Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Coast's Golden Timber Era Timber a Valuable Resource for Coast's Early Pioneers; Forests Provided Our Early Settlers with a Rich Bounty

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Coast's Golden Timber Era Timber a Valuable Resource for Coast's Early Pioneers; Forests Provided Our Early Settlers with a Rich Bounty

Article excerpt

THIS year marks the 21st anniversary of the Maleny Wood Expo, which celebrates the region's proud history of timber-gathering.

The theme for this year's annual event is: From Seed to Fine Furniture, with activities over three days from April 29.

The festival is an ideal time to get a glimpse of the skills of the early timber-cutters, see the best in both handcrafted traditional and high-tech tools and smell the spicy aroma of newly-milled timber.

It is a tale of our region, how we grew and how we have changed.

The timber-getters and their bullock teams which worked the big timber forests are long gone but they played an important role in the development of the early settlements.

In most cases, the timber-getters came to the area well ahead of the pioneering families, who later toiled to turn the cleared areas into prime farmland.

Townships soon sprang up close by and the timbermen were able to advise the settlers where the best land was located for future farming pursuits.

While exploring the Brisbane River in 1823, John Oxley was impressed with the magnificent timbers of a species of pine which was undiscovered at the time.

This tree was the hoop pine which has a distinctive pattern in bark of the tree.

The Moreton Bay region opened up to free settlement in 1842 and, at that time, the colony did not have a sawmill.

Logged timber was either pit sawn and used locally, or shipped south for milling and exported overseas.

Prior to the railway opening in the early 1890s, timber was sent by boat from Campbellville, on the junction of Mellum and Coochin creeks, down through Pumicestone Passage or by sea from Mooloolah Heads.

Once the railway was established, the bullock teams hauled the sawn timber from the sawmills to the railway stations to be loaded onto trains for the journey to Brisbane.

It was not uncommon to see many bullock teams in and around railway yards at the one time.

Of all Queensland's natural resources, timber was the most visible and abundant to the first Europeans arriving on the Sunshine Coast.

Timber is frequently referred to in early accounts of the Near North Coast's early history, with descriptions of the extensive stands of timber which lined the coast and riverbanks as well as the hill country of the Blackall Range and beyond.

In south-east Queensland, the dominant timber species were soft woods such as hoop and bunya pine, as well as other cabinet timbers.

Another rainforest tree of major significance was the mighty cedar tree, which was found all along the eastern coast.

Some of these trees were more than three metres in circumference.

Cedar cutters had already shown interest in logging this species that grew throughout parts of the region by the 1800s. …

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