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Timber Trails

Timber trails were crucial to the building needs of a growing Queensland population, especially in metropolitan centres and one of the principal reasons for the continuation of the Brisbane Valley line beyond Esk was to transport this timber from Moore, Blackbutt and Yarraman to Ipswich and Brisbane. Initially timber from Pine Mountain was rafted down river to Joseph Fleming’s Bremer Steam Sawmill between 1852 and 1858.

It was more usually snigged by bullock wagon or horse teams to the eighty-three sawmillers (many of whom were “repeat offenders” in different locations) that the late and much lamented John Kerr has documented for us to provide a definitive time-line for the development of timber trails through the Brisbane Valley. They include names of what became the major timber firms in Queensland like Josias Hancock (and later Gore), Lars Anderson with his timber ‘railways’, Brown and Broad, Patterson/Finlaysons, Blank Bros. and Dennings of Fernvale. This timber yard and land were sold to a Woolworths development recently and the timber business relocated, but remained in Fernvale.

And then there were the smaller millers like Mr. Jackson of Colinton who used a portable steam engine in 1875 for milling building timber on the station and later sold it to J.H. McConnel for use at Cressbrook station. Selwyn Boon learned the ropes at Ravensbourne sawmill until his hand was hurt and then he became a sawyer and his own bullocky delivering timber from Eskvale to his father’s small mill at Chasewater during WWII. The sale of the Yarraman Creek sawmill to the Queensland Forestry Service that raised the anti-competitive ire of other timber companies during the Depression years also features on the timber trails of the Brisbane River Valley. Mills are still operating at Pine Mountain, Wanora; Dennings at Fernvale; Brisbane Valley Timbers, Esk; Finlaysons at Linville and Yarraman and Pro-Pine formerly Mullers at Taromeo. (Read more)

The Heritage listed and unique buildings about the Brisbane Valley were often homesteads built to house large families towards the end of the nineteenth century. They replaced the more modest accommodation of the pioneers exemplified by the Colinton Shepherd’s Hut. A tour of these buildings would ideally include Bellevue Homestead near Coominya and the home of Esk sawmiller Lars Andersen now called the Nash Gallery and café, Esk, after the current proprietor.

Continuing on the Brisbane Valley Highway to St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Toogoolawah that was designed by Robin Dods and is open on Sunday and the Toogoolawah History Museum located in the old station building that served as the Exhibition station before it was relocated to Toogoolawah in 1904. This is open to the public from Thursday to Saturday with markets on the second Saturday of the month

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Toogoolawah

Roy Emerson Museum, Blackbutt

Norman guards the Toogoolawah Condensery Art Gallery

A trip to the Condensery Art Gallery in Toogoolawah, built in the beautifully restored Nestles Milk Factory packing shed is always worth a look and open to the public. Photographs beside the Bodo Muche statue of ‘Norman’, the Red Deer from Queen Victoria, are probably mandatory From here it is a pretty drive to Caboonbah Church at Mt. Beppo (built by Lars Andersen), passing by Cressbrook Homestead and Church that is still the home of descendants of pioneers from 1841. Neither is open to the public. The Moore Memorial Hall and Gallery is open on the weekends for coffee and their markets are on the third Saturday of the month. The timber in its construction, when Moore was a timber town, is definitely worth a look.

Stonehouse at Moore, originally owned by Robert Williams and built by his family of master stonemasons from Almondsbury, can be seen from the D’Aguilar Highway as you leave the Moore Hall for the Blackbutt Range.

Here it is the beauty of nature and the call of the bell birds that accompany visitors to the Roy Emerson Museum at Blackbutt. This is housed in the old Nukku school, relocated to the Blackbutt railway precinct and where the famous tennis player spent his early school years. His statue is nearly as popular as Norman’s at the Condensery Art Gallery in Toogoolawah.

The next stop is almost certainly the Yarraman Heritage Museum, once a Sisters of Mercy convent school built of tongue and groove Crows Ash and surrounded by seven other old buildings including the relocated Yarraman railway station. This is a big precinct with many displays including a well presented Light Horse presentation. 

Another 22k further on, the D’Aguilar Highway takes visitors to Ringsfield House at Nanango that was a house also designed by Robin Dods and big enough to be used as a maternity hospital in the past. This building retains the opulence of ‘country gentry’ in grounds that also house a small school, a country church and the relocated Shepherd’s Hut from Colinton. (Read more)

The history of timber trails in the Brisbane Valley Region and surrounding districts is best captured in the book titled "Timber" (see picture to the right) which is available for purchase from our Shop.