was to build cupboards and built-in wardrobes, and although we lost money on that job we established a reputation for quality which we have retained ever since.”

From that small start they were able to begin manufacturing Roy’s designs. He said, “We were fortunate that when we began there was a general demand for better furniture. We joined the Guild which is dedicated to raising standards and improving design.

“At the first show we were awarded first prize, and it was rather
embarrassing as we only had the small workshop and could hardly cope with the subsequent orders.”

Since then the family has had two other factories including the present one, which occupies 5,100 square feet at Willeton, an outer Perth suburb. It has showrooms,
offices, a well-ventilated workshop area and an amenities room for the staff.

As a cabinet maker, Charles converts Roy’s designs from the drawing board and makes them into working drawings for the men in the factory. Grace does the office work and the administration, a side of the business she enjoys.

Roy lives at Swanview Terrace, South Perth, which is just around the corner from his mother and father who live at Stanley Flats, Mill Pount Road, South Perth.

The whole family like Australia, and the three children – Roy, Gillian and Graham – are all married to Australians.

See also biography of Charles Catt at Design and Art Online website. According to the Western Australia Museum Welcome Wall website, Charles died in 1979 and Grace in 2002.

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