Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Australia wooden houses

Welcome to our blog, Menfranco general blog
and our post, Australia wooden houses
Australian houses in Brisbane
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This is a typical smaller version of the Queenslander houses, sometimes they are called workers cottages, because they were made for people that could not afford the more typical large Queenslander

Australia wooden houses

Welcome to my hub, Australia wooden houses in Brisbane
Dear readers as we have said in our previous post for us it is necessary that we go back to the times when I came to Australia, so that I can describe what I found and how I ended up in the building industry working and building houses; so let me start to talk what I found when I came to Brisbane.
The convenient pretty wooden houses in Brisbane and Australia; when we came to Australia in the early sixties, we found that the houses here were made of timber, which were very different from the houses we had left in Europe.  
For us Italian migrants that had lived all our lives in solid masonry buildings, when we arrived in Australia at the beginning it seemed a strange thing that in Brisbane lots of houses were made of wood and most of them were set on wooden stumps, but then we started thinking that after all they were still good to live in anyhow, so, we got used to live on them rather quickly.
So, we had to forget about how we used to live in our motherland and also my native town of Genzano di Lucania since we were living now in Australia the Australian way, after all as the saying goes, when you are in Rome do what the Romans do, and we did that; but then, what were the reasons and why these houses were made of wood, or to use another word for wood how the locals called it here, they were made of timber.
So as you can see, this question arises, why these houses were made of timber and not masonry? And then try to see if they were better or worse that the houses made of bricks or masonry. If we use logic reasoning there is no difference whether houses are made of timber or masonry, as long as they are able to give the people that live in them that filling of safety and privacy that we aspect from them, when we live in our own home.
Having said that now let us see or guess the reasons why these houses were made of timber, and why they were set on wooden stumps.

Wooden houses on stumps

The wooden houses on stumps of Brisbane and/or Australia
As I have already said above in Brisbane a lot of houses are/were made of timber, but not only are they made of timber, they are set on wooden stumps. So let us see the reasons why they were made this way.
From what explanations we have heard, and also by using our own imagination and intelligence one can come to the conclusion that there were several reasons why houses here were made of timber. The first reason is that when the first settlers started to build Brisbane, there were plenty of trees that could be cut down and make very good timber to build those houses; and then the people that came to live in Brisbane and Australia had a very good knowledge of how to use timber, since they came by boats and in the boats of those days, there were always carpenters and carpenter tools on board, so to build timber houses was the easiest way for them, since they had the knowledge the tools and plenty of timber in the woods surrounding Brisbane.
At the beginning the houses were just simple shelters, but as the time went by they became better and better, because the builders also became aware that here around Brisbane and northward when the wet season comes the ground becomes too wet for the houses to stand on the ground, in hot summer days everything becomes too hot and there were lots of vermin on the ground, so they found a way how to build houses that would avoid most of these problems; that is why in those times the houses on stumps became a necessity, of course slowly they became even better and even pretty, that is how the Queenslander house was born, which is a large house with verandas around them that keeps the weather and the hot sun off the main walls of the house. One can see these pretty Queensland houses if you look around even today.

This is a large Queen-slander, note the pretty design, all the open space on the verandas and also all the open space under the house, which could be used in very hot summer days to catch the breeze and stay in the shade.
The Queenslander houses
The Queenslander House
The Queenslander house is a large timber house; some of them are pretty too and they serve the inhabitant very well, as they have been built to take the advantage of the hot climate in Brisbane and north Queensland regions. Now since I have been working in these houses to maintain them, let me describe them to you a bit more in details. As anyone can guess there are a few different types of these houses, but here to make it easier we are talking about the large real Queenslander and the workers cottage, which is a small and cheaper version of the real Queenslander. 
As I have already said above in this hub, when the first settlers arrived here, there were plenty of trees around to make timber, a lot of this timber is called hardwood, which as the name suggests is hard and very strong, some of this timber are even stronger and longer lasting than the European oak or other strong European woods. So the houses were strong and secure, the only natural real enemy of these houses were the white ants (termites), which are able to eat through the wood and destroy the houses. The termites are native to Australia and if one goes up north in Australia one could see strange ground made mounts of earth springing up from the ground, these is how the white ants live, they eat wood from the inside and they make these mounts of earth.
So as you can see this was another reason why the houses were built on stumps. The stumps were made of whole sections of trees that are very resistant to rot; of course the white ants could still be able to eat those stumps, but they were treated with some paints and at the top they all had a capping of metal that would make a barrier to the white ants if they came from the inside the stump and also a barrier to the other ants or crawling insect from the outside.
We have to say that some of these timber houses have been made also pretty, because timber can be cut to different shapes easily, so they were somehow pretty compared to the house made of masonry, which would be very expensive to decorate them with masonry, so the houses are usually square boxes with a roof at the top.
Decorative fretwork was easy to make with timber and a lot of these houses had some decorations, in them in one way or the other. Now I can go on and on telling you how these houses were made, but that would be hard to do, so I am going to search the Internet for photos that could show you what I mean, about fretwork and other timber names, anyhow there are a lot of names given to these pieces of timber that would be hard for me to name and for the readers to understand what is meant by that particular name. So I am going to leave it to your imagination, once you see some photos of the houses and the fretwork in them.
I believe that I have said enough for this post; so see you soon in our next post that will be about maintenance of these wooden houses

Menfranco general blog 
Australia wooden houses
Next time with, Wooden houses care  
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