Robert Onfray

Airtruks to Squirrels – the evolution of aerial operations on Surrey Hills

Surrey Hills has a long history of aerial operations such as spraying, fertilising, controlled burns and fire fighting. These grew as the plantation estate expanded. An airstrip was built at Basils Road in the 1980s to improve the efficiency of aerial work on Surrey Hills and adjoining land, but by the late 1980s, fixed-wing aircraft …

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And they’re racing!

“In 1921, at a combined mustering camp, which was the custom in those days, a number of stockmen from stations including Mt Augustus, Erravilla, Milgun, and Landor were having a day off. They began a discussion about who had the fastest horses. And so began the tradition.” Don Hammarquist, President East Gascoyne Race Club, Opening …

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The McGowan logic – sustainable native forest logging is not acceptable for the environment, but the widespread clearing of jarrah for bauxite is

Introduction In September 2021, the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, made a shock announcement that all native forest logging would cease in 2024, at the end of the current 10-year Forest Management Plan. The decision was made without consultation with the timber industry, public, or government agencies. The reasons for the decision were to save …

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Who was Jack Rate?

While I stayed at Walpole, I read about a local forester named John “Jack” Henry Rate. Jack was the first forester in the area and has a tree, lookout, road and a forest block named after him. I had never heard of him before, and I thought he should be more widely known with that …

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The atomic age arrives in a cloud of dust at a sleepy coastal town

“That lethal cloud rising above Montebello marks the achievement in science and industry in the development of atomic power. [For] good or evil, for peace or war, for progress or destruction. The answer doesn’t lie with Britain alone, but we may have a greater voice in this great decision if we have the strength to …

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Who are the real forest saviours in Western Australia?

“Surely there can be no greater cathedral as forests such as those of the karri.” Vincent Serventy  “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools” Rudyard Kipling The “defenders of the South West forests” are celebrating the recent announcement by the Western Australian Premier …

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Cattle kings – the rise and fall of pastoralism in the East Kimberley region

“The East Kimberley is the land of blacks, Sacks [another prolific local clan thought to be Irish] and bloody Duracks“. Anon “If one were to paint this country in its true colours, I doubt it would be believed. It would be said at least that the artist exaggerated greatly, for never have I seen such …

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Cabins in the sky

Introduction Early in my forestry career, I recall reading the fantastic story about building fire towers on top of karri trees in Western Australia. I got to see and climb one of them around the turn of last century when I had a brief visit to the south-west forests. I am in awe of the …

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