“The whistle guided our lives. I went to a little Convent School up here, and when the whistle went at 12 O’clock we just jumped up and went outside. We never waited for the Nuns or the Bell” Ainslie Evans
The whistle often alerted the town to times of crisis or celebration; lost children, nearby fires and the end of two world wars were all signalled by the familiar sound.
It became entwined with Katanning’s own identity and there was outrage in 1960 when, in the name of modernity, it was replaced with an electric siren. A successful campaign saw the whistle's return and it continued to lead the town until the Mill finally closed its doors in 1981.
“We never had watches as kids, we just had to come home on the five o’clock whistle” Alan Thomas