Wilmar Sugar is set to commemorate 100 years of operation at its Invicta Mill, with a full day of celebrations scheduled in August.

The Invicta Mill, near the town of Giru, will be marking this milestone on August 19 with a barbeque breakfast for employees, followed by a community night at Giru’s Brolga Park featuring a licensed bar, live entertainment, pop up food trucks and amusements for the kids.

Production superintendent at the Invicta Mill, James Wallace said an official ceremony would also be held at the entrance to the mill site from 10am, with a morning tea provided at which time the retired 12-tonne Invicta locomotive would be dedicated and left on permanent display outside the mill.

Mr Wallace said the mill had a special relationship with the town of Giru and it was hoped all of the community would come out to help celebrate the Centenary.

“The relationship between the mill and the town is symbiotic,” he said.

“The mill is vital to the ongoing life of the town, and the town supplies the mill with goods, services and, most importantly, people.

“About a third of our workforce lives in the broader Giru area. Many of those employees have had multiple generations of their family work at the mill.”

Wilmar programs system specialist and Giru local Paula Scarabel shares a longstanding history with the mill, one that dates back to its establishment in the area.

“My paternal great great grandfather was one of the original cane growers who supplied the mill. My maternal grandfather owned a truck and delivered wood to the mill for the boilers from 1944,” she said.

Ms Scarabel has dedicated her time to researching the mills history for a historical exhibition, having spent the last few months immersed in old photos, records and memorabilia. The exhibition will be on display at the Giru QCWA Hall during the Centenary celebrations.

“It’s been wonderful to go through all of the old records, some of which date back to before the mill was established,” she said.

Paula Scarabel with Invicta Mill historical records
Paula Scarabel with Invicta Mill historical records

Prior to finding its permanent home at Giru in 1921, the mill was operated in two different locations.

It originally resided on the Richmond River in New South Wales where it commenced crushing operations in the 1880s, before being dismantled and moved again to South Kolan near Bundaberg in 1906.

Ms Scarabel said the entire logistical exercise was overseen by F.E. Barbat and Sons, from Ipswich.

“We actually have the original, handwritten letter from F.E. Barbat and Sons confirming the details of the purchase and relocation of the mill,” Mrs Scarabel said.

The letter will be on display among many other photos and memorabilia in the historical exhibition over the course of the celebration.

The full Centenary program is available on the Wilmar Sugar ANZ website.