HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

10 April 2015

Timber Trade, Jervis Bay, 118 yeas ago.


Forestry syndicates had just been granted large tracts of forest around Jervis Bay.  

Much has been written about the importance of the timber industry to the Shoalhaven and local communities,  Tomerong, Huskisson and Wandandian all survived because of their links to timber  back in the early 19th century.
I found this interesting article from the Sydney Mail in 1897,  118 years ago, that expresses concern, based on the condition the forests found themselves in after past forestry practices,  and how we needed to look after them for the future.


Timber Getters about to start their daily grind in New South Wales
Sydney Mail 1919.


“While not disposed to complain of any revival in the industry or any development of the natural resources of this country,  there is a note of warning which ought to be heard upon this question of forestry.  What has been done to ravage the former splendid forests of New South Wales is known to everybody;  what was done to Cedar of the coast would have been done to the Red Gum of the Murray only for Government vigilance.  And now we see what is proposed in the way of getting all the vendible timber out that yet remains in the possession of the crown.

But there remains another question,  and in view of the immense denudation of Norwegian,  Russian,  Canadian,  and United States forests during the last half-century it is important.  What are we doing,  if we are doing anything,  to re-afforest part of our country?.

Otherwise the time will come when the inhabitants of New South Wales may be as much injured by the spoliation of the ancient forests of the land as are the people of great regions in North America or Russia,  where timber of any kind became scarce,  where the influences of the climate are checked by forests,  and where the country begins to understand the labour of creating the resources that had been wasted”.

You can read the complete article below.


The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser

London Syndicate

It was a syndicate from London, timber merchants with an extensive interest in Australian hardwoods that was offered the land near Jervis Bay.   This project was welcomed by many who had been told that 100 to 200 men would have been employed in the enterprise,  with 100 being employed almost straight away to build the 20 mile railway link with feeder links and 1000ft wharf facilities at Jervis Bay, where large steamers would be able to come along side and load direct to England.

The land extended from Jervis Bay to the Wandandian hills,  a total of 20,000 acres,  this area had already been logged many years earlier. The company intended to log 24.000ft a day, or 6.000.000ft per annum.

Huskisson was the site chosen for the wharf,  and at the same time there was much excitement at the possibility of coal and shale deposits in the same area,  with the possibility of the mining industry developing in these parts.

Opposition and concern.

Concerns were being aired in the press as the above article demonstrates about the deplorable state the North Coast forests were in after the Cedar Getters had finished ravaging the forests,  showing no regard for the future.
Now the southern hardwood forests faced the same threat,  but this time people and the media started to ask questions and demanded answers from the Government and the syndicate about how they planed to manage the resource and the land, and what was going to be done to re-forest the areas effected.

The syndicate abandons the project.

The whole project was eventually abandoned,  there were a few reasons, the Government was asking,  (in the companies opinion”,  excessive royalties for the timber,  local opposition from smaller local operators, and unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the final nail in the coffin was much simpler,  to build their railway it had to cross private land and the owner refused to let them use his land for the purpose.

One can only imaging what this beautiful area might have looked like if this project went ahead and coal had been discovered.

There  are other articles related to this industry within this blog site,  to access those go to the search bar on the right, and simply try in the search box the word “timber”, this will take you to any reference of timber on the blog.

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