Mason's Landing

Benjamin Mason was a key player in the timber industry in WA. He cut timber in the Darling Ranges and within two years was employing 100 men, both at the mill site in Carmel and at Mason’s Landing. The sawmill by the river processed the timber before it was stacked onto barges and taken down the river to Perth and Fremantle. The opening of the Midland railway line made transportation of timber from the Darling Ranges more convenient and played a role in the business’s closure.

Francis Bird of Woodloes Homestead was Ben Mason’s partner in their company Mason and Bird Timber. Their employees weren’t the most pleasant bunch.  Francis Bird’s daughter noted in Childhood Recollections of Mary Cowle (nee Bird),:

“They were a terribly wild gang – convicts and villains for the most part – so much so that on Saturday nights when some hundred or so went into Town a posse of police used to round them up and escort “Bird’s gang” over the Causeway Bridge and see them safely on their way to Woodloes Landing” (now known as Mason’s Landing).


Audio spoken by Katherine Healy.

The timber was used to build some of the State’s older buildings and jetties. The company supplied timber for the North Fremantle and Causeway bridges in 1865, the Lunatic Asylum at Fremantle, the first Government railway from Geraldton to Northampton and Fremantle’s Long Jetty.

Quick Facts

  • 1862 – Mason had timber concessions in the Darling Ranges
  • 1869 – steam-powered sawmill was established by the riverside
  • 1871 – 1877Francis Bird joined him as a partner
  • The Convict Fence off Shelley Beach played a key role in keeping the barges afloat
  • Marriamup Street, Cannington
Images courtesy of the Local History Collection and Etienne Brits.

Convict Fence

The convict fence was built to keep a channel open for timber barges from the Mason Bird Company to travel up and down the river.  It is known that convicts, standing waist deep in the water used shovels to keep the channel free of mud, throwing the mud over the fence.
 
The shore line did not always go as far as Mums Point. Its original alignment can be seen by the remnant posts that run into the point on one side and out again on the other.  Remains of a convict camp have been found in the area.
 
Did you know that there is an old barge wreck called the Python that got stranded on its way to Clontarf, close to the Convict Fence?

Quick Facts

  • 1866 – Convict fence built
  • 1850 - 1868 Convict era
  • 1950s – Mums Point was created when dredging was undertaken
  • Address - Canning River between Mount Henry and the Riverton Bridge
Images courtesy of the Local History Collection and Etienne Brits.
extraMile by Integranet