Coningsby Sugar Mill
1883 - 1888
John S. Avery began establishing Coningsby plantation in 1881 on 700 acres between Farleigh and The Leap. He named it after the title of a book by Lord Beaconsfield. Avery had previously been involved in the operation of the former Miclere mill. Cane was first planted on Coningsby in 1882. Avery cultivated 220 acres of his land and hoped neighbouring farms would also supply his mill. Machinery came from Scotland, and the mill had a capacity of about 400 tons a season.
The mill began crushing in 1883.
The mill had appeared to have contained several construction faults. One eyewitness stated that viewed from a distance the flywheel had a distinct wobble. Early in the 1888 crushing a spur wheel cracked and finally broke. Another one was ordered from Glasgow but it did not arrive until December. Very little sugar was made that year. Avery was unable to keep up mortgage payments to the A.J.S. Bank, which foreclosed in 1889.
The land then went to Henry Brandon who did not want to operate the uneconomical mill, and so turned the land over to grazing. Most of the machinery was sold, including the sale of two centrifugals and an engine to Racecourse mill for £95 in 1896. The flywheel well was used as a cattle dip for many years. The chimney stack was demolished in the late 1940's when it became unsafe.
Coningsby School and Wundaru rail siding remain to mark the site of the plantation.
Kerr, John. (1980). Pioneer Pageant. Mackay, QLD: Pioneer Shire Council.
K.W. (1983). In Their Own Hands. Farleigh, QLD: Farleigh Co-op Milling
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created 27 October 2003.
last updated 09 August 2006 .
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