Initially the Government forbid the construction of any vessels however Governor King was in favour of ship building.The Hawkesbury district was for some time the most extreme settlement in NSW and the main form of transport and communication was via the Hawkesbury River. It became necessary to construct cheap boats locally and the Hawkesbury had a good supply of suitable timber.
Several of the early settlers were involved in the industry of boat building along the Hawkesbury. The most prominent were Jonathon Griffiths, Alexander Books and William Grono. In addition to their successful shipbuilding activities they owned substantial farms and were involved in the whaling and sealing industries. The Grono-Books families carried on the shipbuilding tradition through many generations.
In the 1830s a Mr Coutts was possibly operating a shipyard on the George's River.
In the areas settled in the late 1700s and early 1800s timber supplies dwindled quickly in these districts. Timber such as cedar & mahogany were cut from the Hawkesbury district and supplies were reduced as a result of building and shipbuilding by the early 1820s until subsequent areas were discovered.
Red cedar was first logged at the Kowmung River in the Camden district in 1818 and developed into small profitable enterprise. Logging also took place for many years in the Burragorang Valley. Other timber producing areas included Badgery's Creek, the Nepean district and Liverpool.
Timber contractors cut ironbark on the Duck River near Auburn in the 1830-40s whilst Scott & Jolly purchased the timber rights to Newington Estate in the 1840s. In 1855 the Australian Timber Company was established to collect the timber at Newington.
Following the construction of the railway line in outer Sydney during the 1860s, timber was gathered for railway sleepers and building materials and many commercial timber cutters and yards were established. Timber from the Granville and Blacktown areas was also used to supply steam engines. Werrington and Kingswood sidings were situated close to prosperous timberyards. Later in the nineteenth century, timber yards were established in the Fairfield & Smithfield areas along the railway line, where the industry was dominant for many years. Two significant sawmills was Hirst's at Cabramatta and Stimson's at Fairfield. Other areas that continued the timber industry this century included Kurrajong and Badgerys Creek.