Robert Mitchell Telford was born in Stawell, Victoria in 1888. He excelled in Chemistry and upon graduating from the Stawell School of Mines he was immediately appointed to the analytical staff of Mt Lyell Supersaturates situated in Footscray, Victoria. Robert married Rosa Edith Holmes at St Leonards, NSW in 1917.
Arriving soon thereafter in Western Australia he was appointed as the Acting Manager of Mt Lyell Chemical Works, head office was based at 319 Murray Street, between King and Milligan Streets, Perth. By 1934 the company name was Cuming Smith & Mt Lyell Farmers Fertiliser Ltd and Telford was still the Manager. By 1935 he was described as the “Technical Superintendent” for the company.
The fertiliser company continued to operate within Western Australia till notice to cease business was recorded for February, 1949. Robert Telford was still the agent for the company at that time.
The Demijohn: This is a two gallon salt glazed ceramic embossed simply Telford Perth. Made by Bendigo Pottery it is difficult to see why Telford commissioned his own chemical demijohn perhaps around 1918, as he was never seen to open his own company in WA and for his entire career he remained Manager of the Mt Lyell Chemical Works, Perth.