International Wood Collectors Society

A Dedicated Group of Wood Collectors and Crafters


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Charlesville Australia AGM Group PhotoCharlesville Australia AGM Group Photo by David Munzberg

The Fantastic Charleville 2016 by Morris Lake #7634

It's going to be difficult to describe the Charleville meeting, simply because words cannot adequately convey what an absolutely unique and satisfying meeting this was.

It was unique in its location being held in the 'almost centre' of this unique continent of Australia, which offered venues and species rarely experienced by IWCS members, and that are unique in the world. This was made possible because of the tremendous energy and time that the members of the organising committee put into the meeting.

We were welcomed by the locals including the Charleville Mayor and local dignitaries who showed amazing interest in what we were doing, and who 'opened the doors' to IWCS. Firstly, they supplied 'free of rent' their largest entertainment centre for the duration of the meeting, and moreover for enabling hundreds ofpeople to attend the Saturday Open Day. The Open Day netted roughly $5,000 for IWCS in crafted wooden items offered for sale.

The display of crafted items and specimens, by my reckoning, towards the end of setting up on the first day, numbered 2,994 - not counting those that were offered by members for sale, and which were added to the arrangement on the final day. This brought the total items on display during the meeting to around 4,000, which was without a doubt, the largest wood and craft display EVER assembled for any IWCS Annual Meeting that I have knowledge of since the late 1990s. What an enormous effort by everyone who attended!

The wood auction which was conducted by David Munzberg and his willing helpers comprised 363 lots and returned over $9,000 for IWCS. What an effort!

Sunday, September 11

This was a day of registration and setting up of the displays in the beautiful Charleville Raceview Complex, and of course meeting and catching up with old and new friends once more.

Queensland Display 01Queensland Display 02

Some views of the display and layout including 1008 specimens on the display boards in the main auditorium of the Charleville Racecourse. The facility also included a kitchen and foyer which was used for wood turning demonstrations, plus other service areas.

Monday, September 12

Delegates split and alternated between the historic tour and doing a tour of Nick Swadling's property, travelling in four-wheel drive vehicles. In the evening we received a Welcome to Country. The Official Opening of the Conference was performed by the Mayor of Murweh Shire, Annie Liston.

Historic Tour

During WWII, the USA Air Force had a large contingent of service personnel spread along the Brisbane Line. Charleville was the location for the Air Force and was the main location of the Norden Bomb Site, a top secret early tracking system, which was housed in a concrete bunker which still stands. Today, Charleville is a major base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which uses a mixture of 20 Pilatus PC-12 and King Air, twin and single engine planes, which fly out of nine bases in Queensland.

Queensland Display 03   Queensland Display 04
Concrete bunker used by USA Air Force in WWII                                                       Royal Flying Doctor PC-12 aircraft

Nick Swadling's Magpie Lane

During the tour of Nick Swadling's property, we identified the following species:
Queensland Display 06 1. Eucalyptus melanophloia, silver-leaved stringybark
2. Codonocarpus pyramidalis, desert poplar
3 Acacia aneura, mulga
4. Eucalyptus populnea, poplar box
5. Acacia cambagei, gidgee
6. Petalostigma pubescens, quinine berry
7. Grevillea striata, beefwood
8. Corymbia clarksoniana, Clarkson's bloodwood
9. Eremophila mitchelli, false sandlewood
10. Corymbia tessellaris, Moreton Bay ash
11. Melaleuca leucadendra, river tea-tree
12. Acacia excelsa, ironwood
13. Owenia acidula, emu apple
14. Eucalyptus ochrophloia, yapunya.


                      Queensland Display 05   

Photo Left - Water supply for the property comes under pressure from an Artesian well which is to control usage.
Photo Right - The Shield Tree - The bark of this tree was cut by Aborigines who used it as a shield many years ago.

Tuesday, September 13

Sommariva Olives and Maryvale Station - We set out by bus, and after an interesting visit to Sommariva, we had morning tea beside the bus halfway to Maryvale Station. There we were put into four wheel drive vehicles for a lengthy ride. We were again excellently catered for by Jenny and Robert Crighton with an outdoor, evening dinner before returning home and just beating a heavy rain storm. The Crightons were the original instigators of the meeting, and the success is hugely due to their excellent cooperation and encouragement.

During the tour of the property we identified the following species:
1. Capparis mitchelli, native orange
2. Petalostigma pubescens, quinine berry
3. Geijera parviflora, wilga
4. Acacia microsperma, bowyakka
5. Eucalyptus ochrophloia, yapunya
6. Acacia harpophylla, brigalow
7. Casuarina cristata, belah
8. Flindersia maculosa, leopardwood.


We then went back to the old shearing shed where Robert has been drying and preparing many of the species found on their property. Robert is endeavouring to establish a commercial market for these timbers along with a dozen or so other property owners in western Queensland and New South Wales, with limited success however. Many of us selected timber and bought it from Robert. We then mingled for pre-dinner drinks beside the shearing quarters before enjoying a delightful camp oven country dinner.

Wednesday, September 14

Following some overnight rain, we successfully negotiated light showers the next day for a trip to Tregole National Park. In the park we found that the trees earlier identified by our members had subsequently been given name tags by the Council, which enabled us to progress either independently or in small groups. This suited us very well, considering the weather. The park is unique in that it contains some remnant tropical rainforest species, an indication that at some time in the past the area experienced much higher rainfall and temperatures.

The species we encountered were as follows:
1. Bursaria incata, prickly pine
2. Cadellia pentastylis, ooline - a rainforest species
3. Dodonaea viscosa, sticky hopbush
4. Eucalyptus exserta, Queensland peppermint
5. Alphitonia excelsa, soap bush
6. Hakea lorea, cork tree
7. Ventilago viminalis, supplejack.


Further down the road on our way to Augathella, we stopped off at another interesting spot, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, where Harry Dennis previously sought out and identified more interesting species as follows:
1. Eucalyptus pilligaensis, narrow-leaved grey box
2. Eucalyptus cambageana, Dawson River blackbutt
3. Eremophila mitchelli, false sandlewood
4. Flindersia maculosa, leopardwood (see notes)
5. Alectryon oleifolius, boonaree or inland rosewood
6. Eucalyptus microtheca, coolibah
7. Acacia salicifolia, whitewood
8. Casuarina cunninghamii, river sheoak.


Before we finish with the events of Wednesday, I would like to share with you a couple of gems that we saw on this fascinating day. So let's start with:

The four stages in the life of leopardwood
(Flindersia maculosa)


From the photos shown on the right we can see the four stages of the leopardwood's growth. It starts out as a shrub with a tangled, sprawling mass of spiny branchlets. One branch in its second phase of growth will start to become erect and begins to grow the primary trunk still covered in nasty, prickly branches as it begins to head for the stars.

In the third stage, it is becoming a tree but still has a base of prickly, tangled spiny branches and secondary branches growing up the trunk to around 3 or 4 metres (~10 -12 ft.). Then finally, it sheds its tangled, sprawling mass of protective vegetation, which has been its protection from being eaten by animals when young. It becomes, what I regard as a spectacularly beautiful tree, which has the potential to be a useful ornamental as well as producing good honey flow.

For these and a few other reasons, I also have difficulty fitting this tree comfortably into the Flindersia genus.

The second gem is:

Supplejack the vine that grows into a tree
(Ventilago viminalis)


As you can see on the right, this tree may have a single trunk or a number of intertwined trunks, depending on the stage at which you have captured it, because it starts life as a vine (not illustrated). As it scrambles up the nearest tree, it eventually develops into a dense and pendulous, branched tree but only after 'consuming' the life out of its host. I guess there's more than one path to becoming the Managing Director.
Stage 1 - a prickly shrub
Stage 1 a prickly shrub.

Stage 3 - a tree emerges.
Stage 3 a tree emerges.

Stage 2 of the life of the supplejack.
Stage 2 of the life of the supplejack.
Stage 2 - a branch arises.
Stage 2 a branch arises

Stage 4 - a tree emerges.
Stage 4 a tree emerges.

Into stage 3  as a tree
Into stage 3 as a tree.

Thursday, September 15 and Friday, September 16 Wood and Craft Auction

Once again, David Munzberg and his team managed to create the most incredible illusion, as he seamlessly extracted the dollars from all of our pockets in exchange for a handful of woody dreams — and amazingly after morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea on the first day, he continued on the second day to weave his magic, and finally, painlessly, extract a little over AU$9,000 from the innocent souls under his spell. All the participants were amazed and with smiling faces, lovingly collected their spoils, in the form of mostly tiny pieces of wood, which they whisked away to their designated places of residence — in many instances, thousands of kilometres from whence the acts of illusion were performed. What an amazing feat to accomplish, and one which will provide its reward in enabling this group of dedicated dreamers to return on yet another occasion in the future, to accommodate even more dreams. But, could it possibly be said that I am getting carried away by sentiment? No — not so. For we are a group of seriously intentioned individuals, male and female, who, without trepidation, return time and time again, to renew our hope that one day we will find our personal novena! Say no more.

Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in for the planned viewing of the heavenly gathering on Thursday evening at The Cosmos Centre. However, we were suitably entertained by a film on the nature and structure of the planets and all matter and manner of things above and below.

Saturday, September 17 - Open Day

As mentioned in the introduction, we were welcomed by the locals — including the Charleville Mayor and local dignitaries — who showed amazing interest in what we were doing, and for the town's local authorities who 'opened the doors' to our acceptance of holding the meeting in Charleville. I am sure that this was a major reason that members of the Charleville community turned up on the Open Day.

In Summing Up

I would have to say that since Robin and I joined IWCS this meeting has been one of the meetings of greatest interest we have ever attended, — and that includes eight other International Annual Meetings in Australia, Canada, United States, The Netherlands, South Africa, and New Zealand.

We were also pleased to welcome overseas visitors, including Alan Curtis, Don Lown, Jean Sumner and Chuck Ray from the USA, Bob and Ankie Goddard from the UK, and Graham and Judith Trost from NZ, as well as members from the other states, including Victoria, South Australia, and Charles and Lalleen Broadbent, who came the long way, around from Western Australia.
Commemorative plaque presented to David and Jan Munzberg for inventing Boyakka Bilby
Commemorative plaque presented to David and Jan Munzberg for inventing Boyakka Bilby.

Group photo on the front lawn at Maryvale Station.
Group photo on the front lawn at Maryvale Station.

The highlight however has been the display of species and craft which would have numbered around 4,000 items on display and for sale to members and visitors at various times and, it's not very often that this translates to the community. In fact, Colin Martin relayed to me that on his visit to the local butcher following the meeting, and during conversation about the meeting the butcher said to Colin, that, "For the week of the conference, I had the biggest weekly 'till' taking that I have had for a long time, because of the BBQs and dinners, and lunches, etc. that you blokes had." The local newspaper sent representatives to cover several of our activities, and the press and local radio chipped in as well. That's all good news for IWCS and for the town of Charleville.

Overall, the greatest thanks must go to Harry and the members of the organising committee who have put such a huge amount of work into this meeting over a long period. Congratulations from all of us for creating such a successful meeting.