SIR, - In your issue of the 6th instant you have an article on our native timbers written by Mr Donavon, In which he gives a description of the turpentine wood and recommends it for building and other purposes as one of the best woods we have. If so, how comes it that turpentine has been a prohibited wood throughout the colonies by architects and builders? Ln 1857 I put a log of this wood on to my pit to cut a few flooring boards for my verandah, intending to cut the rest into scantling and joists and my mate and I often cursed our folly for being led away by appearances (as it looked such a fine tree and lay right at the foot of our skids), for it was impossible to keep the saw sharp owing to the gutty nature of the timber I had greater cause than this though to repent using them, before the boards had been down a month I had adzed all the edges off between the joists, and soon after had to replace them by putting in others of spotted gum.
Mr. Donavon says it is a good splitting timber, and that any old bushman will bear him out. Well, Sir, I have been forty year engaged amongst timbers in splitting, fencing, sawing, building, bridging, boatbuilding—in fact, using timber in every way that bushmen have to do at times, but I never yet got a turpentine log to do as he describes. As for backing-off to split posts, rails, or palings—l think one would need have the patience of Job.
In 1843 my father contracted with a Mr. Croft, of Balmain, for the supply of timber to repair the Shamrock steamer, and submitted some turpentine planks to him (Mr. Croft) for approval, but he would not take them on any account; they were for the floats for the wheels of the steamer. During the construction of the viaduct at Honeysuckle Point, Newcastle (N.S.W.), a turpentine pile was attempted to be driven, but alter a few blows it broke short off. On the coal and copper company*s line at Red Head, Mr. Morgan, the engineer, refused to allow it to be used for stringers and also for framing for the tunnel. Mr. Donovan says it is a good wood for the saw-mills. About three years ago I saw a log 20ft long and 9ft through cut at the Mungar saw-mills, the whole of which had to be cast into the waste heap, and the saws after cutting it looked as though they had been on a grindstone. None of our hard woods suffer more from exposure to the weather than turpentine, none are less adapted to carry a weight; I care not what weight is put upon it if the sun and weather act on it will twist and warp—so much so that it has been condemned by all architects and engineers throughout New South Wales.
At Brisbane Water, whence Sydney draws the greater part of its timber supply, and where turpentine grows in abundance, none has ever been cut I have bad to fell trees 2ft. and 3ft through, and 40ft. or 50ft long, in order to get at other timber, but would never think of cutting an old turkey.
White ants are not so destructive to this timber as they are to others; at the same time it is not uncommon thing to see them in it If fallen in a damp place and the bark left on, the wood soon decays. It and white gum are the two worst timbers we have.
For general purposes none surpasses spotted gum, whether for house, ship, or other buildings; for rails and for tramways none equals it—always keeping clear of the sap. Red-gum, or what is called here blue-gum, is an excellent timber for the ground; perhaps none better. In 1858 or 1859 I contracted to erect a temporary bridge over the Picton Creek (N.S.W.), 80ft. of the old one having been washed away. I was allowed by Mr. Moggridge to use any of the old timber that was sound, and all the stringers were taken from the old bridge, which had been built entirely of red gum, and had been in use thirty - five years, and put into the new one. The timbers proved as sound as when they were first used, and within one month of completion of the work a traction-engine with wagons and load; weighing sixty tons, passed over the bridge, the whole of the weight being on it at one time.
There are other timbers equally good for different purposes. In conclusion I would remark that no part of the colonies that I have, been in can equal this district for the purity of its spotted-gum; borers attack it less here than elsewhere too, I have noticed. Ironbark and red gum are equally good. Our other hardwoods are not up to much."
Maryborough, July 17,
For those wishing to know more about James Sivyer and his relationship to the Goodsells of Newtown, I have compiled this document using information taken from internet references. This will also give you an insight into early Sydney.Download File
GREAT SOUTHERN RAILROAD;-Billet Wood.
Notice is hereby given that Tenders will be received at the Railwny Office, Phillip-Street North, until WEDNESDAY, 23rd December next, for the whole or portion of 5000 Tons of Ironbark Billet Wood, cut into convenient lengths and sizes, subject to approval, to be delivered at any station on the line. Each tender must state the price per ton of 50 cubic feet, the place, the quantity, and the time of delivery.
Tenders must be addressed to the Commissioners for Railways, endorsed "Tender for Billet Wood-Great Southern Railway "
Further particulars may be obtained at the Railway Office, Phillip-Street.
The Commissioners do not bind themselves to receive the lowest or any tender.
By order of the Commissioners
JOHN RAE Secretary;
Railway Department, Sydney, 28th November, 1857
This file is a historical account of the Mount Perry to Bundaberg Railway Line. It appears that Moolboolaman was the last station on the first part of the line. The extension to Mount Perry was delayed due to a tunnel having to be dug through the mountain. The tunnel still exists today.Download File
This is a copy of the article North Coast Railway Brisbane to Gympie which was published in The Queenslander, 18 July, 1891. This article has historical significance as the reporter describes the railway journey and the surrounding country side of 1891.Download File
This photograph has been taken looking from the top of the hill which is where Stanley Sivyer eventually lived looking down onto the farm house and farm where Spencer Sivyer built and where Wally Sivyer eventually lived. This is the land and surrounding area which Spencer Sivyer selected and the paper work below shows the details of this land. Stanley had often mentioned that as a very small boy when he first came to Tinbeerwah he remembered a foreigner living in a bark hut some 400 yards east of their home. This would be roughly somewhere near what is known as Fenwick’s or later Hooper’s house.
The property which Spencer selected was always known as “Devon Park” and on Gertrude’s Birth Certificate, her place of birth is given as Devon Park, Gympie. She was born on 11 December 1895. Her marriage certificate shows that she was born at Cooroy and was resident at “Devon Park”, Tinbeerwah at the time of her marriage. Percy was also born at Tinbeerwah. So it is safe to assume that it was sometime during the year of 1892 that Spencer moved to “Devon Park”, Tinbeerwah."
The death occurred on Thursday last of Mr Spencer Sivyer, one of the oldest residents of this district, at the age of 81 years.
Mr Sivyer was a colonist for 74 years, he having arrived in Sydney with his parents in the late thirties (1830's) and for over 50 years. He was resident of Queensland.
He was contractor and worker on the first railway built in Australia, and was engaged otherwise in the sawing, road contracting and later as Inspector of Timber and Bridges under which he oversaw the works of the North Coast Railway from Caboolture to Cooran.
On the completion of these works, he selected land in Cooroy and was engaged in the timber industry for many years, but latterly, he directed his attention to dairying.
He was highly respected by everybody and a most genial companion, and most hospitable host. He was an enthusiast in Church matters and was always ready to lend his home for the Church services, but the Methodist Church was the denomination to which he attached himself.
His health had failed for some considerable time and his friends and relations realised that his end was approaching but his faculties were good right to the last, except that his memory failed him at times. He will be sadly missed by many of his acquaintances as it was always a pleasure to sit with him for an hour and listen to his pleasant reminiscences.
He leaves a widow and 12 children, all grown to manhood and womanhood. His family altogether was 15, but 3 predeceased him.
The remains were brought to Cooroy on Friday and were interred in the Methodist portion of the Cemetery, the burial service being conducted by Rev Martin, in the presence of a very large congregation.