New Hydrowood & Mortlock Deal Boosts Reclaimed Timber Network

The partnership will increase capacity to supply recovered timbers Australia-wide.

Tue 17 Oct 23


Demand for reclaimed timber is booming, with the shortage of new timber driving interest in the recovered timber market.

Due to its age and slow growth, reclaimed timber is often considered superior to newly harvested wood and less prone to shrinkage, warping, and twisting.

One of the world’s oldest underwater forestry operations, Hydrowood, has partnered with distributor Mortlock Timber to supply architectural grade recovered timbers Australia-wide.

According to Andrew Morgan, who co-founded Hydrwood with David Wise, the new partnership will “redefine sustainability and quality standards in the architectural timber sector.”

It has been a busy year for Hydrowood, who raised $2m in July through the crowd-funding platform OnMarket.

“Australia is a net importer of timber products with a $2 billion trade deficit, and the gap is growing.”

The decision by the West Australian and Victorian State Governments to accelerate the closure of native forest harvesting will lead to an even greater demand for reclaimed timbers in the Australian market, with the supply of native hardwoods expected to contract from next year.

David Wise and Andrew Morgan co-founded Hydrowood 10 years ago. (Photo Credit: Supplied)

According to Mr Morgan, the decision by the Appeals Court to uphold the decision against VicForests in the Central Highlands reinforces the importance of reclaimed timber.

“With a reduction in native forestry production and reduced supply due to bushfires and increased demand for decorative timbers, Hydrowood is positioned to supply sought-after timbers into the future.”

Hydrowood has extracted 6,000 cubic metres of timber from Lake Pieman, with an additional 60,000 cubic metres yet to be gathered.

Hydrowood is a true Tasmanian story about sustainability, innovation and resourcefulness. Footage courtesy of @BrandTasmania.

It has invested considerable research and development to create what Mr Morgan said “is a globally leading operation.”

For Mortlock Timbers, the new partnership is “a significant milestone in its journey towards sustainable timber product production,” with the company now stocking Hydrowood Oak, Huon Pine, Celery Top Pine, Blackheart Sassafras, and Tasmanian Myrtle also reclaimed from the seafloor of Lake Pieman.

All timbers are FSC, Responsible Wood and PEFC-certified, collectively representing the “gold standard” for forest sustainability.

Hydrowood has already nurtured relationships with some of Australia’s leading architects, with the new partnership helping to supply architects with sustainably sourced hardwoods.

It has been featured on Grand Designs, Tasmania’s Parliament Square buildings, and Momentum’s Melbourne office, as well as used for floorboards, bathroom cabinets, and exquisitely designed furniture in Tasmania’s parliamentary offices. 

“This collaboration is a testament to our shared vision for ethical and environmentally-conscious practices,” Mr Morgan said.

“Together, we are not only preserving nature’s essence but are crafting a legacy of responsibility and innovation.”

The company is negotiating with Hydro Tasmania to extend its current licence to other Tasmanian lakes where studies have estimated that up to 300,000 cubic metres of wood may be submerged. (Photo credit: Claire Bennett)

Hydrowood has a five-year licence from Hydro Tasmania to operate on Lake Pieman. Wood Central reported in April that it is negotiating with the Tasmanian state governments to secure access to other Tasmanian lakes where studies have estimated that a volume of up to 300,000 cubic metres is submerged.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


Related Articles