Sun, Surf, Science: Delegates Gather for Gold Coast IRG Talks

Flashback: Jim Bowden, as managing editor of Australian Timberman, reported on the 1983 IRG14 conference at Surfers Paradise.

Mon 22 May 23


More than 120 delegates involved in wood preservation research in 25 countries are attending the 14th annual conference of the International Research Group on Wood Preservation on Queensland’s Gold Coast this month.

The IRG, which has its secretariat based in Sweden, is a collaborative group of wood preservation experts drawn from industry, government and end users to promote and carry out research on wood preservation.

More than 60 scientific papers will be delivered at the conference being held at the Chevron Paradise Hotel, Surfers Paradise, from May 9 to 12.

Queensland’s Conservator of Forests Jim Smart officially opened the event on May 9 following a welcome to delegates by the president of the Timber Preservers Association of Australia Steve Retter.

Conference chairman is Dr Harry Greaves, leader of the conservation and biodegradation section of CSIRO’s new division of chemical and wood technology.

IRG conference coordinator Doug Howick, CSIRO, Melbourne, said the organising committee was extremely pleased at the local and international response to the conference considering the difficult times being experienced by the timber industry.

He expressed gratitude to the Australian wood preservation and timber industries for their strong support and financial backing of the conference.

Mr Howick said the meeting was a historic event; it was only the second IRG conference to be held outside Europe and the first held in the southern hemisphere.

He said delegates included 60 international members and about 60 non-members.

A growing list of conference sponsors include Koppers Australia Pty Ltd, Buckman Laboratories, Curpinol, SEC Queensland, Hyne and Son, Maryborough, Retokil (wood preservation division), Cellavit, Allen Taylor and Co, Queensland Forestry Department, NSW Timber Advisory Council, Queensland Sawmills, French Enterprises, Tasmania, Shell Chemical Co and K.F. Kelly and Sons, Melbourne.

Delegates include a large contingent from the CSIRO’s division of chemical and wood technology and the Forest Research Institute, Rotorua, NZ, headed by the institute’s director Dr Sandy McGuire.

Both the IRG president Michael Baker, Department of Environment and Transport, London, and IRG secretary in Sweden, Ron Cockcroft, are attending the conference.

Other countries represented are Canada, the US, Denmark, West Germany, Finland, France, Greece, India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Ghana and Brazil.

International speakers include:

  • Professor John Levy, Imperial College, London.
  • Professor Bjorn Henningsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Dr Thomas Nilsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • Dr Frank Brooks, Hickson’s Timber Products Ltd, Yorkshire, UK.
  • Stuart Carter, Wellcome Research Laboratories, Berkhasmstead, UK.
  • Dr Jeffery LaFage, Department of Entomology, Louisiana State university, Baton Rouge, US.
  • Dr Bill McNamara, research and development director, Osmose, USA.
  • Dr Alan Preston, Institute of Wood Research, Michigan Technological University, USA.
  • Miss Jean Taylor, Fosroc, England.
  • Dr Siegfried Cymorek, research entomologist, Bayer Wood Preservation Co, Germany.
  • Dr k. Nishimoto, Wood Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan.
  • Venkata Sonti, Ascu Hickson Ltd, Calcutta.
  • Mrs Simonne Lucas, Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, France.

The conference includes a full day field tour with a visit to rainforests in the Lamington National Park.  Post-conference tours through Australia’s eastern states have also been arranged.

The organising committee for IRG 14 comprises Dr H. Greaves (chairman), Doug Howick (coordinator), Dr J.R.J. French, Dr J.D. Thornton, R. Johnstone (NSW representative), and Dr Liam Leightley (Queensland representative).

Conferring at the 14th IRG conference on the Gold Coast are Steve Retter, president, Timber Preservers Association of Australia, Mike Baker, UK, IRG president,  Harry Greaves, conference chairman, Jim Smart, Queensland Conservator of Forests, who officially opened the event, and Doug Howick, conference coordinator.

*** ***

Visit to Takura preservation plant

Koppers Australia Pty Ltd, a major sponsor of the 14th IRG conference, has invited delegates to visit the company’s $2 million timber preservation plant at Takura, near Maryborough, while in Queensland.

Koppers’ hardwood group manager Wal Johnson, who is attending the conference, has given an open invitation to the plant which is three hours’ drive from Brisbane or 40 minutes by air.

Takura is the first plant of its kind in Queensland equipped to carry out advanced technology preservation processes suitable for pressure impregnation of sawn hardwood timber sections with creosote/oil type preservatives.


  • 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.


Related Articles