Machin’s Sawmill, Celebrating 100 years

Over the next fortnight we will be reproducing some of our key stories from 2015 about those who work in the North Coast Timber industry. For the full document click on the following link
Those Behind the trees

medium_Image - Machins Sawmill, 23 August, 2014.jpgMachin’s Sawmill at Wingham is now in its centenary year, celebrating an amazing 100 years as a family owned business. Its success can be attributed to its focus on integrity, quality and value.

"These three principles are what the company was built upon and still remain the centre of everything we do" said manager and owner Ralph Blenkin. This is a topsy-turvy industry and we have been forced to quickly adapt as circumstances change. During World War 2 the Company was able to capitalise on a big demand for timber from Australia's defence forces to make rifle barrels, ammunition boxes, mosquito-bomber frames and coffins. As the North Coast continued to grow there was considerable demand for timber for housing, bridges and railway sleepers for which Machins were well placed to supply. Another opportunity resulted in another transition which saw 50% of the mill work being devoted to supplying mine props to various Broken Hill mines.

Machins join another well-known local timber machinery firm, AE Gibson and Sons at nearby Kendall who also recently celebrated 100 years in business.

Machins is now the only remaining mill in the District that once boasted another fifteen - two at Mt George, one at Bulliac, three at Wingham, two at Comboyne, one at Bobin, one at Tinonee and five at Taree. Machins survival is testimony to its grit and determination and willingness to flow with the demands of a changing market says Ralph Blenkin. "We have continually invested in plant and equipment including kilns and pursuing new markets for value-added opportunities such as flooring and decking".

The Machin family settled in the District in 1914 when Henry Machin, a cypress miller from Dubbo moved to Wingham thereby starting the timber family dynasty. The mill was initially established at Killabakh, outside of Wingham but was then moved to a site on the Bulga plateau, thirty-five kilometres to the North, an area rich in many rainforest species. The terrain was so tough that it took a bullock team a week to make the return journey to Wingham wharf from where the timber was shipped to Sydney.

Over the years Machins has adapted to many changes, a testimony to its survival and resilience says Ralph Blenkin. We have continually invested in plant and equipment including kilns and pursued new markets for value-added opportunities such as flooring and decking.

According to Ms Kathy Jones, Senior Manager Forest Stewardship, Forest Corporation NSW “one hundred years is an amazing achievement for any business. To achieve this milestone in the timber industry and still be going strong is an extraordinary achievement”.

Machin’s Sawmill continues to produce beautiful north coast timber products at good value, delivering direct to customers doors on the mid north coast.