Monday, May 29, 2006

THE winter chill has bitten hard but classified advertising, as always, has chipped in to help stop the shivers.
It’s a hot time for firewood vendors whose notices start sending smoke signals from the "for sale" columns every autumn.
One householder on Coochiemudlo Island has been warm and cosy during the cold snap, thanks to a delivery of aged ironbark this week from the Kingaroy district.
Firewood Supplies owner-operator Allan Newcomb enjoyed the barge trip because he spends most of his working days battling the traffic across Brisbane and adjacent districts.
Allan, who has a Pinkenba depot, says 25% of his deliveries come to the Redlands, mainly between Birkdale and Redland Bay.
The veteran of 24 years in the firewood business says critics at times have targeted the use of hardwood for home fires, citing the need to conserve a precious resource.
However, Allan says his stock comes from trees that property owners killed long ago, usually for cattle grazing.
Such trees are unsuitable for milling.
"You just can’t have trees as well as grass," Allan says.
"Owners went through their properties 50, 60 or 70 years ago and ringbarked a lot of trees that were just left to die.
"If we didn’t get them, a bushfire would burn them sooner or later.
"The wood has been drying out for half a century or more so it’s good for home fires.
"In recent years a lot of tree loppers who came into the business would cut down a tree yesterday and sell it tomorrow.
"Green timber like that makes dirty smoke that is not good for the environment and it will blacken the glass on a combustion heater."
Allan says ironbark burns the longest and hottest of the tree species and makes probably the least smoke.
He expects the supplies of firewood grade timber to last for many years.
As a guide to the costs, Allan says one of his 4WD ute-loads at $180 lasts the winter for 80% of his customers.
Allan was among four firewood vendors who advertised in a recent edition of our classifieds.
Reprint from Classie Corner, The Redland Times, Friday, May 25, 2006.

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