This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) is one of the most valuable Australian woods. It is extensively used in the construction of railway carriages, and is well adapted for light and heavy framing purposes, gun-stocks, coopers' staves, and turners' work, and in this respect contrasts favourably with most of the English woods; and, from the facility with which it is bent into the most difficult curves, it is highly prized for buggy and gig shafts, etc. Within the last few years it has been introduced extensively into the manufacture of the finer description of furniture, such as drawing-room suites, and is found far superior to walnut, owing to its strength and toughness. Blackwood resembles in figure different woods, such as walnut, mahogany, rosewood, zebrawood, etc. Formerly mahogany was extensively imported for the purpose of manufacturing billiard tables; but at the present time blackwood has taken the place of mahogany in the above-named manufacture. It is pronounced to bo far superior to the best Spanish mahogany for this purpose; owing to its density and resisting qualities, it is acted on very slightly by the changes of weather, and is capable of taking a fine polish.
It is named from the dark-brown colour of the mature wood, which becomes black when washed with lime-water. In moist shaded localities, the tree grows more rapidly, and the wood is of a much lighter colour; hence this variety is called "Lightwood" in Hobart Town, to distinguish it from the other. Diameter, 1 1/2 to 4 ft.; average, about 2 1/4 ft.; height, 60 to 130 ft.; sp. grav., about 0.855. Found throughout Tasmania, but not abundantly in any one locality. Price, about 12s. to 14s. per 100 ft. super., in the log.