King Billy pine

King Billy pine - Athrotaxis selaginoides

King Billy pine is a Tasmanian endemic softwood tree found in cold and wet sub-alpine forests.  Timber from King Billy pine trees is light pink - brown in colour, soft, fine grained and light in weight.   King Billy pine timber is very durable and freshly milled or dressed timber has a resinous aroma.  Straight grained logs split remarkably well and until the mid 20th century were widely to build huts for walkers, miners, trappers and shepherds; Weindorfers residence at Cradle Valley is probably the best known such building.  An early use for King Billy pine sawn timber was in boat building, especially for dinghies and rowing shells, where its light weight was advantageous.  When the timber was plentiful it was the preferred building material for window frames and also for doors etc.  Clear grade, quarter sawn King Billy pine timber is now highly sought after by musical instrument makers for the acoustic pieces in guitars, violins, ukeleles and banjos.  Some King Billy pine timber is highly figured with birds-eye or attractive grain patterns.  

King Billy pine forests are largely protected in reserves, less than 10 % of their area is available for salvage of fallen, fire killed or stump residues and few pieces are sold or processed each year.  One sawmill at Lynchford, south of Queestown, has a small quantity of King Billy pine logs to mill for orders and can supply sawn timber from stock. 

IST Geeveston sells and mills a few King Billy pine logs each year into timber; quarter sawn music grade material is very scarce but other grades are usually available in small quantities.