Reforesting - Overview
Brian Fry, 2018 (bio)
Article being developed
Victoria's first reforestation projects were around Creswick in the 1880s, on land that had been severely degraded during the Gold Rush. This early work was carried out by John Le Gerche in Sawpit Gully, and included plantings of Pinus radiata. One of the original trees was still standing in 2018 in the Sawpit Gully Historic Reserve. In later years larger areas around Creswick were planted to pines, and trial plots of hardwoods established. Other works were carried out in areas degraded by gold mining (are we still in the 1880's?) around Ballarat and Bright, and P. radiata was proving to be a very successful choice in the higher rainfall areas of the State.
The Forests Commission (FCV) established plant nurseries at Macedon, Creswick and, later, at Broadford, Wail, Olsens Bridge, Loch Valley and Mildura. (Dates of nursery establishment?) Reforestation work was also carried out in the Kulkyne Forest (date?)using Callitris species but was severely hampered by the large rabbit population.
The focus later turned to establishing plantations on degraded farmland in the Otway Ranges (Aire Valley in the early 1930's) and on purchased derelict farmland in South Gippsland, such as at Allambee (1947-49), Childers (1946-48), Halls Rd (Boolarra) 1949, and in the Loch Valley (date?)
Powelltown work mentioned elsewhere??
By far the most significant was the South Gippsland Reforestation Project, centred on the eastern portion of the Strzelecki Ranges, which had been opened up to settlement in the 1880s, and later for Soldier Settlers following World War I. This is well described in W.S. Noble's book; The Strzelecki's – A New Future for the Heartbreak Hills (1975).