Memories from Michael Cannon

Pat Cannon Logging Manager Brandon Timbers Bellthorpe West Sawmill – recollections of Michael Cannon (1955- ), Pats son, November 2015

These are some of my recollections of the period when I went “up the bush” with my father. They are very much childhood recollections as I was aged one through to 13 during the time. Our mother and father believed in open conversation at the dinner table and everyone was expected to have some input “but think about what you are about to say”. So many of my recollections may be part of someone else’s views, anyone who visited the table was expected to be as open no matter the age or gender.

Dad was the logging manager from 1956 to 1969 his role was to organise the cutters and hauling contractors for Brandon Timbers for the mill at Bellthorpe West. Dad had been a timber cutting contractor himself from the age of 14. He was the second eldest son of Harry Cannon a well-established teamster in the Woodford district. Several pictures of Harrys’ team with Doug and Pat are seen with the largest Hoop Pine Log cut in the District, in several of the Woodford and District historical publications. Harry had married Agnes Tripcony and they had 10 children 5 boys Doug, Henry (Pat or Gint), Quinton (sport or Nahn), Russell (Rusty)and James (jimmy) and 5 girls Jean(Peg),  Gwen,  Valmay, Hazel and Joyce.  One of Agness’ sisters Alice, had married Norman Bleakley (Caboolture Shire Mayor for many years) who was the father of Claude and Vere and Tom her brother had the dairy farm at Cedartown with Aunty Bell and the three boys, Rex, Dean and Graham so there was a strong family connection in my fathers’ generation of cousins who were involved in the timber industry, trucking or dairying.

The boys and their father had been cutting timber and falling scrub in the district and a lot of that for the Lovfs. Lovfs had a mill where the bowls Club now is, Doug bought the land off the Lovfs when the mill stopped. Mum and Dad bought the land off Doug and later subdivided the parcel and donated the eastern end to the Bowls club. The Lovfs in partnership with Brandon Timbers established a large mill up at Bellthorpe West which would pass onto Brandon Timbers.  The lands once held by the Lovfs and Brandons would eventually be owned by Grants.

Doug and Pat were renowned broadaxe men who made quite a reasonable living cutting girders by hand.  Jackie Ryan once told me grandfather was a very good paling splitter and set a local record that he thought no one had ever been able to beat, when I asked Dad about this he suggested Jacki might have heard a story even though his father did split lots of palings. Merv Thornton told me as a child he could recollect Dad and Doug ridding on horseback early in the morning past their property at Stony Creek on the way up to Bellthorpe or further on to Jimna. While Dad joined the RAAF and went away to the second World War in New Guinea, Doug remained home and suggests on a taped interview with my sister Judith that he made the best money of any of his timber cutting time during that period because of the demand on heavy structural timbers for the war effort.

My mother Lottie (nee Black) explained Dad took on the manager role because he preferred the regular monthly pay packet. When he cut girders the Railway and Main Roads would come twice a year to buy so things would be very tight between payments and I guess after I arrived (1955), Dad just wanted the security even though he probably dropped overall income considerably. Dad used to say when they were working the bullocks with their father they would generally bring down one load a week and would receive about 20 pounds this was a time (1920’s 30’s) when a pound a week was the general income, if you had work. The depression hit the district hard and I would also have thought when Dad went away to war he saw his first regular pay, which he was able to send back to the family but even then when he was discharged he had 500 pound in his bank, a real lot of money to rural workers in the forties. Uncle Nahn did similar by joining the railway and Uncle James worked for the electricity commission until the power strike era then went onto private contracting pole inspections. Rusty and Doug continued in a private capacity in timber until they retired.

So in short, Dad had a very strong base in timber skills, family connections and probably strongest of all, a sense of conservation of the resource, in particular, millable species. I can only assume his conservation ethic came from his father who had spoken to his sons that there was a limited future in the industry as cutting was taking place all over the region and  contracts were getting harder to get through sheer number of cutters and a limited resource. While Dads generation were able to continue for much of their work careers it was very limited for my generation and while my brother did start with some scrub falling Dad and Mum had made it quite clear we would not be going into the business and education and a government Job should be our future. Dougs’ boys Rolly and Donny continued in the game, Rolly as a snigging contractor and Donny working for the Forestry.

So what was Dads day like. Mum would get the wood stove going about 5.45am or perhaps earlier in summer, she would make some porridge and tea and probably toast. We used to ocassionaly use a bit of kerosene to get the fire going so there was always some different smells to start the day, but when that red ironbark got going the side water jacket boiled pretty quickly. Sometimes I was allowed to light the fire but I would put more than the cordial bottle cap on sometimes and smoke the house out a bit. We had the wood stove till the early seventies and Aunty Peg got a brand new one in the mid 60’s from memory, others had combustion stoves which supplied the running hot water something we never had till the early seventies with the purchase of a hot water system. I remember Jude had some university mates up visiting and mum made me make up a copper of water for the bath as the girls wouldn’t like sharing the bath water like we did, I got a bucket of water from the copper and as I came into the light from the backyard I could see there was a poor green frog poached in my bucket a quick flick and no one was any wiser. When you think what we did day to day was fraught with any number of potential tragedies and we were modern compared to the old days and as Dad used to say  “the only good thing about the old days was they were behind us”.

Folowing breakfast Dad would grab a few slices of Bread or loaf, rarely a Thermos of tea, they always seemed to break or just didn’t keep the tea warm, and we’d jump into the jeep in the early days then short wheel base Land Rover in the 60’s. Dad never walked he always had almost a skip in his stride, he must have just relished the job and it was infectious, every day was like heading off on a new adventure. I had to plead to be able to go, sometimes I’d hear Mum and Dad discussing it, (Mum could be pretty persuasive but then again, she maybe wanted to have some time without worrying about where I was) it could only be in school holidays and usually Fridays when he knew he would have to do paperwork, so he wouldn’t have to worry about where I was when we were around cutters.

There would be a light on next door in the Bakery run by Jack Thorne a cranky  bugger who didn’t care who he flogged if you woke him up during his sleep hours during the day. John Gilda and I were great mates seems funny now but I never thought of them as twins I guess because they weren’t identical . I helped in the bakehouse a couple of times putting pie lids on the pies can’t remember if it was Daryl or Peter Moresby who was working for old Jack but is was an interesting place to work I’m sure. Thornes later moved up to the bakery beside the ANZ bank, I think it used to be run by Harris’s.

Up to Drapers butcher shop just before Caseys chemist and after the pub, newsagent and barber shop. Mr  and Mrs Draper would be getting organised for the day, we’d enter usually just after Six or maybe quarter past but there was always a bit of banter, sometimes Snow Finter or Alfie Fyfe would be there or Lenny their son, “takin the young bloke Paddy”.

There were two butchers in the town Drapers and Stan Jefferies, Snow used to work at Stans mostly I think. We very rarely bought meat from Stan’s even though he lived only a couple of houses up the road from us, Aunty Val used to do his daily sales book.  Stan’s shop was between Thompsons Garage and the cheese factory, it became the crib room for the factory after the butcher shop closed. Stan had a slaughter house opposite the Golf Club turnoff and Drapers had theirs out at the electricity substation. As a wandering child I visited Stan’s a couple of times but never went to Drapers, they were a pretty disturbing place with red white and black colour scheme and  basic winches,  large coppers and the smell of fat.

Snow Finter always impressed me, he was always neat and a handsome fella, always smiling, Judith and I had piano lessons with Mrs Finter. The butcher shop had the big timber butchers blocks for cutting the meat with a bandsaw for breaking down bigger portions or cutting chops and TBones. There was a hanging rail along the back wall and a cold room out the back. Early as we were, there would be beef carcasses on the rails, with maybe a beef hind quarter or half sheep hanging across the butcher blocks and the sawdust floor ready to catch the excess. Dad used to always order the first cut off the rump, a steel would quickly hone the already sharp blade, I used to wonder was it a ritual or just a stimulus to start the cut, the need to feel the steel on steel. The slice would be produced, weighed, discussed, “whose beast? how long has it been hung?”  and a price given. Mrs Draper would right the sale in the book, a piece of clean paper wrapped in old (clean) newspaper and we were set, maybe a “see you tomorrow” or “say hello to Lottie” but, we’d leave in darkness, round the fig tree and  down the main street.

There would be odd lights coming on most people having to get to work by seven at Grants mill or cheese factory. On the way past Dad would check on the situation at Aunty Vals,  Jeff Kelly may be getting organised for the Kilcoy abattoir his house was nearly on the railway line separated by the flood boat shed, then across the railway line to Pegs. If Rusty was home she would have cooked a meal and provided him with a lunch to go to the bush with, she would then go and milk her one or two cows to separate the cream and sell to the co-op. Across the One mile bridge and up the slight rise to the northern part of town. We’d go past the quarry and across the road cousin Claude would maybe getting jinkers ready or they may have already been up the bush.  Along the road to Kropps the milk carters, Russel Cochranes on the corner, you would see a light on at Ronny McSweenys dairy. The timber decked Post Office Creek and Stanley River bridges where you had to keep on the best sections of the decking or get thrown about .Further on to Jack Browns place, Cruices Corner where the council dip and bamboo stand could be seen, many times pocking through the fog that lingered around the river flat. Along to the turn off to Stony Creek at the school which was already closed, past Krugers, then across the causeway at Stony Creek up to Mountfords, all the while there would be discussion about dairying, cattle, who had money, who treated their animals and land well. You could hardly hear yourself in the jeep because the whole thing seemed to whine and because it was open and almost pure bare metal, cold as all hell to travel in early in the morning, particularly if it was raining. The Land Rovers were almost luxury compared to the jeep at least they had windows and the heat from the motor soon  conducted along the metal floor and there were foam seats not just canvas blocks like in the Jeep.

This journey from town to the foothills of the Range must have been a daily reliving of his younger days on horseback even though we were going rapidly compared to the horse journeys the same amount of observation and going through things in his mind  just couldn’t be satiated. I am fairly similar in my own work with soil surveying and can’t help thinking those few trips with Dad taught me a lot about looking everywhere not just the road but mostly just how wonderful the bush is and why everyone should get a chance to enjoy it.

The drive up the range, Stony Creek side sooner than Stanmore, was pretty good other than when you’d had rain when it could be a bit slippery.  Rapid changing of gears and searching for extra levers while frantically turning the steering wheel  back and forth, as a child just seemed to be what drivers did once you got into the bush. Sometimes you may meet someone in a jinker coming down as we were going up, but this was rare from memory most would be starting to bring logs into the mill so you might catch one coming out of Branch Creek or Stony Falls road but again we always seemed to be the only ones moving through the trees, Dad staring up into the canopy and down the sides.

The early four wheel drives had separate gear leavers for engaging the main gear box, four wheel drive and low range, the rovers were particularly unsympathetic to engagement on the go, very early on you learnt to look well ahead and gauge what you needed to tackle the next situation the track delivered. Toyota land Cruisers soon changed things with the single transfer lever, however the Rovers easily copped with most situations other than some inclines they could descend but not come back up due to limited power. One particular track off the Jimna Road down into the top of Conondale meant we would have to go over to Maleny to get back up. Dad openly admitted to be lacking in mechanical skills something he passed on, he could however be pretty critical of others who thought they had the skill and didn’t perform.

You would emerge out of the trees just in time to see the mill and to our right the barracks which always seemed to be covered in grime and perhaps an odd person wandering across to the mill. There was the smell of fresh sawdust mingled with, wood fire smoke, smouldering sawdust, diesel and sometimes bacon and eggs or toast. The gantry for loading the sawn would stand out and then the big white boom of the crane which loaded logs from the yard to the mill. I rarely saw the crane operating but when it did it made a curious loud uniform clanging sound like a giant wind up clock mechanism. This was the land of giants almost mythical. When the log yard was full it nearly obliterated the view to the mill itself with many logs with greased buts and tops to stop splitting just another raw smell and touch.

There would be some very large logs mainly blackbutt, others such as box, tallowwood, rose gum, ironbark would all be there to be devoured by the mill, fed by the crane and spat out at the gantry end of the mill in neat sawn bundles loaded on the same jinkers that may have hauled them as logs from the surrounding forest some even from as far away as Jimna, off down the range to Virginia.

There was a small machinery shed that had a diesel bowser for the mill vehicles, the jeep and rovers were petrol from memory. There was the lowset building with many clear glass windows where Jonny Sander and his family lived then dads caravan and lean too shed. Even as a child I couldn’t see how that great big man Johnny got through the door let alone live with wife and two daughters in the glass fronted house. Dads caravan had been a bullock wagon that they built a room onto with a small landing on the front with a free standing lean too adjacent on the Jimna side. Just inside the door there was a small wooden stove a desk and a bed at the end of the room a small sideboard which my youngest now owns. The bare tongue and groove panelling was always a comforting feeling getting out of the vehicle and if we were staying for anytime the stove might get lit and it would be very cosy. The jeep used to fit in the lean too easily but when the rovers came a long they were too high but dad just drove in, the roof on the vehicle would bend down as it hit the timber latch support on the door head then would pop up when he went past the entrance. The lean too was a strange thing in my mind, little was ever in there and because of the rovers height challenge rarely used, it did however have the pungent smell of hormone spray. Metal knapsacks that sprayed the groundsel would also be used for fire fighting. Another wonderful smell was the dieldrin loaded creosote that uncle James may have supplied from the electricity board. Nothing better for termite treatment.

We have no photo of the caravan, luckily Jude has a photo of the lean too before it was removed along with many of the other buildings. From the front porch Dad could see pretty well the whole mill yard and look down to the barracks and up the street to the mill houses either side of the Jimna road up to the school. The mill managers house was diagonally across from dads caravan, a two storey building which I only went into once from memory and that was to have a cup of tea in the rear kitchen something like Aunty Pegs but the lower half was covered in weather board not open, I  vaguely remember a laundry room may have been downstairs.

To a young observer there seemed a clear demarcation between Dads role as logging manager and the Mill manager role, but this was not always a happy demarcation from what I could observe and there was always discussion on when logs were being milled and how long were they going to be , “we can’t make orders because the wrong species is in stock” etc., but this was always fleeting and nothing I really understood anyway.

Everyone had to pass dads caravan who lived in the houses and there would always be greetings and general comments as people passed to start work, finish or go home for lunch. There seemed no one who didn’t know Dad and no one he didn’t know. There were some very different people at times, working for the mill and some had some pretty tough stories, it seemed to me that dad would talk to anyone.

For our lunch Dad would prepare the piece of steak by lighting the woodstove and placing a generous piece of butter in the pan, get  the pan really hot then place in the steak, a kettle would be on the stove for the tea. Once the steak had been pretty quickly turned to achieve the medium rare a piece would be cut off for me and dad would have the remainder . The bread would be buttered to soak up the juices on the plate and I seem to think Dad ate both our pieces of fat. I was pretty happy with that as I wasn’t particularly taken with eating the fat. Washed up in a  metal tub, lunch would be over pretty quickly with the ABC country hour in the background.

Dad would call through the logging to the Virgina mill, reading from his large book again length girths, pipe, species and cutter. The log measurements would be converted to volume by the timber”log book” which were tables, very similar in look to mathematical log books but really no connection. From this messaging individuals would be payed Dad also rang through hours of work for those who weren’t cutters but employed by Brandon’s for duties other than the mill. I got my first pay check from Brandon’s a cheque for $22 for 44 hours work fencing 50 c an hour seemed pretty good, I think I was in grade eight (1968) I didn’t realise dad was only getting $40 a week at the time no matter how long he actually worked as he was on salary.

The men in the barracks were also a pretty different crew, Donny my cousin would spend time there and I can only remember seeing him once or twice. Donny was a saw doctor and one of his jobs was sharpening the huge band saw. I remember going up into the saw house, a room above the machine where they would remove the band and lay it on its back so the saw doctor could walk around sharpening the individual teeth, I can only remember files being used. This was a skill my father thought was the pinnacle of the mill jobs, I think he was very proud one of his nephews was doing such an important trade.

The saw was fed by a rail type carriage which delivered the log to the big saw. I remember the commissioning of a new carriage which had its own log feeding table . Logs would be lain on the table then the operator would load a log on the carriage off the table by a chain bed feeder. Then when the log lay on the carriage it could be manipulated to have the log presented to the saw for the best/ most efficient milling of the log. Logs come in many shapes and sizes and once they lay on a straight surface the irregularities are very apparent. Once fixed by the hydraulic fingers the whole carriage with the operator would feed through the saw. I really can’t imagine what the sensation of passing by that huge blade ripping through logs which could shear and disintegrate, depending on species and tensions within the logs. The saw had to set the thickness of the timber initially so again a great skill as different species shrink in different long grain, short and tangentially so to get the most out of logs this initial breakdown was extremely important. The flitches off the log would fall and feed onto the next section where circular saws and radial arm saws delivered the end product. Men docking and grading had to rely on the big breaking down saw delivering a uniform product . The classic upright saw marks of the breaking down bandsaw are pretty rare these days most mills using paired circular saws which leave the cresent mark. The sound of that saw ripping through logs was what really meant the mill was working.

Following the fire that destroyed the main section of the mill the bandsaw head was one of the few things to be left. The crane survived as did the gantry, but from what happened to the metal pieces in the mill the heat must have been something unreal. The fire will always be a mystery but anyone who has worked in these bigger operations knows the timber floors are soaked in machine oil and power is pretty haphazardly run on some very dodgy early cabling. The mill was completely built of timber and well and truly seasoned. The original early mill survived the fire but to resurrect such a big enterprise must have been very daunting. There were many conversations about the fire at our kitchen table but somehow I think the timber had come to an end in some ways. Brandons moved onto beef cattle and continued to source logs for the Virginia mill and bought off other mills.

In the Virginia Yard one day with Dad and Bill Brandon I remember him remarking to Dad that Gordon Fredine, who had not long resurrected the mill on Margaret Street near the railway down from the saleyards, were the best supplier of sized material they had. Timber is sold as nominal size so many 3X2 are more like 2 3/4X 1 ½ due to shrinkage or just poor initial cutting. This early poor milling leads to even further losses for dressed material where actual size is required eg. floor boards. I’ve heard and read the theor, but not a lot of operators can put it into consistent practice.

Dad would go out to check the cutters there was Eric and Johnny Sander, Uncle Rusty and Doug. Jony Cumner , Eddie Sweedman, Rolly, driving dozers. Cousin Claude and Jack Brown and latter Tiger Bradley, Clarke, Bethel and Grigor driving haulage trucks, Bevan Bleakly and Joey Floss also worked for some time for Brandons. Claude always had Diamond T’s from the x army big Square ones then the more modern rounder cabbed types.  There were others in the bush but these were the ones who as a young child I can remember.

We would drive out through the trees on a main track then branch off on a more recent formed track that may lead to a ramp, simple built with a log or couple of logs with earth dozed and packed against it to give a ramp to roll the logs onto the jinkers. Dad would have to measure the felled logs and mark them for payment to the cutter sometimes he would meet them at the tree or be done at the loading ramp depending on lots of factors I guess but he was always keen to get amongst the trees.

To get down to the tree meant parking the vehicle somewhere usually at the ramp but at times he’d drive along the snigging tracks depending on terrain mostly I’d guess. We would have to listen for the sounds to locate the cutter, sometimes it was a machine working, a bell bird, abusive language, axe meeting wedge, roaring chainsaw or really barking of the early poor mufflers, but most critically the soft creaking almost squelching sound of the cut hinge giving way and the woshing, cracking of a falling tree. We would quickly saunter along the curious mounded pattern of the dozer which left a print in the soil like an upturned set of bakery tins. I never had shoes and there was always a bit of angst when laywer vine was around as the dozer could easily bury parts of the vines under the soft worked track. You had to gauge where the important sounds came from and head in their direction always ready to pounce behind a tree if necessary. I can never remember any one calling “timber” so there must have been some understanding if cutters were working close together.

Logs would be cut into manageable units depending on form and dad would measure length girth and pipe if occurring, logs would be branded with the hammer and notes taken. Selective logging was not a term used in those days but you can be sure Dad informed any cutter who had not performed the operation to the best of his ability for the log and regeneration.

The loading was done by dozers so there was considerable skill in manoeuvring large and small  logs with non hydraulic blades. Dad was for ever on dozer drivers cases about damaging logs or standing trees or even when they would be snigging logs from where  they had been cut, about trying to minimise the damage to the millable species coming through. Much of the field operations were not much better then in the bullock days the introduction of skiders, converted excavators and field machinery was still some time off. It was realy quite dangerous and pretty physical canthooks chains and pulleys had to be used to best advantage and a lot of this would be very helpful when doing higher level maths at high school. Dad would leave Brandon’s because of a dozer driver but then, fate provides , there is a time to move on, a bit like the mill fire it seems to me.

I remember Rolly loading up Jack Brown with pine thinning’s in portion 282 which is the junction of Stony Creek and Stanmore Roads  near the mill, the ground was a bit greasy and Jack insisted on loading on as many as was possible. Jack was a big man and only just could fit in the cab of the Modern Diamond but it seemed Rolly and Dad could abuse the bloke without fear of retribution. Eventually Rolly had to snig jack and load up the incline to the road as he couldn’t get traction with Dad going on about ripping the track up because of pigheadedness, god knows what really went on, I was to young to know what it all was, perhaps they behaved because I was there, I doubt it.

Dad never swore at home and very rarely in public. One day out on the Jimna Road only a few miles from the mill he pulled over one morning and got out to wave down one of Claude’s jinkers coming from Jimna direction, I can’t remember now who was driving but it was probably Jack or Claude but the air became absolutely blue with language I had never heard anything like it. There seemed to be no anger there was certainly no fists flying but who or what was copping a serve was really copping it.

They were cutting poles over at Jimna and all I can remember is the deep bulldust and tick stories of Yabba Creek. I remember arriving mid-morning to a small hut down in a creek line where a cutter presumably, was camped, pretty rough digs seems to be in my memory but the hut had coloured glass casements which curiously made the dust from a passing jinker look almost like a rainbow. It seemed strange this man was not out cutting or doing something. Dad had a broken conversation and the two parted company possibly agreeing to disagree, again I was too young but again it was the routine of contact, discussion, next move all pretty much Dads way. We had the piece of steak on an open fire that day prepared in the same pan that lay in wait on the stove in the caravan. Medium rare steak on a metal plate with a slice of bread to soak up the juices, a cup of sugared black tea,  what else do you need.  At home it would be corned meat or vegemite sandwiches and wondering which other friend I could visit across town, in the bush it was onto the next adventure, a world of men, two stroke fuel, fresh sickly smelling sawdust and diesel.

Bill Brandon used to drive a big black Jag the other Brandons drove Humbers.  I remember Dad and I meeting Bill outside the Caboolture Shire Chambers one afternoon. The big black jag with the enormous vertical chrome grill appeared from the cutting from the Caboolture river flat and pulled up to the gutter, that big radiator had the air around it in turmoil from the radiating heat.  I don’t think I said any thing but I think he could see me staring at the radiator and he remarked “Sorry I’m a bit late Pat had to push her a bit”. We spent nearly a day at Virginia yard one day they had not long installed the cell cure equipment for poles, a huge cylinder that pressurised the insecticide into the poles. Bill included me in all the talk even though I was probably only 10, he wanted Dad’s opinion on all things timber, but when we were looking through some racks he produced a board and Dad and him muttered and hummed about what it was and then asked me, I pretty confidently said it was red cedar just like Dads spring boards and they both grinned. To me this was a wonderful experience, one of the most influential and wealthy timber men of the day mixing freely with one of his workers and his son sharing and learning the business of timber.

Brandon’s move to cattle saw dad in a very different role but returning to his childhood skills of horse-riding and managing cattle. He built/replaced a set of yards with treated timber, all morticed and tenanted, bloody big gate heads lifted into place on the back of the Rover. One of the Brandon’s had purchased some beautiful Hereford cows in calf at Kingaroy early on, they looked magnificent when they arrived but after a couple of days blight showed on a number of them and eventually I think they all had it some 40 head from memory. The eyes had to be puffed with some dry powder  some lost their site and we had to manage them in the yards till they gave birth. Some of the off spring died from tick fever beautiful animals lost to nature. I have spent many years on stations doing my soil survey work but the very limited experience with Dad and Brandons finished me from ever doing it for a living. I could never be comfortable with the heavy animal health decisions something I think dad was happy to get away from also when he left.

Dad spent a short while cutting poles and working on various manual jobs then was asked to join the forestry where he rapidly went through the ranks becoming head forester at Mt. Mee then changing over to state chainsaw instructor. The chainsaw instructor job saw him travel to all parts of the state training many and discovering new timbers. He had some interesting views on people and their management of the forestry resource.

The Bellthorpe forestry is considered one of the best examples of Blackbutt forests in southern Queensland in large part due to the early cutting methods of Dad’s fathers generation and his. Dad would find in his latter Forestry career that many of his acquaintances in the woodchoping ring were less than impressive as contractors.

The reward of working in the landscape cannot be beaten as far as I’m concerned and most of that stems from my early years with Dad and my various boyhood adventurers where we covered many miles on foot, horseback, bike and flooded stream.

I have included some photo’s that show the history of Bellthorpe West timber in the earlier days. The mill reserve is my home country, I’ve instructed my family to spread me there at the end of my time. I was only part of it for a very fleeting time but nothing is so sentimental in my mind as that place.

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Photos courtesy of Michael Cannon