Trees Vital To Settlers' Welfare
Ten Plantations in Tumut-Batlow Area
14 June 1949 The Tumut and Adelong Times
"Most Australians have spent their lives cutting down, destroying or ring barking trees, because they consider them useless." This was said by the; District Forester (Mr. B. U. Byles) in an interview.
"But trees, as people are gradually beginning to find out, are not only useful and ornamental.
They are also essential to the wellbeing of the land," Mr. Byles added.
Mr. Byles then spoke of the large nursery which the Forestry Commission of New South Wales has set up at Narrandera.
"One of the purposes for which this nursery was set up was to de- velop the ornamental value of our native trees," he said.
"Most people do not realise that our trees have as much ornamental value in the garden as the better known types of shrubs and flowers, he added.
The Commission's nursery at Narrandera is near the swimming pool. It is so well designed and laid out that it is rapidly becoming an important tourist attraction.
The Forestry Commission first established its office in Wagga in 1920.
To-day the area under the control of the District Forester consists of the sub-districts, Batlow, Tumut, Wagga, Narrandera, Corowa, Deniliquin, Mathoura, Barham and Mildura.
To assist him in his work the District Forester has at Wagga a technical staff of four field officers and a draughtsman, and a clerical staff of six men and three women.
Aims of Forestry Commission
The aims of the Forestry Commission, as stated by Mr. Byles, are:
(1) To protect the establishment, development and maintenance of forests and the multiple purposes of timber production as the raw material of the timber-using industry.
(2) The preservation of wild life, flora and fauna.
(3) The development of tourist assets.
(4) The amelioration of the climate.
(5) The establishment and maintenance of catchment areas, and the prevention of soil erosion.
One of the chief activities of the Commission is the establishment of tree plantation throughout the State; and in Riverina there are many large plantations.
Three are ten plantations of exotic pines in the Tumut-Batlow district.
They cover, in all, an area of 16,000 acres. These plantations are being increased at the rate of 1,000 acres each year.
At Narrandera a Murray pine plantation has been established since the war. There is also a plantation of native, (yellow and black) box pine near Narrandera. In addition, the Narrandera cy press pine forest is also in the Com- mission's care.
Value Of Alpine Ash
Between Batlow and Tumbarumba, in the higher country, there is a native forest of very valuable alpine ash.
This forest was described by Mr. Byles as an ideal camping spot, with considerable scenic beauty.
The alpine ash re-grows itself, the thinning out of seedlings being the only attention required. Trees are cut from this forest for milling in such a way that sufficient trees are left behind to ensure the continuance of the forest.
At Batlow there is a forester with three field assistants and a number of foremen and working parties.
The Commission is erecting eight cottages at Batlow to house its officers.
The Murray red gum forests at Echuca cover 385,000 acres.
Located on the flood plains, these forests are subject to flooding.
Over the last five years a comprehensive investigation of this forest has taken place with a view to finding how fast the Murray gum grows, how old the trees are and how much of the forest can be cut out.
An aerial survey of the forest was taken recently.
It is hoped to learn from this how many millable feet per acre there are in the forest.
Protection Of Land
In the Mildura district the Com- mission's main task is to protect the country.
The Commission supplies huge quantities of firewood to the pumping stations.
Asked whether the Forestry Commission in Riverina was short of trained personnel, Mr. Byles said that the Commission was in need of trained forest workers and of tractor-drivers, foreman and experienced axemen.
There is a forestry school at Canberra and at Sydney University, from which the Commission draws most of its trained personnel.
"The man on the land can do a lot" to help himself, his country and the Commission if he will only reflect each time he is about to cut down or ringbark a tree,' Mr. Byles said.
"In the western portion of Riverina the Commission's biggest job will be to get property owners to plant trees at the edges of their property and around their homes.
We can supply the seedlings. "The nursery at Narrandera has been established for that purpose," Mr. Byles added.