National Timber Workers Memorial
The National Timber Workers Memorial stands in the heart of Eden on the South Coast of New South Wales in Wellings Park. It honours those timber men who have given their lives in their workplace while building our region, State and Nation.
The centrepiece of the memorial, a statue titled “Hand of Fate”, by sculptor the late Rix Wright of Delegate, depicts a fellow timber worker helping his injured mate. There is a memorial wall with workers’ names on brass plaques, four bas reliefs which depict the work practices of the timber industry, six timber bollards with local timber industry history on plaques and an entrance made of timber from the old Tarraganda Bridge at Bega.
This emotional project was initiated by the mother of Geoffrey Munday after his death in 2001 following a tree falling accident. The Axemen’s Association along with an Eden community based steering group formed in 2002 to start work on this project.
Eden has a long and proud history of involvement with the Timber Industry which it shares with timber communities across Australia. Sadly this is an unforgiving industry where a momentary lapse can be fatal.
This Memorial is dedicated to those in the timber industry that have lost their lives while working in our industry. If you have family or friends that you would like to commemorate at the National Timber Worker’s Memorial please contact us.
There is a small cost to provide the brass plaque for the remembrance wall. Contact can be by post, phone or email through our contact page.
About the Timber Workers Memorial
The harvesting of our forests since our country was first settled, to provide land, shelter, furniture and livestock fencing, perhaps makes the timber industry one of this country’s oldest continuous means of employment. From manpower, axe and saw, bullock and horse teams, steam train, truck and machine the timber industry has now moved into the computer age.
With this technology, the operation of sawmills, machines, trucks and the work carried out in the forests, many hazards have been reduced, but a great awareness of the dangerous industry that they work in, must be observed by all workers, and they must always be alert.
Because of the many fatalities that have occurred throughout the years, with many occurring in the local Eden area, the Community of Eden made the decision to establish a Memorial to commemorate those timber workers throughout Australia, fatally injured on the job
The Memorial Wall
The Memorial site set within the park has a life-size statue of two workers, one of whom is giving assistance to his injured mate, symbolising the mateship and compassion of our bush workers.
Hand of Fate’.
Within the circle of the centrepiece is a wall that contains the names of individual workers, together with six wooden bollards containing plaques relating local Eden history.
As of January 2023 there were 132 plaques on the Memorial Wall representing timber workers from Queensland through to Tasmania.
Building the Memorial
The memorial was made possible through generous donation, local volunteer workers and a grant from the federal government. The National Timber Worker’s Memorial was officially dedicated on the 7 th June 2008.
Memorial to a Timber Worker
No longer the swish of a cross cut saw,
the clunk of the broad axe blade,
the squared off logs from the big round trees
that the sleeper cutters made.
The crack of a whip, the bullockies cry,
the swirling dust and flies,
the hot constant toil of the timber worker
beneath these southern skies.
The horses pull, the harness creaks,
the big logs slide along,
the men work hard to mill the logs
accompanied by the bellbird’s song.
As time progresses and tools improve
the work now done by machines.
the work is still hard, for now we have
several wood products on the scene.
In the early hours of breaking day,
the men leave to go to their job,
their loved ones stay at home and
know to place their faith in God.
But God has plans for each man on Earth,
this plan beyond Man’s control.
And the bushies job, dangerous and hard
on some loved one leaves its toll.
The flying limb, the rolling log,
the swish of a falling tree,
a speeding truck and all too soon
a bushman’s soul is set free.
For those alone and left to grieve,
it is hard to understand,
why God should want this person’s life,
this hard working timberman.
We will never know the reason why
their lives were taken away,
but as years go by, we accept the change
and think of them when we pray.
Together in this place of peace
we gather our thoughts as one,
and feel proud of the work among the trees
that our bushman all have done.
As the treetops sway, and the bush birds sing
may God bless their souls wherever,
and the courage shown by our bushmen lost,
stay in our hearts forever.
Gillian Munday November 2002
A place of tranquil beauty,
Created by Mother Nature’s hand,
Cool green clad fern gullies sleep
Where the mighty eucalyptus stand.
A haven of birds of all feathers,
Parrots, currawong, black and gang gang,
Swoop above the granite outcrop,
Where the dingos night song sang.
Grey ‘roos rest in the dapple shade,
Wombats burrow in the red loam,
Cattle graze sweet native grasses
of their mountain summer home.
The loggers work long hard hours,
they harvest the prime timber gums.
To fill the saw millers quotas
before the savage winter wind comes.
These men of stature, fine physiques,
toil with bulldozer and chain saw,
Replacing the bullock team and cross cut,
as their father’s had done before.
But Mother Nature’s not always loving
her hand can often be cruel.
Her anger can lash through the forest,
to scoff Her would be a fool.
Like an evil minded spider
that weaves her deadly thread,
A “widowmaker” through the leaves crashing,
another young bushman lies dead.
Twilight descends on the hilltops
hushed evening breezes sigh,
Ashen faces look to his picture,
his widow and children, ask why?
Written by Val Kirley 10-3-1998 and dedicated to those men
who lost their lives working in the logging game.
The Memorial is situated in Wellings Park, a public park belonging to the Bega Valley Shire Council. Although situated on the Princes Highway, heading to the Victorian border, there is parking available beside the Highway and on side streets surrounding the park. The
entrance gateway is a timber truss from the old Tarraganda Bridge. View Google Map
Phone: 0429 700092
Address: PO Box 247, Eden NSW 2551