On the Toorongo Plateau near Noojee, high quality mountain forest of (Eucalyptus regnans, E. delegatensis and E. nitens) was killed by wildfire in 1926, and regenerated naturally. However, another significant fire in 1932 killed the young eucalypts before they were old enough to produce seed,and the area degenerated into scrubland. The front of Mt Toorongo was regularly burnt by the farmers in the valley below. In the 1940s and 1950s a reforestation project was initiated to plant the Plateau with eucalypts; the Loch Valley pine plantation was established over the same period and seedlings were raised in a nursery at Loch Valley. However, with the focus turning to pine plantations, hardwood planting on the Plateau lapsed. In was not until the late 1980s to early 1990s that another large-scale hardwood reforestation project was undertaken on the Plateau.
"The plateau was harvested prior to 1926 and through to the 1939 salvage. There were a number of sawmills on the plateau and a primary school. Logs also went to Tanjil Bren and Fumina. After the 1939 Bushfire Royal Commission the sawmills in the forest were moved to Noojee, Drouin, Willow Grove and Trafalgar. It was the fires that caused the deforestation not the harvesting. The early harvesting left the larger trees as they were too big to handle. There may have even been a fair bit of rainforest. We found a nothofagus stump that was more than 2m diameter.
The Timber Industry Strategy included funds to reforest all of the stands in the Noojee area that failed after the 1939 fires.The Toorongo plateau was the largest area identified but we also did a lot of smaller silver wattle stands. The sites had become prone to frost so we planted with shining gum. Owen Salkin managed implementation of the project. (Source: G Featherston)
The reforestation history of the Toorongo Plateau is not simple and is best understood if you watch the video. Photographs below illustrate the nature of the areas in which reforestation has been undertaken, and extended galleries related the Plateau in the 1940s and the reforestation in the late 1980s are available on this page.