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Gympie messmate

Scientific name

Eucalyptus cloeziana. Family: Myrtaceae

Local names

Gympie messmate, Queensland messmate, dead finish, yellow messmate

Description and natural occurrence

A large hardwood tree up to 50 m in height and 2 m diameter. Noted in the Gympie region for excellent stem form and vigour. Bark is brown or yellow-brown, flaky-fibrous, often distinctly tessellated on the trunk. Small branches usually smooth, grey-white in colour.

Gympie messmate occurs in scattered areas from near Gympie in the south to near Cooktown in the north.

Future supplies of plantation-grown Gympie messmate should be available from the wet tropics to Mackay, the Sunshine coast, the central and coastal Burnett and Moreton regions on suitable soils and where the mean annual rainfall exceeds 800 mm.

Wood appearance

Colour. The heartwood is yellowish-brown and the sapwood distinctly paler in colour.

Grain. Unfigured, fine to medium textured, generally uniform in grain. Can be slightly interlocked.

Wood properties

Density. 1010 kg m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.0 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne. Plantation-grown timber: Age 4-17 years: 75-85% mature timber density. Age 32-46 years: 95-97% mature timber density.

Strength groups. S2 unseasoned; SD3 seasoned.

Stress grades. F11, F14, F17, F22 (unseasoned), F14, F17, F22, F27, (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082:2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded hardwood for structural purposes.

Joint groups. J1 unseasoned; JD1 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. Natural grown tangential 6.2%, radial 3.4%. Plantation-grown (35 years) tangential 5.9%, radial 4.2%.

Unit shrinkage. Natural grown tangential 0.4%, radial 0.2%. Plantation grown tangential 0.4%, radial 0.3%.

Durability above-ground. Class 1 - life expectancy over 40 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 1 - life expectancy over 25 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Sapwood not susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance. Resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation.

Seasoning. Can be satisfactorily dried using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods.

Hardness. Very hard (rated 1 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Machines, turns and dresses well.

Fixing. No difficulties have been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. As with most high-density species, machining and surface preparation should be done immediately before gluing.

Finishing. Will readily accept paint, stains and polish.


Engineering. As sawn and round timber in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, poles, piles, cross-arms and mining timbers.

Construction. As unseasoned, sawn timber in general, house framing and as seasoned dressed timber in cladding, internal and external flooring, lining and joinery. Also in fencing, landscaping and retaining walls.

Decorative. Outdoor furniture, turnery and joinery.

Others. Coach, vehicle and carriage building; keel and framing components; planking.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. White to greyish white, with distinct change to heartwood.

Heartwood.Yellowish brown.

Texture. Medium textured, straight to shallowly interlocked grain.

Wood structure

Growth rings. Seasonal rings sometimes evident but not sharply defined.

Vessels. Solitary, indistinct without magnification, occasionally in radial or oblique chains. Vessel lines evident on longitudinal surfaces. Vessels tylosed.

Parenchyma. Indistinct without high magnification.

Rays. Fine, visible only with lens.

Other features

Burning splinter test. A match size splinter burns to a charcoal.

Further reading

Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, 'Forest trees of Australia', 5th edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.

Bootle, K 2005, 'Wood in Australia: types, properties and uses', 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.