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Timber

— The timber is used for miscellaneous purposes, like "Colonial Pine" (Araucaria Cunninghamii), but its most valuable property is its resistance to white ants and Teredo. Round piles of this timber with the bark on are all but proof against the attacks of Teredo (cobra) even in brackish water; in fact, some saw-millers say that its power of resistance to marine borers is absolute, but I doubt this, although it is rarely touched. It used to be employed in the Port Macquarie district for staves for tallow casks, and was then called "Stave-wood." In the Gloucester district it has the reputation of shrinking a good deal and being knotty. Locally, it is used for flooring and ceiling boards and dray bottoms.

Another report says:— "Timber light and durable when used for any inside work; it takes a fine polish." We know but little of the uses of this timber, except for piles. Mr. F. M. Bailey says that it is excellent for the spars and masts of vessels.




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The genus Podocarpus is far more developed in New Zealand than it is in Australia, and the uses and properties of the better known New Zealand timber trees will suggest uses and properties probably possessed, in a greater or less degree, by their Australian congeners. The Totara stands in the very first rank of New Zealand trees; it is one of the best timbers in the world to withstand marine borers; in fact, some comparative tests between this timber and the Western Australian Jarrah, made a few years ago by the Engineer to the Auckland Harbour Board, tend to show that Totara possesses greater resistant power than Jarrah. Other Podocarpus timbers of note from the sister Colony are the Matai (P. spicata) which is practically imperishable, the Miro or Black Pine (P. ferruginea), all the above being grand timbers. There is still another New Zealand Podocarpus (P. dacrydioides), the White Pine or Kahikatea, which by no means bears so good a name for durability as those already mentioned. It is, however, largely used in the manufacture of butter-boxes, for which it is very suitable.

The genus to which our Brown Pine belongs is even more developed in Asia (chiefly in the tropics) than it is in Australasia. A few species are found in tropical America and in the West Indies, in mountainous districts. It also follows the Andes south into Chili and Peru for a considerable distance. It is also found in South Africa.

Two species of Podocarpus are found in the warmer parts of Japan, and are frequently planted in the vicinity of temples. Although not largely used for timber, being chiefly utilised for ornamental purposes, e.g., green hedges and specimen trees, their timber is well-known, and it is considered to be more durable in water than in the air, confirming Australasian experience of allied timber trees.

A Burmese species yields timber which is held in high regard by the natives, and they call it by a name which signifies the Prince of Wood and of trees. It is used by carpenters for various purposes, and the natives of Burma have a superstition that the beams of balances should be made of it. A writer states that it is used to avert evil by driving a peg of it into a house post or boat. Apart from the sentimental and superstitious considerations which influence the use of this timber, there is no doubt that it is really valuable, and a distinguished Indian botanist has suggested that it may prove a valuable substitute for box.

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