Camphor laurel wood quality & types

In New South Wales Northern Rivers region, varied reports exist of high and low quality camphor wood from older trees, e.g. 80 years plus). Bulldozer drivers and operators who have knocked over thousands and perhaps tens of thousands and more of camphors in the early days of macadamia plantation developments around Lismore and Byron Bay, since the mid 1960s, do state that four colours of wood grain (heartwood) can be observed in freshly cut trees; the following list is from Lou Graham at The Channon. That there be two or three common timber grain types fits in and is consistent with both: the scientific finding that there is high Safrole chemotypes and high% Camphor molecule types most commonly widespread in the Lismore district (Friend, 1998); and what older locals have stated for many years, that when timber cutting there are two types of camphor, commonly and readily distinguished by bark character.

Types 1 and 2 are depicted in photos, and with type 1 regarded as premium quality by camphor timber slab factory marketers in Bryon Bay and Mullumbimby. Type 4, blue-green timber, once commonly growing and milled in and around the Condong area or Murwillumbah, was the most sought after for milling in Sydney in the late 1940s, but was also recognised as capable of killing all the local frogs and tadpoles in all pools near or surrounding cut logs about Condong Mill. (Hepburn, R, Notebook, soon to be published, 2000).