Prince’s Trust Opts for Timber in its Largest Australian Social Housing Project

The Prince's Trust is the latest Australian social housing project to embrace mass timber systems in construction.

Mon 06 Nov 23


The Prince’s Quarter, a partnership between the Princes Trust Australia and the NSW Government’s Land and Housing (LAHC), will see 75 new social apartments and terrace housing delivered in Glebe, Sydney.

Inspired by the Prince’s Foundation and Dutchy of Cornwall projects, it is the largest project undertaken by the Trust in Australia.

It will see the construction of affordable, lightweight and sustainable accommodation “featuring green roofs, as well as extensive landscaping, accessible apartments and footpath upgrades.”

In total, the project will lead to accommodation for around 130 tenants in Sydney’s inner-west. It will include “two eight-storey brick “wool store-style” apartments and five terrace houses inspired by the local Glebe vernacular.

Now, for the first time, Wood Central can reveal that the project, designed by Johnson Pilton Walker and constructed by Kane Constructions and Bridge Housing, will use up to 2,500 cubic metres of cross-laminated timber and 15 cubic metres of glue-laminated timber, all locally sourced, and supplied by XLAM and Hyne Timber.

Wood Central understands that all timber used on the project will be Responsible Wood and PEFC-certified timber, an important consideration for the Prince’s Trust, sourced from NSW forests through Forestry NSW, “which helps the NSW regional economy thrive.”

It is the latest mid-rise social housing project to embrace mass timber construction systems, with Built reporting that it is working with the Liverpool City Council in Sydney’s West to deliver mid-rise build-to-rent projects.

Significantly, it is not the first Xlam social housing project, with the company delivering 28 different social and affordable housing developments for the NZ Ministry of Housing and the Kainga Ora Home and Communities housing department.

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The project team touring the XLAM facilities in Wodonga, NSW, led by Sean Bull from XLAM (far left) (Photo Credit: Supplied)

Last week, the project team toured the XLAM Australia facilities in Wodonga, the largest mass timber facility in Australia.

The mill produces 60,000 cubic metres of cross-laminated timber annually and is part of a growing number of plants serving the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Led by Senior Project Manager from Kane Construction, Vargh Zare, it included representatives from the Trust, Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW Egnineers), Group GSA (Project Managers), the Prince’s Trust Australia, Johnson Pilton Walker and the NSW Land and Housing Corporation.

According to Mr Zare, the partnership with Xlam Australia commenced over 12 months ago, “and we have come a long way.”

“With our timber set to arrive in sub-4 weeks, we are super excited to move into the structure installation phase,” he said.

In a statement provided to Wood Central, Xlam Australia confirmed its engagement with the pre-tender design team “extended back over two years.”

“From the outset, it was clear that LAHC had a vision for sustainable development and local Australian procurement was key in achieving this vision,” Xlam Australia said.

With the appointment of Kane Construction as head contractor for the project, “the successful collaboration has continued, with XLam heavily integrated into the project design team.” 

Accordingly, this integrated approach” has yielded clear benefits from simplifying and streamlining panel thicknesses and layouts to removing the need for project-specific fire or acoustic testing,” Xlam Australia said, “often viewed as a barrier to entry for CLT projects.”

Prince’s Trust Founder and President His Majesty King Charles III, the then Prince of Wales, discusses the legacy of the Prince’s Trust, now operating in over 20 countries, both within the Commonwealth and beyond. Footage courtesy of @princestrustinternational1606.

The Prince’s Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity founded in 1976 by King Charles III (then Prince of Wales) to help vulnerable young people get their lives on track. It supports 11-to-30-year-olds who are unemployed or struggling at school and risk of exclusion.

In 2013, the former Prince of Wales established Prince’s Charities Australia under the leadership of Tony Beddison AC and inaugural Chief Executive Janine Kirk AO.

The current King is a long-time supporter of sustainable forestry and, whilst the Prince of Wales, appointed Geraint Richards, Head Forester of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Last month, the King visited the James Jones and Sons sawmill in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with the processor sourcing more than 150,000 tonnes of certified timber from the Balmoral Estate’s 1200 hectares of productive forests. 

In 2022, the company secured a 60% stake in Mayflower Enterprises, the parent company of  Xlam and Hyne Timber.


  • 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.


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