Manjimup truffle history
Truffles are a relatively new product for the region. Traditionally, Manjimup was the home of a major logging industry exporting hardwoods.
Talk to old-timers in Manjimup, they’ll look wistful, and tell you of boom times in the distant past. Boom times when the timber industry was in full swing, and the sound of the band saw echoed from a number of different mills around the town. Of times when log trucks would haul their massive loads of Marri and Karri down the main street. Fine hardwoods, the builder’s choice for structural timbers and the carpenter’s for elegant furniture.
Logs from Manjimup travelled all over the world, at a time when timber was Western Australia’s largest export market. It was wood from local trees that formed the footpath pavers of London’s Oxford Street and the sleepers of the city’s underground railway.
Pioneers of the industry were the Bunnings brothers, who set up sawmills and timber yards in the region. By the end of the second world war, Bunnings Bros Pty Ltd was the largest logging operator in Australia. In the mid 1950’s the company diversified into hardware, and became a household name, now with over 250 stores throughout Australia.
Manjimup is still surrounded by forests, but logging has declined, and tourists now must visit the timber museum to understand the industry as it was. Times have been tough, and many of those who worked as loggers have moved elsewhere. Farming has become a key component of the local economy, where sheep, goats and dairy cattle now graze next to market gardens, commercial apple orchards and vineyards of pinot noir.
But it’s not just the fine wines and quality fresh produce that have gained this small town an enviable reputation amongst chefs and restaurateurs.
Over the last fifteen years it has earned for itself a unique place in the world of gastronomy, one that has made it a household name far beyond the limits of its home country.
Manjimup is now the Australia’s largest supplier of a foodstuff that features in the cuisine of the very finest restaurants in Paris and New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. It is the home of the magnificent black truffle.