Sawmilling at Mary Smokes Creek 1920’s to mid 1930’s
From Ron Trim, local historian
The Thurecht Bros came to Kilcoy in about 1919. These six brothers had a steam engine, and a saw mill owned by two of the brothers. They set up at Kilcoy near the rail crossing on the Old Esk Road. Council had told them that this was above flood levels but this was proved to be false. Dave and one of his brothers later set up at Mary Smokes Creek, hauling logs from the hills to the mill on rail tracks made of timber. Some of this line is still visible today.
However the mill was not going too well and in the mid 1930s they decided to pull it down and move the operation to Redcliffe. In 1936 Dave was working toward this when a large storm blew the roof off the shed. They went ahead with the shift and erected a mill at Redcliffe in about 1937. At this time Redcliffe was growing so it was a very profitable business. There were no logs available locally, so Dave set about trucking the best he could find in the Stanley and Brisbane River valleys, and also from local areas such as Bribie Island. From Bribie Island, logs were rolled down skids onto wooden barges, and towed to Scarborough. During the Second World War, one of these barges was requisitioned by the US army which was stationed on Bribie Island, and sent to New Guinea to transport gear along rivers etc. It was never returned.
At about the same time as the Redcliffe sawmill was built, in the late 1930s, Dave Thurecht and one of his brothers set up a mill near Beerwah Mountain. At this time his children attended the local school at Commissioners Flat. This mill worked until the beginning of the Second World War when it was purchased by QI Industries to cut crop arms for the ever expanding power line. It was relocated to Peachester and set up as a full electric driven mill. After some years it had trouble getting logs to keep the mill going and it closed in about1953.
One of the other brothers had a planing mill in North Brisbane, but after some financial problems it too closed.