Salvaged trees

In 1983, Australia’s infamous Ash Wednesday II saw more than 180 fires sweep across South Australia and Victoria, in winds of up to 110km/h. Seventy-five people lost their lives, with thousands becoming homeless. Other casualties were the extensive pine forests, the biggest industry in the South East, which affected people’s livelihood.

What to do with all the burnt timber? From what I can gather, the world’s biggest timber salvage began and, up to three years after the fire, trees were collected and kept submerged or wet in Lake Bonney, a freshwater lake near Mt Gambier, for use in the decade after.

The feature bench, or series of seats, for Becky’s squares, and Xingfumamas pull-up-a-seat, were salvaged trees that were removed from water storage in 1987, sawn, dried and preservative treated to act as a lasting reminder of the fire devastation and salvage operation.

They are outside the Umpherston Sinkhole in Mount Gambier, South Australia. I believe that the timber shows no signs of damage when salvaged in this way and can be used for building, furniture and all other usual purposes.


    1. Until I read the plaque I’d had no idea about it either. It was also a relief to know that the strategy has probably been used since and no doubt will be used again. I wonder who thought of it.

      Liked by 1 person

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