From Pumpherston Pond to the Blind Nullah

Assam Oil Company refining plant between the Digboi and Blind Nullah rivers, 1895

Occasionally we come across an oddity in our collection that we think warrants a small mention on this page. We’ve scanned all our maps and have started the slow process of digitally stitching the bigger ones together so you can view them as one image. When we finished scanning one particular map it was clearly somewhat different from the others – it wasn’t Scottish. After a little research it became apparent that it related to an oil refinery in Assam, India. The map is dated 1899, and given that the refinery opened in 1901 it appears to have been a plan of the proposed layout. It shows the refinery sitting between two rivers – the Blind Nullah and the Digboi (the latter apparently coming from the phrase shouted at local workers by an English engineer when attempting to discover if the black stuff on his elephants’ legs was oil – dig boy, dig). The refinery is still in operation today.