Arnhem Land timber to help revitalise Darwin’s CBD, a big win for remote Indigenous saw mill – ABC Rural


A remote saw mill in Arnhem Land has secured one of its most significant contracts, supplying timber to the Northern Territory Government’s revitalisation plan for Darwin’s city centre.

The team at the Gumatj saw mill near Nhulunbuy, have been busy cutting local stringy-bark logs for a $2.7 million canopy, which will cover parts of Darwin’s Cavenagh Street.

Gumatj Corporation Limited’s general manager, Allan Rungan, said it was a big deal for the organisation and its workers.

“The government is looking at building a large shade structure across Cavenagh Street and they sourced Gumatj as the provider for the timber and we are very proud to say we’ve just sent our last batch of timber to Darwin through our local freight company,” he told ABC Rural.

The contract to supply timber to Darwin’s CBD is worth more than $200,000 to the Gumatj Corporation.

Growing demand for Gumatj timber

The Gumatj mill has a special agreement with mining company Rio Tinto, which allows it to source trees prior to the company clearing land for its bauxite mine near Nhulunbuy.

The mill mostly takes stringy-bark trees, which are then turned into a variety of cuts, mostly for the construction sector.

Gumatj mill is also providing timber this year to a series of housing projects at the nearby community of Gunyangarra.

Local Yolngu man Trevor Dhamarrandji has worked at the saw mill for eight years and said the growing demand for Gumatj timber was exciting.

“It makes me feel good and it’s a good part of the job,” he told ABC Rural.

“We’ll hopefully get to cut some more logs for them in Darwin”.

Wood ready for Darwin CBD

Around 5,000 metres of timber planks from the Gumtaj mill has been barged across to Darwin for the Cavenagh Street project.

Dylan Hale from construction company PTM Group, said using timber from Nhulunbuy was a great concept for the CBD project.

Project director for the NT Department of Infrastructure Lyle Hebb, said he was keen to see more timber from Nhulunbuy used in government projects.

“I think there’s great potential for Gumatj timber to be used in other projects and there are great prospects for it commercially as well.

“Obviously barging [the timber] out of Nhulunbuy and the distance of shipping can be a challenge, but it’s worked seamlessly on this occasion.”



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