The Morayfield Plantation mill was built to process cane cut from the plantation’s fields. In 1867 it was described as:
…situated 200 yards from the river, and close to a large reservoir…a large imposing structure, 120 feet square, 20 feet to the eaves, with a pyramidal roof rather steep, and surmounted on the top with a large and spacious piazza from which a commanding view of the whole plantation is easily obtained. The distillery is on one side of the building…A railway loads into the mill, to bring cane from the field or take…out of the mill. A branch line also leads to the wharf upon the banks of the river.
(‘Mr. Raffs’, 1867, The Queenslander 28 September, p. 10)
The mill was a substantial undertaking. Sugar was crushed and processed for shipping. In 1869 it was reported that a parcel of Morayfield sugar carried by the steamer Tadorna Radjah was sold at £39 per ton.
Some was used in the on-site distillery. As well as sugar, rum and molasses were also produced at Morayfields. George Raff and his son invested in the latest Shears patented copper equipment for this part of the operation (Unknown Author 1869).
The Chief Inspector of Distilleries noted in 1872 that the Morayfields distillery was one of only two in constant operation south of Maryborough. In that 12 month period, 18644 proof gallons of rum were produced at Morayfields (Brisbane Courier, 1872, Parliamentary Paper. Inspector of Distilleries’ Report, 2 July, p.3).
Following the closure of the plantation, in 1891 mill equipment was placed up for sale and removal (Unknown Author 1891). The fate on the machinery is unknown, though a small boiler, possibly one used in the mill or distillery, survives on-site today.
Bob recalls running the steam boiler for Frank which was re-used in the dairy operation.
Daniel makes a case for Caboolture sugar and rum to be recognised as one of the first in Australia.
Unknown author (1867) Mr Raff’s, The Brisbane Courier, 19 October 1867, p.2.
Parliamentary Paper, Chief Inspector of Distilleries Report, published in The Brisbane Courier, 6 July 1872, p.3
Unknown Author (1869) Commercial Intelligence, The Queenslander, Saturday 25 Sept 1869, p.4.
Unknown Author (1891) Tenders and Contracts, Tenders Invited, The Brisbane Courier, 11 May 1891, p.6.