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Scientific name

Syncarpia hillii. Family: Myrtaceae.

Local name

Fraser Island turpentine.

Description and natural occurrence

A medium-sized tree attaining a height of 30 m or more and a stem diameter of one metre. The bark is brown, fibrous and fissured. This tree is very similar to turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) but has larger leaves and fruits.

Occurs mainly on Fraser Island. Small plots are found on the mainland in Cooloola area.

Timber of this species is of limited commercial availability as the area in which it grows has received World Heritage Listing.

Wood appearance

Colour. The heartwood ranges from dark pink to reddish-brown. Sapwood usually a distinctly paler colour.

Grain. Generally interlocked, giving some ribbon figure to the radial surface. Texture is relatively fine and even.

Wood properties

Density. 800 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.3 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. S3 unseasoned, SD3 seasoned.

Stress grades. F8, F11, F14, F17 (unseasoned), F14, F17, F22, F27 (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. J2 unseasoned; JD2 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. Approximately 10.0% (tangential); 4.4% (radial).

Unit shrinkage. 0.35% (tangential); 4.4% (radial). These values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.

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

Durability in-ground. Class 2 - life expectancy 15 to 25 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance. Resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation.

Seasoning. Care is needed in seasoning this species as it shrinks irregularly and it is prone to surface checking and minor collapse.

Hardness. Moderately hard (rated 3 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Care needed when dressing due to the interlocked grain.

Fixing. No difficulty has 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 prior to gluing.

Finishing. Takes a high polish well with little or no filling necessary; will readily accept paints and stains.


Engineering. As sawn or round timber in bridge and wharf construction, railway sleepers, poles, marine piling.

Construction. As seasoned sawn timber in general house framing, internal and external flooring, lining, cladding.

Decorative. Plywood, laminated beams, bench tops, joinery, turnery, furniture.

Others. Chisel handles, mallet heads, walking sticks, planking for boats, cooperage.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Greyish-brown distinct from heartwood.

Heartwood. Reddish to reddish-brown.

Texture. Fine and uniform, grain interlocked.

Wood structure

Vessels. Small to medium in size, solitary and numerous, sometimes with white deposits. Tyloses present but not abundant.

Parenchyma. Indistinguishable under lens.

Rays. Very fine, visible under lens; ray bars distinct on radial surfaces.

Other features

Burning splinter test. A splinter burns to a charcoal leaving no ash.

Figure. Often figured on quarter-sawn surfaces.

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.