The iconic Sugar Pine Walk that was destroyed during the Black Summer Bushfires will be given a second life in Adelong, with salvaged timber donated to the Adelong Men’s Shed by AKD Softwoods to be turned into a variety of products for the community to enjoy.
The popular tourist destination was burnt so severely by the Dunns Road fire earlier this year that it had to be removed to make the site safe again. Whilst the sugar pine trees – planted in the 1920s – were badly burnt, some of the timber underneath the burnt bark was still usable and was able to be salvaged.
Allan Booby from AKD said that the company considered a number of organisations to donate the salvaged timber to, but ultimately decided on the Adelong Men’s Shed.
“The majority of it’s going to come to the Men’s Shed and the guys are going to make some bits and pieces and we’re going to donate it back to the community because that’s what it’s all about,” Mr Booby said.
A local Tumut gentleman will also be receiving some salvaged timber to build furniture.
Adelong Men’s Shed member Ian Elliott said that everyone is already hard at work creating cheese boards from the timber, hoping to make a few hundred to be given to AKD staff members for Christmas this year.
There are also plans for bigger projects in the works.
“We’ve been asked to make a memorial board down at the museum … and Allan’s asked us if we’ll make a board for up in Batlow, so we’ll do the two basically the same and use this wood to do it,” Mr Elliott said.
“It’s just a memento to give back to the communities because it means so much to [them],” Mr Booby added.
On Wednesday, Mr Booby delivered around two cubic metres of timber to the Men’s Shed. He estimates that overall, the Shed will receive around five cubic metres of timber to work with.
Everything created using the salvaged timber will be branded with AKD’s logo and the Adelong Men’s Shed logo. It will also come with a Men’s Shed business card and a note detailing the story behind the timber.
“This board has been made from a Sugar Pine Tree grown in the Bago Forest at Laurel Hill. It is the last of the 92-year-old Sugar Pines which fatally burnt in the disastrous fires of 2020. The pine was kindly donated by AKD to the Adelong Men’s Shed, who have lovingly crafted this lasting reminder of a wonderful place in the Snowy Mountains area of NSW,” the note will read.
Mr Elliott said this note is important “so that people know where it’s come from, and [because] there’s such an emotional connection to the Sugar Pine Walk.”
Mr Booby believes that it is important to keep the legacy of the Sugar Pine Walk alive.
“We want to prolong it in the community so that even in a couple more generations when the new sugar pine grows, at least they’ll be able to say, well this is some of the existing sugar pine,” he said.
Mr Booby said that the salvaged timber is being kiln dried, rather than air dried, so that the Men’s Shed can have access to the timber as quickly as possible.
“Otherwise if I was to let it air dry, we’re probably talking about this time next year before it’s ready, because it does take a long time,” he said.
The products already made using the timber are very soft to the touch.
“The material itself as it’s grown is a lot softer than the radiata pine that we would process throughout Green Hills, Bago and up through Tumut,” Mr Booby explained.
“The sugar pine’s not renowned for its structural properties, it’s more renowned for building furniture out of.”
Mr Booby said that AKD are going to be a “proud sponsor” of the Adelong Men’s Shed going forward as well.
“For future needs, AKD is going to supply the Adelong Men’s Shed with all the requirements with whatever timber they need,” he said.
The Adelong Men’s Shed is open to people of all ages, genders and abilities, and aims to bring people together to have fun and partake in a range of activities.
The Men’s Shed meets every Wednesday from 9am, and The Hen’s Shed meets every Tuesday from 10am. Locals wishing to get involved are welcome to come along.