Charles Catt was a cabinet maker who came from the UK and established a small business in Perth. His son Roy became a furniture designer and the two operated in association as Charles Catt Furniture.
In the 1960s they were experimenting with jarrah as a furniture. Roy designed and their factory manufactured the furniture for the private dining room in University House at the University of WA. There were some problems with this furniture because jarrah did not respond well to the glues then in common use. However as a result of the Catt’s research this problem was solved.
In 1969/70 the Catt company obtained a major contract to design and manufacture the furniture for the Robertson Library that was being built at the WA Institue of Technology (now Curtin University). This project included reading tables, carrels, periodical display units, the furniture for the principal Librarian’s office and the Library Conference room. Most of this furniture was built with teak. It was the largest contract that the company had had to that date, and it enable the company to expand operations considerably, including establishing showrooms in Subiaco. However they somewhat over-reached themselves and there were some financial problems and although these were resolved, the roles of Charles and Roy in the company were somewhat changed.
My knowledge of these events came about when firstly I was Secretary of University House at UWA in the mid-1960s, and later, from 1967, when I was the Principal Librarian of WAIT directly involved in the design and commissioning of the Robertson Library. Coincidentally over my years of association, principally with Roy Catt, I acquired a number of pieces of Catt furniture for my home, including a jarrah dining room suit, a set of teak wall units, some smaller jarrah tables, and two armchairs, all of which I still have.