"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

Aerial Ignition

Barry Marsden (bio)


Barry Marsden was the lead player in the development of the new aerial ignition machines based on the "Premo Principle", and the Aerial Drip Torches described in this article. Bryan Rees played a key role in field testing the "Premo" machine.

From the late 1960s, aerial ignition became a very important part of Victorian forestry operations. Initially, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were used for fuel reduction burning, with helicopters also playing a key role in large-scale backburning during fire suppression operations. Eventually, helicopters also came to be important in igniting regeneration burns following timber harvesting.


This article is being developed

25 years of rappelling

A story here that starts with the Sikorsky photos we have from about 1949

  • to the 1964 photo in the gallery (was this a serious trial?)
  • to the NSCA involvement from about 1980/81
  • to specialised CFL crews


Remote Sensing - Fire


This article is being developed

A focus on the use of IR technology in aircraft, first used in Vic in about 1981/82, to map wildfires

My memory is we first tried a line scanner in 1981/82 on a fire near Kilmore/Wallan - It was owned by CSIRO and operated from a Fokker F27 that was either owned by or leased by CSIRO. I don't remember a real time image available in tthe aircraft.

Supply Dropping Boxes

Athol Hodgson (bio)


In the early 1950's the FCV stepped up its efforts to extinguish all unplanned fires in State forests by taking aggressive action against fires in remote and inaccessible forests in the east of the State. FCV's policy was to do everything reasonable to reduce the time between when a fire started and the initial attack. Fire crews were trained and equipped for "dry" fire fighting and expected to walk - sometimes long distances - to fires.

Forty Years of Aviation and Forest Fire

Bryan Rees, 2014 (bio) 

This article is based upon a talk Bryan gave to FCRPA Members in 2014. Access a PDF of the article here.

If you are interested in this article then you should also have a look at this article by Bryan, and this Wikipedia article.

Mike Leonard wanted me to talk about comparisons of working for nearly 40 years in aviation. What’s changed?

With regards to what hasn’t changed, I want to set a scene for some of you. Last Wednesday I was in a rappel helicopter from Buller flying low level, door open, clear NE day and the vista around me showed some of the most charismatic names in remote Victoria - the Bluff, the Razor, the Crosscut Saw, Terrible Hollow – this was my morning vista – some things don’t change, it’s still wondrous and I watched the eyeballs of our Canadian exchangee pop out of her head when she saw it.