Forestry and timber stories
The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Forestry & Timber sector
Innovative business Hydrowood — and the government decision-makers who backed it — have struck an unusual jackpot in Tasmania’s manmade lakes.
1 May 2017, Edition 183
Tasmanian blackwood has been chosen for the restoration of a massive 16-tonne pipe organ at Adelaide’s St Francis Xavier Cathedral. A rare Canadian Casavant Frères pipe organ was moved from Montreal and rebuilt in Adelaide. The organ’s 3,500 pipes, weighing 16 tonnes in total, were painstakingly reassembled under the supervision of a renowned South Australian master craftsman, Lex Stobie. Britton Timbers at Smithton supplied Mr Stobie with blackwood for the façade, case work and other associated cabinetry around the incredible instrument. Blackwood had the right colour and grain to achieve a fresh, modern look in a traditional church setting.
6 April 2017, Edition 182
A legally blind Tasmanian furniture maker has been selected to exhibit his work at the Euroluce lighting show in Milan, Italy, this month. One of the world’s biggest lighting trade shows, Euroluce hosts about 500 exhibitors and admitted more than 300,000 attendees last year. Duncan Meerding makes lamps from tree stumps that would usually be discarded as waste wood and has been working recently on the fitout of a Hobart hotel. Mr Meerding told The Mercury his loss of vision at age 18 had helped formulate his design approach. “Whether I like it or not, my visual field does influence my design aesthetic and it’s something I probably would have shied away from explaining when I first started this journey,” he said. “Without my vision [having] degenerated when it did, I wouldn’t have designed the designs I have.” Mr Meerding said his design inspiration can come from the wood he handcrafts, from nature or from his restricted vision.
6 April 2017, Edition 182
New Forests and its Tasmanian subsidiary Forico are in the final stages of planning for a $130 million wood pellet factory at Long Reach. The plant will produce about 250,000 tonnes of compressed, cooked wood pellets a year to export to Japan, where coal power stations are being subsidised to switch to pellets in order to reduce carbon emissions. New Forests Managing Director, Mark Rogers, told The Australian in March that the densified wood pellets would be made from forestry residues from Forico’s Tasmanian timber plantations. They would be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. “Replanting the trees, as is our intention in Tasmania, gives you an almost full carbon benefit; very strong decarbonisation,” Mr Rogers said. “The reason it’s going ahead in Japan is because the carbon component is being recognised in the feed-in tariff price … If Australia had a similar signal, then there is no reason why some of our black coal power stations could not use these pellets.” Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation does not provide subsidies for densified pellets at present.
Meanwhile, Timberlink, a leading Australasian timber processor, is investing in a $700,000 world-class grader to give it an edge in manufacturing structural pine at its Bell Bay mill. The Tasmanian and Australian Government have provided the company with a $50,000 grant for the project from the Tasmania Jobs and Investment Fund. Timberlink employs 190 people at Bell Bay.
4 April 2017, Edition 182
Sustainable Timber Tasmania has achieved Controlled Wood certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for its plantation operations.
30 November 2016, Edition 178
Tasmanian timber and craft skills have restored a barn floor in Highfield House, near Stanley, in a pains-taking, heritage-sensitive project. Smithton-based Britton Timbers was engaged by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to replace the Tasmanian oak barn floor while retaining its convict-laid appearance. “It was important that it maintained the look of the heritage buildings,” Britton Timbers spokesman, Haydn Nicholls, said. “The timber could be laid on the existing floor, which was made of old slatted Tasmanian oak in disrepair. Tasmanian oak was rough-sawn and then dressed on only three sides, leaving the visible face rough. Six samples were then sent to a local timber artisan who brushed and sanded each sample to varying degrees. The heritage officers then selected the sample that achieved the desired look, and we processed the required amount of timber to that specification.” Highfield House was built in 1832 to serve as headquarters for the Van Diemen’s Land Co which had been established by royal charter seven years earlier. The building, regarded as the birthplace of European settlement in the north-west, was bought by the State Government in the early 1980s. The former barn, which was built before the house, will be used for functions, including weddings.
30 November 2016, Edition 178
Channel Nine’s reality TV show The Block has showcased Tasmanian timber salvaged from Lake Pieman by local company Hydrowood. Aired in prime time on 3 October, the program gave valuable national exposure to Tasmania’s wood products and to the State generally. The Premier, Will Hodgman, said: “Hydrowood is a success story of our resurgent forest industries, with its innovative harvesting of specialty timbers from beneath some of our Hydro lakes … I congratulate Hydrowood on their success and also the Wynyard sawmill that processes the unique timber.”
3 November 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 177
Innovative company SFM Hydrowood has been recognised for Excellence in Timber Design at the Australian Timber Design Awards in Sydney for its work with timber salvaged from Lake Pieman. The company is developing a "lake to lounge" concept to utilise timber from drowned trees in Tasmania’s hydro lakes, beginning with Lake Pieman. Hydrowood uses heavy forestry machinery, including a purpose-built, 26-metre telescopic arm, to bring timber, including rare species, to the surface from 1,000ha of drowned forest. Managing Director, Andrew Morgan, said: “Bringing this [timber] out of the wild west coast is really appealing to designers and architects.” He said unique colours and markings the timber had gained through decades of submergence added to its appeal.
5 October 2016, Edition 176
Forestry Tasmania has invited tenders for the Tahune Airwalk, one of southern Tasmania’s most popular destinations. More than 70,000 people a year visit the site to enjoy a tree-top walk taking in views across the Huon and Picton rivers. Some make use of a cable hang glider. Forestry Tasmania’s Steve Whitely said in a statement in September: “While we are very proud of the profitable business that we have developed over the past 15 years, Forestry Tasmania’s focus is on growing trees, managing land and selling wood to domestic customers.” Mr Whiteley said the airwalk business was for sale, but the site and facilities would be leased.
4 October 2016, Edition 176
As Tasmania works on Australia’s first timber-first construction policy, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) has released a report promoting wood and wood-based materials in construction and products in place of non-renewable materials like concrete, metal, brick and plastic. The FOA report, Forestry for a low-carbon future: Integrating forests and wood products in climate change strategies, says an approach, like the one being initiated in Tasmania, could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The State’s timber-first policy will see “Government projects encouraged to use more timber products, which will promote a shift towards viewing wood as a first choice for construction, interior design and daily living.” Recent changes to the National Construction Code allow such timber products as cross-laminated timber (CLT) to be used in major building projects.
30 August 2016, Edition 175