Tag Archives: Australia

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.

1910 Antipodean Visitors to Lower Mitcham School

ANTIPODEAN VISITORS.
MR. AND MRS. WALKER, OF MITCHAM, AUSTRALIA, AT MITCHAM.

Two interesting visitors on Tuesday were Councillor and Mrs. Walker, of Mitcham, in the State of Victoria, Australia, who came to have a look at the day schools and receive a Union Jack and a case of essences, with which they were officially presented on Empire Day. That ceremony was reported in the “Advertiser.” but it may be well to recall the principal facts. On that day the school children gathered at Park-place to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Walker, who came the authorised representatives the State school of Mitcham, Victoria, to present an Australian flag, a sprig of eucalyptus, and photographs to the managers. It was an interesting event, and the visitors were favourably impressed with what they saw. But they had no opportunity then of inspecting the schools with the children at work, and they were invited to return later on.

So it came about that on Tuesday morning they were met at Mitcham Junction Station by Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Chart, with whom they drove to the Lower Mitcham School, after short stay the way at the Roman Catholic School facing the Green. They arrived at lower Mitcham as the scholars were at play, and were able to see them under the most natural conditions. While Mr. Walker expressed himself as delighted with the discipline he could hardly fail to notice the miserable way many of the boys were shod. Several, in fact, were not shod at all, and were running about with bare feet and the most ragged of clothes.

At the end of play time the boys filed into the large hall of their department, where the headmaster, Mr. Clarke, introduced to them Mr. Walker and his wife, mentioning the circumstances under which they paid their previous visit.

Mr. Walker, in the course of a few words to the audience, said he was delighted to be present and to renew his acquaintance with the teachers and scholars. He was glad to find the school in such splendid condition, and the scholars with such a happy and healthy appearance. Particularly was he pleased to see them at play, and to notice the attention they paid to the headmaster’s whistle. As they grew up he hoped they would always be regardful in the same manner of the authority that they might serve. It was a credit to the headmaster to find them so well trained, as it was to the boys themselves. As he looked round he was inclined to think that they had not all equal opportunities, but during his journeys in England he had come to understand that everybody had an equal chance, and it depended upon them as to what they would do with the opportunities that were given to them. He knew what boys’ difficulties were and what they had to do; but now was the greatest opportunity of their lives, and they should make the most it. Then he told them that they belonged to a great Empire, and would have their place in it when they grew up; and, in conclusion, he wished them all happy future and hoped that the district would have reason to be proud to know that some of them had risen to fill high positions in the commercial and political world.

The boys responded to these sentiments with three ringing cheers.

Mr. Clarke declined to take himself all the credit for the discipline the school, which he said was largely due to his assistants. They thanked Mr. Walker very much for coming, and hoped that the boys would bear in mind something of what he had said.

Shortly afterwards the party left for the Singlegate Schools, where the Union Jack in an oak box and the case of distilled essences of lavender, peppermint, and other products of Mitcham, given by Mr. R. A. Bush’s firm, were presented to Mr. Walker. He and Mrs. Walker had lunch with Mr. R. M. Chart, and later in the day returned to London. They expect to leave for Australia next week by way of New York and Vancouver, arriving home at the beginning of December.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 September 1910 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Twin Towns

TWIN TOWNS.

Compliments Between Surrey and Australian Communities.

The most interesting incident in the Empire Day celebrations at Mitcham was the breaking of a large Australian flag presented to the Surrey town by Mitcham, Australia.

The ceremony took place at Lower Mitcham School in the presence of a crowd that included visitors from the Commonwealth township. Telegrams were exchanged between the two places. Mitcham, Australia, was settled near Melbourne by a Surrey Mitchamite, named Slater, 40 years ago, and is now a thriving fruit-growing centre.

In 1908 Mitcham, Surrey, presented its namesake with a Union Jack, a cricket bat, and a bunch of lavender.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 25 May 1920 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)