Mount Helena was a timber town in its earliest days, chosen as a sawmill site in 1882. White’s Mill provided timber for some significant buildings around Perth as well as the railways. It pioneered the firewood industry in the Hills, railing waste timber to populated centres.
. . where lines crossed
Abandoned, White’s Mill was taken over by Lion Timber and hence a townsite gazetted in 1899 was known as Lion Mill. By that time the mill itself had passed its peak of production and horticulturalists took up land in the area. But timber cutting remained an important source of income while others made wages from working for the railways, since Lion Mill was an important stopping place on the railway line. The original Eastern Railway line via Boya and the less steep deviation through Jane Brook valley crossed over here.
. . renamed for its position
Lion Mill was renamed Mount Helena in 1924 following a competition asking for suggestions from schoolchildren. The name they chose ‘Hillcrest’ was duplicated in New South Wales so Mount Helena was chosen as a reminder of the old Helena Land District and the place being a relatively high point on the railway.
Mosaic ref: 2002.126 and 2005.171
Photos below: Station Master’s House at Mt Helena, 1935 and (bottom photo) Mt Helena Hotel c. 1943, with a troop train passing behind it on the Eastern Railway line.
Background: Original Townsite Plan.
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