Conondale Timbers Sawmill: sawn hardwood timber

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Comments (16)

Ian Stehbens on January 4, 2009

Conondale Timbers Pty Ltd sawmill is operated by Ron Green, a mill the Green family bought from Gibsons in 1965.

It was just a spur of the moment thing that I, the son of a sawmiller, decided just to stop here and see what I could do with my camera. It was a spontaneous visit and turned out that the mill that I thought was abandoned was still operational, even if nowadays it is a one man operation. And that one man, Ron Green, was welcoming and allowed a stranger to wander around with his camera.

Out in the yard these lengths of timber are stacked dried and ready for sale. I like the geometry and the pattern, and was intrigued by the precision of the notations on the ends. Ron has deciphered it all for me.

So for the curious viewer, this is what it says:

IB 2.7/283 means that this is Ironbark 2.83M long exactly which in round terms means a 2.7M length of useable timber. BG Blue Gum; FG Flooded Gum; TW Tallowwoood; BB Blackbutt.

Blackbutt, Ironbark, Tallowwood, Blue Gum and Flooded Gum are all native hardwoods of the south Queensland forests, and are sourced locally.

rlzzza on January 4, 2009

Splendid!...and thanks for the info on the codes/numbers.

Marilyn Whiteley on January 4, 2009

Of course I like the geometry ... and the colours and the textures. I'm glad you got to explore the place and share with us.


Ian Stehbens on January 5, 2009

Dear Marilyn and Mira,

I just love the smell of newly sawn timber, any place in the world: the scents of milled cypress pine, hoop pine, rosewood are some of my favourites from this patch of the world. I cannot teach either of you anything about geometry, colours, textures or exploration but I could chat ad infinitum about Australian timbers.

Recently I had the opportunity to take a Tanzanian student of mine for a day in a National Park, Royal National Park, in fact. It was the second to be declared a National Park in the world, after Yosemite.

I enjoyed my day, among the diverse of forests of tall trees, along the waterways, at the beach, on the high cliff tops, walking beside lake and waterfalls, attracted by colourful birds, and amused by noisy raucous sulphur-crested white cockatoos. We watched the hang-gliders riding the drafts that rose up the face of the escarpment with the blue Pacific below.

At the end of the day, he expressed his disappointment! "What sort of a National Park is that. That's not a National Park! Where were the animals?

In part, I replied, "In Africa you have the Big Five in your parks, and here we have our Big Five also. But you were looking for the likes of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. What I was showing you were giant Stringybarks, Blue Gums, Tallowwoods, Ironbarks and Bloodwood - our Big Five, and we saw all of them on your first visit to the National Park."

Thank you both for your comments.

Best wishes,


Marilyn Whiteley on January 5, 2009

Lovely story, Ian! Thanks for sharing it.

Of course I believe you know I like trees--trees in general, and especially Australia's trees. In connection with some "sight" we visited, there was a shop that included books among its wares. What was the one thing I looked for? A guidebook to Australia's trees! I didn't find one there and didn't have a chance to hunt anywhere else.

And even if it's not newly sawn, the smell is lovely. I remember fondly my father's classroom when he taught "shop," i.e. "industrial arts."


Ian Stehbens on January 11, 2009

Dear Marilyn,

Telling stories is a delight, but more so when someone appreciates them.

As for your guide book on trees, I guess it is the scale of the catalogue that is required to produce and adequate field guide to the array of Australian trees that defeats us. I was familiar at one stage with the c70 eucalypts of the Brisbane Region, but in recent years there has been a lot of reclassification, and quite a number of trees that I knew as Eucalyptus genus now are classified by a different genus. So I have been reverting to common names - they haven't changed!

Readers Digest have published a full coverage of Australian Birds (about 740 spp) in full colour and we find that invaluable for household use. There are more technical field guides for 'birdies'. But as for a comprehensive useable book on trees I know of none. Next time (tomorrow) when I am at the Botanic Gardens I will see what books they have, and let you know the outcome of my inquiry.

Thankfully we now have the internet and all of what we want in that regard is at least accessible there, but that doesn't help me in the bush.

When I did 'shop' it was almost exclusively hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), our local native softwood, that was used. A lovely timber it is and its very familiar smell was a simple pleasure, for as you know I grew up in association with a hoop pine sawmill.



Ian Stehbens on January 12, 2009

Dear Marilyn,

As indicated above, I made it to the Sydney Botanical Gardens Bookshop today and I have found the trees book: Boland DJ et al (2006): Forest Trees of Australia 5th Edition, Collingwood, CSIRO Publishing. 736pp. It seems to deal with 300spp in full but mentions hundreds of others. Criteria for selection of species "were that they should be important to the timber industry, conspicuous in the landscape, of environmental value, or of ornamental interest."

In regard to genus reclassification that I mentioned above, "the conflicting generic concepts of Hill and Johnson (1995), who recognised the bloodwoods and the ghost gums as a separate genus, Corymbia, and Brooker (2000), who recognized Angophora and Corymbia as subgenera of Eucalyptus, were difficult to reconcile for this edition. While there is general acceptance of the genus Corymbia by the botanical scientific community in Australia, its application in other areas is still somewhat controversial..... Where the common name 'eucalypt' is used we intend it to also include angophoras and bloodwoods."

Thank you for setting me on another path of learning.


EVA_L on January 14, 2009

I'm glad to meet here my dear friends Marilyn and Yan!

This photo is interesting not only in terms of timber technology! Each saw cut has its own image - as a little story about the fate of the tree, and its character. It is a pity that now it is just a log!

cordially yours, Eva

Luud Riphagen on January 14, 2009

Interesting and very nice photo Ian In the past I was a collector of different kinds of woods and I have more than 50 Australian wood samples with their description in my collection. Y* Special for you , my last 2008 SUNSET Greetings Luud

Ian Stehbens on January 14, 2009

Dear Luud and Eva,

That you both have responded to this little bit of my world has put a big grin on my face! I think that now I must upload a picture of some of the logs that were felled in the forest nearby for you dear Eva. And I am most impressed Luud that you have this collection. It surprises me, but I would delight in reading a list of all the different timbers you have in your Australian collection - or some of them at least, Luud. Do you have any of those in this stack - grey iron bark, tallowwood, blackbutt or flooded gum?

And thanks too for the YS for this, Luud! I'll mark it and it will be a small memory of you and a reminder of your collection!

Thank you both for your appreciation!

You have made me realise that a visit to a sawmill is an interesting thing for tourists to do! I must arrange such visits!


Marilyn Whiteley on January 17, 2009

Belated thanks, Ian, for the information about the book. Next time!


Luud Riphagen on January 17, 2009

Dear Ian this is my list of Australian timbers I have in my collection; Alpine Ash, Black Bean, Blackbutt, Blackwood, Bollywood, Broad leaved apple, Broad leaved tea tree, Brow alder corkwood, Brown barrel, Brown stringi bark, Brown Tulip oak, Brush box, Brush mahogany, Forest red gum, Grey box, Grey gum, Hoop pine, Jarrah, Karri, Manna gum, Messmate stringy bark, Miva mahogany, Narrow leaved, Negro Haed Beech, Radiata monterey pine, Red blood wood, Red cedar, Red iron bark, River red gum, Rose gum, Rose mahogany, Rose maple, Rose she oak, Sassafras, Silver sycamore, Silverash cudgerie, Sivertop Ash, Smooth barked apple, Southern silky oak, Spotted gum, Tallowwood, Turpentin, White cypres pine, White mahogany, White stringy bark, White topped box, Yellow carabeen, Yellow stringy bark, Yellow wood, I put a picture by LUUD OLD so you can see and have an idea how it looks like with a bit of warp.

Kind regards Luud

Ian Stehbens on January 18, 2009

"Shiver me timbers, Luud!"

Thanks very much for sharing this remarkable information. I have replied more fully in your old folio.

My kind regards,


Amelia Royan on May 14, 2009

This one is so interesting Ian, and how orderly too, with not only the type of timber but also the length. I rather suspect that all the timber in the Norwegian photograph is softwood, but it seems to have lasted well. So are you going to post some of the felled logs, or have you already done so?

Warm wishes, Amelia

Amelia Royan on May 14, 2009

I have just posted a photo of timber movement techniques for you Ian :)

Ian Stehbens on May 16, 2009

Thanks for this conversation, Amelia, for the culture of timber is clearly revealed. It is interesting to ponder. I have often professionally thought about the geography of timber but now you have me thinking into a new frame.

If you want to see a couple of the logs click on the Conondale tag beside this image and you should see a couple.

Enjoy the long days of sunlight, and hopefully warmth - and keep putting them to good use with the camera.


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  • Uploaded on January 4, 2009
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    by Ian Stehbens