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About the Area

Herons Creek was a small township AND is one of the  original timber towns on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Today it is an isolated dispersed rural district reclaiming its sense of community.

It encompasses a huge area as north as Bago Rd, west to Cedar & Upper Cedar Creek, south west to Logans Crossing, east to Queens Lake, south to within 1.5 kms from Kew.

The Herons Creek District can now be said to consist of a number of suburbs today, such as Bobs Creek, Cedar Creek, Upper Cedar Creek, Logans Crossing. Some roads have been isolated due to the highway upgrades, forming their own areas, such as Cluleys Rd and Miles Rd. Herons Creek since has become a forgotten town in the Port Macquarie Hastings Council, an area approximately 10 square kilometres with more than 170 homes spread though out the district.

Bill Boyd Herons Creek Longworth Tramline 1  Herons Creek Community  Herons Creek Timber Mill Workers 
 Herons Creek Wedding  Baker Herons Creek  Blackbutt Tree 1

This district is richly endowed with history.
Herons Creek district former glory was a significant area for the pioneer timber cutting industry. In the late 1800's the area settled by a number of pioneer families many of whom are still represented by their descendants. Herons Creek once was a thriving self-sufficient village. It once had a railway station with regular trains to bigger towns, a hall, corner-shop, garages, Post Office, all which fostered positive connections to members of the community, but these are no longer. The last village shop and garage closed over 6 years ago. Since then the Herons Creek Township has lost its ability to connect as a community.

                           hc2sr mar2013 7   hc2sr mar2013 4

Over the past decade the district has become popular with young families and couples seeking a rural lifestyle, some building new dwellings. This has stirred a new sense of seeking a community feel. There is currently no public transport.

Herons Creek residents today are facing a new challenge that will isolate this area more. The Pacific Highway which runs right through the middle of the district has been upgraded to a 2 carriageway freeway, effectively cutting this village into little sectors isolating streets from the rest of the greater community, dividing families and friends.

In 2011, a closed yet historic community landmark, namely St Mary’s Church, was renovated and re-opened as a chapel and community centre. After a decade of silence, monthly events have begun to reignite community gatherings.


Herons Creek Timber Mill

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013 04:34 Written by 

Herons Timber Mill

Founded 1915.

Herons Creek Timber Mill was opened in 1915 by Alf Noone. Alf and his brother Ted were from Stroud. Ted was a blacksmith. Noone was in partnership with Mr. Brown and Mr. Amos. Herons Creek timber mill headquarters were at Broadmeadow, but Alf lived at Herons Creek. Log punts were brought up from Bobs Creek wharf. The mill bought property from the Butlers towards Bonny Hills. In the early years of the mill, at least twenty-two bullock teams hauled logs to the mill.

In the 1930 Rufus and Mannie McCarthy worked here, with Rufus driving the log truck. Mannie became a world champion axeman. In 1931 the mill burned down and was rebuilt. George Latham was among those engaged in the reconstruction work. Log haulers included Reg Latham, 'Boo' Kidd, Ted Green, Red Hayes, Mr. Slater.

During the depression gangs of workers were brought in to chop wood, they made 30 shillings for 30 hours. Timber Stories of the Hastings says, “Many of these men married local girls and remained in the area.”

Ken Noone became the manager at Herons Creek before mill was sold to Zinc Co. in 1947. The operation at that time consisted of mills at Herons Creek, Kendall, Port Macquarie, Lorne and Comboyne. Managers in the 1950s included Neville Elliot (mill), Doug Elliot (forests) and Bert Elliot (corporate). In 1951 William Robert Isaacs was killed in an accident at the mill. Fred Adams built six houses for the mill in 1956. In 1956 the company purchased the assets and business of Longworths (Laurieton Pty Ltd). which consisted of mills at Laurieton and Comboyne as well as a retail yard at Punchbowl, a suburb of Sydney.

In the late 1950s a study of sawmilling practice showed that one large sawmill was more efficient and more economical than a series of smaller, scattered mills. Thus, in 1959 and 1960, a new sawmill was built on the site beside the second Herons Creek mill. The new mill gradually took over from the old mill with the old mill eventually being taken away.

Into the 1960s the manager was Len Carragher. Tractor men were Oscar and Alan Murray, Norm Tinkler, loggers Mick Willmen, Todd and Joe Lamb, Bill Boyd. The next manager was Bill Rutter. Zinc Co. sold the mill to Duncans Holdings; it was later sold to Boral. Dean Buttsworth replanted the forest at Butlers.

Charles Fenning wrote “Boral have spent a lot of money on kiln-drying facilities, but it remains very much a labour-intensive mill.” In April 1969 the mill was controversially given approval to use part of the cemetery grounds. In November 1969 there was a woodchop at Herons Creek with the proceeds to benefit St Marys. The mill donated the trophy. In 1982 Graham Barnes was killed in an accident at the mill.

The mill continues operating to this day as the jewel in Boral’s hardwood crown.

Sources: C. Fenning Echoes of the Axe, Timber Stories of the Hastings, Footprints and Foundations, Hastings Shire Gazette. With thanks to Len Carragher.

Read 33195 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 05:35
Published in Iconic Places
More in this category: « Herons Creek Cemetery

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