Ash Road Network - Project Overview

Don Thomson (bio)

This article is still being developed

In 1986, in what was then the Warragul Region of the Department of Conservation, Forest and Lands, a review of timber harvesting prescriptions was initiated by Don Thomson (Assistant Regional Manager, Public Land) and Ken Ashton (Assistant Regional Manager, Resource Conservation). The review therefore had input from people with experience in catchment management and flora and fauna management, as well as forest management.

At this time there was an increasing level of harvesting in the extensive ash regrowth forests that arose from the 1939 fires, large areas of which were within the Warragul Region. There was recognition during the review, that the road network would need considerable improvement if it was to carry the wood flows that were anticipated and, at the same time, mitigate any environmental impacts.

The anticipated flows of both pulpwood, to the Maryvale Mill (then owned by APM), and sawlogs, to sawmills south of the Divide, were mapped out for a number of years, and used to define the classes of road needed to move this wood. Some of these wood flows were presumed likely to come from some areas north of the Divide for processing in the south.

Four road classifications were identified, based on the number of loads they were expected to carry.

Road Classification Truck Loads per Day
Class 1 24 or greater
Class 2 8-24
Class 3 Fewer than 8
Class 4 Coupe access only





A plan of road improvement and construction was developed, and the work proceeded on the basis of the road funding levy already in place, together with and additional levy of $1/cm3 specific to this road improvement project.

During this planning phase it became clear that a new road linking Tanjil Bren and Erica was necessary to help carry efficiently the expected wood volumes. This road, which finally covered a distance of about 24 km, with a direct cost of about $24 million, became known as the South Face Road. (Link to a Google map here) It was the largest road construction project undertaken by the forest authority since the Tamboritha, Howitt and Moroka Road projects of the 1960s.

Key players on this project who may be able to contribute further are:
Len Wanke – Engineer
Grange Jephcott
Peter McEwan
Gary Featherston