Australian design standard for timber designs assumes the same structural properties of mechanically stress graded softwood in flatwise and edgewise bending orientations. Multiple timber plates are often nailed together in flatwise orientation to construct structural elements such as wall plates. In such elements, some composite action between individual plates is considered by allowing a factored strength increase. In this study the structural performance of Australian grown mechanically stress graded softwood was investigated for edgewise and flatwise bending orientations. Standard timber sizes and stress grades were tested to determine orientation differences in bending strength and stiffness. The characteristic stiffness was found to be unaffected by orientation while the characteristic strength was significantly higher for flatwise loaded timber. A five-point wall plate test configuration was developed and matched samples tested to determine any strength sharing in laminated plates. No strength sharing was found. Study results were submitted to Standards Australia to amend the current batten and wall plate design practices.