Making History in South Australia
South Australia has enjoyed a rich history within the forestry industry with early European settlement playing a fundamental role during the 19th century. Native forests were cleared for farming activities, and for supplying building and fencing materials for domestic and commercial construction. The search to discover the most suitable tree that could be grown in South Australian conditions fuelled demand for forestry plantations. This expanded during the 1920s and 1930s with private forestry companies commencing operations as growers and timber millers.
Reid Logging is a company with a history extending back almost fifty years. Founded by John Reid in 1966, the family business has embraced a tradition and heritage in Mount Gambier, South Australia. Directors Colin and Deb Reid now run the company along with their son Craig who has worked as a machine operator for around 15 years.
In the early years of its foundation, Reid Logging utilised a team of thirteen men working as pine fellers to cut short pulpwood 1.2 metres in length, which were loaded by hand onto a truck. In 1974, the move to a longer length pulpwood system saw the introduction of a Volvo SM462, the first forwarder in first thinning in the South East region of South Australia. Colin joined the company at this time where he was appointed operator of the forwarder.
John Reid introduced a John Deere 743 harvester in 1978, which was the region’s first mechanical harvester. A new operator was engaged to operate the forwarder with Colin trained to take over operation of the harvester. In 1980, another John Deere 743 harvester was purchased with both machines employed by ForestrySA and private softwood plantations. A Timberjack 1270A wheeled harvester was purchased in 1996 after the signing of a ten year pine thinning contract with ForestrySA. In 2001, a Timberjack 1270C wheeled harvester was purchased to work alongside the Timberjack 1270A.
In 2006, South Australia had 167,000 hectares of plantation forests. Approximately 123,000 hectares of this were softwood (Pine) and 42,000 hectares contained hardwood (Blue gum). ForestrySA now manage the most extensive areas of Pine forests in the south-east near Mount Gambier where 80% of the State’s forest plantations grow. High rainfall and excellent drainage in the soils have contributed to positive growth rates of pine.
In 2009, after a new contract was won, a John Deere 1710D Eco III forwarder was purchased to work alongside the company’s existing Timberjack 1270C wheeled harvester. In March 2011, the Timberjack 1270C was approaching 20,000 hours and Reid Logging made the decision to purchase a John Deere 1270E harvester. Despite the age of the Timberjack 1270C, the machine remains in immaculate condition and is still in operation today working simultaneously with the 1270E harvester.
According to Colin Reid, “Maintaining maximum efficiency and attention to detail are crucial to the successful operation of our business. Previous experience with John Deere as well as backup support and parts availability from Hitachi allows us to provide the most competitive, productive and reliable service to our customers. Operator comfort, ease of operation and serviceability are impressive features for operators,” added Colin.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia continues to work actively with Reid Logging to support their machinery requirements and project obligations. “We have a great relationship with Jason Rudd at Hitachi and he has provided us with detailed insight regarding the suitability of equipment prior to purchase,” said Colin. History, local knowledge and quality machinery are the heart of the forestry industry and are a testament to Reid Logging’s success preparing them for potential future challenges within the industry.