Nerang Central Sugar Mill


Petan
 

I have just added an historical research document on the Nerang Central Sugar Mill to the LRRSA SE QLD Northern rivers NSW folder. This is in MS Word format. The following list of available downloadable documents on the Nerang Central Sugar mill is also in that folder. It will be updated as required.

Cheers
Peter Cokley

Nerang Central Sugar Mill Downloads

Peter Cokley 2013 www something petan missing net

Nerang Central Sugar Mill tramway drawn on 1966 topographical map http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/BenowaTramwayredrawn1966_zps19431e6f.jpg

Nerang Central Sugar Mill tramway drawn on 1900s cadastral map http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/NCSM-cadastral0001-mill_zps5dd67a6a.jpg

Sugar growing area was along the river flats both sides of the river http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Benowa-Sugarareas_zpsf1608269.jpg

Sugar Mill area track site plan http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/SugarMilltracksiteplan_zps65aa7ae4.jpg

Benowa Sugar mill site colour 1970 aerial http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Bundall-1970-aerial-colour_zpsc6ea7fb5.jpg

Nerang Central Sugar Mill 1915 http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Nerang-Central-Mill-1915_zpsb8b6c4b6.jpg

Carrara Ferry site 1970 showing part of the former sugar growing area http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Carrara-Ferry-site-1970_zps29c5fd1e.jpg

Isle of Capri c1960 showing former sugar growing area http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Isle-of-Capri-c1960_zps2cd03cbd.jpg

Carrara Ferry 1897 with tram tracks on either side of river and also on deck of ferry for the cane trucks.
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Ferry-with-cane-tracks-1897_zpsc6dff459.jpg

Benowa Estate sale 1922 http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Benowa-sale-1922_zps1042f71f.jpg

Benowa Estate sale Monday 17th October 1887. Robert Muir and his eldest son Peter, of Benowa, drowned in flood waters near Yatala on Monday 24 January 1887 http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Benowa-Estate-sale1887_zpsf5eea0e5.jpg

Benowa Southport high altitude aerial-1944 showing area from Benowa to Labrador http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Benowa-aerial-1944_zpsc6d8073d.jpg

Carrara ferry site north bank from south bank 2013.jpg http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Carraraferry-North-2013_zpsbdb91060.jpg

Carrara Ferry site south bank 2013 http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Carrara-Ferry-south-2013_zpsd714e227.jpg

Merrimac Carrara Worongary cadastral map 1924 http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Merrimac-Carrara1924_zpsd0d28c07.jpg

Merrimac Estate 1929 showing transport links Worongary Merrimac Carrara Benowa and Bundall [748 KB] http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/Merrimac-Estate-1929-Label_zpsf110960a.jpg


Petan
 

This a test to see if all the 1564 words in this research document will fit onto a Yahoo group post. The image link is in the files section as previously noted.

Nerang Central Sugar Mill [Benowa QLD]

Peter Cokley 2013 www something petan missing net

The Nerang Central Sugar Mill was supplied by sugar farmers along both sides of the lower reaches of the Nerang River. By 1910 sugar from other area such as Helensvale and Stapylton was transferred from Queensland Rail wagons to the mill's tramway at Molendinar Station.
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/BenowaTramwayredrawn1966_zps19431e6f.jpg

The mill itself was located near the present day Marbella Drive, Benowa, which is south of Ashmore Road and west of Benowa Road. The Nerang Central Sugar Mill Paddock extended from Benowa Road to Rosser Park which is now the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, with the mill on the western end of the paddock. The Nerang Central Sugar Mill closed at the end of the 1917 season. [Browning 2010 P.18] [Armstrong P.88/90]

The Nerang Central Sugar Mill operated a 2 foot / 610 mm gauge steam locomotive powered sugar tramway which eventually extended from the western end at Molendinar Railway station to the eastern end along the Nerang River near the present day area of Isle of Capri. [Arundell P.56] [Webber P.114 and map P.87] [Armstrong P.88/90]
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/NCSM-cadastral0001-mill_zps5dd67a6a.jpg

The 0-4-0T tank steam locomotive was Hunslet locomotive B/N 1199 of 1915 built new for the Nerang Central Sugar Mill. Following the closure of the Benowa Mill at the end of the 1917 season, it was sent to Proserpine Mill and then to Gin Gin Mill in 1919. In 1924 it returned to the Nerang River area for the tramway involved in the road building between Main Beach and Burleigh Head. The locomotive was later used on the Proserpine Mill as #7 and scrapped in 1956 [McKillop (et al) P.277]. [Australian Sugar Journal 8/11/1917 quoted in Browning 2010 P.18]

Details of the Benowa Hunslet locomotive, including a technical drawing, can be in found in John Browning's "The Southport-Burleigh road construction tramway", in Light Railways, journal of The Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc., issue 213 June 2010. This is available for purchase as a downloadable PDF from http://www.lrrsa.org.au/index.html

The tramway was horse powered before the arrival of the steam locomotive with a horse shown in the c1897 image of a tramway cane wagon on the Carrara Ferry. That also shows a tramway system, at least horse powered, existed on the south side of the Nerang River. Further research is required to indicate if the southside used permanent or temporary tramway tracks. That c1897 image also shows the Carrara Ferry was human powered.

The mill wharf was located slightly upstream of the Carrara Ferry. The mill wharf was used to load processed sugar for transport to Brisbane on boats such as the "Maid of Sker" and farmers' suppliers from Brisbane were unloaded at the wharf on return. That side paddle steam boat is now preserved in a park beside the river at Nerang.

The Carrara Ferry, which closes in 1949, was at the river end of Benowa Road and was part of a major traffic route linking Southport, Benowa, Carrara, Merrimac and Mudgeeraba through the central areas of the South Coast. The route was sometimes known as "The Carrara Road". The present day site of the former southern terminal of the Carrara Ferry is now the Carrara Road boat ramp. This is in a major residential area, as is the northern side of the former ferry site. We recently did a site inspection of the Carrara Ferry's southern side, with views across to the northern side. No historical relics were seen as we walked around the southern site. [Armstrong P.93]

I traced the tramway route from the 1900s cadastral map onto the 1966 topographical map which I created by the merge of the relevant portions of the 1966 Burleigh and Southport survey maps.

The Nerang Southport Rd on the 1966 topographical around QR's Molendinar Railway Station dates from 1950 when the level crossing on the northern end of the station was replaced by the road over rail bridge just to the south of the station. The changes are shown pencilled in on the QGR Working Plan and Section [WPS] SCL B-N&S s14 Molendinar https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0ByB-ppGeDyvwdFhWUmlkdUhyVE0/edit?pli=1&docId=0ByB-ppGeDyvwOVhrc3JQdG82U28

The WPS also shows the QGR line from the Nerang River climbed at 1/50 so the tramway climb to the transfer facility at Molendinar Railway Station could be expected to not be steeper than that. The load uphill would be empties.

The Nerang Central Sugar Mill site was previously occupied by Robert Muir's sugar mill. Robert Muir and his eldest son Peter drowned in flood waters near Yatala on Monday 24 January 1887 [The Queenslander, Brisbane, 29 January 1887 P.167] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/19922369 [Armstrong P.88/90]
The administrators of the estate of Robert Muir advertised the sale of the Benowa Estate and Plantation in The Queenslander newspaper, Saturday 24 September 1887 Page 504 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/2255421?zoomLevel=1 The auction was at the Benowa Estate And Plantation Monday 17th October 1887. In that era the area east of the mill was termed "Township of Muirlands" as noted on the sale brochure.

Following the closure of the Nerang Central Sugar Mill, sections of the Benowa Estate were subdivided with the sale at the Southport School of Arts, Southport on Saturday, October 21, 1922. This was advertised in The Brisbane Courier Saturday 12 August 1922 P.10 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/20564843

The 1922 sale literature noted the land was to be subdivided in 23 dairying and agricultural farms from 10 to 95 acres with the estate situated 3 miles from Southport, 3 miles from Nerang Railway Station and Nestle's condenser and 2 miles from Merrimac Cheese Factory. The land was noted as consisting mostly of rich alluvial river flats and well grassed ridges and was said to be eminently suitable for dairying and the growing of Lucerne or any crops.

The 1922 sale map shows two crown land easements of interest to this discussion. The first is the approximate route of the line to the mill wharf and the second is a close match to the cane truck holding area.

Further research is required on the matter on any other river crossings between Carrara Ferry and Meyers Ferry, either publically or privately owned. Meyers Ferry was at present day Surfers Paradises. Press reports note the existence of a Rushton's bridge as well as a Ruston Jetty or Landing place between Carrara Ferry to Meyer's. That shows the location of Ruston was well enough known at that time that the newspaper did not need to explain its location. The bridge would be across a minor water course not the river, as the existence of a cross river bridge would have been well recorded in historical literature.

Cost of building and operating a private commercial ferry is unknown. Photographic evidence shows the 1897 Carrara Ferry was manually operated with a single cable, so any other ferry across the river could have been of a similar style. I also suspect any additional cross river ferry would have been recorded in Gold Coast historical documents. But, a river crossing around the present day Bundall Road would certainly have been convenient, especially considering the travel times of horse drawn transport.

I have some thoughts on the financial aspects of the mill's operation and its closure in 1917. The mill was government controlled as mortgagee in possession from 1904 following the farmers' cooperative having financial difficulties. Photographic evidence shows the Nerang Central Sugar Mill was of a reasonable size which indicates the initial capital cost would have been high. The 1915 steam locomotive purchase and associated track upgrade, along with World War One, would have imposed considerable financial strains on both the farmers as well as the government as mortgagee.

The climate would not have been the main cause of the closure as several other sugar mills in a similar river and climate arrangement survive. These include the Rocky Point Sugar Mill as well as the NSW mills down to the Clarence River Valley. Aerial images from the 1960s show only low level residential development along the Nerang River flats, although the area was starting to be developed in that era and the mill would have been forced to close.

The Nerang Central Sugar Mill may have had a short life but it certainly helped the economic development of the lower reaches of the Nerang River.

Bibliography;
Armstrong, E. I. "Benowa as it was" Self-Published, Grenfell, N.S.W., [1996?]

Arundell, Alan "The South Coast railway", Water Street Productions, Brisbane, 2011 http://railshop.com.au/prod78.htm

Australian Sugar Journal 8/11/1917. quoted in; Browning, John, "The Southport-Burleigh road construction tramway", in Light Railways, journal of Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc., 213 June 2010. John has also supplied personal support and cartographic material.

Local Studies Library, Gold Coast City Council

McKillop, Robert F, "Hunslet Locomotives in Australia", Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin December 1982 (Vol 33 No. 542). Ellis, RF, Browning, J, Henderson. WW, Pearman, RJ, Neve, P

Webber, Brian "Exploring Queensland's Railways - South from Brisbane", ARHS [Q] 2007 http://www.railshop.com.au/prod15.htm

Rushton notes; [A] On September 4 1912 the Southport Shire Council discussed the cost of effecting repairs to the Esplanade road and attend to Rushton's bridge. [The Brisbane Courier 6 September 1912 P.3] http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/19831569

[B] The breaking-up picnic of the Benowa State School took the form of a river picnic from Carrara Ferry to Meyer's, a distance of about eight miles. The trip down the river included a call at Rushton to pick up a party. The Brisbane Courier Thursday 16 December 1915 P.9 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/20078836


John Browning
 

Thanks Peter

 

Thanks for this impressive piece of work – hopefully it may become an article in ‘Light Railways’ in due time.

 

The failure to put through sufficient cane was the difficulty that led to the closure of Nerang Mill and a huge loss to the taxpayer.

 

There were four mills under direct Queensland Government control in 1910 (because they were in severe financial straits) and this is what they crushed.

 

CANE CRUSHED 1910 (tons)

Nerang

9636

Bauple

35000

Gin Gin

56084

Proserpine

52926

 

1910 was a relatively good year for Nerang according to the few figures I have collected, and the performance was officially described as ‘promising’.

 

Even through the mill’s crushing capacity was at least 20,000 tons, this did not make it large in relation to mills north of Brisbane. However, it was by far the biggest of the south coast mills which included the small privately owned Eagleby, Alberton, The Junction, Rocky Point & Steiglitz mills, all in the Beenleigh area and operated by German settlers. None of these was in a position to receive cane by tramway or QR at this stage.

By contrast, cane was consigned to Nerang via QR from Stapylton, Ormeau and Pimpama.

 

Most farmers up and down the Nerang River and along the South Coast railway must have had better uses for their land than to grow sugar cane on it.

 

     John

 

 

 


Petan
 

Hi John and group,

thanks for your kind words but don't rush off and print my work just yet as this arvo I found "Rushton Ferry" mentioned in a book in reference to a ferry that was used to transport cane across the Nerang River. It will take a while for me to analyse this afternoon's gleamings and will write more in a few days time.

Cheers
Peter Cokley

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "John Browning" <ceo8@...> wrote:
Thanks Peter>
Thanks for this impressive piece of work - hopefully it may become an article in 'Light Railways' in due time.
John


Petan
 

No relics found so far on the Benowa sugar mill tramway, having checked east towards Isle of Capri, the Carrara Ferry site both sides of the river and west towards the Molendinar Railway exchange siding area.

Checked again without any success the sugar tramway route through the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens again this arvo after a family picnic. The Nerang Central Sugar Mill Paddock extended from Benowa Road to Rosser Park which is now the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, with the mill on the western end of the mill paddock .

Cheers
Peter Cokley


Petan
 

The following text, image and downloadable audio from the local ABC Gold Coast radio about the Maid of Sker side paddle wheeler may interest some as this was one of the ships that carried processed sugar from Benowa to Brisbane for the Nerang Central Sugar Mill. Also served sugar mills along the other South Coast rivers.

Maid of Sker - The last of the fleet http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2013/04/16/3737928.htm?site=goldcoast

By Candice Marshall (ABC Gold Coast Cross Media Reporter)
Hunting heritage histories: Gold Coast heritage sites explored.
Similar South Coast histories http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/01/18/3672201.htm

Cheers
Peter Cokley


Petan
 

I am placing this on several groups in the hope something will be discovered.

Ever heard of the Rushton Ferry which transported sugar cane across the Nerang River, Gold Coast QLD, downstream of the Carrara public vehicle ferry at Benowa Rd and upstream of Meyers Ferry at Cavill Ave? Read about it here [downloadable] https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByB-ppGeDyvwMHNtT0VwWExxcEk/edit

A group of historians, some of whom are members of this yahoogroup, are attempting to discover data about the Rushton Ferry and the associated local history. The Carrara Ferry also had sugar tramway tracks so both in use in the sugar season. The two ferries, Rushton and Carrara, are mentioned in the scan I have attached which is from "When Sugar Cane Grew On The Banks Of The Nerang River" by Pat Fisher, in "Talk About Town" September 1993, page 7. The Rushton cane ferry must have been far enough downstream of the Carrara Ferry to make the Rushton Ferry worthwhile, otherwise cane would have used the Carrara one only. Heavy maintenance for the Rushton ferry was paid by the Nerang Central Sugar Mill in the 1915-16 financial year. That also tells us the Rushton Ferry was most likely mill property and thus probably disposed of along with the other mill equipment after the 1918 closure. The Carrara ferry finished c1952. Any extra data on the Rushton or any other similar local knowledge gratefully received, please???

Any data on the tramway on the southside of the Nerang River is also needed, please?

Thanks
Peter Cokley


Petan
 

I need some help with mapping legends from early last century, please, as
shown on this map?
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/NCSM-cadastral0001
-mill_zps5dd67a6a.jpg

Towards the bottom of that map is the Carrara Ferry and under that the
Carrara School. The main road next to the Carrara School has a line across
that is bent in opposite directions at each end. Can anyone explain that
symbol please? There is a similar symbol on the tramway under the sugar mill
and another on Benowa Rd north of the mill near the number 44? It appears on
many other places on that map as well as similar maps of that era.

Thanks
Peter Cokley


Mike Bickford <mikebickford@...>
 

Hi Peter C,

Those symbols are used to indicate the land on either side of the road corridor form a single lot
For instance the example you gave of the number 44 near Benowa Road - this refers to a Lot 44 which is bisected by Benowa Road.

cheers,
Mike Bickford
Murrumburrah-Harden
NSW
Australia

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter C" <yahoomail@petan.net>
To: <LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au>
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:48 PM
Subject: RE: [LRRSA] Re: Nerang Central Sugar Mill


I need some help with mapping legends from early last century, please, as
shown on this map?
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/NCSM-cadastral0001
-mill_zps5dd67a6a.jpg

Towards the bottom of that map is the Carrara Ferry and under that the
Carrara School. The main road next to the Carrara School has a line across
that is bent in opposite directions at each end. Can anyone explain that
symbol please? There is a similar symbol on the tramway under the sugar mill
and another on Benowa Rd north of the mill near the number 44? It appears on
many other places on that map as well as similar maps of that era.

Thanks
Peter Cokley



------------------------------------

Material posted on this group may be adapted by the editors of LRRSA publications for use in those publications, including Light Railways and the LRRSA web-site www.lrrsa.org.au

This group is for members who share common interests with the members of the LRRSA, but the contents of postings are those of their authors and opinions expressed do not necessarily conform with those of any LRRSA member nor of the LRRSA Council of Management"
Yahoo!7 Groups Links



Petan
 

Thanks Mike as your explanation allows me to solve a few other puzzles on
those maps!!!

Cheers
Peter Cokley

-----Original Message-----
From: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au [mailto:LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au] On Behalf
Of Mike Bickford
Sent: Thursday, 25 April 2013 5:05 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: Re: [LRRSA] Re: Nerang Central Sugar Mill

Hi Peter C,

Those symbols are used to indicate the land on either side of the road
corridor form a single lot For instance the example you gave of the number
44 near Benowa Road - this refers to a Lot 44 which is bisected by Benowa
Road.

cheers,
Mike Bickford
Murrumburrah-Harden
NSW
Australia

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter C" <yahoomail@petan.net>
To: <LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au>
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:48 PM
Subject: RE: [LRRSA] Re: Nerang Central Sugar Mill

I need some help with mapping legends from early last century, please, as
shown on this map?
http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tramways/NCSM-cadastral0001
-mill_zps5dd67a6a.jpg

Towards the bottom of that map is the Carrara Ferry and under that the
Carrara School. The main road next to the Carrara School has a line across
that is bent in opposite directions at each end. Can anyone explain that
symbol please? There is a similar symbol on the tramway under the sugar
mill> and another on Benowa Rd north of the mill near the number 44? It
appears
on > many other places on that map as well as similar maps of that era.
Thanks
Peter Cokley