Peter McHugh

Peter graduated from the Victorian School of Forestry at the end of 1977 and his first postings with the FCV were to Mirboo North and then later to Kallista/Gembrook. 

Like many others, Peter was awarded two years full-time study leave to attend Melbourne University to complete a Bachelor of Forest Science during 1979 and 1980. 

Upon graduation from Melb Uni, Peter headed the small mill study team to examine the recovery of sawn timber from logs produced on State forests. After a short two year tour-of-duty with forest research based at Sherbrook Peter found himself caught up in the prolonged restructure process that accompanied the formation of Conservation Forest and Lands from mid-1983.

After some turmoil, Peter found a role in the newly formed Dandenong Region, first as Resources Assessment Officer where he was instrumental in the introduction of Geographic Information Systems for the Department, then later at Woori Yallock and Powelltown as Senior Forester for the Yarra Valley preparing a major Forest Managment Plan. In another departmental restructure during late 1993 Peter moved to Gippsland as Senior Forester and then held a number of varied roles in forest management. 

Peter has a strong interest in community engagement and was able to study in Indonesia, Canada, Sweden and the UK.

Peter rose through various firefighting roles from crew leader at Ash Wednesday in 1983, Air Attack Supervisor to become a Level 3 Incident Controller and Agency Commander. Like most staff and was heavily committed to the large fires across Gippsland including the alpine fires in 2002/03, 2006/07, Aberfeldy/Seaton in 2013, Black Saturday in 2009 and the Hazelwood Mine fire.

His work in developing the Cobaw Staff ride won Peter the prestigious State Fire award in 2012 and a result he was invited by the US Forest Service and US Marines to participate as an participant/instuctor in their a senior fire leadership course which examined the lessons learned from the Battle of Gettysburg.

Peter retired in 2016 after nearly 39 years and now finds time to volunteer in his local community and write some history of the Forests Commission.