WWII

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 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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Some more war stories – when war came to Australia

During our travels to the Top End and following on from my earlier blog, ‘Some War Stories’, I have learned more about northern Australia’s involvement during WWII, particularly the bombing of Darwin in February 1942. Growing up in Sydney, I learnt about the Japanese submarine raids in the harbour. Still, I never heard anything about …

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Should we cull crocodiles?

Crocodiles are ancient reptiles with their ancestors around before the age of the dinosaurs. What makes them so durable is they are perfectly adapted to their environment. The estuarine or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is most likely encountered in tidal rivers and estuaries, billabongs, and floodplains. However, they can also be found in the open …

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Swallowed up by the sea – solving Australia’s most enduring maritime tragedy

On 19 November 1941, on the Indian Ocean off the Western Australian coast, the Royal Australian Navy’s greatest warship, the HMAS Sydney II, was sunk by a disguised German raider. It was and still is the worst naval disaster in Australia’s history. All 645 officers and men on board HMAS Sydney II were lost at sea, representing 35 …

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Resistance fighter, unconventional forester, family man and mentor – the life of Dick de Boer (1922-94)

This month’s guest blog is written by David de Little. In my book “Fires, Farms and Forests” I outlined the pivotal role Dick de Boer played in the development of eucalypt plantations on Surrey Hills. David was fortunate to work with Dick from 1975 to 1983 and got to know him very well. There was …

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Lines in the sand

I recall reading an article by demographer Bernard Salt a few years ago about Australia being a continent divided by borders, lines, fences and boundaries. As I travel el around Australia I am reminded of his reference to ‘lines and boundaries’. Being a demographer, Salt referred to imaginary concepts based on social or physical elements, …

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