Celebrating 40 Years’ of Barwon Timber

40 years - Celebrating 40 Years' of Barwon Timber

Barwon Timber is an independent family owned business established in 1980 by Bill Trengrove. Bill’s children, Anita and Brent, have run the business as co General Managers since 2013. 2020 marked our 40th birthday. We were a little distracted last year, now the belated celebrations have begun!

Barwon Timber started cutting Oregon and Western Red Cedar and making door jambs at Barwon Terrace in South Geelong. The machinery used was very old and worn; the cast offs from other businesses. Dennis Ryan and Bill travelled to Port Adelaide to purchase a circa 1903 64” Berlin bandsaw. The saw was originally steam driven and the first bandsaw in South Australia. Bill travelled to Balmain for an old moulding machine (around 1950 vintage) along with other old and well used equipment.  The newest piece of equipment purchased was a late 60’s Bedford truck.   

Bill determined the business would not survive only cutting Oregon and Cedar and making door jambs and so the building on Barwon Terrace was sold in 1981 and the purchase of three acres from the Geelong Regional Commission negotiated.  Barwon Timber moved to 57 Leather Street, Breakwater in 1982 with the plan to grow. The shed had a gravel floor and no walls on the south and east side, no spouts, no roof ridge and no lights.  It did have an old caravan for an office.  1981-1983 were tough years and money was extremely tight. 

Ash Wednesday on February 16th 1983 was a horrendous event for communities but a turning point for Barwon Timber. It signified the start of a building boom on the Surfcoast. Tony Borsuk, Doug Jarvis, Peter Mackenzie and Bill (all ex John Trengrove PL employees) along with Bill Branch, Rod Clissold, Bob Keogh, John Lyons, Steve Murphy, Darren Thurrowgood and Russell Savage set about building Barwon Timber. Both Darren and Russell continue to work with us today. Building activity picked up and things began to improve rapidly.  The mill building was extended and a kiln built for drying timber.  In 1984 the adjoining block that fronts Haworth Court was purchased.  A large warehouse (with walls) and office were built.   

team - Celebrating 40 Years' of Barwon Timber
Barwon Timber Team – Geelong Business Excellence Awards 2013

By 1997 Barwon Timber had outgrown its premises. The land on Haworth Court was sold to fund the purchase of ten acres at 50 Fellmongers Road. In 1998 we moved our timber supply operation to our current site.

We started Bar-Truss Pty Ltd in 1997 in Moolap and it moved to 50 Fellmongers Road in 1999. Bill Williamson came on board as a consultant to set up a small hardware store in the timber yard in 1998. Our hardware business quickly grew and moved into its own building in 1999 and Bill joined us on a more permanent basis. During the 90’s, Josh Penhall, Steve Levy and Corey Salmon joined us and continue to work at Barwon Timber.

The Showroom was built in 2004 and incorporates an extensive product Showroom purpose built for our customers who do not have display homes to enable them to show clients product selections. In 2010 we started offering a supply and installation service for timber flooring.   

Our mill continues to operate from Leather Street and provides specialist timber products and services to builders, merchants and wholesalers.

In May 2016 we purchased Drysdale Timber & Hardware on Murradoc Road in Drysdale to add a retail store to our business mix and strengthen our trade offering on the Bellarine Peninsula. The store is under the Home Timber and Hardware banner as an independent. 

Barwon Timber, Bar-Truss and Drysdale Timber and Hardware typically employ between 110-120 people.  We have some employees who’ve now been with us for 40 years. We encourage our team to live our values which are:   

– integrity
– quality product and service
– teamwork
– our people and partners
– innovation
– sustainability