Local furniture maker Andrew Lander of Dumbalk wasn’t about to let these fallen chunks of Blackwood go to waste, planning to repurpose them into something stunningly useful.


THE obvious positive, if you look hard enough, to come out of the disastrous South Gippsland storm of June 9 was the abundance of future firewood which littered the roadsides and paddocks of rural areas across the region.

But, it’s good to know that someone else will be able to make good use of some of the fallen timber – private sawmiller Joe Bell of Mardan.

For the past 20 or so years, he’s worked quietly away at his property, located at 1284 Mardan Road, turning aged Cypress trees from local farms into mainly retaining wall timber for landscaping or veggie boxes.

In the past few months however, he’s been contacted by local landholders keen to make something out of their fallen timber and Jo Bell has been only too happy to oblige.

Last week Andrew Lander of Dumbalk turned up with some stunning chunks of blackwood, which came down in the storm, from which he’s keen to continue his furniture and other handiwork from wood.

“I’ve previously made furniture for kinders and children’s centres, after being involved in the Leongatha and Korumburra children’s centres and I reckon these pieces will really come up well too,” said Andrew during a visit to Joe sawmill site last week.

And you can see from the rich colours in the timber that it will really lend itself well to furniture and other fancy work.

Joe Bell’s work is mostly a service to farmers.

“I mostly do clean-up work for local farmers. They want to get rid of a row of Cypress and I’ll come in and clear it away for them and turn it into useable timber.

“I’ll also cut other timber on contract and have been contacted by people who’ve had trees come down.”

Which raises another thorny subject for Joe.

He’s got some electricity lines out the front of his place which have been an accident waiting to happen for years.

“I’m not surprised that so many trees came down on powerlines in the area when you see those. When the wind gets up, those branches swing right across the lines and it’s only a matter of time before a branch falls.”

If you have fallen timber that you’d like to repurpose, give Joe Bell a call on 0417 530 662 and you may be able to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement for putting it to good use.

Private sawmiller Joe Bell is putting old stands of Cypress and fallen storm timber to good use at his Mardan mill, here with local furniture maker Andrew Lander of Dumbalk.