Mackay produces one third of Australia’s sugar and from July
to November the mills purr into action during sugar cane crushing
season. Farleigh Sugar Mill, 10 minutes north of Mackay city, opens its
doors to show you during a two hour guided tour the process of turning
cane into sugar and molasses within a working mill. Tours are conducted
at 9am and 1pm daily from July to November.
Farleigh Mill was built in 1883 and has undergone many upgrades. You
can see the age in the building. Learn what Bagasse is and how it is
recycled to keep the mill going. Learn about the many products that
come from the sugar cane. See the whole process from when the cane
arrives, to the dispatch of the finished product.
The crushing season runs from about July to early December so plan your
visit during this period. The off season provides a period for
maintenance. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and was able to
answer any questions about the process. There are a number of stairways
to climb so it is advisable to be reasonably fit and not be afraid of
heights. Due to OH&S regulations you are also required to wear
covered footwear, long pants and long sleeves. As you are guided along
in the process of sugar production you are given an opportunity to
taste the product at various stages.
Tours are conducted at 9am and 1pm daily from July to November, bookings to be made through Reeforest Tours.
Farleigh Mill was built in 1883 by Sir John Bennett Laws, founder of
the world's oldest agricultural research station at Rothamsted, UK,
which is still functioning. The mill originally operated a plantation;
however cultivation was suspended after a few years. The mill was sold
to the Farleigh Estate Sugar Co Ltd in 1900 and improvements were made
to crush cane previously crushed at several other Mackay district mills
- Ashburton, The Cedars, Coningsby, Pioneer, Richmond, Nindaroo, Habana
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In 1921, Farleigh assumed responsibility for crushing cane from the
Rosella district, south of the Pioneer River, after the CSR Company
discontinued operations at the nearby Homebush Mill. The extra cost and
commitments involved in this transaction, together with several poor
seasons, forced the company into liquidation in 1926. The mill was then
purchased by its growers and operated on a co-operative basis.
Farleigh Mill growers voted to merge with other Mackay district
mills to form the Mackay Sugar Co-operative Association Ltd in November
Mackay Sugar committed $14 million to extensive upgrading of the
Summit section of the rail line in 1997 to eliminate several kilometres
of steep grades. The upgraded line is able to cope with increased
tonnages and deliver transport cost savings and scheduling flexibility
to the mill.
Extensive reconstruction and modernisation of the mill's plant and
machinery has been undertaken since the 1940s to increase output and
Location: Armstrong Street, Farleigh, Qld