Victoria's Forestry Heritage

A History of Management

Letter Home

Written by Frank Smith in 1925

Published with the permission of Frank's son, Roger Smith

Sunday 8th March 1925

Dear Mum,

Most of the other new boys arrived on Tuesday afternoon , the other 3 on Wednesday afternoon. There are only 8 of us 1 didn’t come. I think it was the one from Broadmeadows . The first part of our initiation was to sing and recite some poetry. I did this part before the others arrived.

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The Spiral Grained Pencil Pine

Euan Ferguson
(Written in 2016)

Editors note : This article by Euan Ferguson is, in Euans' words, "completely fictional. I wrote it one tired night whilst doing the Overland Track in Tasmania. During that day we'd seen a number of dead and fallen pencil pines that seemed to have an anti-clockwise spiral texture on the sapwood. The group asked me what caused this spiraling. I have no idea what causes it, so I made up this story.

Whilst a fictional story, it nevertheless contains some interesting and challenging messages for readers, natural resource managers, politicians and the wider community as follows:-
* as Euan has written, ... "Our duty for caring for our forests extends beyond the years to generations .... the life of the forest is measured in generations, not just in years.", and
* Old growth trees are a valuable and important part of our native forest ecosystems, but they eventually die hopefully with another generation of younger trees following, some of which will become old growth trees.

My Old Plumb Axe

Euan Ferguson


We were young Creswick forestry students, “new” in every sense of the word.  On Saturday mornings we would be listed for various fieldwork jobs, often in the demonstration mixed species forest adjoining the forestry school grounds. 

On this day, each of us was issued with a shiny coloured (mine was yellow) hard hat and a sharp new axe.  This, for me, was not just any old axe.  It was a Plumb axe.  And it was mine.  It was forged and crafted as a thing of potent power, but also a tool that could be associated with risk of injury if your footing slipped or your swing missed its target.  It was a tool built by craftsmen for use by fellow craftsmen.  I had inherited the essence of caring for hand tools from my father’s wisdom.

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Wesley 'Rex' Philpot

(Written in 2002)

My first introduction to “Wireless” was in 1924 when one of my Uncles let me hear music from a pair of headphones laying in a bowl of some sort, I have never forgotten it. This was in England, but when we arrived in Australia, in 1926, it was very rare to find a wireless, and those that did exist were crude TRF receivers usually always with a separate tuning ‘condensor’ for each one, two, or three tuned circuits.

Valves filaments (heaters) were supplied with DC from lead acid accumulators, and the local Motor Garage usually made quite an income from the charging of (usually) 2 volt batteries.

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RG Lindsay

What follows is an extract from “The Leafy Tree – My Family”, by Daryl Lindsay.
It concerns Reginald Graham Lindsay, one of the first six students enrolled at the VSF.

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Featured Articles

Peter McHugh - a VSF Graduate of 1977 - writes here about his first year of work.


Have a look at this wonderful article by Arnis Heislers about Alpine Assessments in the 1960's.


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