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THE Timber Industry.

■«. Big America, and little New Zealand have one matter G f concern in common —the destruction of their forests. In both countries the duty of tree-planting is preached, hut with little result so far as this colony is concerned, and with the extension of railways the timber industry will develop until there will no longer be any need for the appeal—“ Woodman, spare that tree,” for they will all have 'disappeared. Even now, the end is in sight, and some people estimate that our forests will be cut out in another 70 years or so. But this is to some extent guess-work, and even experienced bushmen have often found themselves at fault as to the probable yield of a given area it is usually in excess oi their ideas -—and so it may be taken for granted that the evil day is still afar off — say 100 years or so- Besides, who knows what the researches o. science may do —with coal for fuel, airships for locomotion, and concrete for houses, the coming generation may be almost independent of timber. Even now one industry connected with sawmill ng—the making of butter and cheese boxes from white pine —is said to be threatened. A company, we are told, has been formed in Melbourne to make such articles from clarozite, a composition made from straw, and which is said to be in every way more suitable for the jiurpose. It is estimated that boxes to hold 56 pounds can bo made for about Is each. Meantime, leaving the possibilities of the future, sawmiiling in Southland is brisk, and with the recent advance in prices, this desirable state of things will probably continue for sometime. The industry is pretty well distributed over Southland, and even that favourite resort of tourists —Stewart Island • can boast of four mills. Hoffs, at Hal 1 Moon Bay, is to be set going again room after being stopped for a time ; Matthews and Co.'s, at the North !Arm (Patterson’s Inlet) will be in full swing very soon under Mr Andrews ; then there is Mackie's mill at Little Glory Harbour, and AlcCallum and Co.’s at Kapipi Bay, formerly owned by Mr Geo. Swain (known to old identities as a fine axeman and a good man to work for). Altogether, between 40 and 50 men are engaged in the industry at the island, and there is some talk of a mill being put down at Port William, where there is good bush, but indifferent harbour facilities.

Crossing Foveanx Straits, the milling industry is again in evidence at Greenhills, and then at Woodend. .where the Pine Co.’s extensive establishment stands, with its tramway running far into Seaward Bush —the fellers were lately working opposite to Ivapuka. Since the tiro there h a ve only been two mills working in Seaward Bush —Timpany’s and Broad, Small and Co.'s, but Robinson and Co. are erecting one at Kapuka, and others will probably be started, for the bush is by no means cut out, although no longer the scene of industry that it once presented. As for the grass sown in

many of the fire-swept 'areas, it is coming on well, and by summer there should be a good sole of pasture. Coming, to Gorge Road, the Pine Co.'s big mill is in full swing, and is likely to be for many a year, having close on 7000 acres of bush to dr a w upon. Mr Neiderer has a small mill about a mile and a half to the south of the Gorge Road stationAt Tokonui, six miles from Fortrose, Mr John Melvin, son of one of Southland’s early sawmillers, has a mill, the timber from which has to be carted to Waimahaka, the present terminus of the Seaward Bush line. ■Needless to say, Mr Melvin will rejoice when the iron horse puffs into Tokonui and relieves himself and the road of some heavy work. Passingon, Niagara is reached. Here Murdoch and Rod sold out some months ago to a new company, with Mr McFarlane, from Tapanui, in charge. The output of the mill is punted down the river to the wharf at Waikawa, where it is taken away by coastal steamers. A mile and a half further on is Mr J. Robson’s mill, now worked by Why brow and Co., on the contract system.. At Waik-awa Moffett and Co. have a -well-equipped mill, and intend to put down a second to work another piece of hush. 'Across, the river Currie and Mclntosh’s mill h a s been taken over by the Waika-wa Sawmilling Co., with Mr Mclntosh as manager. Bullocks have given place to a hauling engine, and other improvements are

being effected. It is reported that Hamilton and Co., of Te Tua, have secured the section known as Stout s Bush, and intend to put down a mill j there. Everything points to a good | time for the Waikawa folk, who well ’ deserve any luck that may come theii ! way, living as they do remote from jthe advantages of town life. But j they make the best of themseives I and their surroundings, and they would be the first to resent -.anything in the shape of pity. All they want is a fair field, and no favour. They are a self-reliant lot, too. Just now they are raising a guarantee to secure the services of a medical man — certainly muck needed in a s'awmill district, with the bulk of the population following an arduous calling. Then it is stated that three steamers instead of two will shortly be put on the trade with Waikawa, which is another matter for congratulation. Mr Goo. Murdoch has a mill at work in a piece of bush near Balcluthfa. Greig’s mill at Glenomaru is not doing much, only three men being at work, and there is talk of closing down soon. One mill which has a siding at Hunt’s Poad station, on the Gatlins line, formerly worked by Latta Bros., is now owned by Mr T. Latta, who is also owner of the one at the terminus of the railway. The engine used here was formerly on a dredge. This mill is going full-handed, and is keeping over 20 men busy. The Owaka Talley sawmill workings will soon lie cut out. Messrs Cooper and Lumsden’s mill is also going, and Mr White and Messrs Bates ami Bon are also working small mills. Messrs Dawson and McTvechnie ha'd a fine mill at Ratanui, but it was unfortunately burned down on the 26th nit. They had recently improved the plant, adding a new hauling engine at a cost of £350 —the first installed in that district. This is still to the fore, and the men managed to save the planer. The boiler and mill engine are not much the worse for the ordeal, but everything else went, the -damage being set down at £-400. The plucky owners intend to re-build right away. On the Tautuku River a company, which includes several Southland men, is erecting a mill, and bringing a plant from Stewart Island.

Coming' South from Balclutha. there is the Glendhu mill in the Hedgehopo district, with a siding at Mataura. The timber is conveyed over a tramway for three miles, and then brought six miles by road. At Kamahi the Southland Timber Co. have a mill, with siding at Kdendale, and to Woodlands comes the timber from the Pine Co.'s Mabel Bush mill and Kilkelly’s Grove Bush mill. At Long Bush Messrs Broad, Small and Co.’s mill is in full swing, and it is understood that Messrs Leggatt and Campbell have secured some timber Country near EZennington, and intend to put down a plant to work it. The Southland Timber Co., the timber from whose mill at Makarewa, used to be taken t G the Wallacetown Junction, have made a tramway to Mill (Rowl, along - which the output will he carted from the mill to the Mill Road siding on the eastern line. On the northern line Mr Young's mill at Ryal Bush is nearly cut out, and Lady Barkley, so long worked by that veteran miller, Mr D. McKenzie, has boon abandoned for some lime in favour of a site on the Hedgehope line, with a tramway running into Brown’s. Mill and plant are alike extensive. Mr Kgerton also has a mill two miles out of Minton• Beyond the railway terminus Mr Wallis’s mill has been re-built about a mile and a half from the old site, and is now in the hands of a 'company. The new ground will be much easier worked, the use of engines for lowering timber down the hillside being no longer necessary. Still further on is Hollands Glencoe mill. This is lying idle. fJootl work was clone for a time, but the traction engine. which used to convey the output to Gore played havoc with the roads, and operations had to cease.

Passing beyond the Lady Barkley, Mr D. McGregor has a mill with tramway coming into Centre Bush. The mill is perched on the Hokonui ranges, and the want of water was so severely felt up there that a dam had to be formed for storing a supply. Going westward, "trie Pine Co.’s Spar Bush mill still uses Waianiwa as a station, while at Wright's Bush Mr Bird is cutting out Boyd’s bush with a small plant.. Near Fairfax Messrs Timpany and McCallum and Co. are drawing on the Longwood ranges for supplies. The latter also have a mill at Glenburn, with siding at Otautau. The Southland Timber Co. have also a yard here, with a tramway coming about four miles from the bush. At Waicola there is

Mr Harrington’s mill, where the trees are hronght in fi om the bush full length, and cut and dressed. Westward Ho ! More and Sons, Riverton’s enterprising millers, no no longer use the lovely Poura Kino for punting timber from the tramway. At great cost they have constructed what is really a railway to Longwood station. The fellers for their two mills are now* working at the head of the big race fr D m Round Hill. The firm have material for from 15 to 20 years’ work, and when the totara and red pine is exhausted they have a magnificent stretch ot birch to fall back upon. Two locomotives are to be used on their line, which will also be used to carry the timber from Traill and Smythies and Moss's mills in the same district.

Perry’s mill at Oraki has been bought by Leggatl and Campbell, who are making great improvements, and evidently intend to launch out. At Colac Bay the Pino Co- and McCallum and Co- are still at work. Perry and Sons are nearly cut out at Wakapatu, and will shift the plant to Round Hill. They also have a siding at Ruahine, where B. Ward and Sons are also to be found. Timpany Bros. are in full swing at Pahia, but Watson and Harrington are shifting to Waimeamea, about two miles west of Orepuki. The Southland Sawmilling Co. have dosed down at Orepuki, and started again at Waimeamea, and most of the men followed the mill. At Te Tua, further along the line the company also has another mill at work. Broad, Small and Co. have shifted from from Te Tumutu to Waihoaka, where the output of their mill can be handled . more easily. Austin and Hamilton and Co. also have theii yards here. At present the latter firm have to cart their timber about eight miles, so that when the line is opened to Te Tua it will mean a great saving in cartage. The Railway authorities are making provision for five sidings for sawmills at Te Tua. Still further west Mr I. W. Raymond is bridging the Waiau below Drummond Ferry in order to tap the bush on the other side of the river! Up. Clifden way Mr H. Ackers has charge of a mill, where bullock teams are utilised for hauling. There have been ‘sleeper’ mills over the Waiau, but Mr Raymond’s will be the first complete plant to be put clown in that part of the district. However, at least one other firm has timber rights across the water, so that even before the line is completed to the Waiau other mills will likely be in operation. Settlers and millers alike are eager for the pushing on of the work —it means a lot to them in the lessening of the cost of transit, and in many other ways.

During last year the Southland mills employed 831 persons, whose pay-roll totalled £89,879. The hulk of the men are members of the Sawmill Workers’ Union —the membership now standing at between 600 and 700. The position of secretary was taken a year ago by Mr T. O’Byrne, a former vice-president and president. A practical and experienced sawmiller, he has proved himseff the right man in the right place. During the twelve months he has made the rounds of his extensive "parish” several times, and the interest taken by the members may be gauged from the fact that the sidascription® collected totalled £soo—this including a certain amount of arrears. There is a good deal of coming and going among sawmill workers, as shown by the fact that from 80 to 100 clearance cards have been issued during the year. In a good many cases men have left for the North Island, either from a desire for a change of climate, or because of the higher wages said to be ruling- there. The local Union is now thoroughly organised, and will doubtless add to its numbers. At any rate, in Mr O’Byrne it has an enthusiastic champion one who is never weary of explaining its good points, travelling miles by rail, bike, coach, or steamer to enroll new members, and generally keep things moving. Nowadays it is said people lack of conviction they have no belief in anything ; but the Union secretary is not built that way—when he addresses a meeting of the workers at a mill "out back” it is speedily evident that he is firmly convinced that Unionism is the cure for a good many of the troubles that afflict the industrial world, and he reaps his reward in new members and additional subs.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/SOCR19070803.2.15

Bibliographic details

THE Timber Industry., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 16, 3 August 1907

Word Count
2,385

THE Timber Industry. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 16, 3 August 1907

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