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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 4

I Management Of Native Forests

II Plantations-high Productivity Resources

III Protecting The Resource

IV Harvesting The Resource

V Solid Wood And Its Processing

VI Minor Forest Products

VII Reconstituted Wood Products

VIII Pulp And Paper
i Early eucalypt pulping research and development
ii Eucalypt pulp production begins
iii Early commercial operation
iv The beginnings of pulp production from plantation pine
v Technological development and economic growth
vi 1975 and beyond

IX Export Woodchips

X Future Directions

XI Acknowledgements



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Pulp And Paper

Paper manufacture in Australia began in 1818, when a mill was established on a stream close to Sydney. Little is known about this, except that some of the product was used in an issue of the Sydney Gazette in 1820. By 1834 the mill was abandoned. Probably encouraged by the expansion of the economy after the discovery of gold, paper manufacture was again taken up in 1868, when new mills were started at Liverpool, NSW and on the Yarra River at South Melbourne. These were based on machines which formed the sheet on an endless wire (either as a belt or as a cylinder) enabling a continuous web to be made, a major technological advance originating in Europe in the early 1800s and offering many advantages over the traditional hand-made method which produced only one sheet at a time. Both mills made a range of products, including newsprint, and used rags, straw and wastepaper as raw materials. By 1890 two more Victorian mills were established independently, at Fyansford on the Bar-won River near Geelong and at Broadford. In 1896 the South Melbourne, Fyansford and Broadford mills, with a total production of 730 tonne/yr, were combined to form the Australian Paper Mills Co. Pty. Ltd., the forerunner of APM, the pulp and paper division of Amcor Ltd.. Imported wood pulp was first used in Australia at Fyansford in 1900.

New paper and paperboard mills came into operation at Botany, NSW in 1902, at Abbotsford, Vic. in 1911 and at Lane Cove, NSW in 1913. Also in 1913 Australia's first pulp mill -albeit a small one -was established at Yarraman in Queensland to make kraft pulp from hoop and bunya pine logging waste and sawmill offcuts. This was used in paper manufacture at Botany, NSW but the operation appears to have been sporadic and unprofitable and the mill closed in 1919.

After the First World War there was further development in paper and paperboard manufacture and consolidation of ownership until by the late 1930s, the industry had been concentrated into three mills -Botany, NSW and Fairfield and Broadford in Victoria -all owned by Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. Most papers and paper-boards were made except newsprint. Raw material was now mainly imported softwood pulp from Scandinavia and North America and local wastepaper. There was little in the way of original innovation, the machines and processes used being those well proven in the UK or North America and in many cases experienced operating staff were imported along with these. Before the 1930s closed, however, this rather comfortable transported technology was to be given a jolt of long-lasting effect by the introduction of a new and rather unusual raw material -short-fibred wood pulp made from the indigenous eucalypts.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Amcor Ltd; Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd (A.P.M.); Australian Paper Mills Co. Pty Ltd

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 232 - 233, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher