"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

ER Torbet

First FCV Fire Protection Officer

Article from the VSFA Newsletter, February 1956

Mr E R Torbet, whose death after a short illness occurred on December 22nd, I955, spent his early life in Hamilton where he attended Hamilton High School. He first became associated with forestry when he entered the Creswick Forestry School.

On graduation in 1920 he was posted to district administrative duties, and from 1920 to 1936 served successively in Dunolly, Mildura, Bealiba, Rushworth, Upper Yarra and Maryborough forest districts. He was appointed to the position of Fire Protection Officer in 1937, and in 1939 was appointed to Wangaratta as Inspector of the North-eastern Division. He transferred in 1940 to the Southern Division with headquarters at Warragul, and in 1949 again was appointed Fire Protection Officer, the position which he occupied at the time of his death.

In addition to his departmental duties, Mr Torbet was a member of the Country Fire Authority for a number of years and was its Chairman in 1952. He was also a member of the Committee of Management of Wilson's Promontory National Park.

In 1928-29 he attended the Australian Forestry School in Canberra from which he graduated with the Diploma of Forestry. In 1951, he visited the USA under the sponsorship of FAO as an Australian representative at an international forest fire fighting study tour conference. As Fire Protection Officer, he was seconded to assist the Royal Commission on Bushfires in 1939 and was associated as Divisional Forester with the Royal Commission investigating the Yallourn fires in 1944.

Mr. Torbet was esteemed for his personal qualities and forthright honesty, practical approach to all problems, and ability to adapt himself to all circumstances. He was never too busy to answer the queries or to listen to the suggestions of the most junior officer.

His passing removes from the forest scene of this State colourful personality who will be mourned by all.