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The story of Kurth Kiln began with Australia's declaration of war in September 1939. When petrol rationing was introduced in October 1940, charcoal was seen as the most practical alternative.

Dozens of charcoal kilns were constructed in various state forests. However, charcoal was never a great success. It was dirty to use, produced 40 per cent less power and conversion units for cars cost 100 pounds – 18 times the weekly wage in 1941. Added to this, units had an alarming tendency to catch fire.

The plant at Kurth Kiln closed at the end of the war but the tall kiln with its iron chimney remains. It is a rare example of a relatively intact charcoal burning kiln and the only one of its type in Australia.

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