WA Jarrah in increasing demand thanks to Mortlock Timber
Western Australian Jarrah specialists Mortlock Timber were proud to be chosen to supply a range of Jarrah timbers for the construction of Perth’s brand new Optus Stadium. Their Marineplank decking product is designed for harsh environments and features a curved top surface that enables water run-off, perfect for the task. Mortlock additionally supplied their Screenplank battens in various sizes, which were creatively applied by the builders and landscapers to attractively define outdoor spaces and provide shelter.
Mortlock’s Director Dave Hitch explained that whilst the Marineplank was a major deciding factor in the selection of his company, the large quantities that were required was also key. “Maintaining stock levels for five years as is customary with Jarrah is a challenge that not too many companies are able to meet,” he said. “The seasoning process takes a long time and we are committed to holding our stock for that long. We were able to supply the required quantities from our stock on hand and the results are terrific.” Indeed, Optus Stadium has won numerous architectural awards.
A more recent project has been the new Perth training centre for the 2018 reigning AFL champs, the West Coast Eagles. Mortlock was called upon to supply Victorian Ash which was styled into a giant eagle as a ceiling feature. “It looks incredible,” Dave said. “It’s a really impressive feature and the fact that timber was chosen as the medium is great.”
The Mortlock stamp of quality has also been applied to many of Perth’s most recognisable landmarks since the company’s establishment in 2004. From decking at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to flooring, fascia and batten linings at the Zig Zag Cultural Centre, the diversity of Mortlock’s capabilities continues to attract new interest. Other projects have included the city’s Corruption & Crime Commission Office, the Corpus Christi Theatre, the Department of Fisheries Office, and the University of Western Australia, as well as countless residential developments.
Located in Cunderdin, an agricultural town 156 kilometres east of Perth, Mortlock Timber is a major employer for the population of just 700. “One of the challenges we face is attracting skilled moulder operators,” Dave explained. “Some of our employees even travel from out of town and we are continually passing training down the line to upskill our team.”
On the factory floor, the team are always looking for ways to increase efficiencies. “We managed to cut a 6-man process into a 3-man process which was brilliant, and we were then able to reassign workers to other tasks. Plus, we’re growing at a steady rate so there’s plenty of work to go around.”
The future for Mortlock seems paved in Jarrah. Though the company also holds large stocks of eastern states species such as Spotted Gum and Blackbutt and boasts a short lead time for supply, Jarrah is king in Western Australia. “It used to be the main construction timber here last century but made way for pine. Today, Jarrah is in demand as a boutique architectural product, used more for its looks and performance.” For Mortlock Timber, exporting Jarrah to New Zealand and other international markets is set to become an important aspect of its business. “We’re really looking forward to showcasing WA Jarrah overseas and bolstering our local economy in the process.”