Sugar Mills

  • Posted by EDrury46
  • February 11, 2013 9:49 AM AEDT
A brief over-view of Australia's sugar mills, their work in creating a more sustainable environment and particular mention of Farleigh Sugar Mill, Mackay, Queensland.

Sugar, something that in today’s world, and for many periods in history prior to now, that we find we can’t really live without. Different types of sugar are found in most of the foods we eat, our drinks and even medicines. Australia is one of the top ten largest producers of sugar in the world, with factories all over the country that not only produce raw sugar, but monitor cane growing levels, refine sugar and then focus on bio-fuel made by distilling molasses – a by-product of sugar - to create ethanol.


The science behind what goes on in sugar mills is fascinating and there are several mills around Australia which are open to the public for viewing. All the safety gear is provided: helmets, ear-defenders and goggles; whilst the only requirements for visitors are to wear a long-sleeved top, trousers and closed-toe shoes. Tours are normally conducted during ‘crushing’ season – or harvest to the rest of us this side of the ocean! They demonstrate the different methods used in the sugar process and guide people around the mill once again demonstrating Australia’s ability to educate for the benefit of the country. As the environmental crises around the world become an ever greater focus of the news, it has become more important for industries to find ways of sustainability and environmentally friendly options where possible. Through mill-tours, Australia’s sugar industry is educating the public as to the various ways in which just one industry is trying to make their business sustainable – such as the distilling of molasses to ultimately create a bio-fuel. Another example of trying to make their work more sustainable and environmentally friendly is the recycling of water used to water the canes.


I learnt a lot from my visit to one of Australia’s sugar mills – Farleigh, ten miles north of Mackay, Queensland. I learnt far more than I can write here. As an impressionable 12-year-old at the time, the educational aspect of the visit was great, and I came away with a much greater awareness of not only the sugar industry but also the work it does for protecting Australia’s resources and environment which in turn contributes to protecting the environment across the rest of the globe.