Scientific name

Syncarpia hillii. Family: Myrtaceae

Other names

Fraser Island turpentine


  • Medium-sized tree grows to 30m or higher.
  • Stem is 1m diameter.
  • Bark is brown, fibrous and fissured.
  • Very similar to turpentine, Syncarpia glomulifera, but has larger leaves and fruits.


  • Occurs mainly on K'gari (formerly Fraser Island).
  • Small plots are found on the mainland in Cooloola area.
  • Commercial availability is limited due to these areas receiving World Heritage listing



  • Heartwood is dark pink to reddish brown.
  • Sapwood is usually a distinctly paler.


  • Generally interlocked, giving some ribbon figure (pattern) to the radial surface.
  • Texture is relatively fine and even.


  • Engineering: sawn or round timber used to construct bridges and wharves, railway sleepers, poles, marine piling.
  • Construction: seasoned sawn timber in general house framing, internal and external flooring, lining, cladding.
  • Decorative: plywood, laminated beams, bench tops, joinery, turnery, furniture.
  • Others: chisel handles, mallet heads, walking sticks, planking for boats, cooperage.


  • Density: 800kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.3m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S3 unseasoned, SD3 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F8, F11, F14, F17 (unseasoned); F14, F17, F22, F27 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000, Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J2 unseasoned, JD2 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: about 10.0% (tangential), 4.4% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.35% (tangential), 4.4% (radial)—these values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 1 (life expectancy more than 40 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 2 (life expectancy 15–25 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative.
  • Seasoning: be careful as timber shrinks irregularly and is prone to surface checking and minor collapse.
  • Hardness: moderately hard (rated 3 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: be careful when dressing due to interlocked grain.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: as with most high-density species, machine and prepare surface immediately before gluing.
  • Finishing: takes a high polish well, and needs little or no filling; readily accepts paints and stains.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: greyish brown distinct from heartwood.
  • Heartwood: reddish to reddish brown.
  • Texture: fine and uniform, grain is interlocked.

Wood structure

  • Vessels: small to medium, solitary and numerous, sometimes with white deposits; tyloses present but not abundant.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): indistinguishable under lens.
  • Rays: very fine, visible under lens; ray bars distinct on radial surfaces.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: splinter burns to a charcoal leaving no ash.
  • Figure (pattern): often figured on quarter-sawn surfaces.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: Properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.