Remarkably, it is these fire- killed trees which have been the major resource for timber-getters. Bern Bradshaw, one of our company’s founders, is a second generation King Billy pine sawmiller. Unlike Huon pine, where the logs can be floated out along rivers, King Billy pine chooses the rugged western mountain slopes for its home, and vehicles of one sort or another were required to bring the logs to the sawmill. After a major fire ravaged the Raglan Range and nearby Frenchman’s Cap in the 1960’s the Bradshaw family were tasked with salvaging the dead trees, and established an operation famous for its resourcefulness. They cut tracks up impossibly steep mountains and worked for months at a time winching the dead logs up to the top of the track, and then driving them down dangerously steep roadways.
Although not quite as prodigiously old as Huon pine, King Billy pines have been known to grow to 1,800+ years. Similarly, their rot-resisting qualities are not as phenomenal as Huon, but they can be successfully stockpiled for perhaps hundreds of years, an ability unheard-of in most other timbers. Several decades of salvage and careful husbanding of the logs has created a stockpile at our mill, and we believe we are the world’s only suppliers of sawlog King Billy pine. All of the resource – including the hundreds of fire-killed skeletons dotting the western ranges – is now fully protected.