Back in 2013 I wrote this piece about Murray Kidman and his business Otway Tonewoods:
Murray has been running a small business harvesting blackwood from public native forest in the Otway Ranges in south west Victoria, supplying the tonewood market.
As I said back then, Murray has been operating on borrowed time with the inevitable closure of public native welfare forestry in Victoria.
That time has now come.
But Murray and his son James are determined to fight to the last!
They have started a petition calling for the continuation of public native welfare forestry in Victoria:
Murray’s two main customers, Maton and Cole Clark, are remaining silent about the situation. They understand the risks involved in wading into the deeply divisive Forestry Wars.
It is likely that most guitarists would favour saving our public native forests from logging vs saving the Kidman business.
How can you claim your business is sustainable when clearly the tonewood market is anything but sustainable?
The story of Otway Tonewoods is just another step on the long slow decline of the tonewood market in Australia. The music marketplace refuses to take any responsibility for its own future.
How many people in Australia own a guitar or other musical instrument made from wood? How many of these people make a living from their music?
How many music festivals are there in Australia?
How many music shops are there in Australia?
All of this will disappear unless someone starts growing tonewoods and is openly supported by the marketplace!
Sitting on our hands waiting for politicians or someone else to fix the problem just wont work.
Trying to prop up a failed industry (public native welfare forestry) wont work.
It is disappointing that neither Maton nor Cole Clark wont even start a conversation about the future supply of tonewoods. Crisis! What crisis??
They want us to believe that the future supply of tonewoods is completely under control. Is the shutting down of Otway Tonewoods part of their sustainable future?
When will the marketplace wake up?
It can’t whilst Maton and Cole Clark continue their current charades.
With all due respect to Murray and James Kidman, their social license is about to expire with no option for renewal.
Will it be a turning point for the music industry in Australia?
I sincerely hope so!!