Nindaroo Sugar Mill

1883 - 1901

Nindaroo Mill circa 1883.
 (picture courtesy of John Oxley Library, Brandon Collection no. 6298-0001-0057r. )

Nindaroo was owned by the Paget brothers.  The earliest land selection was made by the oldest brother John Gray Paget who was drowned at Devils Elbow in the Pioneer River in 1876. Walter Trueman Paget was the principal partner.  It was just north of The Cedars.  The first cane was planted there about 1871.  It was crushed by either The Cedars or Inverness.  Vegetables were also grown commercially, and timber, mainly cedar, was another source of income.  Tobacco growing was also tried in the early 1870's.  

The mill was built in 1883 with a single set of 5 foot 6 inch rollers and the first crushing took place on 18th August of that year. 

 Nindaroo made good quality "yellow" sugar.  Accidents were not uncommon in all the early mills and Thomas Robertson was killed by an explosion in the triple effet.  In November 1887 a faulty boiler exploded, killing two Islanders, Tavee and Dowla, and severely injuring a third.  In 1887 they also installed a second mill duplicating another set of 5 foot 6 inch rollers.

By 1889 the Nindaroo estate consisted of 1,410 acres of freehold land, of which 700 acres were under cane, 45 under maize, 23 under sweet potatoes and 2 acres of sorghum.  Black Tanna cane was the main variety grown on the hillsides. 

By 1894 the mill was capable of producing 4,000 tons of sugar a year. The mill was housed in a single building that covered 220 feet by 132 feet. There were two 6 ton vacuum pans.  Water was cooled in a Cuban water tower measuring 40 foot by 30 foot and 30 ft high.  10,000 gallons of water an hour passed through the five tiers of brush filters.

The A.J.S. bank closed Nindaroo after 1900 crushing.  W.T. Paget went on to be elected to the Queensland Parliament in 1901 and remained a member for 14 years.

Location of the Paget's Nindaroo plantation from a 1908 Bassett Parish map.  The road passing through the centre of the plantation is the present Mackay-Habana Road.  The mill was apparently located to the North of this road somewhere near the banks of Paget Creek.  The Nindaroo school has long since disappeared.

References -

Kerr, John. (1988). A Century of Sugar. Mackay, QLD:  Mackay Sugar Co-operative Association Limited. p.
58, 86, 87.

Kerr, John. (1980).  Pioneer Pageant. Mackay, QLD: Pioneer Shire Council. p. 78, 79, 85, 129, 130, 140,141.

Manning, K.W. (1983). In Their Own Hands. Farleigh, QLD: Farleigh Co-op Milling Association Ltd. p. 57, 71, 106, 124, 132, 141, 142-146, 273.

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Glen Hall

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created 28 October 2003.
last updated 18 July 2017 .
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