The considerable potential for Victorian native hardwoods as fine timber was recognised as early as the mid-1800’s but there was little or no inclination to develop this potential for a number of decades. The utilisation of native timbers was wasteful and the forests were extensively cleared in an uncontrolled manner. Eventually the Government established the State Forest Department in 1907 in recognition of the destruction of the forests and the growing rehabilitation liability. At this time there was also a call for the Government to support the establishment of a works to undertake research into techniques for producing seasoned timber from native hardwood species. Work commenced on the Newport Seasoning Works in 1910 with initial production in the following year.
The objectives of the seasoning works were to:
THE FCV ran a number of separate business operations.
This blog will eventually provide some information about each of these operations
The Erica Steel Tramway was used to transport sawn timber from sawmills located along the Eastern and Western Tyers Rivers to a siding joining the main Moe-Walhalla rail line just south of Erica in Central Gippsland. The tramway was one of two that were owned and operated by the FCV. The second was built in response to the needs of the 1939 salvage operation and extended from the South Cascade Bridge to Little Boys Camp. The locations of both lines can be found on this map.
The tramway travelled 6.75 miles from Collins siding, south of Erica, to the Tyers Junction where three river branches meet, those being the Eastern, Middle and Western Tyers. The tramway then spilt into two branch lines – one travelling 2.25 miles to ‘Ten Acre Block’ on the Eastern Tyers River, and the other travelling 7 miles to Growlers Creek on the Western Tyers River.
The tramway operated for 22 years, commencing in 1927 and its last trip was in July 1949.
The mill remaind in the original location until 1922 when it was moved two to three kilometres to the east. It remained at this new site until 1930.
From 1930 to 1940 there was no State Mill, but in 1940:
Financial statements for the Mill ceased to appear in FCV Annual Reports after 1966/67 so it probably closed around that time.
"At both sites the government decided to enter the sawmilling business because of issues with the industry. However the reasons were different.
At the Latrobe River (Nayook)site the reasons were:
At Erica the reasons were:
"Let us regard the forest as an inheritance, not to be destroyed or devastated, but to be wisely used, reverently honoured and carefully maintained. Let us regard the forest as a gift, entrusted to any of us only for transient care, to be surrendered to posterity as an unimpaired property, increased in riches and augmented in blessings, to pass as a sacred patrimony from generation to generation."
Baron Ferdinand von Mueller - Suggestions on the Maintenance, Creation and Enrichment of Forests (1879)