Local Brunswick Valley Historian Frank Mills
Frank Mills has been telling stories about the Brunswick Valley his whole life. He's the keeper of the history and culture of Brunswick Heads. Frank was once the Tweed/Byron fire chief and is a well-known local historian.
In 2016 a new seat to honour Frank was unveiled. Situated under the Cypress Pine, in front of the Tweed Street IGA Supermarket courtyard, the new Frank Mills Seat embodies key elements of Mr Mills' colourful life. Watch the video of Frank telling his colourful story here
And at 88 years of age, Frank has just penned a new poem about his beloved Brunswick Heads.
An Ode to “Brunswick Town”
First called “Simpson Town” when it was a shipping port,
Now it’s Brunswick Heads a prosperous beach resort.
Many find this town a beautiful place to visit or live,
But when it comes to history it has so much to give.
The first Brunswick Valley timber getting started in 1849,
By the first timber cutters after the cedar and pine.
Captain Simpson was the pilot who guided shipping across the bar,
Mainly schooners and ketches, sailing to Brunswick from afar.
Harry’s Hill was the high ground close to the sea,
An ideal location for Simpson’s pilot station to be.
George Simpson and Bob Marshall are recorded in fame,
The two arms of the Brunswick River carrying their names.
Bob Marshall was the owner of the first Brunswick hotel,
And was prominent in the local cedar trade as well.
Rocks and sand bars sent many sailors to their graves,
This was the high price some brave sailors paid.
Cedar, pine, beech and rosewood and sometimes bolly gum,
These sought after timbers, down the river would come.
Many were the saw pits on the Brunswick Town’s foreshore,
Boat building and repairs went on for thirty years or more.
The “Emma” was a fine schooner built here in 1851,
When the Brunswick cedar getting had only just begun.
Then up the Brunswick River to the big scrub went the pioneers,
Hard work was something these early settlers never feared.
The first local paper here was called the “Brunswick Chimes”,
Because the bullock and horse bells could be heard at all times.
By Frank Mills
13 March 2017