Australian hardwood timber is both durable and gorgeous, providing a home with an organic warmth, softness and tactility that no other flooring material can match. Solid Australian timber floors exude natural beauty and can endure decades of use. This guide explores 15 native Australian hardwood timber species, including their colours, textures, grains, qualities, and practical applications to inspire your home’s design.
#1 Australian Cypress Pine
Botanical name: Callitris Columellaris
Colour: Australian Cypress Pine is renowned for its unique golden brown hue with pale cream, orange and light yellow highlights and occasional dark brown streaks.
Texture and grain: The timber is characterised by a straight grain, fine even texture and stunning decorative tight knots in black and chocolate brown.
Origin: Western New South Wales, Victoria and central Western Queensland
Qualities: Australian Cypress Pine contains aromatic resins, which contribute to the timber’s natural resistance against termites.
Applications: Australian Cypress Pine’s distinctive tight knots enhance its decorative appeal. This unique aesthetic, combined with its high durability, make it the perfect choice for flooring, decking, furniture, joinery, lining, cladding or any exposed surface in home design.
Botanical name: Eucalyptus Pilularis
Colour: Blackbutt comes in a variety of shades, from medium honey brown to creamy blonde to light brown with a tinge of pink.
Texture and grain: Blackbutt has a straight grain with an even texture.
Origin: New South Wales and Queensland
Qualities: With its impressive fire resistance, Blackbutt can be used in bushfire-prone areas without the need to apply a fire retardant treatment.
Applications: A strong, durable hardwood, Blackbutt can be used for a range of exterior and interior applications including framework, decking and flooring. Its subtle colouring makes it ideal for creating an airy, light neutral interior.
Botanical name: Lophostemon Confertus
Colour: Brushbox has long been sought after for its range of beautiful, rich colours, including pale pink grey, light red-brown and deep russet.
Texture and grain: Brushbox has a curly, interlocking grain and fine, even texture.
Origin: Coastal Queensland and northeastern New South Wales
Qualities: Brushbox’s high density makes it highly resistant to wear and splintering.
Applications: This native Australian timber’s interlocking grain makes it attractive for joinery, flooring, cladding, panelling, framing and laminated beams. Brushbox makes an excellent base for paints and stains. However, its natural waxiness makes it incompatible with highly solvent floor finishes.
Colour: Flooded Rose Gum creates a warm, charming aesthetic, combining shades of deep yet light pink, peach and pale red-brown.
Texture and grain: Flooded Rose Gum has a uniform, straight to slightly interlocked grain. The timber is occasionally decorated with insect trails and pinholes that add to its character and beauty, such as the iconic weaving or ‘scribbling’ pattern left by a scribbly borer. It has a moderately coarse, even texture.
Origin: New South Wales and Queensland
Qualities: Flooded Rose Gum’s high density rating makes it resistant to termite damage.
Applications: Rose gum is extremely versatile for construction and decorative applications. It is an ideal choice for house framing, cladding, joinery, interior floorboards and exterior decking, as well as fine furniture and durable outdoor furniture.
Colour: Jarrah comes in a variety of shades that reflect the Western Australian landscape: soft salmon pink, blonde, rich red-brown and soft burgundy.
Texture and grain: Jarrah has an interlocked or wavy grain with a medium to coarse texture.
Qualities: Jarrah boasts a staggering 15 percent higher density than oak and natural resistance to weather, rot, termites, and marine borers. This timber will not burn unless exposed to a constant flame.
Applications: Jarrah is a unique Australian hardwood renowned for its durability, making it a popular choice for home flooring, joinery, indoor and outdoor furniture. Jarrah readily accepts paint, stain or polish.
Colour: Victorian ash’s characteristic shade is a lovely, silky pale pink, blonde or light nutty brown. Victorian Ash hardwood is naturally an even, pale straw colour that accepts stains and paints well, giving you freedom and flexibility in creating your desired finish.
Texture and grain: Alpine ash has a straight, open and even grain, coarse texture and stunning fiddleback markings.
Origin: Tasmania, Victoria and southern New South Wales
Qualities: This timber is strong, stable and moderately hard. It is not resistant to termites.
Applications: Victorian Ash is best suited for interiors, such as flooring, decking, panelling, joists, trusses, staircases, window frames, doors and furniture.
Colour: A deep and rich burgundy hue that ranges from light to dark.
Texture and grain: Interlocked with frequent gum veins
Origin: The River Red Gum is spread throughout Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia, coastal Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.
Qualities: Durable, strong, and if you like bold timbers, absolutely gorgeous.
Applications: As another strong type of timber, River Red Gum has a versatile number of applications, including flooring, framing, fencing, plywood and veneer manufacture, heavy construction, and railway sleepers. It was used as street paving in Sydney in the late 1800s.
Colour: As with many hardwoods, turpentine timber comes in a variety of colours that ranges from deep red to red-brown.
Texture and grain: Turpentine has a wavy, interlocked grain that is mostly free of gum veins.
Origin: Turpentine is anative to New South Wales and Queensland, growing from Bateman’s Bay to Cooktown.
Qualities: This timber is extremely long-lasting, with a lifespan of 40 years or more.Applications: General house framing, decking, lining, and cladding. As such a strong hardwood, it’s also suitable for dance floors.