Our history

Forestry has a rich history in South Australia, dating back to the first tree plantings in 1875.

1873 Forest Trees Planting Encouragement Bill is issued to stimulate tree planting in South Australia.
1875 First Forestry Board appointed, chaired by G.W. Goyder.
1875 South Australia’s first tree plantings begin at Bundaleer in the state’s Mid North, followed by Wirrabara and Mount Gambier.
1882 South Australian Woods and Forests Department is formed.
1899 Planting begins at Kuitpo in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
1902 Milling begins at Wirrabara.
1907 Planting of large areas of Radiata pine begins in the Green Triangle.
1910 South Australian Government land purchases for forestry reaches 45,290 hectares.
1931 Government-owned sawmill at Mount Burr in the state’s South East, begins operation.
1935 South Australian Forestry Royal Commission.
Expansion of plantation area.
Reservation and management of native forest areas.
1939 Zinc deficiency in soils identified as cause of extensive dieback and later rectified.
1941 First annual surplus of income over expenditure payment to South Australia Treasury.
1957 Particle board production begins in South Australia.
1958 Eight employees die while fighting a forest fire at Wandilo in the Green Triangle.
1970 Implementation of solutions to reverse second rotation productivity decline.
1973 ForestrySA stops clearing of native forest for new plantation establishment, well ahead of the South Australian Government’s Native Vegetation Act in 1985.
1983 A total of 21,000 hectares of pine plantation is destroyed in Ash Wednesday fires. Thousands of tonnes of log is salvaged and stored in Lake Bonney, near Millicent in the Green Triangle.
1985 Native Vegetation Act stops the clearing of native forest in South Australia.
1993 State-owned sawmills sold to Carter Holt Harvey.
2001 Corporatisation of Woods and Forests occurs. South Australian Forestry Corporation established, trading as ForestrySA.
2004 ForestrySA becomes certified to Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) AS 4708.

Forestry in the early days

South Australia’s Mid North is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Australian forest industry.

Forestry in the late 1800s was concerned with determining which timber-producing tree which would best suit the local climate and conditions.

This was necessary because many native species such as sugar gum, red gum and blue gum were rapidly being felled to provide timber for building, railway sleepers, telegraph poles, jetty pylons and supports for mining shafts and tunnels.

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Early conservators

South Australia’s first Conservator of Forests, Scottish born John Ednie Brown, arrived in Adelaide on 16 September 1878 to begin his new role in a very foreign land.

Just a week later her he was headed north to inspect the first trial plantings at Bundaleer and Wirrabara, which signalled the beginning of forestry in South Australia and in fact the whole of Australia.

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Get in touch with ForestrySA

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