In The Rough


  • Tottenham Air Force Base Demolition
  • Recent Stock Arrivals
  • Off the Profile Moulder...Recent Production

tottenham air force base demolition

The broad grassland suburbs west of Footscray have a history that defines a fundamental part of our national character of the mid-twentieth century. The RAAF Tottenham airbase was built in 1949 - a time when industry was long-established around Sunshine. The district supported boot and textile factories, quarries and flour mills. Strategic industries located here in the war years joining the Maribyrnong munitions plant and the explosives plant at Deer Park. The Sunshine Harvester-Massey plant switched from agricultural implements to a war-footing - radar units and parts for armoured vehicles.

Vile smells from the Monsanto plant at Brooklyn were a common source of complaint for Sunshine residents, as well as for personnel living at the RAAF huts in Ashley Street and workers arriving by train at Tottenham station. Despite the inevitable downsides to life near heavy industries, there was a high tolerance for these inconveniences in the community. This district had suffered unemployment rates of 30% during the Great Depression 15 years earlier. Closures of textiles mills and boot factories were widespread. Men and their families eked out an existence by way of the 'suss', as the sustenance ration was known. As late as the 1950s, Ukrainian and other migrants washed dishes in Kororoit Creek and lived in tents on grassy house blocks they had purchased cheaply in Ardeer and Braybrook.

Much of the industrial landscape has disappeared. Always a matter of some regret. I wouldn't mind having seen the Harvester works before it disappeared. It played such an important part in the district and the national history. The Massey Ferguson factory - on the original McKay's Sunshine Harvester site - was redeveloped as Sunshine Plaza. Spaldings and Nettlefolds are now the site of Big Box outlets adjacent to the old RAAF base - which itself has undergone gradual transformation into an industrial park.


Roof timbers being salvaged, Tottenham RAAF base

The original post-war RAAF Stores buildings were solid and weatherproof, but lacked the clear-span open floor required by modern warehousing. Trucks, forklifts and their loads are notorious for colliding with structural uprights located beyond perimeter walls. It is usually just a question of time before these buildings are pulled down - or re-roofed with clear-span trusses.

6.0m pulins salvaged from roof of warehouse


The last old RAAF Stores warehouse fronting Ashley Street was recently demolished and over 50 cubic metres of dry, seasoned hardwoods have found their way to the mill at Timberzoo. These are Messmates and other similar Stringybarks. Pale cinnamon and tawny tones in dressed board - a deeper hue of old growth timber than is found in new forest regrowth. The purlins will supply 140 x 19mm floorboards, and the 200 x 200mm posts look good enough to sell in original state, with dark sawn upper faces and industrial striped base of black and gold safety paint. Other sizes available, including a smaller 150 x 150mm post.

Posts from Tottenham RAAF base await processing at TImberzoo mill


   200 x 200mm   Rough sawn   $120.00/m
Messmate   150 x 150mm   Rough sawn   $  80.00/m


Roof timbers resawn to size for Messmate floorboards


recent stock arrivals


Stringybark   150 x 75mm   300 @ 2.1m

Nothing glamorous about these sticks. Unable to pull many of the nails, we ground them to flush and it has left a rusty flourish.
But for $20 each (or $15 ea per 20), someone would find a use. Rustic decking, fence mega-pickets,
landscape path treads in gravelly sand, jetty for the duck pond...at least a dozen odd uses.


Barwon Bridge Deck   200 x 100mm...in Landscape Grade...$30.00/m

We have a lot of timber arriving this month and the Barwon batch - although selling well per stick - is taking up space.

To hurry it along in bulk purchase, we are going to offer it at $20.00/m in packs of 10 sticks!

 That's a good deal for everyone planning a wall or some other outdoor construction
because it applies to sleeper lengths of 2.5m, as well as the longer sticks at 5.5m.


Bridge Bearers   220 x 170mm...in Landscape Grade...$30.00/m

I'm a bit challenged on the grade boundaries with the Barwon lot. 

Mainly because of saltwater weathering around spike and bolt. It leaves a black hole that worries the structural engineers, but delights the
landscaping crowd. So I'm inclined to tip these into the lower grade price bracket and do the same deal for pack buyers
...$25.00/m for packs of 10 sticks. All lengths included!
PS. Landscapers at the new Queenscliff Wharf development weren't afraid of a bit of 
age and weathering in their handsome stacks of old wharf bearer. 


Wharf timbers as landscape feature, Queenscliff

off the profile moulder...recent production

Messmate   70 x 12mm   Rate: $50.00/m2

Timber flooring looks great when super-wide or super-narrow. Both have their own rhythm of appeal. The narrow can be retro or can give a long look to a tight space. Narrow can also be a stripe - when a strong regular line is demanded in design. Best of all, you save a lot of money with 70mm board. 

Rustic Lining Board (recycled messmate)

80 x 14mm   Rate: Only $25.00/m2

A cheap way to add a bit of age or texture to the loft, storage cupboards or the shed. Don't let shopfitters have all the fun with this product. See our website for images of rustic lining in installations: www.timberzoo.com.au/gallery/gallery-general.htm