Salvaged timber from Tasmania’s wild west coast

Below the waters of Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s west coast lies a treasure hidden for over 25 years. An ancient forest lost to the deep, dark waters. Lost, that is, until today.

 

When David first flew his Cessna over Pieman Lake he never would have guessed at the treasure hidden below the water’s surface. Three years, and a lot of hard work later, David, Andrew and their team have discovered the largest quantity of environmentally friendly specialty Tasmanian timber found in years. That includes some of Tasmania’s rarest and most sought after timbers.

Most species we harvest are in short supply and almost never found as intact logs. And they certainly don’t come with such a unique story.

This isn’t recycled wood already used and full of rusty bolts and nails. And it isn’t reclaimed wood found on a musty forest floor, years dead and scavenged from amongst the leaf litter.

This is real wood. Solid timber that comes untouched and intact.

Wood that craftsmen and master builders dream of working with. Wood with a story to tell, a character like no other and in quantities thought never to be seen again. This is Hydrowood. And now it is available to you.

 

 

history of Hydrowood

A forest thought to be lost, is rescued and its memory will live on in the beautiful Hydrowood timbers. Discover how these trees were lost in the past and are now rediscovered for the future.

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Convict Baker Beginnings

Some claim The Pieman River was named after cannibal convict Alexander Pearce. It was in fact another convict, Thomas ‘The Pieman’ Kent, a former baker who was recaptured at the mouth of the river in 1822 who gave The Pieman its unusual name.

It was convicts like Thomas Kent who made up Tasmania’s first forestry workers, logging the Pieman River region to fuel the building of pioneer settlements. Huon Pine was the wood of choice as a building material due to its ability to withstand weathering and rot, and later as the perfect shipbuilding material for the English Empire’s fleet.

THE RISE OF HYDROELECTRICITY

When plans to dam The Pieman were made in 1971, logging returned to the region. The area where Pieman Lake was to sit was opened up to forestry to avoid wasting the timber. But the regions dense forest and inaccessible nature made for slow going and by the time the dam was ready to be filled only a small portion of the lakes footprint had been logged.

Time and tide wait for no man, and as the Reece Dam’s water flowed and filled up Lake Pieman in 1986 the remaining forest was covered over with water. There, under those dark tannin stained waters, the lost forest has sat until now. Today Hydrowood returns to Lake Pieman with the same pioneering spirit as the original settler to finish the job.

PIONEERING OPPORTUNITY

Hydrowood is one the world’s first underwater forestry operations, so just about every step of our journey has presented us with challenges. Or as we like to call them, opportunities. It’s not every day you get to blaze a trail. We look forward to the hiccups and curly ones, it’s our chance to pioneer unique solutions.

Harvesting trees underwater is the same as on dry land, except upside-down. So we custom built a barge fitted with a waterproof harvester designed to go down into the depths instead of up into the canopy. The rest as they say, is history.