"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.

A Focus on the Issues

The Report of the First Conservator of Forests
Richard Rawson (bio)


George Samuel Perrin was appointed as our first Conservator of Forests in 1888. His first Report to both Houses of the Parliament of Victoria was for the year ending 30 June 1890, and it pulled no punches.

There were already good people out there doing good work, but read his report and understand how clearly he saw the issues, and set out courses of action that would have helped to ensure that we had a healthy, diverse and extensive forest estate years later. Unfortunately, it would seem he was continually undermined by the bureaucracy and the politics of the time.

While you must read the report, I have precised it so you can get the tenor of the document without straining your eyes in the first instance. The headings below are those used in the Report.

Remember that this new Forests Branch is still within the Department of Lands and Survey. Early in the Report Perrin refers to the “135 men” employed in the Department.

 


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