David Parnaby graduated from the VSF in 1940 and was first appointed to the Assessment Branch. He was then given District postings in Heathcote, Powelltown, Dandenongs, Bruthen and Beechworth. Promoted to District Forester in 1951, he was moved to Cann River, then Heathcote (1955), Castlemaine (1958) and Daylesford (1971). Following a period with Forest Protection in Melbourne he retired in 1980.
David was an accomplished cartoonist who provided commentary on the ‘Forester’s condition’ through the Victorian Forester’s Newsletter. David also carved two ‘totem poles’ supporting fire warning signs that stood for many years outside the Forests Office at first Noorinbee and then Cann River.
David’s large sketch of East Gippsland sleeper-cutters remains a classic. He signed and gave it as a gift to Murray Thompson in 1978, and later on it was donated to the FCRPA by Rod Safstrom.
- in all its glory.
Following advocacy through the Victorian State Foresters' Association, the FCV agreed in 1970 to supply shirts, ties and shoulder slides to staff to permit ready identification of officers on fire control operations and in situations involving contact with the public. The absence of trousers provided an ideal subject for David’s cartoons.
The sixth frame – an officer wearing trousers – reflects the granting of uniform trousers in 1972 to wardens of recreational areas.
The Commission’s work on recreation areas prompted David’s reflection on the problem of the public’s trashing of the facilities provided.
And the consideration of the concept of ‘wilderness’ prompted more commentary:
A feature of field postings was the regular ‘shifting’ of Foresters around the State; reflected in David’s cartoon of the spouse’s reactions:
The day-to-day activities in a District and the perpetual problem of finances also provided fodder for comment.