Victoria's Forestry Heritage

A History of Management


The true aim of forestry is the preservation of the forests of a country by wise use.  In practice, it embraces a knowledge of rocks and soils, the food of the plant life which covers them; of botany, the knowledge of vegetable living bodies; of chemistry, the science which reveals the nature and properties of bodies; and of sylviculture, the rational treatment and working of forest areas, so as to maintain them in a timber-yielding condition. It includes also planting and sowing where Nature has clothed the surface of a country with niggard hand, or where, by the action of man or the ravages of fire or tempest, areas have been denuded of tree vegetation and rendered unprofitable.  But the primary function of the forester in a newly-settled country is to maintain and increase the sylvan wealth with which Nature has clothed hill, valley, and plain, by regulating and correcting wasteful or inferior growth, while at the same time carefully restricting the yearly output of timber and other produce to such quantity as the forest can safely yield without deterioration. (H. Mackay, Esq. Victorian Year-Book, 1903)

For more than 70 years Victoria’s State forests were managed by the one agency. Established in 1908, the State Forests Department, overseen from 1918 by the Forests Commission, regenerated forests following harvesting and on land previously denuded by mining and agricultural activities, constructed an extensive network of roads and tracks and developed an internationally-renowned fire management structure. In 1984 the Commission was amalgamated with other agencies into the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands.

About this site

Through a collection of images, videos, historical documents and personal recollections, Victoria’s Forestry Heritage website celebrates the Forests Commission's legacy of trained forest managers, sustainably managed forests, fire-fighting strategies and equipment, recreational facilities and scientific data, as well as the official and private community services that now contribute to Victoria’s heritage.




Founded in 1979, the Association brings together former employees of the Forests Commission who still retain their love of the bush, are proud of their achievements and enjoy the camaraderie of their former associates:

  • to enable them to meet at regular intervals to renew old friendships, discuss and take action on matters of mutual interest and partake in social entertainment
  • to establish and maintain Forestry Heritage Museums
  • to collect, preserve and maintain forest memorabilia for the benefit of the general public and future generations.

Membership to the Association is open to any retired former employee of the Forests Commission.


Featured Articles

Peter McHugh - a VSF Graduate of 1977 - writes here about his first year of work.


Have a look at this wonderful article by Arnis Heislers about Alpine Assessments in the 1960's.


Be patient allowing each article to load because they contain quite a few photos.