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Australian Timber Flooring and especially history and origin of Australian Timbers.

On these pages we will show you some of the rich variety of Australian timbers. Read about the origin and history of Australian Timbers and timber merchants.

 Australian Ash

Blackbutt grows in the coastal forests of New South Wales from Bega on the south coast up to Maryborough in Queensland.

 Black Butt

The town of Blackbutt occupies part of what was once Taromeo run. Simon Scott who had come to Australia two years earlier and had overlanded several thousand sheep to Cressbrook in the Brisbane Valley during the previous year. Because this part of the run was covered by dense scrub, it was of no use to the graziers, and in 1889 the owners of the time voluntarily surrendered it. The government then threw it open for closer settlement. The area was known simply as the Blackbutt Forest, and the name Blackbutt came to be adopted for a township which started to spring up there around the turn of the century. At first the name referred to the settlement now called Benarkin, but then it came to be applied to the town which now bears the name. The establishment of a timber industry from 1903 saw it grown rapidly. The name of Blackbutt was officially bestowed on the town of that name in 1909 by Surveyor Munro. Blackbutt is a species of eucalyptus, Eucalyptus pilularis, which gets its common name from the rough, dark-coloured bark which remains well up the trunk.

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 Other places in Australia where there are a production of timbers:

Avonsleigh is 47 km east from Melbourne's central business district. The Post Office opened as Koenig's in 1902, was renamed Avonsleigh in 1911 and closed in 1985. Avonsleigh was first known as East Emerald. Its current name arose from Avonsleigh guest house, close to the Wright stopping place on the Belgrave to Gembrook railway line (now the "Puffing Billy" scenic railway). J.W. Wright was the owner of the guest house. Until the second world war Avonsleigh was mainly occupied for timber production, but clearance for agricultural land occurred in the post war years. By the 1980s residential subdivisions along major roads occurred and a township of several shops developed.


In the steep foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, 48 kilometres east of central Melbourne, lies the township of Cockatoo. In the 1850s, prospectors searching for gold bestowed the name Cockatoo Creek, supposedly because of large numbers of cockatoos there. When land was selected in the 1870s, the name was retained. The country was mountainous and heavily timbered, making clearing difficult. A store was opened in 1895 to serve the scattered community.
In the late 1890s, a narrow gauge railway was constructed from Ferntree Gully, thirty four kilometres east of Melbourne, to Gembrook, a further six kilometres east of Cockatoo. Three sawmills were soon established in the Cockatoo area, transporting their timber out by rail. The Belfry Mill built a wooden tramline to the Cockatoo railway siding. Around the turn of the century, the locality was known as Devon. In July 1901, the original name, Cockatoo Creek, was restored, due to pressure from local residents. The Railways Department shortened this to Cockatoo and it gradually came into general use.


Dandenong is situated 31 kilometres south-east of Melbourne on the outskirts of the city. The name is thought to be a corruption of an Aboriginal word meaning lofty mountains, and referred to the ranges which overlook the area. The country is flat to undulating and was originally densely forested with red gum.
Joseph Hawdon established a pastoral run on Dandenong Creek in 1837, overlanding the cattle from Sydney. Soon a few timber cutters and a police camp were also located there. By 1850, the whole area had been taken up for grazing. Dandenong Creek was first bridged in 1840. A road was made from Melbourne, making Dandenong, by the late 1850s, an important staging post for travellers into Gippsland. It became known as the 'gateway to Gippsland'. A township was surveyed in 1852. Milling of the red gum timber became an important industry, and charcoal burning, tanning, quarrying and brick making also flourished. A stock market was established in 1866. By 1861, there were 40 houses in the township housing 193 people. Dandenong Shire was proclaimed in 1873. The Australian Handbook records the progress of the town by 1875.

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Ringwood is a residential suburb 23 km. east of Melbourne, situated on the Maroondah Highway. The precursor of the Maroondah Highway was the track to the Gippsland and Upper Goulburn gold fields, via Lilydale, and before that the track to Gippsland's pastoral runs. A Log Cabin Inn was opened in 1850 for travellers at the future site of Ringwood. Timber getters and paling splitters were the first occupants of the district.
The Parish of Ringwood was surveyed and named by the early 1860s. The origin of the name is uncertain, the likely derivation being from Ringwood in the New Forest, Hampshire, England. In 1864 the Parish was brought within the Berwick Roads District, but transferred to the Upper Yarra Roads District a few years later. In 1872 when the Roads District was made a shire, Ringwood was part of Lillydale shire.
In addition to timber and farming pursuits, antimony mining began at Ringwood. A large mine occupied the site of the future civic offices and was operated until 1892.

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A timber town on the Atherton tableland.
Location: 147 km south-west of Cairns; 904 m above sea-level (the highest town in Queensland).
Origin of name
: reportedly named by the town's surveyor after finding a portion of the Charles Kingsley novel 'Ravenshoe' in the fork of a tree at the locality. How it got there was never determined. It was originally known locally as Cedar Creek.
Brief history: in 1881 William Mazlin discovered substantial stands of cedar in the area and named the local river Cedar Creek. The first sawmill was built in 1899 but the town wasn't settled until 1910 mainly because of the difficulties in getting the timber out of the area. For 70 years Ravenshoe relied on timber for its economic survival and its sawmills produced high quality rainforest timbers for markets in Australia and overseas.
In 1987 Ravenshoe was the site of a number of major battles between environmentalists and timber workers when 160 000 hectares of land previously been set aside for timber production was nominated as part of 900,000 hectares of World Heritage. Locals argued that if they were not allowed to log the rainforest the town would die. The environmentalists won and the town survived.

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 Parliament House: iconic seat of Australian Government
As the home of the Parliament and the seat of Government, this building has a significance to Australians unique among buildings in Australia which is quite independent of its considerable architectural, aesthetic and townscape value. The buildings design and siting on the land axis creates a strong visual relationship and a linkage between the historic War Memorial and Provisional Parliament House. It is pre-eminently sited on Capital Hill at the focus of Walter Burley Griffin's 1912 plan for Canberra and the Parliamentary Triangle. The building design re-states the original profile of the hill and its curved walls reach out to encompass the radial avenues established by the 1912 Griffin plan as the primary axes of the city. The building is the result of a design competition with 329 entries for Australia's foremost public building and won in 1980 by Mitchell/Giurgola and Thorp Architecture. Completed and dedicated to mark Australia's Bicentennial year, 1988. Various timbers from around Australia have been used in the interior design, the building hosts numerous pieces of Australian art and craft. Large areas of the house are open for public inspection every day, during normal business hours.


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Timber transport:

 Gneering Reefs
The Gneering was an old sailing ship formerly the Granite City used by the timber merchant, William Pettigrew, to carry timber from coastal areas to his mill in Brisbane.


 Dohle's Rocks
Johann and Catherine Dohle migrated from Prussia, 1863, and set up a timber business at Breakfast Creek. Much of the timber came from the Pine River area, and in 1903 they took up residence on land there purchased from Tom Petrie. In time, his sons, Henry and Johann Jnr, took over the business. They harnessed the power of the wind to drive a saw for cutting timber. They transferred their boat building activities to Dohle's Rocks as well. Later they went into growing sugarcane, pineapples and vegetables together with dairying.


 Dunethin Rock
The name has its origin in the Aboriginal Dhu-Yungathin meaning trees swim., and came from the period when James Low had a timber depot there, 1867. There was a time when the name was spelt with an 'm' - Dunethim, but in the 1970s it came to be spelt officially as Dunethin.


In its original Aboriginal usage, locals claim kulpi was used for charred logs, but the Queensland Railways says that the name refers to timber from the box tree. It was given this name when the railway came through. The positioning of the railway meant the demise of the nearby township of Evergreen

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A small timber town in the heart of the Karri forests.
Location: 365 km south of Perth; 31 km south east of Pemberton.

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Shoreham is located in the southern Mornington Peninsula region on the Western Port. Its Local Government Area is the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. It is a coastal recreation resort notable for its pine-covered cliffs and foreshore reserve. At the 2001 census, Shoreham had a population of 984. Shoreham began as a port for timber exports from the surrounding area. Early reports of the area suggested the region was "thick with honeysuckle and sheoak" and early settlers in the Balnarring and Hastings region were involved in wattle bark stripping and cutting piles and sleepers for shipping to Melbourne via the town. Shoreham Post Office opened in October 1881.

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An historic mountain timber town which was once the highest point on the Moe to Walhalla narrow gauge railway. With a strong timber history, one of its former timber mills - Micha's Mill - still operates. The King of the Mountain Wood Chop is held every Australia Day in January.
Brief history: The area was generally known as Upper Moondarra in the early 1900s, the township of Erica beginning to grow after construction of the railway line from Moe to Walhalla, which passed through the area. When the station opened in 1910 it was named Harris, but had been renamed Erica after a nearby mountain by 1914. As a consequence, the Post Office opened on 14 July 1910 as Upper Moondarra and was renamed Erica in 1914.
The township of Erica survived mainly on forestry and agriculture, and after Walhalla's decline by the 1920s it became the largest town on the Moe-Walhalla railway. The section of line past Erica closed to traffic in 1944, save for occasional goods services to Platina station, and the line from Moe to Erica closed completely in 1954.
Erica still maintains agricultural and timber industry connections, as well as being a service town for numerous local tourist destinations such as the Thomson Dam, the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, Mount Baw Baw and Mount Saint Gwinear.

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The former Legislative Council, which was established in 1948, was housed in various temporary buildings around Darwin until 1955 when it moved to part of the bombed Post Office on the site of the present Parliament House.
The foundation stone was laid by the then Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Nick Dondas, MLA, on 2 August 1990 and the building was officially opened by the then Governor-General of Australia, Bill Hayden, AC, on 18 August 1994. Meldrum Burrows, an architectural firm, was responsible for the design of the building.
It is intended that Parliament House will serve the Northern Territory Legislature for 100 years and it was designed to address changing and increasing usage. It is a fully-occupied building and houses the offices of the Executive, the Department of the Legislative Assembly, offices for all Members, the Northern Territory Library and Parliamentary Counsel.
The entrance of Parliament House is located adjacent to the ceremonial forecourt, with the main feature being a stylised Northern Territory Coat of Arms placed over the ceremonial doors. This interpretation, created in stainless steel and bronze, was crafted by a Darwin artisan, Mr Geoff Todd.
The building was designed to accommodate Darwin's tropical climate and its façade across the exterior screens and defuses 80% of direct sunlight from the interior of the building.
Timbers used throughout the building are Tasmanian Golden Sassafras and Tasmanian Brush Box, a fine-grained forest timber used because the light colour does not absorb natural light. Tasmanian timbers were used throughout the public areas of the building, whilst West Australian Jarrah was used in the executive areas, because the Northern Territory does not produce similar timbers.
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We thank Stephen Yarrow of for kindly supplying the above information to us.