Hugh graduated from the VSF in 1972 and went on to complete forestry degrees at Melbourne University (1975, 1987) and a doctorate at Charles Sturt University in 2009.
For 20 years he worked with the Forests Commission and its successors in forest research (soils, nutrition, hydrology, irrigated forestry), silviculture and plantation management. Two of those years (1986-1987) were in Zimbabwe on a social forestry project.
He worked for the Victorian Plantations Corporation as Statewide plantations manager (1993-1998), and the Treecorp Group (1998-2005). He has been a forestry consultant since 2009 (forest certification, carbon farming via revegetation, smallholder forestry in Indonesia, etc).
Other current activities are director of the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria (since 2011) and agroforestry on the family farm at Deans Marsh.