© Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds
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Timber, Veneer and Plywood 1901 - 1969
The Great Depression - 1929
Towards the end of the decade the economy declined and Australia was affected by an unequalled financial event. The Wall Street Crash in October 1929 was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States of America. The Great Depression followed, affecting most of the world’s commerce and population. It had turned out to be the wrong time when Mac established yet another business, Queensland Plywood Company in July 1928. At the end of the following year the new enterprise became another casualty of the Depression and the company was dissolved. Severe hardship hit the working class and unemployed. If parents were unable to find work, children were compelled to leave school as young as thirteen years and often became the primary income earners. For adults fortunate enough to remain employed, working hours increased and wages were cut. The timber industry was in a trough of a depression. In 1928 Mac had been selling quality plywood for 14 shillings and 6 pence per 100 feet but in 1930 the same plywood had dropped to 12 shillings.
Ralph Symonds Factory- first factory built on reclaimed land at Homebush Bay. [6]
Selling during hard times In 1931, shipments of walnut logs were sent to America to be produced into veneer. There was an outcry by plywood manufacturers because if the logs had been veneered in Australia it would have meant further employment for so many during the Depression.  In North Queensland large areas were cleared of trees to make way for dairy farms. A forestry officer was compelled to send the logs overseas as it was considered that Australian mills were unable to handle such a large volume of timber. It wasn’t a good time to sell a plywood mill – in fact it wasn’t a good time to sell anything – but Mac tried in early 1931. He advertised the complete plant of the Canadian Plywood Company. “Opportunity to make big money quick” said the advertisement. But it didn’t sell so in February 1932 Mac put the company into voluntary liquidation. Deshon Wood Veneer Mills was still operating in January 1933,  but not for long. Mac was also forced to sell off the property in Charles Street.
A friend in furniture One of Mac’s acquaintances was Ralph Symonds from Sydney who was in the furniture business. Ralph’s business, Standardised Furniture at Marrickville in New South Wales, closed up during the Depression. Mac offered him a job as manager of his veneer mill. Ralph declined the offer but sent his family up to Brisbane instead while he rebuilt his business in Sydney. Ralph was a keen inventor with a great talent for improvisation. One weekend, he presented Mac with plans that he had made up to build an impressive new mill in Sydney. [7] Symonds returned to Sydney and built his large factory at Homebush Bay. Covering over twelve acres (five hectares), this building was the largest single industrial building in the Southern Hemisphere when it was constructed. By 1933 Ralph Symonds had established Panels Pty. Ltd., the main product being sliced veneer faced plywood panels. Ralph Symonds died of accidental drowning in January 1961. [8] 
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