Our mission is to provide and establish a unique, informative and interesting avenue into history, culture and industry within the district. To research and promote our local district and history, thereby inspiring community involvement.

Timboon Mill

Over the first 20 years of the 20th century, land clearing and timber milling went hand in hand, until all the currently cleared area around Icy Creek, Vesper and Fumina were pretty well as we see them today. In this period Fred, Arthur, Frank and Clarrie Brown moved from the Woodend area to Gippsland and after several mills they commenced their Noojee mill in 1920 (still operated by Carrie's son, Graham); followed in 1923 by our mill at Icy Creek. They were the end of the road. The Brown Bros. received a permit to construct a tramway running up Armstead's Road beside Icy Creek in the same year. This enabled them to draw their logs from higher up the sides of Mt. Toorongo.

After milling down where the sawdust heap still is, he sawn timbers were hauled up another tramway by the portable winch, that has now been set at the village centre, to the top of the ridge where it was loaded onto trucks and carted off to the rail siding at Noojee. The Brown's has 2 trucks - a "Guy" and a "Republic", this latter we understand may still be rusting amongst the blackberries in Noojee. From Noojee the timber was hauled up the range to Neerim Junction, across the famous trestle bridge, and then downhilled it all the way into Warragul where it was transhipped and railed off to the big smoke.

In 1920 there was a proposal to exend the rail line from he siding at Noojee all the way up to Brown Bros. mill at Icy Creek, but by 1926 nothing had been accomplished and the rail's fate was sealed by the devastating bushfires which destroyed every mill in the area, including Brown's. They rebuilt and commenced salvaging the fire-ravaged timber. In the '30's the Saxton's commenced milling in Tanjil Bren and hence the road, virtually as we know it today, was extended from Icy Creek to Tanjil Bren.

The mill survived another 13 years, and then the big one came in January 1939 and once again destroyed the whole district. Some time after this, the permit changed from the Brown's to new owners who renamed the mill "Timboon". Later again, the mill was sold to the Kauri Timber Co. who removed it to Noojee.

An unrelated Brown, Charlie, acquired the property, subsequently, and lived in a cottage down in the green glade across "Browns" Ck. from the sawdust heap. Charlie sold regrowth timber to Noojee mills and the timber we see today is regrowth after that. He also cleared the ridge area, hoping to entice someone to grow potatoes, apparently without success. During Charlie Brown's ownership the Blue Rock dam was built bringing about clearing, building and agriculture restrictions within it's catchment. Within these parameters our Timboon Mill concept was born.

Once the special attributes of this place were realised, namely - views to the Baw Baws and Toorongo, closest freehold to Baw Baw, lush forest and rich soils, heritage, clear mountain trout-bearing streams, kilometres of walks on the property itself, proximity to thousands of hectares of State Forest and National Park, low flying Black Cockatoos, he morning symphony of Lyrebirds (the front cleared area now seems to work like a sound shell), smokey Wallabies chomping on the would be potato patch, it seemed a bit too good not to come up with an idea that would enable more than one small group of people to enjoy it. So 60 hectares where subdivided into 15 house blocks as an island-14 individual owners, the 15th being for a resident caretaker for security and basic maintenance. The remaining approximately 59 hectares, including the 15th lodge, has been left in the common ownership of the 14, becoming, what we understand has become very popular in Europe, as a "Hidden Hamlet."

This "Hidden hamlet" - "cluster subdivision" enables the owners to develop and use the common property in a wide range of economical ways. For example, a tennis court is already constructed, a footy cum cricket patch and 3 hectares of pasture will be sown and fenced. The owners may decide to run a few cows or horses under the watchful eye of the resident caretaker, or build a swimming pool, or a tow or three hole golf course, or simply leave the remaining forest to continue happily in it's oxygen-making ecological balance.

The architecture has largely been inspired by both the round pole construction of the old timber mills, and the cosy and practical attic style of alpine buildings. where possible we have used local materials, notably the structural and external cladding timbers. These have been supplied by Graham Brown of Noojee. The lodge orientation is such as to try and give everyone access to the views and that elusive winter sun.

The lodge names are prominent local features or places e.g. St, Phillack (our highest block) is the highest peak on the Baw Baw plateau, Block 10 (our block no. 10) is also a rather special conglomeration of bogs on the north west end of the plateau forming the headwaters of the Thomson River.

We could go on and on; but, in our opinion, nothing seems more fitting than the words from Genesis...

      "...and He saw that it was good'... or maybe "terrific"!