The “Lake Wallis” unloading at Wright’s mill, the side wheeler delivered logs to the mill from timber cutters working up river and also transported supplies to the farmer’s and timber cutters in these areas.
The local timber mills employed cutters and teamsters to drag the logs by bullock team to the paddle wheel log punts which took the load via the rivers and lake to the waterfront mills. Here the logs were winched ashore up to skids, then to the trolleys and the saws.
The log punts at Tuncurry had to employ great caution and skill in mooring, fully loaded at the mill wharf, particularly coming down with the ebbing tide, which ran out at a great rate. The procedure was to throw out an anchor on the opposite sand spit, so that the punt swung around and faced upstream.
The log punts had many other uses including transporting 100’s of locals to the annual Regatta, an event held on Regatta Island over the new year, some were fitted with pile drivers to help build the wharves, or used to transport stones to build retaining walls along the foreshore. Others were fitted with a derrick and used to carry gravel used to build the roads. The log punts in the area were also known to race with the “Highland Maid”, a stern wheeler owned by E B Everingham, known as the fastest of them all. The log punts were once a wonderful sight on our waterways. In several places around Wallis Lake lay the rotting remains of these sunken work horses.
Tuncurry’s Working Waterfront local history project is a heritage mosaic due to be installed in John Wright Park in June. The artwork has been designed as a visual representation of the early industries that utilized the waterfront site and the vital role they played in forming the foundations of the town and community