Potted Histories

Banquet to Harry Teesdale Smith and Thomas Boyne, Millars’ Managers, 1902.

The timing of the first article is interesting. Harry Teesdale Smith had been the General Manager of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests Limited and in that role had recently amalgamated eight timber companies into one – Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests (1902) Limited – often referred to as ‘The Combine’. The amalgamation was a cause for concern amongst timber workers, worried about keeping their jobs and competitors feared that the big company would have a monopoly of the industry. At the dinner given in Yarloop to Harry Teesdale Smith and Thomas Boyne (Smith’s deputy) there was a lot of backslapping, even if not all was forgiven. The magnificent gift to Smith by the Millars’ employees bears testament that, despite the concerns, he was held in high esteem.

Faced with the new circumstances, Smith and Boyne planned to create their own timber company. Reg. Driver, the Yarloop Manager intended joining them in their venture and was given a valedictory and was presented with a gold watch by the employees.[1]  All three  men later rescinded their decisions – Teesdale Smith was appointed General Manager of the newly formed company Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests (1902) Limited, Boyne  was expected to control the Perth and Fremantle offices and direct shipping operations, and Driver was reappointed manager at Yarloop.[2] Teesdale-Smith continued as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Wellington District serving out his term which commenced in April 1901 and lasted until June 1904.[3]


Most of our readers are aware that quite recently important changes have taken place in the management of Messrs Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests, Limited, brought about principally by the appointment of Sir Edward Wittenoom as managing director for this State. Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M.L.A., who has been general manager of the company since its inception, tendered his resignation; and this was followed by that of Mr Thomas Boyne, the assistant general manager. When it became known to the staff and employees that these two gentlemen intended severing their connection with the company, which had been built up under their personal supervision, very general regret was expressed, and it was determined that they should not be permitted to leave without receiving some mark of the esteem and affection in which they were held. As is well known, there are three centres of Millars’ great business: Yarloop, Mornington, and Denmark. At each place some hundreds of men are employed, and it had been arranged that a send-off and a testimonial should be presented to Messrs Smith and Boyne at Yarloop, Mornington, and Denmark respectively. Yarloop, as being the oldest place, rightly led the way, and on Saturday night last there was an immense gathering of “the men from the hills,” the members of the staff, and a few invited guests.[4]

The function was held in the public hall at Yarloop, and shortly after 9 o’clock the building was packed to suffocation. Every seat was occupied, and scores of men had to be content with standing room only. The employees from Waterous and Hoffman’s mills were there almost to a man, while every employee at Yarloop and immediate district had made it a point of honor to attend. The hall had been beautifully decorated for the occasion, considerable taste being displayed in the arrangements of the palms, foliage and flags. The stage was a picture, the greenery and the art muslin being artistically interlaced. Overhead was an inscription, which conveyed a delicate compliment to the guests of the evening: “Au Revoir, but not good-bye.” We believe Messrs P. J. Boyne and L. Marson are entitled to most of the credit for the decorations.

It was past 9 o’clock before the proceedings commenced, as it was found necessary to wait the arrival of the train from Perth. When Mr Teesdale Smith and Mr T. Boyne made their appearance the large crowd assembled outside the doors of the hall vociferously cheered them again and again. It was a hearty, lusty, greeting, and must have been most gratifying to the recipients. The hall was speedily rushed, and when Mr R. Driver, the local manager at Yarloop, took the chair he had fronting him a body of excited men, who had gathered to do honor to their late chiefs. Outside the rain was falling, and the night was gloomy and repellant; inside all was merriment and enthusiasm. An excellent spread was provided to which full justice was done. The men chaffed each other in rough good-humored fashion, and occasionally the speakers were subjected to pertinent interjections.

The chairman in a few words, proposed the health of His Majesty the King, which was enthusiastically honored. After Mr Gus Twomey had favored the company with a song, Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M.L.A., rose to propose the toast of the “Employees of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests, Ltd.” He was greeted with prolonged cheers, and it was with difficulty that he could at first obtain a hearing. He said that he rose to propose the toast with infinite pleasure, more especially as it was coupled with the names of Messrs Costin and Johns, of Hoffman mills, Gillard and Cooke, of Waterous, and Mr Bartley of Yarloop. It afforded him very great pleasure to propose the health of the employees of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests, Limited. He did not suppose that in the State of West Australia, or for the matter of that in any other State, he could meet with a better body of men than he saw before him that evening. He was certain of this, that they might travel all round the world before they could find a more kindly feeling shown to any general manager than expressed by their presence that evening. (Cheers.)

There was no doubt that during his connection with the company many difficulties had arisen, but he was glad to say that they had shown him that when they were fighting for their rights and he for the company, they recognised his honesty of purpose. (Cheers.) It was well known that to make any company a success the employees must support the manager honestly and faithfully. (A voice: Or he would be soon on the tramp.) Not necessarily; he might get others who would be loyal. But loyalty must come from the men, or the company would go down. In all his dealings with the men of Millars’, from the top to the bottom of the tree he had met with absolute loyalty and straightgoing. (Cheers.) No manager, whether he controlled a wool shed, a clothing factory, or a business, could get on unless he had the unstinted support of his co-workers. That good fortune had always been his. He asked them to rise and drink a bumper to the employees of Millars’. (Cheers.)

Mr M’Inerney (No 4 mill), in acknowledging the toast, thanked Mr Smith for the manner in which he had proposed it. It gave him great pleasure to be present to do honor to the guests of the evening. Mr Smith, in all their battles, had always acted as a gentleman. Perhaps they had been defeated at one time or other, but they were satisfied to gain all they could in a fair way. He was satisfied that if Mr Smith or Mr Boyne wanted men from the concessions they could get the pick of Millars’ to follow them. (Prolonged cheers.) He had known Mr Boyne for six or seven years and he had never known anyone say a disrespectful word about him. (Cheers.)

Mr Willis (No 4 mill), believed in social functions such as they were enjoying. Three years ago he had arrived in Yarloop in quest of a situation, when he first met Mr Driver. He had been careful to make enquiries whether there were plenty of houses in Waterous, as he was a married man, a very much married man indeed (Laughter.) He was satisfied, and he had worked there ever since. He said that he believed in social descriptions of the present kind, and it was an indisputable fact that unless there was a good feeling between capital and labor the latter was bound to go to the wall. He was pleased to be able to add his testimony to Mr Smith’s and Mr Boyne’s merits. (Cheers.)

Mr Costin (Hoffman mill) said he had been working on the concessions for six years, and had the greatest respect for Mr Smith and Mr Boyne. He was glad to see so many chaps around. (Cheers.) Mr Johns (Hoffman mill) said he had much pleasure in endorsing remarks which had been made about the guests of the evening. They had a great deal to thank Mr Smith for, as he had provided them with halls, libraries, etc. He was a capable officer, and fair both to the men and to the masters. (Cheers.) He wished him every success in any enterprise he might embark on. (Cheers.)

Mr Gillard (Waterous) remarked that he was one of the oldest employees of Millars. He had great pleasure in testifying to Mr Smith’s ability, and in thanking him for what he had said about the men. Mr Smith had credited them with loyalty to the management. So long as they had a man like Mr Smith at the head of affairs they could not help being loyal. During the seven years he had been in the employment of Millars’ he had frequently met Mr Smith when he (the speaker) was in the capacity of a delegate, and he had always found him patient in his hearing and courteous and straightforward in his replies. (Great cheers.) He hoped it would be “Au revoir and not good-bye.” Mr Bartley also briefly spoke, after which Mr John McEvoy sang a song.

The chairman (Mr R Driver) said he rose to propose the healths of Mr Smith and Mr Boyne. (Great cheers.) He recognised that he had a difficult task in front of him, for it was not a pleasant thing to say farewell to Mr Smith and Mr Boyne. It was a sad thing to say good-bye, but it must be gratifying to their guests to find that so many had assembled to say good-bye to them. The name of Millars’ ranked very high in the State, but it was always associated with the names of Mr Smith and Mr Boyne. (Prolonged cheers.) Mr Smith had especially upheld the well-known name. He was compelled to talk individually. He had met Mr Smith seven years ago, when Yarloop was a very small place, and when he was young and green in the ways of the world. (Laughter.) The first night he had to sleep in the sand, as others had to do. There were a great many present who had seen the place develop and grow under the master mind of Mr Smith (cheers), and he would also like them to know that Yarloop was not the only place which had grown in a similar manner. There were Denmark and Mornington, which had grown into their present condition under Mr Smith’s supervision. Many and varied were the enterprises he had turned his mind to in the State, and they all had had a successful ending. Mr Boyne was intimately known to them all, more particularly since the time Mr Smith went to England. He was only second to Mr Smith, and that was saying a big thing. (Cheers.) In every capacity he was a man they could respect. (Cheers.) He did not want to weary them, and he would get to work.

They had decided to make a small presentation to Mr Smith and to Mr Boyne (great cheers), during which Mr Driver presented to Mr Smith a handsome silver model of a timber whim and a magnificent framed photograph of the members of the staff, and to Mr Boyne a solid gold watch and a similar photograph. These, continued the chairman, were only the outward show of their affection and esteem for them (cheers), but he hoped they would remind them of the pleasant days they had spent in Yarloop. The photo was from the staff and officers, and the whim and the gold watch from the whole of the employees. He could say no more, but would finish in the words of Lindsay Gordon — The crown of a sorrow’s sorrow was the remembrance of happy days. (Ringing cheers were given again and again.)


The model of a timber whim, made of pure silver, was mounted on a beautifully polished piece of jarrah, and was at once rich, chaste, and unique. Over 160oz of pure silver had been used to construct the model; the wheels were 8in. in diameter, 16 spokes in each wheel, ¾in. tyres, length of pole 13in., width between wheels 7in., thickness of arch, 2in. by 1¼in. Hanging to the back was a block of silver resembling a square piece of timber, and this had been converted into an ink bottle, with receptacles for copying and ordinary ink. On the face of the block was the following inscription: — “Presented to H. Teesdale Smith, Esq., M.L.A., by the employees of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests Limited, Yarloop branch. July, 1902.” The model was made by Messrs Donovan and Overland, silver-smiths, Perth, and was a finished piece of workmanship. Mr Smith was also presented by the staff with magnificent photographs, superbly mounted in a beautiful frame, measuring 54in. by 26in. On each side were photographs of the staff, while in the centre was an excellent photo, of Mr Smith, and underneath one of Mr Boyne. Underneath the pictures were the following names: R. Driver, G. Stafford, F. N. Bird, G. A. Orchard, W. T. Jones, F. French, D. MacKenzie, P. J. Boyne, J. M’K. Anderson, J. Ockerby, R. Rutherford, J. Walker, L. B. Schlam, J. Morrow, C. R. Thompson, F. W. Driver. S. J. Gardner, W. Properjohn, W. Walker, T. Twomey, and J. T. Rutherford. Dividing the photos was the following inscription: “Presented to H. Teesdale Smith, Esq., M.L.A., by the staff of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests, Limited, Yarloop branch. July, 1902.”

Mr Boyne received a similar picture from the staff, the only difference being that his photograph was placed above that of Mr Smith. The employees also presented him with a splendid gold watch, suitably inscribed on the inside, and with his monogram on the outside. The inscription was as follows: “Presented to Thomas Boyne, Esq., by the employees of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests, Limited, Yarloop branch. July, 1902.”

After the presents had been examined Mr J. Walker (once manager at Yarloop) said he was pleased to see so many of the boys present. He could assure them that he had never been present at a send-off like the present one. It would have an effect on the company and on the men. Mr Smith had proved himself a successful railway contractor and a good manager of three timber concessions. He asked them to remember that Mr Smith had introduced the eight-hours system and made a perfect success of it, and he had also been able to pay his company six per cent on their capital. The sun had not gone down on Mr Smith yet. (Cheers.) He had raised monuments in their midst by his skill and clever organisation (cheers), and he had all the attributes of a man. There was not a man, woman, or child, who could say one word against him. (Cheers.) Mr. Smith’s severance from the company was a great loss to the men and to the company. (Cheers.) He would yet write his name in the history of West Australia. (Cheers.) The souvenirs which he had on the table would be a source of pleasure to him. He had done his duty nobly to the men, to the company and to himself. (Great cheers.)

Mr D. Mackenzie expressed the pleasure he felt at being present to witness the gathering that night. Referring to Mr Teesdale Smith, he said he could assure them that for seven years he had never found a master who had treated him as Mr Smith had. There had been differences of opinion regarding railway construction, but Mr Smith had always adjusted them. Mr Smith had mastered all difficulties, and grasped the position throughout. The railway system which the company possessed was due to the perseverance of the general manager. If they travelled through Australia they could not find a keener man or a better master than Mr Smith. So long as a man did his work honestly he always had Mr Smith at his back. (Cheers.) He could say nearly as much for Mr Boyne. That gentleman saw to everything when Mr Smith was in England, gave everybody a patient hearing, and treated them all as men. (Cheers.) They were sorry indeed to lose Mr Smith and Mr Boyne. (Cheers.) Mr J. Rutherford, who was received with great cheering, also briefly spoke.

Mr Twomey said he was sorry that it had been necessary to say good-bye to the two best friends they had in the timber industry in West Australia. Mr Smith and Mr Boyne had not only opened up the concessions around Yarloop and elsewhere, but their methods had been carefully watched by other firms and taken advantage of, and thanks to them employment had been found for thousands of men. It was a pleasure to work under their management, and he wished them every success. If they engaged in any extensive works at any time, the majority of the men present would be found hanging on to their coat tails. (Cheers.)

Mr M. Rogers being too diffident to speak, Mr T. Rogers, in a humorous manner, referred to the growth of Yarloop. Under the able management of Mr Smith he alleged that the place had grown to be “a colossal fabric of human genius.” (Roars of laughter.) He thought every man should stick to Mr Smith, who had actually thrown over his billet for their sake. Mr Ockerby and Mr Schlam also spoke, as did Mr F. W. Driver and Mr J. Anderson. Mr P. J. Boyne (the secretary of the movement) said he was extremely sorry Mr Smith and Mr Boyne were leaving. At the end of last month he had been eighteen years under Mr Smith’s control. If he engaged in any new scheme he trusted success would follow his efforts.

Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M.L.A., who was received with deafening cheers, said: I cannot find words to express my feelings towards you to-night. If you could only feel as I did a fortnight or so ago when I read a paragraph in the Southern Times which stated that a resident director had practically said that he was glad to receive my resignation — (Voice : It was a d——d lie) — you might perhaps understand. If that resident director was here to-night it would show him that you at least did not regard me as a worn-out man and as of no more use. (Cheers.) It would show more also to the public at large, for the public took notice of these little paragraphs which appeared in the papers. If it were not for your generosity and kindness the public might go on thinking that you as well as a resident director believed it to be a good thing that I did leave the company. (No, no.) You, who have had close dealings with me, know that there are most anxious times when managing a large concern, and that I have not always had a happy time. With all our differences, however, we have come out, as you have shown by your presence here to-night, fairly well. (Cheers.) On every occasion when dealing with man, woman or child I have tried to be absolutely fair. (You have that, old man.) A gentleman remarked that I have tried to be fair to myself. Well, before a man can be fair to anyone else he must be fair to himself. For these magnificent presents I would like to find words to sufficiently thank you. They will always be to me a visible memento of the many friends I have made while a co-worker with you.

My friend Mr Walker referred to the growth of this company while I have had control of it — that is since its inception. I had an idea that the forests of this State should be exploited in 1892. I followed this idea up in 1894 and 1895, and in 1897 it culminated in the formation of Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests Limited. This company now stands pre-eminent in the number of men it employs and in the turnover and in quantity of timber it exports. Since the inception of the company it has exported 288 million feet of timber. It is hardly possible to conceive such figures, but I may say that it would require 800 vessels to take it away. The turnover of money has exceeded three millions. It would be a fallacy to say that I did this by myself. The result has been due — first, to the loyalty and support of the manager of each station; secondly, to the staff surrounding him; thirdly, to his foremen; and fourthly, to the employees one and all. I say this that Millars’ is second to none in Australia. I had not the slightest idea that you intended giving me these magnificent presents. They have almost staggered me. I must also refer to the beautiful decorations. I used to be a bit of a hand at that sort of thing myself (laughter) but these quite eclipse anything I have ever done. When I entered the room, and saw the words “Au Revoir but not good-bye,” they went straight to my heart, more than anything has done for a long time. In regard to my future intentions, which I am encouraged to speak about after the splendid reception you have given me.

I may say that I have obtained 12,000 acres of land not far from here (prolonged cheering). That is perhaps not very much, but it is a start, and I hope before the end of the year to have a sawmill running on my own. (Cheers). Some time ago when I first had a notion of resigning, I thought I would go to South Africa; with that idea I wrote to Mr Timms, and he replied as follows: “It’s all very well — you may get a few crumbs or shoot a wild turkey, but what is the use of going to South Africa to shoot wild turkeys when you have got fat ones in your back yard?” The selection may not prove to be a very fat turkey, but I will try it. (Cheers). I may be lucky enough to have working for me some of those whose faces I can see before me to-night. (Voices: “That you will; all of us, old man.”) Before closing, let me say that I wish I had the eloquence of a Gladstone to thank you for the magnificent hospitality and the magnificent presents you have given to me to-night.

One thing that touches me more perhaps than you may imagine, is that you should include my old friend and pal, Tom Boyne. (Here the men rose and cheered again and again for Mr Smith and Mr Boyne.) For twenty seven and a half years he and I have battled together, on and off, first for C and E Millar, then for Smith and Timms, and now the new firm is to be Smith, Timms and Boyne. (Prolonged cheering). I only hope, gentlemen, that at the end of the next twenty-seven and a half years, if we are spared, that we shall be as well received as we have been here to-night. (Cheers.)

Mr Thomas Boyne, who received an ovation and who was visibly affected, said he did not know how to thank them sufficiently. It was with great regret that he was severing his connection with them all. He felt proud of the high place he had in their estimation. He did not know how to thank them for the handsome presents. He could not find words to thank them. He sincerely hoped that things would go as smoothly with them under the new management as they did under Mr Smith. He could honestly say that they had all worked honestly for the company. The toast, of the “Medical Profession” was responded to by Dr. Lovegrove and Dr. Munro, and “The Press” by the representatives present. Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M. L. A., proposed the health of the Chairman, which was enthusiastically honored and suitably replied to. This brought the gathering to a close.

Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M.L.A., is to be entertained at the Mornington mills on the evening of Friday, 18th July. (Bunbury Herald, 9 July 1902, p. 3.)


A New Timber Company.—We understand that Messrs Teesdale Smith, Timms and Boyne are pushing ahead with all despatch in regard to the working of their timber concession near Pinjarra. The concession is being surveyed by Mr N. J. Moore, J. P. Many of the best of the officers who were in Millars Bros’ employ at Yarloop and Mornington have joined Mr Smith and will be members of his new staff. (Southern Times, 7 August 1902, p. 4.)




Very great satisfaction will be felt in the South-West district when it becomes known that Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M. L. A., has accepted the position of general manager to the new timber combine to be known henceforth as Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Forests 1902, Limited. In a recent issue we mentioned that the important position had been offered to and would in all probability be accepted by Mr Smith. On Monday morning last the matter was finally determined, and Mr Smith is now the general manager of the company with full powers. The salary attached to the office is said to be £4000 per annum. We are also enabled to state that Mr T. Boyne — who was assistant manager for Millars’ K. and J. Forests, Limited, but who severed his connection when Mr Smith retired— has consented to join the new company, and will probably control the Perth and Fremantle offices and direct shipping operations. Mr R. Driver, who managed for the old company at Yarloop for some years, but who handed in his resignation when Mr Smith left, has been reappointed manager at Yarloop, and enters upon his duties to-morrow.

In Perth this morning Mr Smith invited the managers of the companies which have amalgamated to meet him, and a lengthy conference was the result. Within the next two months many alterations will be made in the management of the local mills and offices, and important changes are to be rapidly brought into operation. So far as we can understand, the port of Bunbury is likely to benefit by the amalgamation of the various timber companies. Fremantle and Bunbury are to be the principal storage and export centres, and from south of Yarloop the trade will, so far as is possible, be centred in Bunbury. In all probability Mr H. Teesdale Smith, M. L A., will relinquish his Parliamentary position, as the enormous responsibilities which have been assumed by him will necessarily demand the whole of his time. Before coming to any decision on this matter, however, it is Mr Smith’s intention to meet the electors of Wellington, and to take them into his confidence. He will be largely guided by their counsel. Mr Smith will visit the electorate in about three weeks’ time. (Bunbury Herald, 8 October 1902.)

[1] Bunbury Herald, 1 September 1902.

[2] Bunbury Herald, 8 October 1902.

[3]https://parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/library/MPHistoricalData.nsf/(Lookup)/BC72CD6EE723FF2E482577E50028A7CB?OpenDocument, accessed 30 June 2021.

[4] NB Denmark was the oldest mill.