Story: Logging native forests

Milling a kauri log

Milling a kauri log

This scene inside a sawmill around 1900 shows the first stage of milling a kauri log. ‘Breaking down’, as it was called, was the process of cutting the log into pieces, from which different grades of timber could be obtained. The man in the foreground is turning a wheel that moves the bench on which the log lies backwards and forwards. At the same time, the circular saws above and below cut the log into slabs or ‘flitches’. The other man is steadying the log and pulling the sawn slabs to one side. Probably for the purposes of the photo, a timber jack has been propped against one end of the log.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Sydney Charles Smith Collection (PA-Group-00242)
Reference: 1/1-024890; G
Photograph by Sydney Charles Smith

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Logging native forests - Logging and sawmilling, 1840–1920', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 January 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007