1897 - Permanent Reservation of Forest Areas
A Report to Government by the Surveyor-General and the Inspector of Forests
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."