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.”

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.”

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.

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.”

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 – 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.”