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Hardwood pulping
process for pulping hardwoods for newsprint

For 120 years Australian newspapers were printed on imported paper or paper milled from imported pulp, because it was impossible to make paper using pulp from native hardwood tree species such as Eucalyptus which contains very short fibres.

As demand for paper products grew world-wide some researchers began to look seriously at producing paper from hardwoods. In 1918 West Australian scientists invented a way of pulping hardwoods by soaking the crushed wood in caustic soda. They made paper in a prototype plant in 1927, but the government had to offer tax incentives before newspaper publishers finally invested in a hardwood paper plant in Tasmania in 1941.

Since then Australia has become self sufficient in paper and the hardwood paper technology has been exported to countries where gum trees are farmed such as Portugal, Spain, Brazil, South Africa and Israel.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Key organisations
Australian Newsprint Mills Ltd : R&D, design, manufacture
Key People
C E Lane-Poole : forester
I H Boas : chemist

Further Reading

Research to reality
M Southern (ed)
AIRG, Melbourne, 1980, pp 26-32.

Forestry Australia
Australian Pulp and Paper Institute
CRC for Hardwood Fibre and Paper Science
Pulp and Paper Manufacturers of Australia
Current Issues in Pulp and Paper Industry ATSE

Magnified views of wood pulp from eucalyptus trees (right) and pine trees (left). Courtesy Australian Industrial Research Group.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum