Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 16, June 1972


It is likely that the first sawn timber for Paeroa homes was brought by boat from further down the river where mills were operating. As early as 1865 the Hauraki Sawmill Coy. acquired an interest in the large forest at Turua and in 1877 leased its mill and bush to Messrs Bagnall Bros. who later became the owners and carried on a very large business.

My father John Adamson, worked in the bush at Turua where my brother Fred was born in 1875. Our family later moved to Thames where father worked in a Sawmill but in 1883, two years after I was born, we moved to Paeroa to live on Mill Road where he worked at Gibbons Sawmill. Mr. R.P. Gibbons also had a timber yard between Princes Street and the Ohinemuri River and the loss of timber in time of flood was high. Later he operated a very large mill at Kopu for many years. (Mr. Gibbons married Miss Cis Pennell, a daughter of Mr. Ralph Pennell of Rahu Road, Mackaytown.) Ed.

A previous article by Mrs. Poland (Journal 14) [see Journal 15: Old Junction Road - E] referred to an early Timber Mill on Junction Road. This was owned by Mr. Win. Forrest, a much travelled and outstanding pioneer who came here in 1896 and took a great interest in the welfare of Paeroa. (He was a J.P. and district Coroner and built a large house (since burned) on Puke Road for his family of 3 daughters and 2 sons. Susie taught at Paeroa School early in the century and Jessie married the late Robert Lowry both being well known in the district, as is their daughter Mrs. Phil McWatters. Jack married into the Silcock family and after supervising construction schemes was for a time Inspector of Works for the Borough Council when Sewerage was first installed. Later he installed bowser pumps all over the district. He had two daughters and two sons, one being Mr. W. Forrest of Paeroa College).

In 1893 Mr. James McAndrew came to live in Paeroa and built a 2 Storey house on Puke Road. (His father had been a Timber Merchant in Scotland and this son established a similar business in Thames in 1867, becoming Mayor there in 1889.) He had a large Timber Yard in Frances Street, Paeroa, and specialised in joinery.

Note in Gazette 16-3-1898 - "Last week 17,000 ft. of timber (Kauri and Kahikatea) was landed at Mr. J. McAndrew's timber yard on the Esplanade, brought from Turua and Shortland Sawmills". (No "Stopbank" then).

Early in the century Fred Le Manquais came from Thames to take the position of Foreman at McAndrew's Mill. About 1908 he opened a smaller one of his own on the site of the T.V. Dairy Coy. in Railway Street, taking Gordon Lamb of Thames as his partner. The firm became known as Le Manquais Lamb & Co. and it prospered. Mr. Mettam was foreman and the Staff gradually increased to 25. In 1918 McAndrew's Mill closed and "Le Manquais & Lamb" bought the superior premises but installed their own newer plant. Mr. Lamb built his home in Cullen Street and married Miss Menzies who has been a widow for many years. She now lives in Auckland with her sister Miss Vera Menzies. (At first Mr. Le Manquais lived in the cottage which still stands between the Mill site, and that of the glazing department - now occupied by "Southern Cross Minerals". STAFF: Mr. Vic Sherson joined as a junior in 1915 and remained for 36 years. The mill closed in 1951.

The first lady member - Miss Elsie Lewis from 1919 was the highly esteemed Secretary. Other employees were: Mr. Martin, Engineer & Mr. Pascoe.