Monday, February 1, 2016

Old pulp mill site at Port Huon

Just before you reach Geeveston, heading south on the Huon Highway, there is a left turn down a road that for the first few years that we lived here, was blocked by a barbed wire gate. We wondered what was down there. Then a short 1960s era promotional (propaganda?) film shown one night before the monthly Classic Movie in the Franklin Palais explained it all... the site used to be a pulp mill run by Australian Paper Manufacturers (APM) and a deep water port used to ship wood pulp to Sydney. Built in 1962, at its peak the mill employed 170 people, but it was never a financial success and it finally closed for good in 1991. See this paper by Huon Valley local John Young for more information.

Recently, we noticed that the gate has been open, and on a Saturday pilgrimage to Geeveston for sushi from Masaaki a couple of weeks ago, we drove in for a look. There is stuff piled around everywhere. By 'stuff', I mean huge chains, cement anchors, fishing nets and ropes, vats, pipes, platforms... just random aquaculture and other industrial bits and pieces. But the quantity of it just lying around is quite amazing. Plus a large abandoned building. The site is currently used by local firm Mitchell Plastic Welding.

Also on the site are remains of the Kermandie Experimental Pulp and Paper Mill that operated from 1927-30. Last year, the Geeveston Archives and History Society opened the site to the public. There is a very informative sign explaining what used to be there and tours can be arranged.

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