This was the year of Sydney’s 200th birthday party and we started where we left off in 1987 – terrific profiles, up-to-date news reports and great photos – even if I do say so.

The lead story in February was the projected $12 million spend on the Forest Industries Campaign Association’s public awareness promotion that, in my view, never really achieved much at all.

For the next few years we published a “Fax Directory” appearing every two months. We had about 200 numbers on our first offering but there were many branches and divisions listed. Overall about 40 companies submitted listings for this March edition.

March also had a feature on Frank Hoogenraad’s Yarra Glen Timber; we announced the sale of the wholesale division of Harcros Timber to Paynter Timber of New Zealand, and Kauri Timber opened a new laminating plant in north-west Tasmania.

Bang! “BBC buys Dunstans,” screamed the cover headline in April. The Glue Laminated Timber Association of Australia (GLTAA) was formed at a meeting on February 9. We profiled Barry McVilly of McVilly Timber, located in Victoria’s western district. Big openings in March were Tradesman’s Entrance and HR Ryall’s opening of a new branch in Ballarat.

This was also the month that I married Paula Farrell, who I had met at the Satco LVL launch late in 1986 – that was very much worth reporting.

Lots of golfing photos in May and June as Ballarat Hoo-Hoo held their annual day to raise funds for timber charities. Brown & Dureau announced “a new direction”. B&D was formerly APM Wood Products. This was also the time when Highway Timbers was acquired by Harcros who is owned by Paynter.

June also saw the first ever article about Gang-Nail (now MiTek) promoting their new timber roof truss design program titled “Datatruss” and we had a profile on Adelaide-based Wakefield Timber who had moved into Melbourne after acquiring Anngar Timber almost
12 months earlier.

Come July we ran a lot of photos from the 25th anniversary celebration of the formation of Melbourne Hoo-Hoo Club’s gala event on the SS South Steyne, a converted Sydney ferry that had operated in Melbourne as a conference and function facility. The special guest was the much-loved Woy Woy Hoo-Hoo Club timber merchant and organisation world president Dick Campbell. TimberTrader News handed over another cheque for $3,000 at this event.

There was also the announcement of a new “Week to Focus on Timber” by the TMA and the opening of a refurbished $1.2 million timber mill in East Gippsland by the Fredk Ladner Group.

More purchases in August with SEAS grabbing Sapfor. In announcing the agreement SEAS MD Adrian de Bruin said, “The acquisition indicates positive rationalisation in an industry which tends to be fragmented by a number of small to medium operators.” Once consolidated it was expected the group would have a turnover of $150 million per annum.

Also in August we had a personality story on long-time Bowens’ employees Laurie Roberts, Wally Lugg and Allen Ellingham. Each had more than 50 years in the industry. After starting with Moreland Timber, Laurie worked at Bowens for 41 years. Allen initially was with Kauri then had 37 years at Bowens while Wally, after also starting at Kauri, had 27 years with the company. That’s a combined 105 years.

The World Expo 88, held in Brisbane, was a great showcase for timber usage and we had a number of photos in our October edition. In the same edition there was the release of the Porta Dowel merchandising stand and the Tilling launch of oregon glulam beams.

The success of the fax directory was huge and by November there were about 320 listings. So what did I do? Why, launch a mobile phone directory of course. There were 29 names in the first directory and at around $3,500 a pop these in-car monsters were only for a few – at that stage.

We also had a four-page pictorial feature on the new “Working With Wood” show held at Melbourne’s Exhibition Buildings.

The final edition for the year was another 28-pager with industry events from all over the southern parts of the country. There were the second TMA Awards, the VSA Dinner, a store opening with Bowens at Hallam, more golf days, and a wholesaler’s launch.

Gunnersens purchased Wills Timber (and effectively shut it down), we had our first report from TABMA, Boral purchased the sawmilling operations of Sunstate Resources, Jeff Kennett opened the “ritzy” new operation of Thomas P Clark in Dandenong.

The TMA “Member of the Year” was D&J Evans, while Dindas Lew Australia, Corinthian, Belmont, A Lewis & Co, Tradesman’s Entrance, Flatman’s T&H, and Hume & Iser all won awards. The salesman of the year was John Allen of Big J.

This was issue number 35 and the year had been flat out – we were glad of a break over the holiday period.

These are some of the names that also appeared in our magazine for the first time: Lindsay LeMessurier, Norton Ladkin, Russell Hay, Rob Borzillo, Graeme Hayes, David Thornburn, Len Fenning, Spiros Notaras, Ron Arthur and John Tompkins, John Fewster, Max Walker Snr, Darryl Jones and Peter Juniper. Look back at the events of 1987 or continue reading about 1989.