The 2015 National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) general meeting, held at the Peakhurst branch of Thrust Floors International in Sydney, was an opportunity to recognise the extensive service to the wood floor industry provided by well-known identity Walter (Wally) Gabb.

Wally has had a long history of applying his vast experience to solving problems and providing expert reports on many disputed issues within the wood flooring industry.

He started his career in carpentry at the age of 15 in the inner-Sydney suburb of Alexandria, where he was trained as an apprentice in cabinet making.

Wally was employed by a number of furniture manufacturers in the southern Sydney area for several years, before he married his long-term partner Joan Gabb, and moved to Galston, New South Wales (NSW).

In 1960 Wally worked as a veneer-cutter and matcher, where he was employed for nearly 13 years, before being elevated to manager of the veneer section.

When the solid core material started to be replaced by particleboard, Wally’s employer ran into operational difficulties. As a result, Wally took on a wood technology course, which eventually opened doors and resulted in him joining the NSW Forestry Commission as an investigation officer in timber utilisation.

Wally continued to educate himself throughout his career, undertaking courses in building certificate and pest control, before being appointed as the Timber Marketing Act Inspector in 1976.

After being engaged in 1990 by the Timber Development Association (TDA), Wally left the Forestry Commission, and for many years following he provided valuable information to the industry regarding the intelligent use of wood in construction.

Over the course of his career, Wally has also provided independent expert advice to many organisations under his consultancy service, Gabnor Group. With his consultancy service, he began to focus on assisting with issues related to the timber flooring industry, becoming an active member of various wood floor installation and finishing associations across NSW and interstate.

Earlier this year, Wally was appointed as a life member of the NWFA for his passionate commitment to the Wood Floor Industry and, in an additional recognition, he was awarded a certificate of outstanding achievement.

“The industry takes this opportunity to salute a member who has been selfless in his time and expertise in order to assist many of our members, and to further the industry’s professional standing within the wider community,” said Gerry Swindale, president of the NWFA.