Kandos and Rylstone History P.3
Kandos, the WWI veteran town.
Presentation to Kandos High School Year 9 students by Keith Shumack in 2000 cont.
Kandos won its own particular World War I battle, the town surviving a war that threatened to dismantle the works it was founded on. Kandos won, simply because it survived. The building of Kandos began just prior to World War I, built for the purpose of making cement, but the WWI threatened to stop that production because of the German involvement with the project, and the War itself holding up delivery of the first kiln.
The town of Kandos was created to support the cement works, Kandos originally chosen to do copper smelting, smelting the copper from Cobar because coal was freely available there. The works still has a room with CSA on it, which was intended for the smelting. However, the discovery of limestone, with the coal and water supply, swayed authorities toward the manufacture of cement. The Cement Works still has some old photos and you can still discern where different workers came from. There are a lot of letters in the Mudgee Guardian of the times about the internment of German people.
Europe was one of the biggest cement producers in the world at the time, and the equipment for the works came mostly from Germany. The making of cement is a chemical process and entails a lot of expertise, most of which came from European companies setting up the works. But because of World War I, number 2 kiln came into production before number 1 kiln, number 1 kiln being held up in South Africa because of the war.
There are many other ways to fight a war beside physical fighting. Kandos had its own battle with the disruption of the building of the town and its works, but also fought back with its own disruption to the German Cement Industry, which was the most powerful cement supply in the world. But Kandos provided its own raw materials for cement production, coal, water, limestone, etc. Dunns Swamp was originally dammed for water to be used at the cement plant. And the importation of cement from Germany into Australia stopped. Kandos cement has been largely used in Sydney, building homes and office buildings. The Harbour Bridge and the Underground Railway and the Opera House were all made from Kandos Cement. And once the war started, we presume Kandos Cement was used to make bunkers for the war effort.
In 1912 the Honourable King O’Malley, Minister for Home Affairs, sent a Commonwealth Department officer to investigate utilising the Rylstone/Kandos area for a cement works for Federal purposes. At that time, Australia was importing German cement 250,000 pounds worth. These imports were entirely eliminated with the establishment of the Kandos Cement Company. The Kandos Cement joined the following enterprises:
· Cement works at Portland.
· Cement makers of Granville Quarries at Excelsoir
· Coal Mines
· Shale and Oil
· Small Arms Factory
· Iron Works.
Dr R Logan Janicke, from Krupp Ltd in Germany was largely instrumental in the early investigations of coal mining in the region, with Mr J. Erle Herrman the original lessee. They were taken over by Albert Holland.
In May 1913, the NSW Cement Lime and Coal Co Ltd registered, and bought land for the works and a town for its employees. New Zealander Vilhelm Albert Langevad, civil engineer at the Adelaide Tramway Institute, laid out and established the cement works. Arrangements were made with Freid Krupp Ltd of Bremen, Germany for the supply of a plant for the new works. Shipment on the SS Adelaide, a German ship, began only a few days before the outbreak of WWI on August 4, 1914.
The ship ran into the neutral port of Loanda, Portuguese West Africa, where it was interned until the end of the war. So, the Kandos company was forced to seek the plant elsewhere, and arranged a plant from Milwaukee in USA. In 1914, Kandos township was laid out. July 1916, the first cement sold from number 2 unit that was now in operation.
Meanwhile, the number 1 unit sat in port at Loanda, which much discussion taking place between the countries concerned to ascertain if the impounded goods were for military use b y the sender or receiver. Finally the vessel was released and it continued to Australia.
But on arrival in Australia, a strike by dockworkers at the wharf and government custom delays prevented the plant from leaving the wharf for almost 12 months.
In 1917 Kandos was proclaimed an urban area. February 1918, nearly four years after leaving Germany, unit number one finally went into production at Kandos.
In November 1818, WWI ended and peace arrived. The cement works whistle blew for 20 minutes at midnight, until it ran out of steam. It woke everyone up. The Brass Band got up and played as they marched down the streets. Children improvised a tin can band, a goods train joined in the rejoicing and by 4am, everyone went home, relieved the war was over. A thanksgiving for victory was held in the Angus Memorial Hall on Wednesday 13th, and a dance that night.
Kandos survived the threat of WWI to prevent its success, and in doing so, became virtually a WWI Veteran.
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