Boyer named an engineering landmark

THE Norske Skog paper mill near New Norfolk has been named one of Australia’s engineering heritage national landmarks. Engineers Australia this week honoured Boyer for being the first paper mill in the world to produce newsprint from hardwood eucalypt fibre in 1941.

State Governor Peter Underwood visited the mill on Wednesday to unveiled a heritage marker (pictured) and interpretation panel in front of 60 invited guests. The marker was presented to the mill by Professor Doug Hargreaves, national president of Engineers Australia. Boyer general manager Rod Bender received the marker on behalf of the mill.

The Boyer Mill was established by a consortium of Australian newspaper publishers in response to the shortage of newsprint in Australia during the World War I. The Tasmanian Government supported the mill’s establishment by providing a large timber concession area in the Upper Derwent Valley.

While international experts had advised that Australian hardwoods would not be suitable for paper making due to their inherently short fibres, two young Australian scientists, Lou Benjamin and John Somerville, persevered with their work and established a pilot plant at Kermandie in the Huon Valley. By 1926 this experimental work had produced sheets of paper that could not be distinguished from imported newsprint.

Construction of the Boyer Mill began in 1938 and the first paper was produced in 1941. The use of eucalypt fibre ceased in 2009. Boyer newsprint is now made entirely from softwood plantation timber.

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