Victorian ash is the trade name for two of the tallest hardwood species in the world. This Australian hardwood takes its name from the fact that it grows in the alpine areas of Victoria, It can refer to either mountain ash or alpine ash and as these species are species segregated in Victoria it is marketed under the trade nameVictorian ash, it is important to note that the proportions of each species can vary considerably but Victorian mountain ash and alpine ash are very similar in characteristics and look. Victorian ash should not be confused with Tasmanian oak which comprises three hardwood species: alpine ash, mountain ash and messmate and has quite a wide variation in colour mix. Importantly it should also be noted that Victorian ash is not susceptible to lyctid borer whilst Tasmanian oak is.
Victorian ash is mainly available in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW, with limited availability to other parts of Australia.
Victorian ash timber usually has a straight grain but may also produce fiddleback markings and have visible gum veins. It has a course texture. The heartwood ranges from pale pink to yellowish brown and a walnut colour can be achieved by steaming with ammonia. The heartwood is often indistinguishable in colour from the softwood.
Care needs to be taken when drying Victorian ash because it is prone to collapse and internal checking, as well as surface checking on the tangential surface. There is minimal shrinkage after drying. To ensure good quality boards, logs are quarter-cut, which provides excellent dimensional stability. Reconditioning is standard practice.
Victorian ash can be used for general construction, such as F17 seasoned structural framing, but its moderate above-ground durability and its consistent and even colour means it is best suited for interior applications such as flooring, panelling, mouldings, staircases, handrails, balusters, cupboards, bench tops high value joinery, furniture as well as protected (e.g. painted) window joinery. Victorian ash is also used to manufacture plywood and may also be used for boxes, crates and paper pulp. Victorian ash can be grown as a plantation timber due to its quick growth and resistance to insect attack.