Ancient Southern Downs timber mill found under 30ft cactus
WHEN Les Saint bought his property in Maryvale, he found some irreplaceable history thrown in as well.
"I've got a piece of history no one knows about," Mr Saint said.
Having just moved to the Southern Downs, he said he was shocked to discover an old timber mill on his land that could possibly date back to the late 1800s.
"I bought the land just before Christmas and about two months later the contractors were in cleaning up all the rubbish," Mr Saint said.
"We had a 30-foot cactus there that was growing all over it and it hadn't been touched for over 100 years.
"The contractors started to clear up the mess and put rubbish in big piles and then lo and behold, there was this fallen- down building."
After hearing some rumours among locals in town, Mr Saint said he knew he found the "hidden treasure".
"People had heard about it in Maryvale but no one knew where it was," Mr Saint said.
"Weeds had grown all over it so no one realised anything was there."
Although the building was dilapidated and had collapsed since its glory days, Mr Saint said there were still impressive pieces to salvage.
"It's certainly seen better days and you can't walk under any of it because it's completely collapsed," Mr Saint said.
"I have a metal detector and I have been finding all these fascinating bits of machinery and parts of the steam engines under the ground.
"I found a big wheel and lots of other bits and pieces,
"The exciting part about it is I have only really looked in a little patch of dirt and there is so much more space to explore."
Mr Saint said because he is new to the area, he has had trouble finding out more about his piece of history.
"I want to know everything about it," Mr Saint said.
"It's interesting that it is where the original homestead was from 1840 and right across from the St Alban's Anglican Church.
"I think it used to be a pit in the olden days - it could have even been something else before that.
"It's part of the history of the district, it's important."
"I'm very excited."
Maryvale Progress Association member Suzy Murray said she believes the timber mill was the very first business established in the town in the late 1800s.
"The whole reason people were here in Maryvale was because of the timber," Suzy said.
"It was the main industry of Maryvale at the time and there was heaps of red cedar which was called red gold.
"It was the best timber you could possibly get - it was so prolific through here."
"Maryvale was subdivided in 1910 before the war begun, which is why there are such small blocks there today.
"I bought a block of land here 10 years ago and I keep finding things that are so incredibly interesting," Suzy said.