Posted by Peter Tinney on Oct 05, 2019
THE GUEST SPEAKER was Ralph Blenkin from Machin’s Mill in Wingham.
Machin’s Mill was established in 1914 by Henry Machin at Killabakh. Later another mill established at Elands. Later the sawmill was established in Wingham and other mills were opened in the area but later closed. Machin’s mills have always been family owned. Wilfred and Merv followed Henry and then John Machin. Mill is now owned and managed by Ralph Blenkin son of Fay Machin.
Machin’s Mill have had their ups and downs with depression 1929, difficulty obtaining workers from 1939 during wartime, and loss of business when BHP closed. The Mill is a hardwood mill which with the advent of pine and steel house frames has meant a change in production to planed and kiln dried flooring timber.
Trees for milling are sometimes hard to get with changes in attitude to Forest preservation but are more readily available now. Regrowth Forests by the Department of Forestry assisting in availability. Many changes in work practices in the industry with occupational health and safety making work much safer. Much time now spent training mill hands. Mechanisation of work practices brought about many changes to number of workers required to do a job. A couple of fires have not helped maintain production. The Mill has now 18 employees. Many workers following footsteps of their parents.
Ralph mentioned that John Machin had been involved in establishing Valley Industries. Ralph was thanked by Max Carey who had worked with John Blenkin, Ralph’s father in 1950’s in Moore’s Manning River pharmacy as a pharmacist. John later moved to his own Pharmacy in Sawtell where Ralph was raised.