The Kilns - Our Workshop

The Kilns – Our Workshop

The inaugural meeting of the Cooroora Woodworkers Club was held at the Tewantin Scout Den on 14/12/1988. Founding and first club President Ron Salmon, placed an advertisement in a local newspaper and attracted about fifteen interested “woodies”. Four of those foundation members are still club members. The club became incorporated on 8th of October 1989. Meetings were held at the Noosa Scout Den and later transferred to the Noosa High School where demonstrations were held from time to time.

After many years of discussions with Noosa council the club aquired a delapidated cottage which was then completely renovated by the club members. This cottage is now our clubhouse and is finally located at 8 Lower Mill Road, Cooroy. General club meetings take place every second Saturday of the month beginning at 9am. The club’s workshops are located next door in what used to be the drying kilns of the Cooroy sawmill.

Our current membership of over 100 members and includes men and women from all walks of life who share the common interest of woodworking.

Classes and demonstrations are regularly held for members who want to improve and expand their skills. A pleasing characteristic of our club is that members are always ready to help each other and pass on techniques and information.

The club is very community minded. We participate in the Lower Mill Place tourism initiative where our club house is open to visitors and members work is on display.

Cooroy’s Sawmill History

Cooroy was a logging centre before it was a township, with the firm Dath Henderson having large tracts of land east of Cooroy until resumed from the government in 1907 for closer settlement. This precipitated large scale logging in the time allowed before it took possession. Several sawmills were established to mill timber as the new selections were cleared. Fenwick Brothers and Morish established a mill on the western side of the town near the creek in 1908 trading as Canadian Saw Mills. In 1910 Clugston and Ireland built a sawmill where the Bowling club now stands. It was burnt down in December1914 but was rebuilt. A siding was provided to the mill in 1916 but it burnt down about 1928.

Other sawmillers included Sivyer and Dunbar from around 1921, W.H. Howard and E.N. Wheeldon 1923 and after the depression, E.H.Llewellyn, listed from 1934, which may be the same mill as Ford Brothers from 1941. Straker and Sons’ Cooroy sawmill, trading as the Cooroy Sawmilling Company from around 1944 .To counter shortages of log timber and safeguard their future, Wilkinsons of Yandina, Strakers of Cooroy and Cooran and Luttons of the Mary Valley joined together to form Northcoast Sawmills Pty Ltd at Cooroy in 1970. Together they established a new mill at Nandroya in 1972,with logs coming from a wide radius and incorporating modern equipment for efficiency. Northcoast Sawmills was acquired by Quintex in1980 and subsequently Boral which operated both the Cooroy and Nandroya plants. A fire on 2 May 1997 threatened the Cooroy mill but was confined to a small area leased for experimental product development.

The formation of Northcoast Sawmills was a natural development of the partial amalgamation in 1956 when the Cooroy Sawmilling Company of Cooran, Straker & Sons Cooran and J. Wilkinson & Sons of Yandina and Conondale jointly formed Kiln Dried Timbers Pty Ltd to erect four double kilns and new planing mills on an area of three acres at Cooroy. The kilns enabled the companies to market timber in southern states and western Queensland where naturally coastal dried timbers are not acceptable. Arthur Straker and Peter Wilkinson supervised the project, the site adjacent to the Cooroy sawmill.

In 2000 the Queensland Government closed the Cooroy mill in accordance with the Regional Forest Agreement.