Celebrating 100 Years of Forest and Forestry Product Research in Queensland

The timber industry is one of Australia's manufacturing success stories. People will always use timber and there will always be timber due to its sustainability provided it is responsibly grown and managed.

Fortunately, this was recognised over 100 years ago when Richard Matthews (RM) Hyne, founder of Hyne Timber and Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly successfully introduced a motion that the government take immediate action in the replanting of forests and the creation of a Department of Forestry.

And so, with the support of other such visionaries, the journey began towards ultimately establishing a forest and forest products research facility in 1918.

100 years on and Government officials, stakeholders and industry came together to reflect on the significance of research and science in this ever evolving and growing industry.

During the centenary celebration, James Hyne, Executive Director of Hyne Timber spoke about the 100 years of Queensland Government research and development, supporting the industry's security and growth.

"Forestry and forest products need science. Trees are a living, natural resource and they all differ. What you can do with trees and how you can do it better has evolved significantly over the years and will never stop evolving, diversifying and improving provided we maintain a continued scientific focus.

"Therefore, the Queensland Governments Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Salisbury Research Facility is a critical innovation centre.

"To name a few, the Facility has undertaken extensive work on drying plantation pines to improve the useability of the wood by increasing straightness and stability.

"The quality of our products is benchmarked by industry standards and certifications which are essential for builders and home owners using our products in the majority of Queensland homes. This facility has played an integral role and continues to be involved in underpinning such standards with a fundamental knowledge of timber product through extensive testing over many years." Mr Hyne said.

The research facility also introduced acoustic technology to enable the timber industry to make improvements on grading timber and ensuring quality products.

Preservation technology and ongoing improvements to treatments ensures durability of timber products and more efficient use of timber in exposed environments. The establishment of the termite resistance of exotic pines in Queensland was a milestone moment for industry and the community.

The Salisbury Research Facility's ongoing support provides a highly valuable, technical reference point for all manufacturing and optimised use of timber to further grow the industry.

The facility plays a significant role in educating and developing today's leaders including James Hyne himself during his formative years of his Cadetship.

Mr Hyne concluded his speech by taking the opportunity to officially thank the Queensland Government for the ongoing investment in the Facility.

"I'd like to thank the Queensland Government for their ongoing support and investment in forest and forest product research through the Salisbury Research Facility.

"The staff work with us as partners. They deliver technical expertise with a commercial, customer service focus. We appreciate the pride they take in their work and the passion they share for our industry.

"They are delivering growth to the forest and timber manufacturing sectors, creating many jobs predominantly in Queensland's regions while securing an extensive and diverse supply chain worth billions to the Queensland economy." Mr Hyne concluded.

James Hyne's Great, Great, Grandfather, RM Hyne emigrated to Australia from England with his wife in 1864.

As a qualified carpenter with a box of tools, he set to work as a successful builder and carpenter during the Gympie gold rush. However, as a visionary man of great initiative, in 1870 he took on the gold rush’s most lucrative job of all; he became the publican of the Mining Exchange Hotel!

Some years later, he moved to Maryborough, acquiring the lease of the Royal Hotel.

RM Hyne valued the Maryborough community, a value the company carry's forward to this day. He was immersed in civic affairs to improve education, health and other matters. He held the role of Mayor and was a highly respected man achieving many wins for the Wide Bay Region.

It was following the tragic death of his wife during the birth of his third child that he completely changed the course of his life. While retaining the Royal Hotel freehold, he was no longer the licensee.

He established Hyne Timber, then called the National Saw and Planing Mill on the banks of the Mary River in Maryborough in 1882.

Six years later when he was elected as the local member in the Queensland Legislative Assembly, he introduced a Women's Suffrage Bill, arguing strongly for gender equality. Unfortunately this was too visionary at that time and was defeated.

By now, he was a well-established timber manufacturer and well placed to understand and drive forest related policy.

He was one of the recognised pioneers who worked passionately to ensure the sustainability of forests and timber supply for generations to come.

Photo 1: Hyne Timber's Geoff Stringer and James Hyne with the Salisbury Research Facility Team

Photo 2: Hyne Timber Executive Director James Hyne with Vicki Lane, General Manager, Horticulture and Forestry Science, Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Photo 3: Richard Matthews Hyne - Founder of Hyne Timber in 1882, Maryborough QLD