Global demand for craftsman

WORKING with timber has been a life- long passion for Port Jarrah’s Clint Clarke, thanks to his high school woodwork teacher.

The class didn’t just turn out the usual simple tool boxes or coat hangers.

“He was an inspiration, and guided us in really good work,” Clarke says.

“I made a nice side table and won second prize in the state school competition,”

Clarke served an apprenticeship at the former Fremantle Furniture Factory in the West End, standing him in good stead for a career making solid, hand-crafted furniture.

He opened his High Street shop and O’Connor factory 16 years ago, attracting customers from around the world, including those in the UK, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany and China.

• Port Jarrah owner Clint Clarke. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

While on holiday in WA, an Alabama family fell in love with Mr Clarke’s furniture and ordered a container full of it to furnish their entire home.

He’s been flown to Los Angeles to install an audio unit he’d designed and made, and two of his rocking chairs grace the porch of a Texas ranch

“Jarrah and marri only grow in WA. We are well in in the game,” Clarke says.

Closer to home his biggest job was restoring 100 church pews for Christ Church Grammar: “And making 50 new ones. It was a huge job, a scary job.”

Port Jarrah makes one-off pieces to order and also do restoration work.

“We’re a good one-stop-shop for customers who want to fit out a whole house,” Clarke says.

Jarrah table legs are recycled from the timber of old house stumps that could be up to four or five hundred years old, Mr Clarke says.

The giant slabs used for table tops are sourced from fallen timber, usually from storm damage, road clearing and farmer’s paddocks.

Clarke, a loquacious and intense character, has spent most of his life in and around Fremantle, and is a member of the council’s business development arm, BID.

Port Jarrah
45 High Street,
Fremantle
9336 2225

by JENNY D’ANGER

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