Australian timber merchants have long played a vital role in providing building materials, credit, and product information to builders. A variety of sources, notably the merchant's national trade journal, indicate that after the Second World War they slowly responded to the growing demand from owner-builders and Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts, many of whom were women. They began to stock a wider variety of lines, built and improved showroom displays, adopted new marketing techniques, and offered consumer credit. By comparison with their North American counterparts, the lumber dealers, timber merchants were slow to meet the needs of new consumers. For several years, close financial ties with small mills encouraged them to identify with the timber trade and discouraged them from stocking timber 'substitutes'. When, after the mid-1950s, they offered new materials and services, they helped not only DIY-ers but also small builders who were facing increasing competition from large builder-developers.
Urban Research Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University 1998