Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
If there is one thing we know about Christmas in Melbourne, it's that the weather is never predictable. It may be a blazing hot summer day, or it may be gail force winds, hailing or snowing! Or, more likely, it might be doing all 4 on the one day. If the temperature does plummet, there is nothing more Christmassy than a good log fire (and some mulled wine!) to lift the spirits. If that's the case, and you need to stock up on some good wood for that crackling fire, here's some of the best places in Melbourne to source it, and also some ideas about how to get it for free.
For smaller amounts of wood, try Gronow's Wood Yard, Inkerman Street, St Kilda East Until recent years, Grownow's also sold old-fashioned crates of cordial and soft drink, but now focuses only on firewood. It has everything you could possibly want, from kindling to eco-bricquets made from waste sawdust to magnificent chunks of slow-burning red gum. Wood is sold in approx. 20 kg hessian bags, which are easy to fit into most car boots.
Redgum Firewood (tel: 03 9331 5635) deliver redgum, kindling, and smaller pizza-oven firewood to homes across metropolitan Melbourne. As with most reputable firewood suppliers, their firewood comes from sustainable forest sources. While kindling comes in 5kg bags, the rest is sold per cubic metre and is delivered in their tip-truck to your door. The stacking is up to you though, as it is with most delivery options!
Lot of the Garden Centres who also provide landscape supplies, such as soil and gravel, also stock firewood. Try The Green Centre in Keilor Park (tel: 03 9331 5300), who, as the name implies, provide 100% sustainable timber from Victoria's state government forestries. They sell the wood by the cubic metre and also deliver across Melbourne.
A great example of a 'vertical' business selling firewood is Taylors Tree and Stump Removal. Their aborists turn the unwanted gum trees they remove into split gum firewood, which retails for around $350 a tonne (between 2-2.5 cubic metres). They also supply redgum. Ring in advance though, as they don't always have it in stock (tel: 1300 325 559):
If you are happy to collect, and sometimes cut up, the firewood yourself, Gumtree lists lots of free firewood in the Melbourne area, usually from people who have felled trees which need clearing. Unsurprisingly, there is usually a spike in ads after big windstorms, though keep in mind that wood generally needs to be stacked and dried out for around 12 months after cutting in order to burn well.
This is a great option if you are looking to reduce cost. With a bit of organisation, another option is to go out and collect it yourself from the designated public firewood collection areas during the firewood collection seasons (1 March - 30 June and 1 September - 30 November) . You may or may not require a permit to collect wood yourself but must check with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries first, as heavy fines can apply. Where do you go to get your firewood in Melbourne? Do you have recommendations to share with other WEN readers?
We are a pallet and box manufacturer and we have pine offcuts available year-round. We put out bins that we refill regularly during our operating hours. It's free to the public.
While Melbourne's firewood sellers claim to sell "sustainable" firewood, none of them actually have any certification for this. If you want genuinely sustainable firewood, you need Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or PEFC certification. However, when you ask for this, most firewood merchants will tell you that there is no demand for this and that only architects and greenies are interested in it.
I think this is underestimating the customer's genuine desire to care for the environment and is probably a reflection of the fact that FSC certified firewood is almost impossible to source.
However, there is a place, about an hour's drive from Melbourne where you can buy FSC firewood. Jindivick Timber supplies firewood directly to end user customers - take your trailer and they'll fill it up for you at much cheaper prices than you'll spend at the merchants in Melbourne. You can contact them on 0419 374 696 - you'll probably need to leave a message because reception can be dodgy but they're good at getting back to you.
While you're there, make some time to enjoy Jindivick - the Jindivick Country Gardener which is a great rare and unusual plant nursery, the Jindivick Harvest Kitchen and providore, antique store, cafe, and beautiful views. Its a fun day out and a really easy drive from Melbourne with the bonus of picking up some cheap, genuinely sustainable firewood.