Something unique is being crafted at the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods Manufacturing Facility at Heyfield on special order for the Latrobe Creative Precinct.
Ten trees up to 8.5m high are being created in conjunction with ASH’s technical partner, TGA Engineering to be a feature of the precinct’s stunning light-filled foyer in Traralgon.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said this was an important way to honour Gippsland’s timber industry and the skill of its workforce.
“The Latrobe Creative Precinct will be an incredible facility for locals to enjoy and these high-tech timber trees will create a truly memorable public space,” Mr Chester said.
“The team at ASH have spent months creating and perfecting the prototypes. Now, their hard work is nearing an end with the final pieces in production.
“Once complete, these trees will be carefully transported to the building site in Traralgon for installation.”
ASH Managing Director Vince Hurley said the trees were created using a specialised machine called the Hundegger.
“The Hundegger uses a digital 3D model of the project and translates the actions required to the machine, which automatically selects the correct tools to complete the work,” Mr Hurley said.
“Each tree takes roughly 16 hours to create and is then sanded, polished, joined together and capped with timber plugs.
“We’ve selected Victorian Ash. It’s a sustainable regrowth hardwood that’s been sourced through our mill.
“All of the work for this project has been undertaken locally in Heyfield and it’s quite special to know that our work will be installed at a new landmark building not too far away.”
Timber is a feature throughout the Latrobe Creative Precinct, which includes a 750-seat theatre, multi-purpose studio, meeting rooms, a café and two outdoor event spaces.
The architects of the $38.5 million development, Jackson Architecture and Katsieris Origami, designed finished spaces that celebrated the history and future of the timber industry.
Mr Chester said the involvement of the local timber industry in the creative precinct project was an important public show of support.
“I personally approached the construction team and urged them to source local timber,” Mr Chester said.
“I can’t think of a better way to showcase the exceptional quality of the finished products and the ingenuity of hard working Gippslanders.
“A project of the size of the creative precinct provides valuable stimulus for the local construction sector and supports local jobs, including businesses like ASH.”