Nowra Mill: an origin story

Pentarch Forestry’s Nowra Mill has evolved into one of the NSW South Coast’s most efficient green and dry mill operations, with various specialties from decking to pallets.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why the address of the site “BTU Road”?

The answer is in the site’s connection with WWII when the RAAF Base was set up at Nowra in 1942 to provide air support in Port Morseby and the Coral Sea.

At the base were Beaufort and Catalina bombers fitted with the USN Mk XIII Torpedo which was stored at the Base Torpedo Unit – hence BTU.

Training facilities were also located at the site which was handed over to the Royal Navy British Pacific Fleet in 1944 after the RAAF moved away from air-launched torpedo tactics.

The BTU continued to provide support for the torpedo for the Royal Navy until the war ended and the RAAF Base was handed over to the Department of Navy and has remained the home of the RAN Fleet Air Arm since.

The unused BTU was transformed into a timber mill and remnants of the original structure including the concrete structures and main work shed are evident today.