Flashback 1980: ‘Real Wood’ Campaign’s Strong Message

Senior Editor Jim Bowden recalls his interview with Queensland veneered panels and plywood pioneer John Brims 43 years ago.

Wed 02 Aug 23


An Australia-wide group of timber companies has launched an aggressive campaign to alert consumers to the use of imitation wood in furniture and other products.

An Australian Real Wood promotion committee has been formed with the initial campaign thrust directed to television and national magazine advertisements.

Queensland is represented on the committee by John Brims, managing director of D.G. Brims and Sons Pty. Ltd., one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of veneered panels, plywood and particleboard.

Mr Brims said the real wood campaign launched this week had reached the stage where state and industry committees were being formed to encourage membership.

Committees would promote the use of swing tickets and stickers on real wood products, especially by furniture manufacturers supplying the retail trade, he said. 

First shot for real wood promotion was fired in Hobart last week when Tasmanian Premier Doug Lowe launched a campaign jointly funded by the state government and industry.

A committee representing six timber companies was formed to improve the national market share for products made from timber.

Mr Lowe said hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture and other products were being imported for sale.  Nearly all of them had an imitation wood finish. 

The cabinets of most television and stereo units were a perfect example, he said.

“A great deal of furniture manufactured today, both in Australia and overseas, is made of plastic or paper surfaces printed-up to look like wood. One might expect to find this kind of furniture only at the lower end of the price scale. Unhappily this is not the case,” Mr Lowe said.

“A major problem is that most people find it difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to tell whether such furniture is made from real wood or some other type of product simply made to look like wood.”

The 2021 PEFC Forests are Home campaign brought everyone involved in creating, designing and building ‘real wood’ furniture. (Photo Credit: PEFC International)

John Brims said his own group of companies which supplied the furniture and cabinet trade in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, was now making a drive to get members and encourage the use of swing tags and stickers on products that qualified.

He said a group of vitally interested manufacturers and distributors involved in wood veneers had provided funds to place advertisements in an Australian weekly journal.

The aim was to get direct to consumers to make them aware that genuine wood products cary the real wood identification. 

[A pure wool and wool blend promotion campaign launched in some years ago by the Australian Wool Board has been an outstanding success and a winner in the battle against synthetics]..

Like all industry initiatives, the Australian Real Wood Promotion has taken a little time to get off the ground. But enthusiastic real wood promoters such as John Brims and Harry Burnett, chairman of the Tasmanian committee, are confident that because of its unique Australia-wide concept and the fact that it can only be good for all persons involved in wood, it will not be long before positive results are achieved.

The Australian Real Wood promotion committee comprises  A.P. Broome, Briggs Veneer, NSW (chairman), I.R. Marks, Timber Merchants Association  Vic. (director), P.J. Boxall, Australian Timbers Pty Ltd, SA, H. Burnett, Brewsters, Tas, J.M. Brims, D.G. Brims and Sons Pty Ltd, Qld, I.H. Cross, Timber Development Association, NSW, P. Kelly, Forest Products Council, WA, W.D. McPhee, Arthur H. Hasell and Co Pty Ltd, NSW and Tas, L.P. Smith, Associated Plywood Sales, NSW and Qld, B. Sparrow, Plywood and Plastics, NSW.

Anyone interested in obtaining ‘real wood’ car stickers and other promotional material should contact John Brims at D.G. Brims and Sons Pty. Ltd., Station Road Yeerongpilly, telephone (07) 482439 or Jim Bowden, editor, Australian Timberman, PO Box 542, South Brisbane, telephone (07) 44 8191.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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