Located in the Purgatory Scrub east of Stroud, Simsville, also known as The Jarrah, was the site of a timber getting and sawmilling operation spanning the years 1911 to 1947. The mill had a chequered history.
Millars Timber and Trading Co Ltd established a tramway into the scrub in 1911 and by 1912, the mill was operational. William Pitt Sims was the manager who oversaw the building of the mill and village complex.
The outbreak of WW1 led to the closure of the mill1 with the loss of some 145 jobs. Although badly damaged by bushfires in 1915, the mill reopened in 1919, while a change of ownership in 1922/23 led to an expansion of the enterprise with enhanced production facilities.2
Floods caused chaos in 1927 and the operation was sold to Stroud Timber Co the following year.
The mill operated intermittently in the early 1930s, with fire destroying the complex in August 1933.3 The owners did not rebuild, but with a sale to Smith and Ellis in 1934, production resumed.4 However, a company takeover by Allen Taylor and Co resulted in many workers being transferred to its Stroud Road mill. The settlement dispersed and in November 1947 the mill again caught fire.5 This time it was not rebuilt and the site today (2019) lies within the Myall River State Forest.
Author: Penny Teerman
Information in this story has, in the main, been sourced from the very informative book “Simsville and the Jarrah Mill” by Ian McNeil published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Melbourne 2015. This book is fully referenced.
1 Dungog Chronicle Friday 14 August 1914 Pg 10
2 Wingham Chronicle Tuesday 3 February 1925 Pg 4
3 Dungog Chronicle Friday 18 August 1933 Pg 4
4 Dungog Chronicle Friday 7 September 1934 Pg 2
5 Dungog Chronicle Friday 14 November 1947 Pg 5