Boys Camps.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Forests Commission ran a large unemployment program of firebreak slashing, building roads, erecting firetowers, silvicultural thinning, firewood cutting, weed spraying, soil erosion works and rabbit control. Importantly, most of the work was in country areas. By 1935-36 almost 9000 men were employed for periods of up toContinue reading “Boys Camps.”

The 1982-83 Victorian Bushfire Season, including Ash Wednesday – 16 February 1983.

Free e-book now available. Forty years ago, south eastern Australia was in the middle of a prolonged drought and facing a perilous bushfire season. A new ebook provides a detailed account of the 1982-83 bushfire season from a Victorian forester’s perspective. And while the bushfire season is best remembered for those on Ash Wednesday onContinue reading The 1982-83 Victorian Bushfire Season, including Ash Wednesday – 16 February 1983.

Watle bark stripping.

Harvesting of various wattle species began in Victoria and southern NSW around the time of the gold rush in the 1850s. Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) is a small, fast-growing, leguminous tree and was highly prized for tanning leather. The tannin is also used to produce waterproof adhesives in reconstituted wood products. Bark was stripped from the wattlesContinue reading “Watle bark stripping.”

Bushfire dugouts.

In addition to building dams and water points, the Stretton Royal Commission recommended expanding the use of bushfire dugouts. Well-constructed dugouts had saved the lives of many sawmill workers and their families during the 1939 bushfires. But in some locations, they had proved fatal. Dugouts became mandatory for those few sawmills that remained in theContinue reading “Bushfire dugouts.”

Russell Grimwade Prize for Forestry.

Wilfrid Russell Grimwade was born in 1879, knighted in 1950 and died in 1955. He led a remarkable and diverse life by any measure. He was a chemist, botanist, industrialist and philanthropist. He also had a passion for science, appreciation of art and sense of obligation to the community. An early motoring enthusiast he wasContinue reading “Russell Grimwade Prize for Forestry.”

Fire Dams & Water Points.

Building fire dams was another of the many recommendations of the Stretton Royal Commission after the 1939 bushfires. The Forests Commission annual reports give a clue to the increase in the numbers over the years. There were no fire dams reported in 1939-40, but by the time that the Forests Commission ended and became Conservation,Continue reading “Fire Dams & Water Points.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Bushfire mosaics.

There is a common belief that even the slightest bushfire in mountain ash forests (E. regnans) is catastrophic and uniformly kills every tree in its wake. It’s true that mountain ash is very susceptible to bushfire, but the story is not that simple. Fire behaviour and intensity depends on many things, like forest type andContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Bushfire mosaics.”

AIIMS – Incident Control System (ICS).

In July 1983, the Forests Commission ran a three-day staff workshop to review the previous calamitous bushfire season. The formation of the Department of Conservation, Forests, and Lands (CFL) had only just been announced at the time of the meeting. Police Commissioner Mick Miller’s Inquiry, and Coroner Anthony Ellis’s probe into Ash Wednesday were alsoContinue reading AIIMS – Incident Control System (ICS).

Cann River campaign fires – 1983.

Most focus and media commentary about the 1982-83 bushfire season naturally centres on the deadly Ash Wednesday fires of 16 February 1983 when 75 people were killed in Victoria and South Australia. But in the far east of the State, and largely unreported by mainstream media, the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) and CFA faced twoContinue reading “Cann River campaign fires – 1983.”

Bright Plantation Fire – 1982.

Maybe it was an ominous foreboding of a long fire season ahead for the CFA and the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV). Major bushfires broke out in November 1982 at Seaton, Murrindal and Mt Elizabeth in Gippsland, as well as the mallee desert and Mt. Disappointment near Broadford On Wednesday 24 November at 2.00 pm aContinue reading “Bright Plantation Fire – 1982.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Warburton.

The Upper Yarra Fire #12 erupted on Ash Wednesday, 16 February 1983, on the slopes of Mount Little Joe near Millgrove at 7.20 pm and quickly progressed under the influence of the strong north westerly wind. Also often known as the Warburton or Powelltown Fire, it was first spotted by Jon Gwilt in the Briarty’sContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Warburton.”