Historical Background to the IndustryAustralia has been a large contributor to the global timber industry since a few years after its discovery in 1788. When Australia was settled by the British, many European influences were brought into the country. As a result, the native timbers of Australia came to be used in producing many of the same styled objects desired by the British.
Global events, mechanisation and innovative ideas have shaped our modern timber industry. 1830 saw the use of machines become incorporated into the way timber was cut, dressed and constructed. This replaced the human factor of sawing down large trees and planking them by hand. Mechanisation also allowed for mass production to take, sometimes completing milling tasks over 1000% quicker. When WW2 struck a demand for timber was necessary for the construction of ships, guns, planes and infrastructure. To accommodate this plywood was invented for many of the applications previously occupied by solid timber.
Later, particle board was invented. Particle board is extremely cheap to make and is made out of off cuts which was suited extremely well to the worlds' timber shortage.
Over the years Australia has diversified its specialties within the timber industry. Native timbers such as Blackwood, Huon Pine, Myrtle, Silky Oak, Jarrah, Red Cedar and She-Oak are exported world wide and sold within Australia as logs, boards and dressed pieces. Cabinet makers and builders use these timbers in a variety of applications, such as furniture, kitchen making and general building and construction. The natural forests of Australia are mostly hardwoods of mixed species with many worthless scrub trees. The majority of Australia's coastlines are covered with these worthless coniferous scrubs. The area of productive commercial timber is very small; however initiatives have been and are currently undertaken of planting fast growing exotic soft woods.