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The second progress report of a Royal Commission on Foreign Industries and Forests, in the colony of Victoria in 1872, included a recommendation for the establishment of a State nursery near Macedon railway station “with the object of raising useful timber trees for distribution to selectors, and for the planting of reserves denuded of indigenous timber”. Accordingly, the Macedon State Nursery, the first in the colony, was established in that year.
Finding that the one nursery could not keep pace with the constantly increasing demand for trees, the Creswick State Nursery was established early in 1888 at Sawpit Gully under John La Gerche, the local forester. At the same time Inspector Blackburne started the Havelock State Nursery (Carisbrook) and a small local nursery was operating in the You Yangs.
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One of the most significant reforestation projects, the South Gippsland Reforestation Project, centred on the eastern portion of the Strzelecki Ranges, which had been opened up to settlement in the 1880s, and later for Soldier Settlement following World War I. This is well described by WS Noble.
"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)