This article gives an insight on some of the activities at Connors Plains during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In the first week of January 1957, Darren Gribble and I, having completed our first year of studies at the Victorian School of Forestry, Creswick, boarded a train in Melbourne for Heyfield. Later that day we were greeted at the Forest Office in Heyfield by Val Cleary, the DFO before being driven to Connors Plains, north of Heyfield, by Ken Nichols.
At Connors Plains there was a substantial FCV camp with 50 or so road construction personnel as well as Foresters and Forest Foremen. The camp had a large mess hall and staff quarters as well as numerous Stanley huts for the workers.
This article was written in 2008.
I first met Alan Cracknell early in the 1980’s when he was Principal of the Wodonga High School. It was a fleeting contact but I do remember him giving me the stern well practiced Principal look designed to freeze students in their tracks. Some time later I moved to Wodonga and I found myself attending the same Church as Alan but even so that student look still kept me at a distance. But slowly our Church lives intertwined and the barriers were broken down. With time we shared some Church responsibilities and often had to work on projects together and enjoyed each others company.
But Alan had a surprise in his past. He knew I had studied forestry but it was not until many years later that he casually told me that he had taught at the forestry school at Creswick. And so it turned out that Alan had done a stint at Creswick as the Education Department science lecturer early in his career.
As set out elsewhere on this website, the early 20th century was a challenging time for Victoria’s newly established, foundational Forest Service. Responsible for around a third of the State, an area in the main remote and poorly, at best, mapped, and one dominated by plants and animals that were only just beginning to be studied, relevant skills were often thin on the ground.
This article about my father comes from extracts from my book, Man of the Forest.
Kristian Drangsholt, was born at Kristiansand in Norway, on 17 October, 1899. He came to Australia in 1927 and joined the FCV in February of that year.
“Kristian finished school in 1916 and then was employed in practical forestry in the southern part of Norway until the Spring of 1918. His grandfather still had interests in timber, which is the reason Kristian was able to pursue a career in forestry.”
Alan Eddy graduated from the VSF in 1948 and went on to have a long and distinguished career in the FCV and CFL. Alan has written extensively about his career, and has very kindly provided his papers to be published on this site.
The first of those papers, The Forestry Family, is available at this link, and it is a "must read" if you wish to get a real flavour of the times from Alan's graduation onwards. The "Family", as Alan so rightly calls it, worked under conditons that are unimaginable today. Below are more of Alan's recollections.
"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)