Making their mark

A LANEWAY in Perth has been named after the Pilpel family of stationers, who have spent years trying to get their contribution to business in the city recognised.

Although the Pilpel’s iconic blue and white print shop on Beaufort Street was sold earlier this year, the three generations of the family who tillered the company for almost 90 years will be recognised in the adjacent laneway which now bears their name.

Joshua Pilpel immigrated to WA from Palestine as Joshua Philphil in 1911 and was almost immediately employed by wholesale stationers Detmold Ltd.

• The Pilpel printery in action.

• The Pilpel printery in action.

He had his surname anglicised, and in 1927 opened his own printery in the rented loft of a hardware warehouse off Murray Street, using borrowed capital and small reserves. Against all odds, the company flourished during the Depression, with Joshua and his staff of three working long hours and eventually securing contracts from government departments, the medical profession, and UWA’s Pelican newspaper.

Joshua’s son Richard entered the business in 1948, and the pair’s tenacity kept the print shop afloat even when the elder Pilpel went blind.

Geoff, the third generation of Pilpel, joined the family business in 1978 and 20 years later the stationers moved to the factory at 148 Beaufort Street.

• Geoff and Richard Pilpel in the laneway which has been named after their family.

• Geoff and Richard Pilpel in the laneway which has been named after their family.

Richard won a print industry award for outstanding service in 2006 and an Order of Australia for contribution to the Jewish community two years later, but says he always dreamed of having his father’s early contribution to Perth commerce recognised.

He wrote to lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi in 2009, and while she passed it on to the geographic names committee, a suitable place couldn’t be found, so the family had to nominate the privately-owned laneway next to the shop and pay for the sign.

“The naming of Pilpel Lane is recognition of the 89 years of business in the City of Perth in which three generations of Pilpels have served the corporate sector and local community of Perth,” Geoff said.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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