© Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds
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Timber, Veneer and Plywood 1901 - 1969
First Rotary Lathe in Brisbane
By 1915 Mac had set up business in a timber yard in Stanley Street, South Brisbane opposite the Post Office and employed labourers to help him begin his plywood production. As it was now impossible to import a lathe from America, as Sturrock had done, Mac designed and constructed the first Australian made lathe to cut rotary veneers. Using Queensland Hoop Pine he produced three-sixteenths of an inch 3-ply in sheets 6 feet long by 3 feet wide from the cut veneers. Thus he became the first manufacturer of plywood in Queensland. [2]  Initially Mac traded as J. M. Williams & Co. and soon he was manufacturing 10,000 feet of three-ply weekly and selling it at 14 shillings per 100 feet. J. M. Williams & Co. had the monopoly on manufactured plywood in Queensland. Several months after establishing his Stanley Street mill, Mac advertised it for sale for £600. The business was making profits of £20 to £25 weekly. By early 1917 there was still no business competition in Queensland for a three ply wood and veneer industry.
Three-ply wood mills in Annie Street, Woolloongabba c. 1917 Photo from Williams Collection
Mac’s 1916 notebook outlining his projected expenses. Williams collection.
Moulding a new career First rotary lathe in Brisbane Woolloongabba Mills Glue and logs from the country Expansion after The Great War Mac's men at the mills Largest plywood mill in Australia Timber resources The Great Depression Queensland Veneer Company World War II Retirement References