The FCRPA - its genesis

The Forests Commission Retired Personnel Association had its inception on 3rd May 1979 after then Chairman of the Forests Commission, Alan Threader, asked the Personnel Officer, Mal. Rumbold, to organise a visit to the Commission’s new premises at 601 Bourke Street by retirees who had worked in Head Office. Mr Threader’s idea was for the visitors to look over the building, view the film ‘The Living Forest’, and meet the current staff and gossip over afternoon tea. In setting up the visit, Mal. Rumbold suggested to Mr Threader that “… it might serve as an occasion to canvass the possibility of some form of retired officers group which might meet on fairly regular occasions …”

Invitations went out to 150 retirees. During the proceedings, the visitors were canvassed as to their interest in forming some form of retired officers’ group and volunteers were sought to serve on a steering committee to consider the matter. That committee, comprising Lew Chambers, Alek Franzke, George & Heather Jennings, Alf & Flo Lawrence, Frank & Jean Moulds and Jim & Bess Westcott, met on 19 September 1979. The committee passed a motion recommending the formation of such an Association and decided to model the constitution for the FCV group on that of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission Retired Officers Association. The new Association held its first gathering on Thursday, 29th November 1979 to ratify the proposals. (No minutes can be found from that meeting.)

The first annual (and first formal) meeting of the Forests Commission Retired Personnel Association was held on 28th February 1980. The Executive Committee comprised: President – Frank Moulds, Vice-president – Jim Westcott, Secretary/Treasurer – Lew Chambers, and members – Maryilyn Butler, Alek Franzke, Charlie Irvine, George Jennings, Alf Lawrence, Flo Lawrence and Bob Seaton. Ron McLean was appointed the Auditor. At that time there were 94 members – 4 interstate, 32 country and 58 metropolitan.

Minutes of all meetings were circulated to Association members. An occasional news sheet, initially titled ‘Falling Leaves’, was also circulated to members. This incorporated brief discussions of items of interest and the activities of members. Alan Threader didn’t like the name ‘Falling Leaves’ and sought something positive, like ‘Regrowth’. In July 1980 the members changed the name to ‘Evergreen’. The newsletter appears to have lasted only five issues. However, items of general interest continued to be circulated along with the minutes of meetings.

The FCRPA was incorporated as Forests Commission Retired Personnel Association (Victoria) Incorporated [No. A0038296A] on 6 July 1999, initially so as to be able to apply for public grants to undertake projects such as setting up a museum. Its first Annual General Meeting as the FCRPA Inc. was held on 24 February 2000. In 2001 the AGMs were changed to August to conform to financial year accounting procedures.

Annual membership rose gradually to a maximum of 226 in 1999. In 2023, membership was 176. Overall, more than 550 former employees of the Forests Commission and their partners have been members of the Association at some time.

The FCRPA now

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 employee of the Forests Commission.

The FCRPA established this website as a means by which its members (and others) can contribute to an enhanced community understanding of approaches to forest and woodland management in Victoria, particularly between the very early 1900s and the early 2000s.

Its purpose is to create an accessible community resource that captures, among other things, the challenges, initiatives, set-backs and achievements associated with the care and management of Victoria’s public land estate, and the associated role played by the Forests Commission.

Comments, queries and opinions are welcome, and indeed sought, with users having the opportunity to contact item-authors and/or the Association via the site’s Editor.  However, the Association does not see it as a place for extended debate about matters past or present.  Issue-specific, robust debate about any matter covered on the site is obviously encouraged, but is seen as best conducted on related social media sites.


FCRPA Executive

President: Brian Fry
Vice-president: Mike Leonard
Secretary: Mal McKinty
Treasurer: Peter Ford
Committee: Rob Caddell, Peter Farrell, Ian Hastings, Peter McHugh