Before colonization the native Australian red cedar was abundant and in huge stands, their preferred habitat was subtropical forests and river valleys this special timber the aboriginals used their trunks to carve tradition markings for directions on as they were easily carved
From the moment of colonization in NSW these trees were well sought out and were a wonderful resource, and quickly became the go to timber to be used in household furnishings and doors trims and double hung sash windows. The young trees were pink, the more mature and stronger timbers were dark red to almost black sometimes
Often the logs were taken to the nearest waterway and floated to where they were to be milled; this required a huge amount of work and slowly but surely this became a major income for the millers and very soon this became a plunder and out of control during most of the 1800s, and before long all the stands of cedar had been felled in the easily accessible areas, then the fellers were moving into Newcastle,Nambucca heads and further afield in search of fresh cedar
By the late 1800s most of the cedar stands and millable trees had vanished, gone….
This Australian red cedar still remains today in Heritage traditional sash windows Homes and some homes up to the early sixties..
The cedar timber cannot be surpassed for its strength, durability, longevity, and is soft and easily worked
The frames and sashes, were crafted precisely and exquisitely (unlike today where the cedar windows are steamed to make the joints rigid which weakens the timber)
Our history is being neglected in our un restored heritage sash windows; we should cherish these windows and restore them, these traditional sash windows are part of our history and should be treasured.
(I will discuss the Heritage window sills and the Australian hardwoods that have weathered 1000 storms to protect the foundation of our windows next blog)