Sun goes down on Port Stanvac


Photo of Port Stanvac in the distance taken on 31 December 2013 (click on all pictures to enlarge)

port stanvac chimney across the suburbs

The chimney across the suburbs – taken on the side of Lonsdale Highway

There has been lots of talk about the final demolition of the Port Stanvac oil refinery chimney over the past few weeks, which has got me noticing it much more. It is so tall it can be seen from all over the place, but of course it is easy to overlook, it is so much part of the landscape.

I read in the Messenger today that it was built in 1976 and is 98 metres tall. The refinery operated from 1963 – 2009, and at its peak employed 400 people and supplied more than 90 percent of SA’s petrol and diesel needs (8.5 million litres of refined products per day can you believe it!).

I think of all those folk (mostly men I guess) who worked there – the shifts, the hours, the time. What did they actually do I wonder? How do you refine petrol? I think of the miles driven on the petrol they produced. I wonder who was happy, what they did in their spare time, what they ate for lunch. It would be fantastic to hear from some of those workers. Does anyone know anyone who worked there?

I know petrol is a great polluter, and that we are running out of oil and all that, but it is good to remember those folk who did the work and brought us the means to get around. That work is often very hidden and silent. It is very important and big in one way – like the chimney – but like a landmark that we get used to and no longer pay attention to, it is also easy to forget.

Thanks and farewell to the chimney and to the work that was done at the Port over those 40-odd years – and go and have a final look if you can before it comes down (apparently any day now).

sunset over port stanvac 1

sunset over port stanvac 2

Sunset shots of the refinery, taken early January 2014

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