Timber assessment in Victoria after WW2 was vitally important in helping to plan supply for the sawmilling industry, and therefore the construction and housing industry. The article by Arthur Webb about his assessment experiences in the early 1950s discusses some of the hardships involved and the nature of the crews that did this work.
When recently browsing through some old FCV correspondence, I came across the following:
Memorandum dated 5 December 1945
Prepared by B. Dahl
Assessment of Big River
Progress Report No 4
“It was necessary to take some men off the assessment parties to assist Fitzpatrick in his work and this left the two assessment parties operating from Snob’s Creek Gap short of men. Later in the month 5 men walked off the job, claiming that the walking was too hard. It is true that the walking is strenuous because no tracks have been adequately cleared, but it also is true that the class of men which has been available has been of a type which in the pre-war years would not have been employed in this type of work. All in all 18 men have left the assessment jobs this year.”
Dahl’s Progress Report No 6 of 4th February 1946 states:
Assessment is the act of making a judgement or deciding the amount, value, quantity or importance of a resource.
For many young foresters, starting out on their career by joining the Assessment Branch/Section for a few years was regarded as a Rite of Passage, an early stage in their career whereby they gained experience in exploring and walking through the often unmapped and trackless bush, marking a transition to a different and more permanent stage of their career.
What follows is an extract from a 2013 publication by Arnis Heislers, which was republished by Epic ArtWorkz in 2016. Arnis graduated from the Victorian School of Forestry in 1960 and, like many other graduates, the first stages of his working life with the FCV were concerned with assessing and mapping timber resources. The full publication is available on this site, and it contains wonderful photographs recording his time in alpine forests.
"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)