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Tags : Factories & Industries

Timings : All days of the week except Sunday: 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Time Required : 30 Mins to 1 Hour

Entry Fee : INR 10 per person, INR 50 (guided tour)

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Chatham Saw Mill, Andaman Overview

Chatham Saw Mill is a 19th Century attraction in Port Blair which is renowned as the oldest and the largest sawmill in the continent. It is the only sawmill that provides timber for construction work on the island and is one of the few mills that export timber to industries and furniture units across the world. It is believed that the crimson wall panels at the Buckingham Palace in London have been made of the planks sourced from the mill.

Chatham Saw Mill is considered as a functioning historic attraction as it has been around for over a century. A tour of the mill and the warehouse can be taken by visiting tourists. There is also a museum inside the mill that gives a sneak peek into the history of Chatham Islands and also details of the geology, geography and the biodiversity of the island. The mill is one of the noisiest attractions in the region because it is an operational mill. So, tourists who want a serene getaway can skip the attraction.

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History of Chatham Saw Mill

Chatham Saw Mill is located in Chatham Island which is a tiny island, barely 12 acres in area. It was established as a Government Saw Mill by the British in 1883 to meet the timber requirements of the island. Second-hand machinery was brought in to commence the mill. When the British realized the prospects, they also exported wood from the mill. The Forest Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands maintain the sawmill where tourists can get a small yet thorough tour and get to know the entire process of the mill right from sourcing the wood, transporting them, sorting them and then cutting them into the desired size of wooden planks. Some samples of Gurjan, Peauma, Padauk and Satinwood can be seen here. The mill has been recognized as one of the biggest lumber mills in Asia with a capacity of sawing over 20,000 logs of wood each year.

Interiors of Chatham Saw Mill

Inside the premises of Chatham Saw Mill, tourists can also check out the Forest Museum, the Bomb Pit and the Pillar of the Planet. The forest museum is a considerably new addition to the mill. It was established by the Environment and Forest Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2006. The museum houses a large collection of wooden handicrafts created by local artisans, information, pictures and other historical artefacts from the region. The second attraction, the Pillar of the Planet, was built in 2009 as a memorial to commemorate the island’s 125 years of forest management. The Bomb Pit, the third attraction, is a result of the tragic bombings that were carried on the island during World War II. For quite some time till 1942, the island was governed by Japan; and the British, in order to take over the island, bombed the region heavily. The mill suffered tremendous damage and the pit still remains for visitors to see the ill effects of the war.

Tips While Visiting Chatham Saw Mill

1. The Mill can be filled with a lot of sawdust. Those who suffer from dust allergy or from breathing problems should wear necessary protection or avoid visiting.
2. The Mill is open only for half a day for visitors, hence be sure to plan a visit early.

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