"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

Reflections on 1960s Forest Management in the Heywood Area

Ken Morrison

Introduction by David Williams

Ken Morrison was appointed District Forest Officer of the Heywood District in 1960. Ken’s observations about management of hardwood forests in south-western Victoria and life as the District Forest Officer in the 1960s are captured in his recent reflections which are reproduced here.

The 1960s was a busy and successful decade for Victorian forestry. The 1960s could be described as a ‘glory decade’ for FCV and hardwood forestry in Victoria. Ken’s observations and experiences at Heywood typify much of forestry and a forester’s lot across the state at the time.

“They don’t make them like they used to!”

Ian Hastings, 2018 (bio)

Many of us will have particular amusing (and perhaps not so amusing) memories and anecdotes about experiences and people we came across during our careers with the Forests Commission. My first posting after completing VSF studies was to the Yarram District in 1970. Ken Sheldon was the District Forester, with John Booth, Forester and Jack Clarke and John Blythman as Forest Overseers. I assisted John, Jack and John on a range of programs, the Strzelecki re-forestation program, the PX plantation program, timber harvesting supervision and the fuel reduction program.

"Matlock, Bendoc, Wedlock"

Ken Morrison

Introduction by Ian Hastings
Read the Complete Article

"Matlock, Bendoc, Wedlock" was a common expression in the FCV based on the belief that, for a single Forester or Forest Overseer, one way of avoiding a posting to either of these very remote locations was to get married before such a posting might be seriously considered.

A Foresters' Life

Frank Smith

Material provided by Roger Smith

Frank Smith, 1936
Source: R Smith




Frank was, at age 15, the youngest student ever to enter the VSF, and when he retired in 1974 he would become the longest-serving forester to be employed by the FCV.  You will see that he had a long career working in both plantations and native forests, and a very strong connection to the Otway forests. The Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) that were established in the Aire Valley Plantation in the 1930's, and are now inside the Great Otways National Park, are an important component of his legacy to forestry in Victoia.

Both of the letters in this article below are published with the permission of his son, Roger.



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.

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