J H Smart & Son's Sawmill & Joinery

Jim Smart was ten years old when his parents migrated here from Scotland. By the age of 16 he had finished his apprenticeship as a Furniture Maker and he bought six and a half acres of land in the industrial area of East Stratford where he built a sawmill and glass and joinery factory.

Jim Smart's Furniture Makers Mark.
Image: Beverley McDougall

Smart's sawmill, East Stratford.
Image: Beverley McDougall


Jim built many of the wooden Housing Commission houses in Cairns as well as 76 houses for the construction workers building the Tinaroo Falls Dam Irrigation Project in the 1950s. His motto at the sawmill was 'From a tree to a house'. When he was contracted to provide houses for the lighthouse on Fitzroy Island in the 1960s Jim built a steel-hulled vessel to transport the materials. The MV Margaret Sue was built at the sawmill and launched in the Barron River.

Smart's boat, the MV Margaret Sue.
Image: Beverley McDougall


Jim would drive his truck around Stratford and deliver the off-cuts from the sawmill for firewood for the wood stoves and copper boilers. In 1937 he built his home on Magazine Street and next door he built a glass and joinery factory. The sawmill was demolished in 1984 to make way for Industrial Avenue but both buildings on Magazine Street still survive.

Smart's house, next door to the glass factory.
Image: Beverley McDougall


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