Volume One, 'Australian Timber Manual' published by the Victorian Sawmillers Association in 1967. Contents are divided into the following sections: species, uses and products, engineering, seasoning, service life, miscellaneous, glossary.

Used by Foresta Timber Mills Proprietary Limited (FTM). Foresta Timber Mills was established in 3 August 1940 by Oscar Leshnitzer, who arrived in Australia in 1939 as a refugee from Germany. The mill was located at the North Fitzroy railway siding behind the old Brunswick Oval.

Oscar Leshnitzer (changed to Lesh) previously lived in Gliewitz, a town in the Upper Silesia region of Germany. The town is close to Kracow in present day Poland. Oscar operated a substantial timber and coal enterprise in the region but was forced to make an exchange with the Nazis: his business for his freedom. Oscar's son Gunter joined the family business after he migrated from Switzerland where he had been studying a PhD in Economics at Zurich University.

FTM was the natural continuation of Oscar's previous activities in Germany. It was established mostly with capital he brought to Australia. Oscar and Gunter negotiated contracts with the Victorian Government for logging rights in the Central (Nudgee) and Western (Cann River) Victoria. The company also purchased timber from elsewhere in Victoria and interstate. Most of the timber was processed where it was logged, then transported to Fitzroy and cut to length for customer orders. FTM sold many types of timber that were mainly used for housing. This included pine and other softwoods and hardwoods.

FTM was sold to Alstergren Holdings Limited in 1971. Alstergren was acquired by Timber Holdings Limited in 1977, who were subsequently acquired by Pyneboard Pty Limited (1988), who finally were acquired by the present-day CSR.

Physical Description

Cover is clear plastic over wood grained printed paper, and 4 rings.


This publication provides detailed information about the uses and products suitable for Australian timbers. An important part of the historical significance of this item is its provenance. Oscar Leshnitzer fled Germany as a refugee in 1939. This manual was used in his Melbourne timber mill, and is part of the story of his successful business as a European migrant and refugee to Australia. This item, together with the timber moisture meter also from the same mill, is part of Australian migration history and is also very closely associated with the post World War II housing and construction boom.

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