Logging industry is more than just ‘cutting down trees’ for Tasmanian family

In May 15, 2017

Logging in Tasmania has been a highly controversial issue for a number of years, and the Hall family from the north-east of the state have seen the good and the bad.

Even though the industry has been though a series of highs and lows, Ken Hall and his wife Karen are more than happy that their children are now involved in logging.

“We’ve always encouraged them [their children] to do something else first, just because they need to experience other things,” Karen Hall said.

“It’s been their desire to come and work in the business that’s brought them to the industry really.”

Driving along a gravel road to see a current logging operation near Scottsdale in Tasmania’s north-east, Ken Hall recalled what it was like when he started working in the industry in about 1985.

Where large processing machines currently work, sawing down trees and then cutting them to length within minutes, Mr Hall would have been working in the same location with just a chainsaw 32 years ago.

“Yeah, it was a long hard day.”

Ken’s son Denham, is now a machine operator and currently works about 13 hours per day. He said compared to the old way of working, he can see why some people might think it is not as difficult as it used to be.

“A lot of my mates always say ‘all you do is sit in the machine and press buttons all the time’,” Denham Hall said.

“Physically it’s not really that draining on you, but mentally it is because you don’t switch off at all. It does take its toll on you but I love it.”

Another member of the Hall family now in the industry is son, Manuel Hall, who has questioned his own occupation throughout the years.

“There’s been times when it makes you wonder why we do what we do,” Manuel Hall said.

Even though Manuel said it is typical of the industry to have ‘ups and downs’, it was something that he was always likely to end up being involved with.

“When I was a young fella, dad was working in native forests, so I sort of grew up following him around I suppose,” he said.

Logging provides for communities

As processing machines continue to fall tall pine trees, Ken is optimistic about the future of logging in Tasmania.

“The industry is just improving all the time; the technology, particularly our harvesters and our other machinery,” Ken Hall said.

“I’m in a situation where I’ve been through a lot of my bush twice, it’s just the nature of the tree. You cut a tree down and you plant other ones and they will grow.”

While out on site with her husband and two sons, Karen Hall explained that logging is ‘viewed as not a very good industry’ for a number of reasons.

“We see it as a lifeline [for] a lot of communities around, particularly Tasmania and Australia,” Karen Hall said.

“It has such a huge benefit to the communities with so much employment, and a lot that goes back into the community as a result.”

Karen Hall said timber products are used almost every day by a wide variety of people and she is proud of the industry she knows so well.

“We don’t see it at just cutting down trees, we see it as an integral part of everybody’s every day lives,” she said.

“We’re very proud of what we do.”


Logging industry is more than just ‘cutting down trees’ for Tasmanian family by Fred Hooper.  Available from <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-08/tasmanian-logging-family-tells-their-life-story/8505742> [Posted

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