The Wall Street Crash of 1929 led to a worldwide economic collapse, which quickly spread to the Australian economy and signalled the beginning of the “Great Depression”. At its worst in 1932, unemployment in Australia reached 32 percent, but this figure did not include women who had lost their jobs or teenagers who had neverContinue reading “Sussos.”
Author Archives: Peter McHugh
Dandenong Ranges Buyback Scheme.
History has shown that after each major bushfire, particularly if there has been a significant loss of life and property, there are vocal calls from affected communities and media commentators for State and Local Governments to stop further land subdivision, to apply restrictive building standards and buyback high-risk homes on the forest fringe. The BlackContinue reading “Dandenong Ranges Buyback Scheme.”
J W Lindt – Uncle Sam.
Any references to Australian landscape photography at the turn of last century must include John William Lindt and Nicholas John Caire. While both pursued different photographic trajectories, they were equally charmed by the area north of Healesville including Fernshaw, Black Spur, Narbethong and Marysville. And between them, they did much to popularise these magnificent forestsContinue reading “J W Lindt – Uncle Sam.”
Moscow Villa & Bill Ah Chow.
Moscow Villa has miraculously survived bushfires and vandalism, along with the ravages of time and weather, to become an iconic visitor destination in the remote State forests of East Gippsland. But few people know the remarkable story about the man who built it, Thomas William (Bill) Ah Chow. Bill was Chinese, ANZAC, farmer, roustabout, horseman,Continue reading “Moscow Villa & Bill Ah Chow.”
Blue Pool and the Box of Wonders.
An eclectic house and garden known as “The Arches” was the home of Archie and Edna Hair, an elderly couple with a rare spirit of generosity. They lived in the bush on State forest at the popular swimming hole known as Blue Pool, which is just north of the delightful village of Briagolong in Gippsland.Continue reading “Blue Pool and the Box of Wonders.”
Soil Savers – Maisie Fawcett and Judge Stretton.
Soil erosion was identified as an emerging problem across rural Victoria almost immediately after the gold rush of the 1850s. The Royal Commission of 1897-1901 into the destruction and wastage of Victoria’s forests also identified the importance of protecting soils and forested water catchments. In 1917 an Erosion Inquiry Committee was formed by the MinisterContinue reading “Soil Savers – Maisie Fawcett and Judge Stretton.”
Conrad Wood – Bushfire Biggles.
If ever anyone could claim (not that he ever would) to have pioneered modern aerial firefighting and forestry aviation in Australia it was Conrad Wood. Woody graduated from the Victorian School of Forestry in 1957, and after postings with the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) at Swifts Creek and Sirex surveys, he gravitated into the orbitContinue reading “Conrad Wood – Bushfire Biggles.”
Firebombing Folklore, Fantasy & Fairytales.
Late one summer afternoon in the early 1980s, a small fixed-wing firebomber was dispatched from Benambra to a smoke sighting near Gelantipy which had been reported by the local firetower. The experienced bush pilot took-off in the fading light and lengthening shadows to try and locate the fire but couldn’t find it. On the returnContinue reading “Firebombing Folklore, Fantasy & Fairytales.”
Florrie Hodges – 1926 bushfire heroine.
The 1926 Black Sunday bushfires are largely forgotten now, being overshadowed by the catastrophic 1939 Black Friday bushfires thirteen years later. The fires on Saint Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1926, swept across large areas of Gippsland, the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges and Kinglake. The figures vary, but it’s thought that as many as 60Continue reading “Florrie Hodges – 1926 bushfire heroine.”
Wilsons Prom bushfire – 1951.
In early February 1951 a couple of small fires were burning unchecked near Yanakie, at the northern end of Wilsons Promontory National Park. One was believed to have escaped from a campfire left unattended at Tin Pot Waterhole which was outside the northern boundary of the park. They had been burning for almost three weeks,Continue reading “Wilsons Prom bushfire – 1951.”
Ancient Order of Foresters.
The Ancient Order of Foresters originated in England in 1834 and established its first “Court” in Victoria in 1849. Courts quickly sprang up in Melbourne along with major cities and towns across the Colony. Distinguished by its Latin motto “Unitas Benevolentia at Concordia” meaning Unity, Benevolence and Harmony. The Ancient Order of Foresters was establishedContinue reading “Ancient Order of Foresters.”
Forestry – an ancient and noble profession.
Over 800 years ago in 1217, all the rules that were contained in the Magna Carta which related to the Royal Forests were put into a separate “Charter of the Forest”. It begins …. Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Guyan and Earl of Anjou,Continue reading “Forestry – an ancient and noble profession.”
School Endowment Plantations.
An innovative School Endowment Plantation Scheme was initiated in 1922 as a joint venture between the Education Department and the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV). Mr William Gay, the former Principal of the Victorian School of Forestry resumed his role with the Education Department in 1922 and took responsibility for the Scheme under the guidance ofContinue reading “School Endowment Plantations.”
Frankston State Pine Plantation.
There are very few native softwoods in Victoria, and those that do exist, like cypress pine, grow too slowly to be suitable for large scale commercial plantations. From its earliest days in the 1830s, Victoria imported large quantities of softwoods, mostly from north America and Scandinavia. The need for local sources of softwood for furnitureContinue reading “Frankston State Pine Plantation.”
Gladys Sanderson – 1939 Bushfire Heroine.
Gladys Elizabeth Sanderson was the relieving Post Mistress at Noojee during the devasting Black Friday bushfires on January 13, 1939. She became famous for her unwavering bravery by continuing to keep the phone lines open and making calls to the Warragul Post Office, which she prefaced by the phrase “Noojee Calling”. The only person inContinue reading “Gladys Sanderson – 1939 Bushfire Heroine.”
Alfred Vernon Galbraith
Alfred Vernon Galbraith, or AVG as he was more commonly known, was a highly regarded and visionary leader of the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV). Galbraith trained as an accountant and became assistant town clerk at the City of Geelong at the age of 21, and later appointed chief clerk at the Country Roads Board. DuringContinue reading “Alfred Vernon Galbraith”