Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

The Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) is awarded by the Governor General on both Australia Day and Queens Birthday and recognises distinguished service by members of Australian fire services. Congratulations to those many firefighters across the nation that have been awarded today. But it’s been two years (and four missed opportunities) since a Victorian forestContinue reading “Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).”

Parnaby Doodlings.

David Parnaby graduated from the Victorian School of Forestry (VSF) in 1940 and initially worked for the Forests Commission’s Assessment Branch. He later had postings to Heathcote, Powelltown, Dandenong’s, Bruthen and Beechworth Districts. Promoted as District Forester in 1951, David moved to Cann River, and then later back to Heathcote (1955), Castlemaine (1958) and DaylesfordContinue reading “Parnaby Doodlings.”

Forests and Bushfire History of Victoria – Series 3 (2022)

Here is a collection of nearly 100 stories posted on FB over this year.As with series one and two, another free e-book has been lodged in the State and National Library so the stories aren’t lost in the Facebook soup.Please feel free to download and/or share the link… Or here…

Jensen’s wood yard – Fitzroy.

There were once over 500 of these wood yards across Melbourne. During the Victorian Firewood Emergency from 1941 to 1954 nearly two million tons was produced from Victoria’s State forests and delivered to major depots by special freight trains. Anton Jensen’s wood yard was at the Fitzroy siding on the now dismantled inner circle railway.Continue reading “Jensen’s wood yard – Fitzroy.”

Bushfire aerial reconnaissance.

Another Australian first. The first fire spotting aircraft in Australia was deployed on 18 February 1930 when a RAAF Westland Wapiti from No.1 Squadron operating out of Point Cook near Melbourne flew over the nearby Dandenong Ranges. The first Chairman of the Forests Commission, Owen Jones, had been one of Britain’s pioneering aviators in theContinue reading “Bushfire aerial reconnaissance.”

Bjarne Dahl.

The creation of the State Forest Department (SFD) in 1907 represented the most significant institutional reform in Victoria’s history of forest and bushfire management up to that point. The fledgling department had only 66 staff and faced formidable challenges, including protecting ecosystems about which little was scientifically understood, and responsibility for vast areas of rugged,Continue reading “Bjarne Dahl.”

Charles Thomas Smith.

Charles was born in January 1899 at Yarragon in Gippsland. Following graduation in 1917 from the Victorian School Forestry VSF) Charles enlisted in the AIF (#57139) on 17 April 1918. After embarkation on 16 June and arrival in Egypt where he underwent additional training and was allotted to the now famous 4th Light Horse RegimentContinue reading “Charles Thomas Smith.”

Romain and Gilbert Smith.

Romain Smith was born in 1891 at Waterloo near Beaufort. Romain saw active service during World War 1 after enlisting on 2 February 1915 at Bendigo (#696). He described his occupation as government fencer. He joined the 22nd Battalion AIF and embarked on 8 May 1915. His army records show that Romain got into aContinue reading “Romain and Gilbert Smith.”

Stanley Robert McDougall VC.

Stan McDougall, soldier and forester, was born in Recherche in Tasmania on 23 July 1889 and became a blacksmith. Illness prevented him from enlisting in the AIF until 31 August 1915 when he was posted to the 12th Reinforcements of the 15th Battalion. In Egypt, on 3 March 1916, he was drafted into the 47thContinue reading “Stanley Robert McDougall VC.”

Colin Colahan – War Artist.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) holds over 90 artworks of Colin Colahan. Colahan was born in Victoria in 1897 and gave up medical studies to attend the National Gallery School in 1917. He moved to Europe in 1935 and never returned to Australia. In London in August 1942, he was appointed as an official AustralianContinue reading “Colin Colahan – War Artist.”

Forestry Companies.

Soon after the outbreak of World War Two, the British Government requested experienced forestry soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada to be deployed in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. But the French Government had stipulated that they must be commanded by trained foresters so that the wasteful cutting and forest destructionContinue reading “Forestry Companies.”

Remembrance Day.

Today is special for Australians, young and old, for many different reasons. The custom across the British Empire of observing a minute’s silence on Remembrance Day is largely due to Australian soldier and journalist Edward George Honey. A small unassuming plaque can be found near the Shrine of Remembrance in Birdwood Ave. Edward never returnedContinue reading Remembrance Day.