News / Business / 2nd June 2021
Baradine sawmill to reopen
A family of sawmillers is breathing new life into a local sawmill, with an estimated 25 jobs up for grabs in the future.
The news comes three years after the Baradine sawmill suddenly shut down, putting more than 17 locals out of work.
New owners, Grants Sawmilling is a family business, with two other well-established sawmilling sites in Narrandera and Condobolin, specialising in Australian cypress products.
Company director, Richard Grant spoke with passion and enthusiasm about the future of the Australian Cypress industry and the benefits of reviving sawmilling operations Baradine.
“There is no doubt about the increasing need for Australian cypress,” Mr Grant said.
“I am totally confident in the future of the Australian Cypress industry and where it is heading. The demand from the domestic market is particularly good and growing.
“Some years ago the popularity of this timber went into decline, but now people are rediscovering its excellent properties of durability and natural termite resistance. This timber is a local hero and we are pushing it hard.”
Mr Grant said he expects the sawmill to employ around 25 local people by the end of 2021, including some former employees of the Baradine Sawmill - some of whom haven’t had work since themillshutdownin2018.
“Our preference is to employ local people wherever possible and over time establish a solid workforce,” Mr Grant added.
“We will be harvesting Australian Cypress directly from the Pilliga State Forest and have negotiated our own wood agreement and quotas with the Forest Corporation.
“Now that we have purchased the vacant sawmill, we are in the process of reconditioning and refurbishing it. The sawmill has a lot going for it, but it needs modernising and upgrading.
“Once operational, 100 per cent of product will be used by converting the timber to sawn products; there will be zero waste. Some of the product may be taken in the first instance to be kiln dried in Narrandera, but that might even happen in Baradine in the future.
“Our intention is to operate at capacity; we aim to be up and running by mid-July. I believe that this business has the potential to generate 50 plus workers in the future through the multiplier effect.
“Grants Sawmilling started in 1965 and over time we have established a good reputation and an excellent customer base. Down the track we will look at opportunities for youth employment and training - we plan to grow and grow. We want the Baradine sawmill to be a good place to work with the focus on providing jobs for local people.
“It gives me great personal pleasure to come to Baradine and do something good for the community; this is a positive outcome and I am very happy to be part of it. However, I must say that this sawmill really belongs to Chippy Daniels and the people of Baradine and I am here to support them.
“We are confident that we will restore the Baradine sawmill as a successful, stable, long- term employer and operator.”
Paul ‘Chippy’ Daniels worked for the former Baradine Sawmill for 11 years, but when it closed in 2018 he was forced to leave Baradine to work at the mines in Gunnedah.
Chippy said he is delighted to be employed once again as the sawmill manager doing the work he loves.
“I have been in sawmilling for 34 years, I started at 16 years old when I left school,” Chippy said.
“I am pretty excited to be back working and living in Baradine.
“Grants Sawmilling is making a point of tracking down former crew members and offering them jobs. These are men who don’t need training, they already have a wealth of knowledge.”
Another former Baradine mill worker, Paul Leonard, agrees.
“It was great to be offered the opportunity to return to work at the Baradine sawmill; the offer came along at just the right time for me,” Paul said.
“There is nothing like working in your home town alongside a crew that you know.”