Cabinet Timbers Centennial: Celebrating 100 Years of Business

Cabinet Timbers 100th Anniversary

Our team at Cabinet Timbers is honoured to be celebrating a momentous milestone this year: our official centennial! 

This 5th of August officially marks 100 years since Cabinet Timbers was established in the heart of South Melbourne. With the business being passed down from father to son across four generations, our Cabinet Timbers family is honoured to have been family owned and operated since the very beginning.

Today, we’ll be taking a trip down memory lane by outlining the full timeline of our business, a Melbourne institution that’s proud to continue providing Melbourne homeowners, businesses, contractors, artisans and all the above with only the highest quality wood panel products.

Article Contents On The History Of Cabinet Timbers:


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August 5th, 1924: The Beginning of Cabinet Timbers

Cabinet Timbers commenced trading on the 5th of August 1924, with our first business address being 89-91 City Road, South Melbourne. 

The company was started by Saul Zacharin, an immigrant from Belarus who arrived in Australia with the intention of escaping the Russian Civil War that preceded in the years following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. 

Australia’s Russian population was still minimal when Saul landed on Melbourne shores, with both Melbourne and Sydney Belarusian populations being even more modest. But Saul was eager to get to work building a solid foundation for his family to grow. 

With his strong work ethic and entrepreneurial drive, it wasn’t long before Saul had established the Cabinet Timbers Company in a warehouse in South Melbourne. Saul and his family would continue to trade from their City Road warehouse for the next 40 years.

Cabinet Timbers Centennial

The picture above: The original incorporation documentation for Cabinet Timbers Co Pty Ltd, registered by Saul Zacharin in 1928.

December 1928: Our Official Incorporation as an Australian Company

After just 4 short years of operating from 1924 to 1928, Saul decided to officially incorporate his business, registering Cabinet Timbers as ‘Cabinet Timbers Co Pty Ltd’ in December. The original document of this official incorporation still hangs on our walls here at Cabinet Timbers.

This official incorporation was yet another milestone, with Saul recognising the business as an opportunity to build an enterprise that would not only provide lasting value to his family and children, but also to the city of Melbourne. As Melbourne was still growing and changing every day, with South Melbourne developing around the Cabinet Timbers warehouse in real time, Saul recognised the vitality of making sure Melbourne builders maintained access to reliable building materials. 

Cabinet Timbers’ unwavering commitment to providing only high quality timber panel products is what paved the way for more homes and commercial buildings around South Melbourne and the wider region to actually be constructed with Saul’s own materials. In other words, Cabinet Timbers made certain that South Melbourne’s earliest structures of the 20th century were built to last.

1962: Richard Joins the Business

For the next 50 odd years, Saul dedicated himself to building Cabinet Timbers even further, establishing the company’s glowing reputation for quality and solidifying their warehouse as a fixture of South Melbourne and the city’s growing industrial scene. In 1959, the company was also renamed ‘Cabinet Timbers Pty Ltd’ under a new industrial act. This evolution demonstrated Cabinet Timbers’ ability to evolve alongside Melbourne’s bustling commercial activity. 

In this time, Saul Zacharin had also built a name for himself as a renowned and reputable supplier of quality plywood panels and other wood products. The prosperity and strong relationships Saul had built had made it natural for his family to dedicate their time to Cabinet Timbers, following in Saul’s inimitable footsteps. 

Saul was also fortunate enough to have two sons to help him out with the business as he grew older. In fact, one of his sons – Richard – followed Saul into the business himself in 1962. So 2 years before the company was set to celebrate their 40th anniversary, Cabinet Timbers officially became a proud family-owned and operated Australian business.

1968-1986: South Melbourne Grows

With Saul and Richard elevating the business to newer and greater heights, it wasn’t long before Cabinet Timbers began to outgrow their original home on City Road. But local relationships were important to both Saul and Richard alike, which is why their solution was to move essentially across the street to 24-28 Kavanagh Street, South Melbourne. This local move allowed Saul and Richard to continue providing high-quality timber panel products to all of their valued local clients and customers.

But just as Cabinet Timbers was growing, so too was South Melbourne! After 18 years of trading on Kavanagh Street, the Victorian government embarked on a project to alleviate growing congestion in South Melbourne, which was rapidly becoming one of Melbourne’s most promising commercial hubs. The project in question was the development of Southbank Boulevard, a development initiative that would see the region’s population skyrocket alongside boosting the accessibility of Melbourne’s rapidly urbanising CBD.

Sadly, the Southbank Boulevard project was planned to be constructed through Kavanagh Street, which resulted in Richard making the decision to move Cabinet Timbers to an even bigger premises. After 60 years of operating in South Melbourne, Cabinet Timbers set up their new and improved warehouse at 510-518 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne.

Celebrating 100 Years of Business with Cabinet Timbers

In the picture above: Richard Zacharin (left) with his father and Cabinet Timbers founder Saul Zacharin (right) standing outside the company’s second warehouse at 24-28 Kavanagh Street South Melbourne, c. 1970.

plywood melbourne

In the picture above: A photo of Richard and Jim at our Port Melbourne branch 1988.

1991: Jim Takes over as the Director of Cabinet Timbers

The move to Williamstown Road ended up being highly fruitful for the company, with the business accruing a growing array of customers and expanding their product range even further as wood materials and their capabilities continued to evolve.

So for Richard’s son Jim, the upcoming arrival of the 21st century and the excitement of maintaining Cabinet Timbers’ role in building Melbourne into the new millenia proved to be the perfect impetus for him taking over the business. 

In 1991, Cabinet Timbers passed from father to son and then to son again when Jim  officially took over from Richard. So on top of 2024 being our centennial here at Cabinet Timbers, this year also marks Jim’s 33 year anniversary of being our director! Happy anniversary, Jim!

1998: Our Expansion to Moorabbin

The ‘90s brought about major developments for Cabinet Timbers, especially as Melbourne continued to grow outwards. The city’s urban centre began its signature sprawl – a sprawl that’s still continuing today as Melbourne’s west, outer north, and eastern suburbs keep expanding. 

This crawling urban development heralded a new opportunity for Cabinet Timbers, an opportunity that the company acted on promptly to make sure the business was prepared for the eventuality that they’d outgrow their warehouse on Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne. So following the success that the move to Port Melbourne had brought, Jim decided to expand the reach of Cabinet Timbers by breaking ground on the business’ first ever second branch in 1998. 

The decision to establish this second branch in Moorabbin came naturally to Jim, having recognised the role that Cabinet Timbers was slated to play in Melbourne’s continuing expansion. By establishing a second branch in the heart of Melbourne’s south-east, Cabinet Timbers was perfectly positioned to service Melbourne’s increasingly vibrant local community, catering to Melbourne builders, joiners,  developers and homeowners who were all busy at work constructing this great city brick by brick – and home by home.

2009: Our Move to Truganina

The move to Moorabbin was yet another fruitful endeavour for Cabinet Timbers – so much so that even though our work was taking us further away from our original home in South Melbourne, the company  recognised that the business had achieved monumental success, with their company growth matching Melbourne’s own development. With that in mind, it was only fitting that Cabinet Timbers also grows wherever their products are needed the most.

Simultaneous to this proven strategy of providing quality timber products to Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs, the company received the unfortunate news that changes in state government restrictions would complicate their ability to trade sustainably in Port Melbourne. And as sustainability is and always will be a crucial component of our mission statement, the decision was made to move Cabinet Timbers’ HQ from Port Melbourne out to Truganina in Melbourne’s west.

As this move coincided with the rapid development of Melbourne’s western suburbs, both the Moorabbin and Truganina warehouses would thrive over the next decade.

2018: Consolidation in Braeside

So how did we get from two warehouses in Moorabbin and Truganina to our new home in Braeside? Well, the decision was made to have everything coming out of a factory that was local for all employees and had the capacity to serve our entire customer base. Our Cabinet Timbers community has always been tight-knit. And so although establishing two warehouses in opposite regions across the metro Melbourne region provided Cabinet Timbers with great business opportunities, it was decided to consolidate their operation once again.

The consolidation was a success, with Cabinet Timbers being in a strong position to provide their products and services to customers and clients across Melbourne. In this window of time, Cabinet Timbers have been  honoured to receive many large-scale projects, including the development of Glen Waverley Primary School’s basketball court.

New Braeside Location For Cabinet Timbers

2024 & Beyond: Taking on New Challenges

Today, Cabinet Timbers continues to be a fourth generation family owned operation as well as a fixture of Melbourne and a prominent contributor to the city’s ongoing urban development. We are officially the longest standing wood panels supplier in the country and we’re proud to have been able to support a dynamic range of Melbourne construction and development projects, spanning from residential complexes to city council offices, educational facilities, local libraries, sports stadiums and all the other institutions that make up the tapestry of this city.

A Century of Excellence with Cabinet Timbers

For 100 years now, Cabinet Timbers has been a pillar of progress in Melbourne. Our exceptional plywood, decorative melamine and other wood composite products have been trusted by hundreds of businesses across all Melbourne suburbs. If you want to see what our passionate team can do for your next project, then get in touch with us today.


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