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Woodworkers Guild has strong connection to gardens

Video: Paul Donaldson

Replant, regrow, reuse – that's the motto of the Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild and the history of their work replenishing trees at the Botanic Gardens.

Since the early 1990s, the Guild have been growing a range of trees on a parcel of land at the gardens to transform into beautiful objects as part of their club activities.

President Stephen Faulkner said the Woodworkers Guild was formed in 1989 and aims to encourage the use of timber in a positive way.

“We make everything from pyrography which is woodburning, scroll sawing, furniture – we even mill and store our own timber,” he said.

“We create predominantly smaller items and even do a bit of repair work for members of the public.

“We have about 70 members ranging from 17 to 88 years old.”

Stephen said in May of 1990, the Guild was approached by Council to start a forest at the Botanic Gardens.

He said the aim of the forest was to create a space for the guild to grow their own trees for cutting as part of their club activities.

“We jumped at the chance because a lot of the public thought that woodworkers chopped down trees willy nilly,” Stephen said.

“It was the perfect opportunity to show the community our goals to replant, regrow, reuse.

“At the time, the original planting was 40 about trees and then it quickly grew to 300 trees.”

The Guild still maintains an interest in their forest area at the Botanic Gardens today.

Stephen said it was a great way for members to learn about where their wood was coming from and what it looked like in its natural state.

“You can tell what type of timber you have by its colour, feel and smell, but looking at a tree before it is cut down is a whole other story,” he said.

“We learn a lot through this process – about trees, where they grow and how they grow.”

Stephen said there was always plenty to learn in the woodworking game.

“Trees that grow quickly are usually softer and easier to use,” he said.

“Trees that grow faster are usually harder and darker.”

Stephen said every tree had its own unique qualities.

“One of my favourites is the Red Cedar because it is soft, has beautiful colour and is an Australian native, but I also like the Silky Oak – it has a nice colour about it as well.”

Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild Inc member Alan Armstrong.

Woodworkers Guild garden an important feature

Bundaberg Regional Council's Coordinator Arboriculture, Botanic Gardens, Horticulture Carl Moller said the Woodworkers Guild section of the garden was important in highlighting the region's rich history.

“Before the introduction of sugarcane, Bundaberg was built upon logging and milling timber,” he said.

“The town’s first sawmill was built on the north bank of the Burnett River in 1868 and closed in 1903.

“The trees planted here signify the importance of timber to the establishment of the city of Bundaberg and feature wood used by the Woodworkers Guild of Bundaberg.”

Carl said the bunya pine was commonly used in furniture making, the hoop pine in general construction and silky oak to make musical instruments.

To find out more about the Bundaberg Woodworkers Guild Inc click here.