For tens of thousands of years humans, and the natural environment, co-existed in relative harmony in the area now known as south-eastern Australia. From 1788 however, sustained migration, sponsored by the British, commenced.
The discovery of gold, in the 1850s, was to result in a literal stampede of humanity, from across the Globe. Among other things it was to be a brutal time for the environment, and particularly for the area’s forests and woodlands, as the skeletal British-based bureaucracy struggled to adapt.
In 1882, one of Victoria’s first foresters in the then British Colony was appointed, to supervise the Ballarat-Creswick State Forest. Over the next couple of decades this remarkable individual, and truly committed public servant, John La Gerche, battled to deal with what he termed ‘…the great (forest) slaughter…’ and its aftermath and, in so doing, became a great example to those who, to this day, follow in his footsteps.
“Tears in the Rain” 1
In the past year I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my migration to Australia with a small group of family.
It is a story that actually began 50 years ago when two friends and forestry students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) talked and dreamed about travelling adventures in New Zealand and Australia after we finished our degrees - John Fuller and I. John had taken a gap year and hence was a year behind me in his studies, but we hoped to meet up "down under" if our adventures overlapped.
This article is based on extracts from an article about Richardson the website of Federation University.
During the early years of VSF, many lecturers of the sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Geology etc) were persons from the Ballarat School of Mines.
Sometimes lecturers attended at Creswick and sometimes students travelled to Ballarat for tuition. One interesting person in this category was Richard (Dick) Richards who lectured in Physics at the VSF in 1934.