Chatham Sawmill is an antique sawmill that is located in Chatham Island, Port Blair. The mill was set up in 1883 by the British during their rule; the mill got its raw materials from the forests surrounding Chatham Island. The mill happens to be one of the oldest and largest in all of Asia. The British used a huge quantity of timber to produce various products for their use and exports. The Japanese destroyed this sawmill by bombing the island during World War II and invaded the islands controlled until 1945. The sawmill was later renovated and started functioning again; it is now opened for visitors. The mill is now managed by the State Government and taken care of by the Forest Department.
How to Reach Chatham Island From Port Blair?
The Chatham sawmill is in the Chatham Islands, which is about 11 km from Port Blair. You can hire a cab or take public transport to visit the mill.
The sawmill and the forest museum is open on all days except on Sundays and public days. The visiting hours are between 8.30 AM to 2.30 PM. You will have to purchase an entrance ticket to enter the sawmill.
Things to Do
When you are at Chatham Island you can see the beautiful forest behind, from where some of the wood for the mill is brought. While you enter the sawmill you can spot logs of woods that are arranged in the mill which are to be manufactured into Padauks, furniture or some other wooden handicrafts. The mill has about 800 employees and processes around 20,000 logs annually.
The Forest Department established a museum in September 2006. The exhibits of the forest museum are photographs of historical significance of the Department of Environment & Forests and the different phases of what the mill underwent. The museum has certain souvenirs and handicrafts of timber. The museum that is inside the mill exhibits several decorative Padauks, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood and wooden furniture, etc. The items displayed are unique due to its detailed carving, designing, and skilled workmanship. You can take a walk around the mill and spot the bomb pits that were caused by the Japanese when they bombed the islands. The Japanese bunkers still tell silent stories about the history of the islands. You can hire guides to take you around the mill at a very minimal price. It hardly takes an hour and 30 minutes to go around the place.
You can have a look at the flora and fauna that are displayed at the Forest Museums or purchase some local handicrafts at the souvenir store.
The Chatham Sawmill is of great historical importance as it has witnessed a lot of ancient events and is a great spot for people love history if you are a history buff then you must pay a visit to the Chatham mill. Whether you are a person who loves history or not this mill is worth a visit as it is not just a normal destination it is something different and unique.