Mod­ern tim­ber ca­reer arises from lo­cal fam­ily her­itage

Pro­file on Matthew Ran­dall - a TCA Young Com­mu­nity Am­bas­sador

Australian Forests and Timber - - In The News -

NOT UN­LIKE his four year-old son’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the ad­ven­tures of Peter Rab­bit, Matthew Ran­dall spends a lot of his time try­ing to out­wit rab­bits keen on tasty seedlings amidst the 14,000 hectares of tim­ber plan­ta­tions man­aged around Al­bany, Mt Barker and Rocky Gully, Western Aus­tralia, in his work with PF Olsen.

Matthew is pas­sion­ate about forestry in Aus­tralia and set out to im­part some of his knowl­edge and skills onto the next gen­er­a­tion through school vis­its as part of the TCA Young Com­mu­nity Am­bas­sador pro­gram.

Among his ac­tiv­i­ties in the TCA Ini­tia­tive was host­ing a group of stu­dents from the Aus­tralian Chris­tian Col­lege on an ex­cur­sion around plant­ing and har­vest­ing sites near Al­bany last year.

Matthew be­gan with the forestry in­dus­try as a truck driver straight out of school— with ex­pe­ri­ence gained from his fam­ily’s freight busi­ness.

Most of his peers headed for the city to at­tend Univer­sity or found a trade. The lure of the min­ing in­dus­try was still strong then, to­wards the end of the boom in Western Aus­tralia, and Matthew ini­tially thought that’s where he would head.

For­tu­itously, a friend in­vited Matthew to visit a lo­cal forestry site. This ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired 18-yearold Matthew when he saw the so­phis­ti­cated ma­chin­ery used in forestry, which looked sim­i­lar to a com­puter game con­sole.

He was given the op­por­tu­nity to join Tim­ber­corp as an in­field truck driver and had his first ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing a har­vester dur­ing two years with the com­pany. This was com­ple­mented by an­other op­er­a­tional role with Al­bany Tim­ber Ser­vices (Blue­wood In­dus­tries) for four years. He spent time work­ing with blue gum plan­ta­tions driv­ing an ar­ray of ma­chin­ery used in har­vest­ing in­clud­ing for­warders, log load­ers, skid­ders, feller bunch­ers, chip­pers and flails, build­ing up his skills.

Matthew com­pleted stud­ies in train­ing and as­sess­ment and oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety to de­velop man­age­rial skills to en­hance his op­por­tu­ni­ties.

He stepped into his cur­rent role as a forester with P F Olsen in 2014 and now man­ages part of the West Aus­tralian es­tate that en­com­passes about 60 plan­ta­tions in the in­ter­est­ing tim­ber com­mu­ni­ties around Al­bany, Mt Barker and Rocky Gully.

His role in­volves sil­vi­cul­ture op­er­a­tions, harvest man­age­ment and au­dit­ing of health and safety pro­grams.

His fore­bears have a deep his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion to south­ern Western Aus­tralia and gen­er­a­tions on Matthew is also right at home rais­ing his fam­ily there. His in­ter­est in and en­thu­si­asm about tree grow­ing and tim­ber pro­duc­tion is ob­vi­ous. He has no doubt that tim­ber is an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and much needed fi­bre for the world.

It both­ers him that our forestry in­dus­try faces ex­tra chal­lenges through ‘mis­in­for­ma­tion’ fed to the pub­lic about to­day’s forestry prac­tices.

“We plainly need more wood and trees com­ing through to sup­ply the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity’s grow­ing need for tim­ber prod­ucts. It seems we are just im­port­ing more and more from other coun­tries.

“The big­gest bat­tle is chang­ing peo­ple’s per­cep­tion of the in­dus­try.”

Au­thor: Amanda Fisher … Tales to con­nect com­mu­ni­ties

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