Robert Onfray

Nursery times – the development of new technologies and practices

Les Baker and Ian Ravenwood write this month’s guest blog.  Chapter 11 of my book “Fires, Farms and Forests” provides the story of how AFH and North Forest Products were instrumental in developing an industrial eucalypt plantation estate on Surrey Hills. This blog offers specific details of improved nursery techniques and the creation of a …

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Riding the rail trails

During the early growth of the industrial revolution, the great steel snake spread rapidly to open up the country for access and trade. Railways were pivotal in connecting the nation. Where the railways went, towns prospered. They became the lifeblood between the country and the cities. Wool, coal, grain and milk were transported to markets …

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A Charred landscape

“The dead ash forests reach starkly towards the sky like sentinels bearing witness to the holocaust just past, and those who love the bush are heavy hearted because this may be only the beginning of what is yet to come.” David Treasure, 2007[1] Since 1939, the high-country forests in Victoria were relatively free of devastating …

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A summer of house sitting

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us drastically change our travel plans. After only six weeks, we made it to the NSW-Vic border but returned to Queensland to sit out the nationwide lockdowns. Given some states maintained their border closures at the drop of a hat, we decided to remain in Queensland until things settled down …

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Heading for “The Gates”: memories of the old Hampshire gatehouse

I didn’t provide any coverage of the gatekeepers in the book “Fires, Farms and Forests”, as I had limited information at the time. And yet, you couldn’t tell a story about Surrey Hills and AFH without mentioning the gatekeepers.  Back in the 1950s, the Ridgley Highway didn’t exist. You could only get to Waratah via …

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Testing life on the road – screaming rug rats, midges and algal blooms

As spring progressed and we neared the start of humid weather in the lead up to the tropical summer, we were gradually making our way down the coast of Queensland. During the first week of the school holidays in September, we found ourselves at a secluded caravan park at Cape Hillsborough, just north of Mackay. …

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The aristocratic satinay

Fraser Island is a beautiful place. It is the world’s largest sand island and vegetated dune system. I had the opportunity to work on Fraser Island in the mid-1980s and have had several recreational visits to the island over the years. I still pinch myself these many years later on how fortunate I was to …

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