A Tale of Tall Timber

petitparadis j whyte jnr

My forefathers, a select few, cut down trees in the Manjimup district.

Big Trees.

Without power tools.

They were part of the Group Settlement Scheme that was implemented as a large-scale solution to clearing land for agriculture and providing food resources for Western Australia in order to lessen the reliance on imported food. Much as we will endeavour to do in our own backyard!

Stumps like the one above were not going to go away easily. It took fire and dynamite and a lot of determination. A decent size Karri tree would provide enough timber for two houses or cottages. 

I was thinking about this kind of stuff as I was oiling the floorboards at the renovation. Long, beautiful, thick floorboards that we really did not want to coat with polyurethane that would be off-gassing into our environment for years to come.

There were skeptics amongst us. Even the floor sanders were dubious of us oiling the floor. And when I asked if the wood dust from the floor sanding would be ok to use in the garden ( Produce no waste and all that stuff!) I’m sure they thought I was nuts. 

“It’ll take ages to break down.” 

“That’s good.” I replied. The sandy soil is a Monster with a large appetite. Truth be known, I don’t want to put it directly in the garden anyway. It’s for something much more special and selective  – but that will be for another post.

Trees . . .

I cannot but imagine what clearing the land would have been like some hundred odd years ago. Some of us pine for the old growth forests that spanned the south-west. I’ve always felt at home amongst the southern forests. Karri. Jarrah. Yarri. Marri

The floor sander man was telling me he did the floors in a house in Cottesloe. He was sanding away and realised that some of the floorboards were up to 14 metres long. That is, one length of timber. No joins. Apparently the logs had been pulled to the house by horse and dray and was milled on the site. Back in the day, that is

Jarrah is what has kept Tillellan in good stead for 80 odd years.

Tillellan, from the stumps up was made of Jarrah. A hard wood that is known to stand the test of time. And as far as the builders could ascertain it was probably ‘run of the mill’ timber which was milled and used fresh in the build. This is how they explained the warped beams and supports they discovered when they removed the plasterboard. Nothing was very square, it was quite ‘organic’ but it was solid.

As much as the builders are confident in their treated pine products, I reckon parts of the original house will still outlast the renovations. Time will tell. 


5 thoughts on “A Tale of Tall Timber

      1. Actually, blue gum is HUGE even here, and very fast. It is the eucalyptus that gives all eucalyptus a bad reputation that is difficult for arborists to get past.


      2. Yes, sadly much of the original south west forest area of Western Australia has been ‘farmed’ with pines and blue gums. Blue gums are also farmed in Thailand.


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