Monday 9 January 2017



Today we stopped and photographed, with the driver's permission, a logging truck. It contained imperfect logs that were going to a paper mill. The perfect ones go to make building products. He said that three people have photographed his truck,( that got me wondering whether they were tourists, or ?  We get many tourists in our district.) He told us that it takes 40 years to grow the trees, and they have new ones ready to replace them. 

Recently in the pub I spoke to backpackers that were staying there, from America. A nice couple , they said they were working at the big tree nursery. I also know a local that works there seasonally, and many that work at a timber mill. Without this industry there would be much more unemployment. When someone in the city builds a house and buys pine products from Australia, or buys Australian made paper, they are supporting their fellow citizens in country towns. I like paper with recycled content, so we buy toilet paper and paper towel made in Australia that has that. 




This video below is not shot in Australia. We drive on the left hand side of the road. When we get stuck behind a logging truck in our hills, they go slower than this. However, it gives you a taste of what it is like behind a logging truck in our ranges:

"I learned a man's gotta be alot tougher than the timber he's cutting."  Johnny Cash.

Our greater area has a number of timber plantations, mostly softwood, eg pine. There is some hardwood also being grown. Locally there are two mills, a pine cutting mill that makes fence palings, posts, rails, decking, and sleepers; the other one is a radial cutting mill that is expanding to use hardwood and difficult logs. The first one also generates waste such as woodchips that go to the papermill, sawdust and pine bark, that get sold for mulch. 


Plantations of pine can be seen from the roads through the ranges. Nothing seems to grow beneath them. Sometimes there is a cleared area where they have been cut. The branches are stripped off right there by machinery. 

I am opposed to clearscale logging of old growth native forest. There are national park areas here where the mighty mountain ash trees have been preserved. These are supposed to be the best storers of carbon in the world. In our area there are wild areas of ferns, and other plants, in the native forests, plus streams and waterfalls. Living there are native animals and birds. Here is a link to the Australian mountain ash. I don't buy furniture made from this, though I might if it were plantation grown for that purpose, but not from old growth forests. It's amazing walking through our local forests looking up at these majestic trees. I'm spiritual, and can always feel the presence of indigenous people from ancient times, in those forests. 


Running on empty said...

Comments on this topic are welcome. I'm happy to hear your opinions.

Kathy said...

Fun....what great music and logging story. My BIL was a logger and died when a tree fell on him. My other BIL used to run one of those big cutters balanced on the side of a mountain in Tennessee. The little town they lived in used to have the bigger band saw in the country and was a big logging community. The saw has been gone for years but logging is still quite a big industry there. I hate to see them clearcut the mountains too because it takes so long for them to recover and the mountains look terrible and it causes erosion and mudslides.
Great blog, Cath.

Running on empty said...

Thanks, Kathy! What kind(s) of timber were they cutting there in Tennessee?

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother in law. Workplace accidents have a personal and an economic cost to the family, insurance company premiums etc. So safety standards are always being improved in this country. I believe that's one reason so much manufacturing has gone overseas where the safety may be less stringent. They are closing a coal fired power station in the next region because the company does not want the huge cost of upgrading the safety as mandated by Worksafe.

Kathy said...

They were private cutters working for lumber mills. There is no insurance. In Tennessee you are usually a self contractor and sell the lumber to the mills. I believe it was mostly pulp wood unless they would come across a more valuable black walnut or something along the way. We have a lot of those big overloaded log trucks on the roads down there and the owners of the trucks don't maintain them properly so many have run wild because of the brakes heating up on the mountains and crashing over a cliff. The coal mines and lumber were the majority of jobs in Appalachia. The coal mines have mostly closed because of safety issues and lack of demand for coal.

Running on empty said...

That is so tragic. Employers here have to pay work cover insurance premiums to the government. One can also take out income protection insurance, for sawmill workers that is quite expensive. Worksafe department polices safety, plus unions can blow the whistle.

Badger said...

AHHHHHHH now your tugging at my heartstrings, Forestry has been my life in one way or another, I have planted millions of trees, put up forestry fences, weeded the young trees, cleared away competing brush, tree surgery, loaded lorries BY HAND, worked in a saw mills, producing fence kits, planking timber, pruning large trees, removing dead ones from gardens, and lectured in forestry and woodland management in a college, so I have done that, been there and got the tea shirt. It was really hard work as it was all done by hand, no machines in those days, it was happy days I loved it, and I miss it now I am retired. When I go back to England to visit I always meet up with the guys I worked with and we have a good ol chinwag about our time working in the forest

Running on empty said...

I'm so glad you read the article then , Badger! I hope you are well?