Farmers and Graziers Wool Store at Goulburn
Recently, we acquired a rare and magnificent batch of timber that’s simply beautiful. Adding to its’ splendor is the story behind its origins, a story which couldn’t be more Australian! The timber was retrieved from the old Farmers and Grazier’s Woolstore at Goulburn that was once Australia’s largest inland wool store. The timbers next existence is going to be that of a table where with any luck it can share its new life with an Australian family.
The first sheep arrived into Australia aboard the First Fleet in 1788 and in 1807 Captain Macarthur exported the first barrels of wool from our shores. Within 4 decades Australia had become the largest producer of wool in the world. The industrialisation of the USA and leading European nations ensued demand for Australian wool.
In the winter of 1828 a gentleman named William Faithful settled on the Goulburn plains to establish a farm named Springfield. Goulburn, on the edge of the settled plains, quickly became recognised for its’ ultimate grazing land, revealing lush grassland and a mild climate – ideal for growing sheep and producing high quality fleece. The district fast became known for its thriving wool industry, employing scores of people.
With a flourishing wool trade and the outbreak of war, the Government declared Goulburn as a Wool Appraisal Centre and the volume of wool handled increased in great volume. It soon became apparent that a new Wool Store was required.
Constructed on land once stood upon by the explorer Captain W. N. Wovell, the new Wool Store, “a modern three – story building” was designed by Stuart Brothers, architects from Camperdown built by a local contractor named Mr. J. Flood.
Due to wartime, many building materials were in short supply. Bricks for the 3- story structure was supplied by Bowral Bricks. Timber was supplied from the farms of a great number of farmers and graziers in the surrounding district, and in an attempt to interfere as little as possible with the war effort, logs were cut on these properties and then bought to Goulburn to be sawn at a mill that was constructed especially for this development. Old car dumps were scoured for spare parts for machinery to be used at the new Mill that also supplied timber to the American Army. Ironbark logs were hauled from Rugby, Reid’s Flat, Roache, Biggs, Tarago Oallen, Windellama, Marulan, Bungonia and the slopes of the Shoalhaven. Farmers hauled in trees every market day and in a very short period of time, the mill had produced a great deal of Eucalyptus timber, predominantly species such as Box, Ironbark and Redgum. The new Mill produced an estimated 100,000 “super feet” of timber a month.
Once cut to size these huge sections of timber were heaved into position forming the “lofty saw tooth roof” and the integral support and structural beams of the new Wool Store. Extremely large, long lengths of timber were milled to form ceiling joists and floor joists, whilst smaller lengths were used as acres of flooring.
Costing £40,000.00 and 8 months to build, the Farmer’s and Grazier’s Wool Store was officially opened by the Minister for Finance, Mr. W.J. Scully on the 1st of October 1943. It contained offices, showrooms and storage facilities for 30,000 bales of wool to enable the company to handle 60,000 to 70,000 bales per season. There was 7 1/2 acres of floor space available in this store!
Decline in demand for wool by the world market and drought bought about the closure of the building and after 70 odd years of existence and being ravaged by fire and floods, the Farmer’s and Grazier’s Wool Store was demolished to make way for a shopping redevelopment including a Safeway Supermarket.