"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.

The Gum Tree

Malcolm McKinty (bio)

The Australian Forest League

Frustrated at the lack of progress in forestry and broader forest conservation, several foresters and scientists in 1912 formed The Australian Forest League.  The inaugural President was notable botanist Professor Alfred James Ewart from Melbourne University who also oversaw the curriculum at the Victorian School of Forestry.  The League became an Australia-wide organisation with branches in most States and stayed active for the next 34 years. 

During the First World War the League received valued support from Governor-General Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson over political interference in forest management, securing adequate funding, reducing waste, expanding softwood plantations and in addressing growing international concern at impending timber shortages.

The President of the League in 1922, W. Russell Grimwade, provided an overview of its activities in the Empire Forestry Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1922), a publication of the Commonwealth Forestry Association

The Victorian branch of The Australian Forest League’s magazine The Gum Tree was subtitled “A Journal Devoted to the Conservation Propagation and Utilisation of Australian Trees”.  Two issues are reproduced here:

The Gum Tree Vol. 11 No. 50 June 1929, which “Reveals the disastrous opposition that exists between the Forests and the Lands Departments”.

 
GumTree1929_WebPic

The Gum Tree Vol. 12 No.54, June 1930, which sets out the areas that the Forests Commission believes should become part of the ‘Forest Area’.

 
GumTree1930_WebPic

The back cover of both issues of The Gum Tree list all the Forest Officers in Victoria.

The Gum Tree became the official organ of the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs and the League of Tree Lovers.