Chatham Government Saw Mill
Chatham Island, Port Blair
The Chatham Government Saw Mill, established in 1883 is Asia’s largest and oldest saw mill. It is situated on Chatham Islands and is connected to Port Blair by a 100 meter long bridge. Its upkeep and maintenance are taken care of by the Forest Department here.
Tucked away at the far end of the plot, the saw mill is missed by most who do not know about it (or do not ask about it). Once spotted, it is not hard to see why it is the largest saw mill. Though not a treat to the ears, taking a look inside the mill and following the journey of wood- from being brought in on boats, sorted, cut and stored in warehouses to being transformed into final wooden planks and sent to various destinations- is an interesting experience that one shouldn’t miss.
The bomb pit here, though not much to see, tells another not-so-industrious story of the darker days that the saw mill has seen. In 1942, during the World War II, the mill fell victim to British bombs. A pit was thus created which is now filled with water.The Forest Museum maintained by the Forest Department is a helpful guide to the curious soul.It also has on display wood carvings made of padauk wood, wooden furniture and other woodwork showpieces like balancing dolls and salt water crocodiles.