By Phil Bianchi
When alluvial gold petered out on Western Australia’s goldfields, prospectors gave up or moved on and companies moved in to follow any deep leads. They needed a source of cheap energy to fuel steam boilers and gas producers for engines, lighting, pumping and ore treatment, and timber for construction and mine supports.
Firewood supply companies were established and trains were used to deliver firewood to mines and other clients.
The woodlines and the firewood cutters played a crucial role in the development of the goldfields, yet little has been written about this significant industry. Phil Bianchi tells the story through the life experiences of Sergio Bonnetti and Bruno Manni.
This article is a chapter in the 2013 edition of Early Days, the Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and follows a presentation made to the RWAHS by Phil Bianchi in February 2012.