Thomas Griffiths, a Queensland woodworker, John Wade

Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022
Article from Vol 44 no 3, Aug 2022

Thomas Griffiths, a Queensland woodworker, John Wade


Thomas Griffiths (1856–1943), a Welsh blacksmith and wheelwright, emigrated to Queensland to start a new life as a ‘skilled migrant’, at first clinging to his old profession in the Ipswich area. When the Queensland railway network was expanding, he saw a new business opportunity and opened a sawmill at Wyandra to supply wooden sleepers to lay the tracks from Charleville to Cunnamulla, then became a contractor, and in 1899 built a new sawmill in Cairns. He overcame insolvency in 1909 when Cairns Timber Limited acquired the premises, machinery, plant and other assets of his sawmill. Thomas and his sons remained associated with the mill; when he and his wife left Cairns in 1912 for a ten-month, round-the-world trip, 80 sawmill employees presented the couple with a purse of sovereigns and an address.

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