Forestry

Converting the sandy wastelands

Esperance is a vibrant coastal town. It has a temperate climate and rainfall, which produces a reliable growing season of between five and eight months each year. Despite the favourable environment, Esperance had little permanent settlement before 1950. This was mainly due to soil deficiencies on the sandplains that surrounded the town. Immediately north of …

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Helms arboretum

There is an interesting 4,000-hectare forestry reserve located just outside Esperance called the Helms Forestry Reserve. It protects one of the largest areas of sandplain heath near Esperance, known as kwongan. It is dominated by banksias, hakeas, grevilleas and woollybush.  Within this reserve is an 800-hectare arboretum named in honour of Andy Helms, a well-respected …

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Wooden gold

Introduction  Sandalwood is a highly aromatic timber that has been harvested in Asia over centuries for many uses. The main one has been burning powder from the tree in joss sticks as incense and forms a significant part of religious ceremonies. In Australia, Aborigines had many cultural uses for sandalwood. Some species can be carved …

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A tale of the Goldfields Woodlands where ideology triumphs professionalism, experience and history

“Think of forests of WA and you picture the green south-west; think of Kalgoorlie and you conjure thoughts of gold, not trees. But the green and gold are inseparable. The trees that kept the hearts of the mines pumping were cut from native woodlands miles from the goldfields and hauled along specially constructed bush railways”. Cliff Winfield …

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Ignoring the legacy of active management to create a “wilderness”

Introduction The south-west forests of Western Australia have a rich history in timber utilisation, being one of the longest traditional industries in the state. Several timber towns that housed the timber workers and their families were established in the Darling Range close to the newly constructed Perth-Bunbury-Bridgetown railway line to utilise the timber from the …

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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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