"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.

1890 - Report of the First Conservator

Richard Rawson (bio)

George Samuel Perrin was appointed as our first Conservator of Forests in 1888. His first Report to both Houses of the Parliament of Victoria was for the year ending 30 June 1890, and it pulled no punches.

1896 - Report on State Forests of Victoria

Introduction by Ian Hastings (bio)


Berthold Ribbentrop (1843-1915) - Ribbentrop was born in Hannover on 25.7.1843 and joined the Forest Service of Hannover after finishing his practical training and practical education. He was selected with Schlich by Brandis to join the Forest Service in India on the recommendations of Burckhart, the head of the Provincial Forest Department. Ribbentrop reached India with Brandis in 1867 and joined the Forest Department of Punjab province as Special Assistant Conservator of Forests. He was instrumental in starting many new management practices in the forests of India. Ribberurop look over as Inspector GCrieral Of Forests from Schlich in l 885 and guided the destiny of Indian forestry during its formative years before retirement. He was the author of the famous book, Forestry in British India.
Source : Indian Forestry through the Ages, SS Negi (1994)

Read the Complete Report

In 1895, B Rippentrop, then Inspector-General of Forests to the Government of India, was requested by The Hon RW Best, Minister of Lands, Victoria, to prepare this Report. It is reasonable to surmise that this, and previous reports by Perrin in 1890 and Vincent in 1887, reflected the ongoing and increasing concern about the poor condition, regulation and management of many areas of Victorian forest on Crown Land, despite attempts to initiate strong management, arising from:

1897 - Permanent Reservation of Forest Areas

A Report to Government by the Surveyor-General and the Inspector of Forests

The Full Report

This 1897 Report is one of the earliest recommendations for specific areas, totalling approximately 4,066,600 acres across Victoria, to be permanently reserved for forest purposes in Victoria. The terminology "permanently reserved for forest purposes" is presumably the forerunner of what eventually became known in subsequent legislation as "State Forest" being Reserved Forests and Protected Forests.

It is interesting to note the following rationale and driving forces mentioned in the Report underpinning the Report's recommendations and the nexus with Victoria's early mining era and subsequent settlement.

"In the course of our inspections and inquiries we have throughout kept in view the desirability of interfering as little as possible with future settlement, whilst giving due consideration to the interests of the mining community by making provision, as far as possible, for an adequate supply of timber for the various mining centres, providing for the likelihood of a large export trade in hardwoods taking place as facilities for transport are afforded, and for meeting the requirements of the Railway and Public Works Departments, and the general public ....... Thus we have been careful to exclude from the proposed reserves any extensive areas fit for agriculture, or specially adapted for grazing, although we have in some instances, included in them river flats and other tracts suitable for cultivation of redgum."

Another interesting comment is the reference to Gippsland.

"It is probable that in some of the least known parts of Gippsland areas may be discovered suitable for forest purposes. These might be added to those indicated on the maps."