Albert Eli Lind was born on 21 February 1878 at East Charlton in northwest Victoria, but drought drove the family to East Gippsland in 1882 where they settled.
Albert attended Lucknow and Bairnsdale State schools and found work in the hop and maize fields.
At 12 he was apprenticed to local builders and later self employed as a signwriter, carpenter, painter and decorator.
He was a keen sportsman, winning many local cycling races and rowing trophies around the State; he also participated in coursing.
In 1904 he married Flora Catherine Arthur and selected land at Mount Taylor with his brother Ernie and developed it into a fine dairying property.
Lind was elected local councillor of Bairnsdale Shire in 1914-25 and was President during 1917-18. He was known as a forceful advocate for rural roadworks.
In October 1920, as a Victorian Farmers Union candidate, he won the Legislative Assembly seat of Gippsland East.
Over the next 40 years in State Parliament, he amassed an impressive range of portfolios including:
- Minister of Lands – April 1935 to January 1942
- Minister of Forests – April 1935 to September 1943
- Deputy Premier – October 1937 to September 1943 including acting as Premier on several occasions.
- Minister of Public Instruction – January 1942 to September 1943
- Minister of Lands and of Forests – September 1943 to October 1945
- Minister of Soldier Settlement – June 1950 to October 1952
- Minister of Lands and of Forests – June 1950 to October 1952
- Minister of Soldier Settlement – October 1952 to December 1952
- Minister of Lands and of Forests – October 1952 to December 1952
- Chairman of Committees – 1947 to 1950
- Electricity Supply Committee – 1922
- Railways Standing Committee – 1924 to 1931
- Public Accounts Committee – 1956 to 1961
As Victoria’s longest serving Minster for Forests his legacies include:
- The Strzelecki Ranges reforestation program which ran for an amazing 60 years and was the biggest reforestation scheme of its type in Australia
- With the support of two prominent Melbourne businessmen and philanthropists, Herbert Robinson Brookes and George Richard Nicholas (of Aspro fame), together with Forests Commission Chairman, A. V. Galbraith, Albert Lind, was instrumental in establishing a unique and enterprising “Boys Camp” at Noojee in 1933. The program proved a success and expanded to a total of 15 camps on State Forest across Victoria.
- Advocating legislation for Australian Paper Manufacturers to establish the Maryvale mill near Morwell.
- After the bushfires of 1939 the Stretton Royal; Commission led to a massive timber salvage and roading program in the Central Highlands and sweeping changes to fire protection.
- Another bushfire in 1944 and a second Stretton Royal Commission led to the formation of the Country Fire Authority
- The Lind National Park in East Gippsland is named after him.
- He was responsible for the reservation of five of Victoria’s National Parks and as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey, he initiated and actively supported ongoing works programs including the Buchan Caves.
- Emergency supplies of firewood for civilian heating and cooking was needed because of reductions in coal, briquettes, electricity and gas. Over the period from 1941 to 1954, nearly two million tons was produced.
- Approximately 280,000 tons of dry wood was also needed annually to produce charcoal as a substitute fuel for motorists.
- Together with Chairman of the Forests Commission, A V Galbraith, he articulated a vision for the revitalisation of the timber industry in regional Victoria in what is sometimes referred to as the “Grand Design”.
Lind was knighted in the 1951 King’s Birthday honours for his service in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
He retired from Parliament in June 1961 after having served longer than any other sitting member.
Sir Albert died on 26 June 1964, survived by his wife and eight children, and was honoured with a state funeral at Bairnsdale where he was buried.