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.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Otways.

A day of Total Fire Ban (TFB) was declared for Victoria at 06.30 am on Ash Wednesday, 16 February 1983. Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) firetowers at Peters Hill, Crowes and Mt. Cowley were up early from 09.00 am in expectation of a bad day, and all crews were in their depots on standby. Under provisionsContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Otways.”

Ash Wednesday – 1983, East Trentham & Macedon.

A day of Total Fire Ban (TFB) was declared for Victoria at 06.30 am on Ash Wednesday 16 February 1983, and Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) crews were kept close to the depot at Trentham with the intent that everyone would be back in the yard by midday. Peter Brown was the Trentham District Forester andContinue reading “Ash Wednesday – 1983, East Trentham & Macedon.”

Major bushfires for the Forests Commission in 1982-83.

1982-83 was a long and hectic fire season for the Forests Commission with 823 fires and the total area burnt of 486,030 ha, which was well above the 11-year average of 141,000 ha. Ash Wednesday on 16 February 1983 was only part of the story. The main fires within the Fire Protected Area (FPA), whichContinue reading “Major bushfires for the Forests Commission in 1982-83.”

Lost Children’s Tree.

On Sunday morning, 30 June 1867, a group of young children from Connells Gully near Daylesford wandered into the bush past familiar shallow gold diggings to look for wild goats. William Graham, aged 6½, his brother Thomas, 4 years 3 months, and Alfred Burman aged 5, crossed Wombat Creek and headed towards Muskvale. But whenContinue reading “Lost Children’s Tree.”

Keep the home fires burning.

The Victorian Firewood Emergency. The 1940s were a busy and difficult time for the Victorian forestry profession. One of the pressing requirements placed on the Forests Commission during World War Two was to organise emergency supplies of firewood for civilian heating and cooking because of shortages in the supply of coal, briquettes, electricity and gas.Continue reading “Keep the home fires burning.”