"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.

The Victorian School of Forestry

Malcolm McKinty (bio)


The Victorian School of Forestry came about through the inspiration and initiative of John Johnstone, Superintendent of State Plantations in the 1900s.  The School was located in the former Creswick hospital, built in 1863 and bought in 1910 by the Victorian Government under the-then Premier Sir Alexander Peacock, representative for the seat of Creswick.


The School's main gates were dedicated to Sir Alexander on 10 October 1952. The Minister for Lands and Forests, Sir Albert Lind, performed the dedication and opening ceremony which was reported in detail by the Creswick Advertiser; a copy of which can be read here and a video of the ceremony can be viewed here.

John Johnstone

‘a glorified landscape gardeners’ Role in Forestry in Australia

Gerry Fahey (bio)

This article is from a paper delivered at the AHA Conference, Canberra, July 2018.

Taken together - the undue weight given to the plaque; Johnstone’s absence from early records; being overlooked by other writers; and animosity with his contemporaries - these elements have created a fog so thick that the researcher has little hope of seeing through to the fact that John Johnstone, Superintendent of State Plantations, “a glorified landscape gardener”, was the reason a School of Forestry was established at Creswick in 1910.

VSF Football - A Team in the Clunes League

And now for something more important than forestry.

The VSF fielded a team (Creswick Forestry) in the Clunes League in the years 1946-1949. In 1946 they reached the Grand Final, but were beaten by Smeaton 10-12-72 to 7-11-53. (Source: The Argus, 2 September, 1946.)  They also reached the Grand Final in 1947 but the outcome has not been found.

Photos below of the team are from 1947, 1948 and 1949.

Click on the preview to get a large format photo.

Two of the students closely associated with the teams of those years have provided comments.

VSF Staff

This article is still being developed.

Senior Master - Principal
Vacant 1910 - 1912
T.S. Hart M.A., M.C.E. May 1913 - 1915
C.E. Carter B. Ag. Sc., Dip. Ed. 1916 - 1920
W.W. Gay Dip. Ag. Sc. 1920 - 1922
C.E. Carter M.F. (Yale), B. Ag. Sc. 1923 - 1926
K. V.M. Ferguson M.A., B Sc. (Forestry) 1927
E. J. Semmens B.Sc., Dip, Ed., F.L.S. 1928 - 1950
F.R. Moulds Ph.D. (Yale), B.Sc., Dip. For. (Cres) 1951 – June 1958
W. Litster B. Sc. (Hons.) (Forestry). (Acting Principal) 1957 - 1958
W. Litster B. Sc. (Hons.) (Forestry) June 1958 - 1968
A. R. Eddy M.F. (Calif.), B. Sc. For., Dip. For. (Cres.) 1969 - 1978

(Source:  Bob Orr's paper)


TS Hart
Would become VSF Principal in 1913
Probably 1890's
Source: FCRPA


EJ Semmens
VSF Principal
Probably 1940's
Source: FCRPA


Dr Frank J Moulds
VSF Principal
Source: FCRPA


Dr Frank J Moulds
VSF Principal
Source: FCRPA


William Litster
VSF Principal
Source: FCRPA