Tully Sugar PioneersPrint Page Print this page

Tully Sugar Pioneers 1
Tully Sugar Pioneers 1

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The Tully Sugar Pioneers Display recognises the early pioneers' contribution to the Tully sugar industry. 

The origin of the sugar cane industry in Tully dates back to 1865, one year after Cardwell's settlement. A wealthy Scotsman named John Ewen Davidson, who was educated at Oxford University and who visited the West Indies sugar growing areas, came to Tully with the objective of establishing a sugar cane plantation. With his partner R.D.Thomas who was his right hand man, Davidson took up his farm on the banks of the Murray River. The now Bruce Highway actually runs through some of the property which was called "Bellenden Plains". Davidson's attempts to establish a mill proved futile due to a severe cyclone, excessive flooding and hostile aborigines.

The second venture of sugar cane growing in Tully was by James Tyson who arrived here with Isaac Henry and Edward Hewitt in 1879. Henry and Tyson each selected 5,120 acres or 2045 hectare lots. Tyson planted 150 acres of Black Java cane and yellow bamboo. Tyson died a bachelor at the age of 79 in southern Queensland.

Whatever credit may be given to Davidson, Tyson, Hewitt or any others as early settlers, there can be no doubt that the true pioneer of settlement in the Tully district was Isaac Henry. Whereas the others abandoned their plans for settlement, Henry stayed.

Early settlers in the area grew bananas, citrus crops, cattle and even experimented with rice, cotton and potatoes but sugar was never far from their minds.

Many years passed along with surveys, soil testing, serious lobbying and the opposition of southern millers and a royal comission into the viability of establishing a mill in the Tully area. Finally the Theodore state government adopted the royal commission's recommendation and Tully Mill was approved under the Sugar Works Act of 1922.

The site of the new mill on the bank of the Banyan Creek was chosen and a town region surveyed. Apart from the recently built Tablelands crushing plant, Tully mill was the last mill built in Queensland.




Address:Butler Street, Tully, 4854
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -17.9342
Long: 145.927247
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 29th May, 2010
Inscription in Proximity

SUGAR                      Tully

"Tully District Sugar Pioneers' Display"

In recognition of the early Pioneers' contribution to the Tully Sugar Industry

This Project was jointly funded and constructed by
. Tully Canegrowers Ltd
. Tully Sugar Ltd
. The Rotary Club of Tully Inc.

Officially opened by Mr Neville Williams, on behalf of the cane growers of the Tully District, on 29th May 2010

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au