Longwarry Timber Industry 1880 -1930

Russell gave us a detailed history of the development of the timber industry in Longwarry and the surrounding forests and the reason for the growth of this industry from 1880 to 1930.
Demand for timber was stimulated by the wealth from the Gold Rush and the need for building materials and the needs to clear land for farming in the region.
Because Longwarry was on the railway line it became a vital centre for timber milling and transport, and several tramways were built out of the town to transport the logs or milled timber to the rail.
There was so much interesting detail in Russell’s talk that it would not do it justice to try and summarise it.
The rail yards at Longwarry circa 1905 looking back to the corner of the Drouin Longwarry Road.
Reports indicate that only a rider on horseback could travel through the district as the timber growth was just too thick.
In 1849 Mrs. Perry, wife of Bishop Perry, in described a trip through Gippsland of the district in her diary: “The country had the look of a large park with scattered clumps of trees, and we then ascended a very steep hill. We passed mobs of sheep and a poor bullock dray that would be weeks arriving at its destination as the dray had to be pulled apart scores of times to get between trees when they entered the forest.”

When the distance between the mill and the logging site became too great it was easier to move the mill to the timber than bring the timber to the mill. Moving whole buildings from one site to another was quite common in that era along with the moving of whole schools.
Russell’s presentation was filled with names that are familiar to locals of the area today through descendants of the people themselves or places bearing their names e.g. Maisey, Proctor, Eacott, Trinca, Biggs, Patterson, Stoddard, George, Tyson, Sargeant, Gardner, Furhmann to list a few.
This photo below taken in 1926 features in the centre, a special tram driver who continued working on the line until its closure. His name was Alfred (Edward) Ford, known by all at the time as Ted, with his lead horse Bluey.
Ted was Russell’s Grandfather. Well done Russell.