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Perspectives

Glenn Britton

Britton is a name that has been synonymous with sawmilling and the timber industry ever since Britton Bros Pty Ltd was established in the Blackwood-rich swamplands of North West Tasmania in 1907.

A century later, Managing Director Glenn Britton says Britton Timbers is the largest privately owned hardwood sawmill in Tasmania.

“We now have 150 full time employees and perhaps 300 indirectly involved in processing and marketing our products.

Britton Timbers processes up to 26,000 cubic meters of logs each year and this generally comprises 60-65% Tasmanian Oak, approximately 30% Tasmanian Blackwood and 5% ‘others’.

Sourcing its Tasmanian timber from the sustainably managed forests of North West Tasmania, Brittons markets through a sophisticated sales and distribution system.

“We have jointly-owned distribution warehouse businesses in our key mainland market areas of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. These ‘one-stop shops’ give us immediate access to the high value-added segment of the markets in furniture, flooring, joinery and shop-fitting. About 50 employees are involved in that side of the business and its importance to us is growing.”

“Our warehouses don’t just carry stocks of Tasmanian timbers. We handle American oak, walnut and cherry, European walnut and beech and ranges of other Australian, Asian and African timbers. Architects and Specifiers know they can come to us with absolute confidence that we will be able to supply the right timber for the job.”

Glenn says that having such a diverse range of timbers available in mainland states has had the effect of opening-up the market for Tasmanian timber. According to Glenn, Brittons has a strong future, particularly in the context of recent expansions and re-tooling undertaken as part of the provisions of the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.

“Time and technology changes and we pride ourselves in being able to adapt to that. We now process smaller diameter logs and pay very close attention to timber utilization and maximizing recovery.”

Brittons has had an extraordinary association with Tasmania generally and the Smithton area in particular, over a very long time.

“I can’t see that changing provided common-sense prevails in the way we manage and balance our forest resources for timber production and conservation.”

“It is essential we maintain the resource security that underpins our business. We are now harvesting third rotation Blackwoods from areas my father and his father logged nearly 100 years ago. That’s what sustainability is all about.”

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