With the opening of the Gippsland railway to Sale, Victoria, in 1879 the dense forest in West Gippsland provided a valuable resource, which sawmillers were quick to exploit. There was an intense burst of timber production as farmers, seeking to clear their land, worked in partnership with sawmillers, to take advantage of a burgeoning demand for timber in Melbourne.
In time the process saw the clearing of West Gippsland to the state that we now know it, and the growth of dairy farms across what had previously been densely forested hills. Between 1875 and 1900 at least 130 sawmill sites were worked in this area, between Beaconsfield and Trafalgar. They were connected to the main towns and railway by tramways using mostly wooden rails. This network of trams, and their associated industries, provides the underlying framework of this book, which explores the relationship between the settlers and the sawmillers, which was so important in establishing agriculture in Gippsland.
Settlers and Sawmillers is a soft-cover reprint of the book first published in 1993.
Settlers & Sawmillers
A History of West Gippsland Tramways and the Industries they Served 1875-1934 by Mike McCarthy.
Soft cover, 168 pages, A4 size, 96 photographs – mostly nineteenth century gems, 17 maps and diagrams – including seven in two colours, 6 graphs, one locomotive diagram, and 37 cameo images from the turn of the century.