Superintendent of Plantations
Gerry Fahey’s paper presents a case for John Johnstone to be acknowledged as “the primary inspiration” for the establishment of the Victorian School of Forestry, notwithstanding the more widely accepted reports and acknowledgements of Sir Alexander Peacock’s strong support for the School’s establishment.
So who was this John Johnstone and what do we know about him and his role in the establishment of VSF?
Walking to Work
M E W Stump (bio)
"Mark gave me a copy of the text in March 2016, together with some photographs and newspaper cuttings. The descriptions of dry firefighting with hand tools are brief and record what was achieved year by year
over and over by experienced firefighters, day and night, in public forests, at modest cost, more than half a century ago." Alan Eddy, 30 April 2016
Mark was an Assistant Forester at Heyield from December 1954 to May 1957
"The philosophy attaching to the combatting of remote fires at that time, was that the suppression crew should be self-sufficient for a period of three days. This principle assumed that a three-day period would provide sufficient time in which to access, extinguish and withdraw from a small fire without the necessity of additional support. For a large remote fire, which could not be dealt with in an all up time frame of three days, the self-sufficiency period provided time for District Administrative Staff to organize the despatch of support equipment/supplies, to be carried to the fire site by pack horse."
The Eddy Papers
Alan Eddy (bio)
Alan Eddy graduated from the VSF in 1948 and went on to have a long and distinguished career in the FCV and CFL. Alan has written extensively about his career, and has very kindly provided his papers to be published on this site.
The first of those papers, The Forestry Family, is available at this link, and it is a "must read" if you wish to get a real flavour of the times from Alan's graduation onwards. The "Family", as Alan so rightly calls it, worked under conditons that are unimaginable today. Below are more of Alan's recollections.
A Significant Contribution
Athol Hodgson, who died on 5 August 2018, made a significant contribution to Victorian forestry in a number of areas. Born in Wagga Wagga in 1930 he spent his early years on the family farm at Nariel in North East Victoria where, on at least one occasion, he helped the family protect the property from bushfire. Schooling at Nariel, Corryong and then Bendigo High School provided him with the qualifications to enter the VSF from which he graduated in 1950. He went on to get his Degree at the University of Melbourne in the mid-1950s.
Gelignite Can Be Very Useful Stuff
This article is based upon a conversation between Bernie Evans and Richard Rawson in August 2018
On his first visit to the FCV District Office at Swifts Creek in early 1960, while he was assessing in the area of Davies Plain, Bernie was to find the District Forester, Moray Douglas, sitting in his office with feet on a footstool comprising a number of boxes of gelignite. Now, even in those days that seemed a little unusual. Powder magazines were a common feature of FCV locations, but they were not usually located in the main office.