This article is based upon a conversation between Bernie and Richard Rawson in August 2018, and it is likely that it describes the first ever use of such a large helicopter in a wildfire control operation.
On the 17 February 1983, at the same time as the State was in terrible strife from the fires of 16 February (Ash Wednesday), a fire started in what was then the FCV District of Myrtleford, where Bernie Evans was the District Forester and, the way things worked at that time, he was also by right the "fire boss".
"It will be evident from the above egocentric saga that my time at the VSF was, in many ways, pivotal in a serendipitous and opportunistic career. It was a unique experience, worthwhile in so many ways, in a unique place."
Alan forwarded this paper to the FCRPA some time ago.
Bert Semmens’ detailed reflections on his career, the people he worked with and the working and living conditions mirror what many VSF graduates of his era experienced. His employment with the Forests Commission from his graduation from the VSF in 1936 to his retirement in 1977 covered many of the social and industrial activities of the Commission and displayed Bert’s innovativeness to addressing the many problems he encountered. The nine chapters set out the various stages in Bert’s career. They are edited from a paper he gave to the FCRPA in 2013.
Gerald (Gerry) Griffin entered the VSF Creswick in 1942. His first posting with the Commission, in 1945, was to the Assessment Branch; then to the Bruthen District followed by the Corryong Sub-district of the Upper Murray Forest District.
As set out elsewhere on this website, the early 20th century was a challenging time for Victoria’s newly established, foundational Forest Service. Responsible for around a third of the State, an area in the main remote and poorly, at best, mapped, and one dominated by plants and animals that were only just beginning to be studied, relevant skills were often thin on the ground.