Grey ironbark is a premium native hardwood that has been well regarded as a high quality timber in Australia throughout human history. Indigenous Australians use it to make spear throwers and boil its bark for treating sores.
It is a particularly hard, strong and durable timber, with a broad range of applications, due to its resistance to lyctid borers and termites.
The grey ironbark is a medium sized tree of 30 to 50m with a stem diameter of 1.5m. The bark is hard, coarse, with deep furrows and ridges, ranging from dark brown to black in colour and grows even on the small branches.
It is found from northern New South Wales to Bundaberg, Queensland. It is also found in scattered patches as far north as the Atherton Tableland. It is found in New South Wales only from Bega to Coffs Harbour.
A very heavy timber, at 1120 kilograms per cubic metre, grey ironbark is dense and can be difficult to work. Dressed surfaces take on a steely sheen.
The timber’s appearance ranges from reddish to dark brown heartwood. The sapwood is lighter in colour and is 20mm thick on average. Grain is usually tight and straight and no distinctive figure is encountered.
Both sawn and round grey ironbark timber have a wide range of applications. Engineering uses include railway sleepers, construction, poles and cross-arms, and bridge construction. Unseasoned timber is used in house framing, while dressed timber can be employed for both internal and external use. It has also been used in boat, coach, vehicle and carriage building and to create sporting goods.