The Pennant Hills Timber-getting Establishment

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Hauling logs to the Pennant Hills Wharf along Pennant Hills Road
Hauling logs to the Pennant Hills Wharf along Pennant Hills Road

Macquarie's regime had a significant impact on the Pennant Hills area, as the need for timber for his program of civil construction led to set up the Pennant Hills Timber-getting Establishment in 1816 to harvest the forests of the area. Previously, sawpits had existed on the North Shore and at Lane Cove but Macquarie felt the Pennant Hills area, with its abundance of suitable trees, were a better proposition. With an influx of skilled convicts to the colony during Macquarie's governorship, the settlement - on John Savage's land near the intersection of present-day Hull Road and Pennant Hills Road - became a busy centre with up to 100 workers at its peak in 1820, making planks from the timber cut on the Field of Mars Common as well as on a Crown Land area comprising 700 acres to the north. At the far northern end of this land, 40 acres was designated as the Government Paddock (now the suburb of Thornleigh) where the bullocks that transported the timber could be accommodated.

The wood was taken by the bullocks to the Government Wharf at the Parramatta River, which was known as the Pennant Hills Wharf and built in 1817 near the southern boundary of Marsden's landholdings in the area.

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.