Many of the sawyers were former convicts or ticket of leave men (conditional release). Cementing the small settlement’s association with convicts, a depot there housed men sentenced to labour on the colony’s roads. Mounted police from the nearest station at The Lakes patrolled frequently.
Sawpits give way to steam
The construction of the Eastern Railway through the centre of the settlement in the 1880s led timber merchant Edmund Lacey to establish the Enterprise Steam Saw Mill, employing dozens of sawyers. Some ex-convict pit-sawyers stayed and are remembered today in street names e.g. Lot Leather who established a store and hotel.
Firewood and fruit
The settlement, which began as a scattered encampment of canvas tents and timber huts, was declared an official townsite on 28th October 1898 after 35 years of settlement. Sawyers Valley was named for its pioneers but the steam mill closed and firewood became the focus, the hewers and woodcutters often supplementing what they made from orchards.
Sawyers and shingle splitters . .
Sawyers Valley, one of the earliest settlements in Mundaring, traces its origins to the 1860s when pit sawyers and shingle splitters lived and worked in the area. Sawpits used to cut planks, the top sawyer keeping the 2 metre saw on a guideline and the bottom sawyer often working up to his knees in water and sawdust, can still be discerned in the bush.
Above: The Enterprise Steam Saw Mill, Sawyers Valley, MHHS Collection.
Above: Pupils and teachers Sawyers Valley School. MHHS Collection.
Above: Sawyers Valley Hotel with licensee John Kendall, 1920s. MHHS Collection.