Henry J Hyne

H J Hyne, R M Hyne’s eldest son, entered the business in 1888 after an education at the Maryborough Grammar School (which R M helped to establish), followed by some years experience at the Commercial Bank of Sydney, Maryborough’s first bank. He became General Manager on his father’s death in 1902.
1888 – 1929


H J Hyne had a difficult time of it, the business he inherited was mid-sized with assets of about £65,000 ($10 million dollars in today’s money), in the difficult situation of being too large to be a low cost family mill, and too small and under-capitalised to compete effectively with the larger mills. Competition was intense, profitability was low (typically in the range of 2% to 5% of assets), and a ruthless shipping cartel controlled shipping freight rates at ruinously low levels, which impaired the operation of the company’s ships in seeking back freight to Maryborough.

These conditions continued on and off until the terrible depression years of the late ‘20’s and early ‘30’s which the company just survived.

The world wide depression, which started in 1929, had a big impact on the timber industry, badly affecting private millers such as Hyne and Son. In 1930, to help the industry, the Moore government reduced timber cutting royalties and increased duties on imported timber. Trading conditions still became chaotic with price cutting, importation of timber and competition from State sawmills. By 1932 the majority of sawmillers and factories were idle and the remainder were only operating part time. Unemployment was widespread. Hyne and son were down to about 35 employees and many machines were idle.

About this time Premier William Forgan Smith came to Maryborough to see for himself the condition of the timber industry. After H.J. Hyne’s discussions with the Premier about the high royalty on logs making it impossible to compete on southern markets, small mills that avoided paying award wages which allowed severe price cutting, formed a commission of enquiry to make recommendations into the into the industry.

This resulted in the introduction of a rebate of royalties, a reduction in rail freight costs on pine exported out of the state and the rationalisation of the industry by Licensing of Sawmills, eventually leading to the Timber Industry Advisory Committee being formed.

When the premier next came to visit Hyne and Son in 1935 he saw 200 plus workmen and all machines in operation.

In spite of his difficulties, his innate aptitudes led him to significant improvements. 

He installed one of the first drying kilns in Queensland a Sturtevant that he imported directly from the USA. 

In 1905 he installed and successfully commissioned a North American sawmill line, comprising steam engine, 8 foot band mill, edger and band resaw, which he put to work sawing softwood; Kauri and Hoop Pine.