Introduction by David Williams
Ken Morrison was appointed District Forest Officer of the Heywood District in 1960. Ken’s observations about management of hardwood forests in south-western Victoria and life as the District Forest Officer in the 1960s are captured in his recent reflections which are reproduced here.
"Matlock, Bendoc, Wedlock" was a common expression in the FCV based on the belief that, for a single Forester or Forest Overseer, one way of avoiding a posting to either of these very remote locations was to get married before such a posting might be seriously considered.
Murray went to the VSF from Birchip in 1941 as a 16 year old, and graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1946 with a BSC (Forestry). He went on to have a most influential career in both the FCV and CFL before retiring from the public sector in 1985. In 2000 he completed a story about his life entitled "A Good Run in the Perfect Job", and his sons, Bruce, David and Mark have given permission for the FCRPA to use extracts from that publication on this site.
Perhaps Murray was best known for his major contribution to the understanding of Victoria's timber resources because of his time as Forest Assessor for the FCV from 1953 until the early 1970s. Field assessment work field most often involved new VSF graduates, and many would remember Murray for his strong mentoring role during this time. However, as his story shows, his career path had other elements that we need to explore.
Below are some extracts about particular subjects that are covered in Murray's story, and his complete account on each subject is available via the link attached to each heading.
Leon graduated from the VSF in 1950, and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Melbourne in 1955. Further study led to a PhD which was conferred at the University of Melbourne in December 1967. His thesis was "‘Cytogenetic Studies in Pinus radiata D. Don".
On graduation from the VSF he went to the Assessment School at Kinglake before working on assessment projects in a number of locations around Victoria for about five years. He was posted to the Wail Nursey for a time, before heading into research in the area of tree improvent and tree breeding. He was to work in this field until retirement in May 1993, and his contribution in this area in particular was very significant.
GS Perrin was appointed as Victoria's first Conservator of Forests in 1888. In 1890 he delivered his first Report to Parliament, and he died in Ballarat in 1890. On reading the Report you could be forgiven if you were positive about future management of our forests. However, the following quotes from the 14th Report of the Royal Commission established in 1897 indicate that Perrin was hamstrung in his endeavours to bring about important changes in management.
"Let us regard the forest as an inheritance, not to be destroyed or devastated, but to be wisely used, reverently honoured and carefully maintained. Let us regard the forest as a gift, entrusted to any of us only for transient care, to be surrendered to posterity as an unimpaired property, increased in riches and augmented in blessings, to pass as a sacred patrimony from generation to generation."
Baron Ferdinand von Mueller - Suggestions on the Maintenance, Creation and Enrichment of Forests (1879)