Huon Pine - A Remarkable Tasmanian
Found only in west and south west Tasmania (in a broad arc from the Pieman River in the north to the Huon River in the south), Huon pine trees grow in climax wet temperate rainforests, especially on river banks or very wet areas.
The trees grow very slowly - often less than 1mm in girth per year - and reach prodigious ages; scientists agree that many individuals are aged 2,500 years and older. The average timber tree is likely to be at least 1,000 years old. We take very seriously our responsibility to treat such venerable forest denizens with respect and care; all Huon pine used by our licensed sawmill comes from stockpiles or stumps and long-dead trees retrieved from the forest floor. Every log is thoroughly assessed and carefully cut and seasoned to maximize the timber quality and quantity, and even the smallest offcuts and sawdust are made available to craftspeople for value-adding.
The timber contains quantities of a natural preserving oil called methyl eugenol which allows it to survive on or under the forest floor for centuries. A buried Huon pine log was documented by scientists to have been lying there for 38,000 years! As well as being a preservative, the methyl eugenol provides the timber with natural lubrication, so it can be bent, shaped or sculpted without splitting. It is also waterproof and insect resistant, making it prized as a boat building timber.
Huon pine 'leaves' are small and unremarkable, with the stalks covered by tiny scales, similar to the cypress hedges familiar in urban environments. In spring they develop pin-head sized male and female cones.
Huon pine was once the most prized boat-building timber in the world, and our sawmill still regularly supplies boat grade timber to boat builders and repairers. Furniture and wood-turned items are other major uses.