It’s a rare business that continues for ten decades in one family, but Machin’s Sawmill has survived the test of time.


Henry Machin’s and Sons was founded 104 years ago by Henry Machin, who relocated from Dubbo to the Manning after learning of the region’s rich, undeveloped forests.

Henry established the mill in Killabakh (where the concrete foundations for the steam boiler can still be seen), working it until 1918 when it was sold. Henry then went on to establish another mill at Elands while his two sons were away fighting in WWI. When they returned, Henry’s sons, Wilfred and Mervyn, joined the business and the family built kilns for drying flooring – a first for the Mid North Coast timber industry in the 1930’s.


When the depression hit during the late 30’s, the Elands mill was lucky enough to receive a large flooring order from David Jones, keeping it afloat.

The mill became a beacon to the stream of men who arrived looking for work. WWII bought a shortage of labour as the company expanded, becoming a collection of five mills to meet the demands of war. Each mill specialised in providing timber for wartime products, with some supplying timber for ammunition boxes and others cutting coffin boards and rifle butts.


In 1948 the company amalgamated with Duncan’s Holdings, which then became a listed company on the stock exchange.

John Machin joined the company at this time, becoming the third generation of Machin’s at the mill just as the notion of environmental sustainability was born. After this time, sawmills were restricted to removing a set amount from their allocated forests each year to maintain a sustained yield.


The Machins left the group in 1954 but were soon drawn back in to set up their own company after receiving an offer they could not refuse.

They were called into a meeting with the managers of the North Broken Hill mine, who offered them all the work of supplying timber to the mine. They accepted the offer on the spot, and within a week they had purchased a mill at Marlee. They then set about establishing the Wingham mill on its current site.


As the Wingham mill grew busy supplying the mine in the 1970’s, John Machin spent his time exploring and obtaining log supplies from private properties in the Manning region.

It was during this time that John began his long love-affair with the natural environment. Changes to the crown lands act meant that leasehold country could be converted to freehold, allowing some of John’s beloved bushland to be purchased and sustainably managed. This property is still a major source of logs for the mill.


In 1992, the North Broken Hill Mine closed and Machin’s Sawmill lost 60% of its work.

With current manager Ralph Blenkin at the helm, the company changed its focus to supply a boutique market with high-quality hardwood, value-adding by building a large solar kiln on the site. The anti-logging movement also reached its peak during this time, with Bob Carr halving quotas and locking up productive forests. NSW lost half of its sawmills but Machin’s Mill hung on with the skin of its teeth, cementing our reputation for integrity, grit and commitment to quality.


The community rallied together to support the mill when it suffered a major fire in 2003.

While community members flocked to help firefighters, suppliers extended trading terms and loans, allowing Machin’s to survive the blow. As one of Wingham’s oldest businesses, we still enjoy a mutually supportive relationship with the local community, sponsoring sporting teams and fundraising efforts.

After 104 years, we’re proud to continue to offer the quality, service and integrity that have made Machin’s Sawmill an iconic name in the Australian timber industry.