Tasmanian Times


How it was … When Tasmanian Trees were Trees …

*Pic: The Tasmanian Timber Trophy at the London 1862 Exhibition

Detail of the Trophy labelled Tasmania with a sperm whale jaw with all its teeth and a whaling boat made by McGregor surrounding it

The Tasmanian Timber trophy taken from the other side of the Minton Porcelain fountain

The Victorian Gold Trophy Cabinet in the foreground carved and designed by Livingstone and supplied by Thwaites of Melbourne with the gold pyramid behind

The Whiting pamphlet from which my descriptions have been extracted

First published May 27

One of the defining features of the 1862 London International Exhibition was the Tasmanian Timber Trophy designed by George Whiting to display Tasmanian native woods for ship building, railway sleepers and public buildings and as specimen cabinet woods for their beauty of colour and markings ideal for use in ornamental furniture.

According to the Daily News it was a noble structure and a cause for rejoicing.

In the opinion of John Bull it signalled the might of Tasmanian woods, their scale and their durability, but beyond that it spoke of Tasmania as a land of natural resources and human opportunity.

The Tasmanian Court displayed wool, minerals, agricultural produce and the products of the whaling industry, yet it was dominated by Whiting’s Timber Trophy rising over 100 feet above ground and made from a variety of native Tasmanian woods.

The main section of the trophy consisted of:

… octagonal column formed of eight spars of Blue Gum, Stringy Bark, White Gum, Silver Wattle, Blackwood and Sassafras. It was hollow and could be entered by doorway above a short flight of steps. From there the visitor could climb the interior spiral staircase made from Huon Pine (a free-working and nearly imperishable wood) to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Exhibition.

The trophy also incorporated a number of specialised woods required for ship building, such as large ships’ knees. This section of the tree where the trunk meets the root had been in such short supply that British naval architecture had to be modified. Tasmania claims an unlimited supply of such wood.

A longitudinal section of the Swamp gum plank from Port Arthur, exhibited by Mr Boyd, will reveal the extraordinary length and size of Tasmanian timbers. The plank from which this section was taken was 230 feet long, and no available ship could take it to London whole. The section has been divided into 20 foot lengths.

After the Exhibition the trophy was taken to Kew and in 1876 the trophy was broken up and the wood distributed within the botany collection as separate specimens.

Tasmanian Timbers had moved from being an “icon to a datum.”

Today I wonder how many 100 foot slabs of timber could be cut for exhibition purposes?

Forestry Tasmania, can you supply me with a 230 foot single-slab of cut and dressed timber?

I ask Halton, Woodworker, MJF, Jack Lumber and those at Forestry Tasmania:

Where has this unlimited supply gone?

Smoke and broken mirrors spring to mind …

*John Hawkins was born and educated in England. He has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of “Australian Silver 1800–1900” and “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” and “The Hawkins Zoomorphic Collection” as well as “The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold” and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association. John has lived in Australia for 50 years and is 75 this year. In two of the world’s longest endurance marathons and in the only teams to ever complete these two events, he drove his four-in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney in 1985 and from Sydney to Brisbane in 1988.

Comment 7:1851 London Exhibition newspaper extract

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. William Boeder

    June 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    So George what is it that has drawn your inane comments to ring through the commentary of Tasmanian Times?
    Perhaps it was just to s–t can the forest conservationist elements for specific persons, please remember George our Forests are the Crown Forests that are available to the people of Tasmania.
    These Forests grew before there were Harris’s in Australia. Forestry Tasmania hadn’t been incorporated as an instrument of government to rid the Forests from this State.


    Would you have preferred Mies Hampton to turn this forested State island into one big Cow Paddock?
    I have provided another link below to an institutional letter from a former undistinguished representative union official who claims no connection to the logging industry itself. (circa 2012)
    https://tas.awu.net.au/sites/tas.awu.net.au/files/awu-file/Leg Council Forestry Committee Inquiry.pdf

    The contents are quite revealing as this was a letter of information full of confabulations that indicate that this State is bound as if by Royal Command to retain the non-profitable, non-costs recovering rate for the supply and delivery of mostly plantation sourced logs as were gifted to Ta Ann Berhad under the strictest confidence, as per the original MOU negotiated by the former board and CEO of Forestry Tasmania. (circa late 2006)
    Never mind that the RFA was altered to omit the plantation-grown log supply and become the price then allocated for 100% native forest log supply harvested and delivered.
    The purpose of this letter was to have the Tasmanian Legislative Council consider the details therein contained as being correct.
    I note the letter is undated and the writer has not identified his or herself. yet this letter still retains its official status as a letter to the chairman of the Legislative Council Committee.
    Such letters as this particular letter are generally bereft of actual fact and refer to matter not at all beneficial to the citizens of Tasmania.

    I believe this type of skulduggerous intent correspondences are a dime a dozen of which are sent between the logging demons and forest fraternity heads as their daily news.
    Oh’ the falsity of it all.

    Now George apart for bagging people attempting to retain our meagre remaining Native Forests and have them held safe from the grasp of Ta Ann Berhad, what is it that you write about?

  2. MjF

    June 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    #41 Nice.

  3. John Hawkins

    June 4, 2017 at 11:21 am



    The time warp that is Tasmanian Forestry has been well and truly exposed except to dunderheads like yourself who continue despite the evidence to promote and protect a lost cause.

    Old tarts such as myself have learnt how to survive abuse from those for whom they have no respect and yet still manage to profit from the experience.

  4. George Harris

    June 4, 2017 at 3:39 am

    I might thank the old tart (sic) for this contribution, (I was aware of the story, and have been for many years), but I would then go on to demolish every other assertion that he and his dubious fellow confabulators have dribbled herein… and replace it with something more compelling… but can I be bothered…?

  5. William Boeder

    June 3, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Not quite in line with your Scottish based Foundry products, but interesting nonetheless.
    Australia’s largest steel foundry circa late 1800’s was located in Castlemaine Victoria.

    The much-admired street fountains in Bendigo were cast in Castlemaine in the early years of its operations.
    A great amount of steelwork was carried out by Thompsons Steel Foundry Castlemaine.
    https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/portal/system/files/engineering-heritage-australia/nomination-title/Thompsons of Castlemaine.Nomination.V9.August 2015.pdf

    One of their construction contracts was for building railway steam locomotives. some 60 steam locomotives were built by Thompsons during that era.
    On view in Strahan semi-adjacent to the Town’s Yacht Club is a century old railway loading (unloading crane.) This crane being imported into Strahan from somewhere in the faraway realm of Great Britain. Having arrived disassembled, each individual piece is numbered, obviously for the purposes of its reconstruction and subsequent function.

  6. Mjf

    June 3, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Any knowledge of Saracen or other Scottish based foundry products in and around Hobart Town ?

  7. Robin Charles Halton

    June 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

    #37 John Hawkins this may interest you.

    A plank was cut for the London Exibition in 1851, which was 145′ long, 20″ broad and 6″thick; and in 1862 another slab was sent to London 75’long and about 10’wide.

    A spar of White Gum (Euc Viminalis), although of a smaller diameter, 230′ long was sent to the London Exhibition of 1862.

    Not much other information available for this era, so far. although there are unsubstantiated claims of eucalypts reaching the height of 350′ and a girth of 100′ in the southern parts of the Island.

    FT held a library with many records at their Melville St offices until recent years but with the down turn in forestry staff, I believe has shut its doors to the public, however I will make some enquiries re whereabouts of safe keeping of contents.

  8. spikey

    May 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    36# no worries mate.

    I recall you accusing me of gaslighting.
    I’ve witnessed it in action, asked psychologist mates to confirm my amateur diagnosis from your many contributions.

    My memory ain’t what it used to be, are you sure I’ve never invited you around for a pepperberry stout?

    I have no idea why you’d consider my stout and a common reference to how to treat adversaries, in a good neighbourly manner, as triggers.
    I’ll have to ask my psychologist mates about that one .

    Congratulations for producing something for TT with more substance than your many, many contributions. Bit late to pretend to be interested after you personally attacked the morality of the author without cause, was it your research involving ‘ antiques and the predatory nature of those who deal in deceased estates’ which produced the above document?

    I’m fairly sure i’ve accurately described previously how the unrest in my soul stems from the devious behaviours of shills who deceive people for the benefit of industry, at great cost to the rest of us.

    Like tobacco, oil, coal and asbestos.

    Those industries made money.

    And were likely more sustainable, and honest than worlds best practice.

    I guess 30 odd years of hearing hate deliberately stirred up, against conservationists, by demented forestry apologists, trashing priceless ecosystems at a loss, with a sackful of blatant lies, still rubs a little.

    Rings bells of deliberate social attacks on other minority groups, and the manipulation of societal opinion, through propaganda, to advance corporate wealth and power.

    Your mug will be available for collection from the ex Forestry Commissioner you never heard of, who lives next to a spikey, you never heard of. (ouch my delusions of grandeur take another hit)

    Give him my regards when you collect it, he may not be speaking to me.

    Glad to hear you’re still open for dialogue.

    Whether I can be arsed responding further to your pitiful responses remains to be seen.

  9. John Hawkins

    May 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Robin Halton #35

    What a good and interesting comment.


  10. Jack Lumber

    May 31, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Re 34 my interest in gaslight(ing)goes no further
    than a classic movie

    Pepperberry , house fires if meant to be triggers
    are lost on everyone including me

    The conspiratorial tones of cabals you suggest are
    more in the spirit of William of the West

    Only you can understand the preoccupation
    with polishing as it is a practice that is yours
    alone .

    Sorry spikey ,don’t know who you are
    Don’t care or need to know who you are
    Look forward to more discourse on any topic

    Take care Spikey there are undertones of anger and these are
    not good for anyone’s health


  11. Robin Charles Halton

    May 31, 2017 at 1:31 am

    I have managed to locate some historical information regarding large eucalypts included in a promotional booklet “The Eucalypti Hardwood Timber of Tasmania printed for Gray Brothers, Hobart and Adventure Bay Tasmania 1906.

    These are snippets of information within, that may be relevant for John Hawkins article leading up to the London Exhibitions he mentions.

    The Big Trees of Tasmania
    The trees of the Blue Gum and Stringy Bark are frequently met with 200-300 feet high, giving 150-200 feet clear run from the butt end to the first limb with up to 60 feet diameter at the base.
    Many have attained a height of 350 feet and a girth of 100 feet in the Southern parts of the island.
    A Blue Gum was measured 90 feet round and 30O feet high near “Tolosa” on the Northern aspect of Mt Wellington. ” I could almost imagine the location as there is a triangular gully of Humphrey Rivulet seen every time I go up Tolosa Street in Glenorchy up behind Tolosa Park near the Dominic Xavier College.
    I may need to explore the area further up the valley known as the City of Glenorchy Water Reserve Wildlife Santuary to confirm the occurence of vigorous blue gum regrowth as I doubt if any veterans are still standing or stumps there of! I suspect that a forest of E1 a or b+ height and density classification may have existed at the time of early settlement.

    Much of the history of the area is with the Glenorchy library, I may be in a position to follow up with any timber getting records if in fact any exist!

    When time permits I will continue with historical insights.

  12. spikey

    May 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm


    there’s no ‘out’ in knowing an ex-forestry commissioner, you’d kinda presume anyone in the business would know at least of him. Pretending not to know him, or me, is a little silly.
    btw slow clap for the brilliant idea of pretending ‘spikey’ is anonymous, it sure rattled my ego 😉

    Jack, have you knowingly used my personal ‘anonymity’ as justification for you n fitch n the rest of the remaining anonymous demented forestry apologists, knowing full well exactly who i am?

    Have you colluded with others and knowingly attempted to gaslight, threaten and otherwise cast my and others accurate opinions on forestry failings as mere faecal obsession?

    Have you ‘listened in’ to my personal conversations, how is your hearing btw?

    Mate, you’re a professional, good at what you did and do, best in the business, boys were definitely lost without you…

    But you is rumbled jacky humbler
    pole position Turd Polisher
    bender of minds and truth and demented forestry apologist

    I’d still help put your house out, if it was on fire, again, i’m that kinda guy.

    Just putting a new batch of pepperberry stout in the keg, it should be properly gassed by tomorrow. If you’d like to take me up on my many offers to come have a beer, and talk about any obvious simple differences of opinion, i should be finished work around 6.
    I have a mug for you, if you don’t show, i guess i’ll just give it to my neighbour.


  13. William Boeder

    May 30, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Jack, I hear there is a need for someone of your ilk in Russia’s Siberia, your knowledge and skills are being wasted or as good as being ignored here in Tasmania.
    Why you are being so inchoate in your literary skills, best you begin to learn Russian, this is where your future beckons.
    As for the bull-shit term of World’s Best Practice and logging discipline’s that are yet to be introduced into Tasmania, don’t worry too much about these fundamentals as they in Russia are already years ahead of your Forestry Tasmania mates.
    Don’t forget your forwarding address, perhaps if I just address my letters to Jack Lumber c/- Siberia?
    Based on your fame and notoriety here in Tasmania (though there may still be a few that are not yet aware of these expansive capacities you possess) this will change when you enter into the biggish Siberian expanse of trees and frozen tundras don’t worry too much you will soon be located and my letters hand delivered to your famed self.
    No doubt you will still be in touch with Tasmania’s arboreal specialist Minister Guy Barnett, I understand that he is often lonely in his own little way. Nevermind he can always chew on a wood-chip and reflect where his life suddenly took a vertical twist.

    As for the rhythmic assonance within my more recent comment, this was just a bullshit exercise, similar to much of what you generally offer to each of all the other forum attendees.
    It was Just a special effort for you Jack.
    Oh by the way, it is not true that I think of you as a form of Simian throwback, rewly and trewly not trew at all.

    (Simian. The simians (infraorder Simiiformes, Anthropoidea) are the higher primates: the Old World monkeys and apes, including humans (together being the catarrhines), and the New World monkeys or platyrrhines.)

    There will not be any further Royal Commissions set in motion, as this would uncover a great many current Liberal party greed-toads and former synthetic Forest Overlords (that may or may not have been known to you) being slotted into some dimly dark rat-infested ancient old cell-block doing a 15 year stretch.

  14. Jack Lumber

    May 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    re 26 William
    thanks for sharing your road of self discovery culminating in your self labelled
    “Muddled ” status .

    Many will be shocked but an equal number are not surprised but relieved that you have finally able to face facts.

    Many will aslo applaud your openness and being self aware

    Good luck in your continued campaign to investigate where many have perhaps not investigated before ( this could be related to being muddled ); also hope that being muddled does not hinder your attempts to have many Royal Commissions

    and just maybe then we can get on topic


    PS Bonus points for rhyme and I always get confused between alliteration and assonance and perhaps you could clarify this for all

  15. Jack Lumber

    May 30, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Re 30
    This is question is on the realms of what they call a “‘gotcha question ”

    It is a question to try an force out information or if the party being asked appears to prevaricate then the premise of the question is thus “confirmed ”

    I will do neither and just ignore it .

    Next lure please and I think you do “fish”


  16. spikey

    May 29, 2017 at 11:20 pm


    Evan is not my friend.
    I’m not fishing.
    Do you or do you not know the ex Forestry Commissioner of Tasmania, of polish descent?*

    *Non-rhetorical question

  17. Jack Lumber

    May 29, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Re 28
    Please pass regards to all your friends
    including any called Evan , any fisherman you know and
    Any people from all the parts of Europe
    Specia hello to all shed owners

    Spikey , wishing you good fishing , tight lines …..but sometimes the wrong lure is used , or fishing in the wrong area and dont get a bite 🙂

  18. spikey

    May 29, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    #27 that’s odd, my neighbour has assured me he goes fishing with various influential forestry types. Perhaps you’re not influential, or don’t like fishing. Who knows what goes on up at those lodges. He told me he counts Evan as a personal friend, i presume you know an Evan, i don’t think he is polish. I understand he was also relatively important in forestry tasmania pior to (semi-)retirement.

    Never heard of a polish forestry big wig lumber? One who may have a Forestry Commission sign on his shed?

    You wouldn’t deliberately try and deceive the good peeps of TT would you?*

    *rhetorical question

  19. Jack Lumber

    May 29, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    re 24 No not familiar with the shed ; kookaburras or Polish people in general . But thanks for sharing.

  20. William Boeder

    May 29, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    #16. Jack Lumper, I note your recent criticisms regarding this Tasmanian Times forum, if the people that enjoy their attendance hereto and seek to have their comments published well all the best of considerations to these many erudite persons.
    Those odd-like characters and deluding persons that piss and moan are hardly worth a pardon, they be more than welcome to retain their inane dements and laments along with their insufferable dispersions, perhaps you’d be better off if you go off and dig in your garden.
    I would like to hope you had read my #13 comment as this has since given me the inspiration to identify the substantial number of ‘collar and tie’ scoundrels, teflon bodgies, ne’er do wells, bully-boys, charlatans, then them of the political serving low-belly persons and their many logging excursions, to partake in the looting and outright thievery that was aided and abetted by these same with their deceivery, during their 30 odd years of criminal enchantment.

    Further, that I will provide accurate reference details to ensure that none of these pillagers and poseurs, at the same time them of their academic professions and privileges, of figures and those of dubious legal triggers of their often false disclosures.
    These professional classes may soon fall on their crooked arses, as they will not be omitted from among those politically protected ministers and dubiously appointed sinister classes, that had connived and colluded to destroy so much of Tasmania’s Ancient Old Growth Forest with their government-funded bulldozers, at the same time casting ruin upon Tasmania’s mountain ranges now are hunting down the little now left of our former glorious but now environment denuded former acclaimed exposures.
    Now Jack, there were a great many swarthtily dressed untrustables swaggering without perceptions in and around their Hobarts and Launcestons, they among the culpable and the complicit all bragging about their crimes and deceptions, then of interest to a great many Tasmanian citizens is the fact that there are a great many of those persons still remain alive soon to be grieving, in due time there laboured old age with its difficult erratic breathing.

    Thus my revelations will provide quite a lot of interesting forensic readings how these former nondecripts had risen to their present artificially contrived stealth proceeding, their life of misleading upon the enumerable Tasmanian citizens now of societal better breeding.
    This task will consume a great deal of my time, you must bear with me in my endeavours, for I am keen and have a plenteous desire to hunt down those with their former transparent dodgy clevers, you may must of course then suddenly realize that I have plenty time at my disposal, also that this same task will reveal the crimes augmented by the evil of every sinister proposal.

    I hope that this comment will amuse you as you ‘fap and flap your pap’ in your latter years when reality comes a calling, your reputation for your mealy mouthed zip and zap, that in the minds of many would resemble aught but pitious squalling.
    Have a nice thoughtful day Jack.
    My regards,
    The muddled William.

  21. Frank Strie

    May 29, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    RE:P.G. #22 –
    Talking about timber milling.
    “By the way the largest timbers I have personally milled…”
    Haha, by the way the longest timbers I have personally milled right here in Tasmania was in 1999 in Lorinna, on private forest land: Beams for a straw bale house, 20cm x 10cm x 1400cm / 14 metres, this by linking 2 mobile LUCAS Sawmills with additional track extensions. 4 people in tandem adjusted the height of each layer.
    Mind you, every beam of that size was carefully winched off the log below and then man handled by a very motivated, multicultural team with 6 nationalities.
    Yes, almost 18 years later now, that house is special, and great memories of my client Paul following me with his camera live on.
    Needless to say that the natural forest is still there in great condition, as I first selected and felled the trees according to ProSilva principles in late winter. Yes, it can be done when there is the will and commitment to act responsibly is appreciated.

  22. spikey

    May 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm


    I’d say defending past and current atrocious and shameful forestry practices in tasmania as worlds best practice as valid criteria for being a forestry apologist.

    Shall I explain that over the fence to my apologist neighbour, by a remarkable co-incidence of strong Polish heritage.

    For obvious reasons, in the name of good neighbourly relations, I try and avoid discussing forestry or the handfeeding of kookaburras.

    Though I did mention that the Forestry Commission sign on his shed was looking dull and looked like it could use a good polish.

    Perhaps you know him?

  23. Jack Lumber

    May 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    re 21 Spikey when you meet or have discussions with an apologist please make sure you share your criteria /designation , as well as you colourful use of pooh as a linguistic tool

  24. Pete Godfrey

    May 29, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    #20 Fair enough Jack. The way I read the article is that it is pointing out that, if what the industry and government have been telling the truth. And that the industry has been run on a sustainable basis then timber of the size quoted would still be available.
    Of course much of the very tall timbers were cut down long ago. I remember reading of the tallest Mountain Ash in Victoria measuring 550 foot, around 130 metres tall when cut down.
    In the 1970’s I recall seeing a small bush mill having to use a chainsaw to break their logs down to a size that their Canadian saw could handle.
    The logs were over 7 foot diameter that I saw.
    Not much of those trees are left, especially in the Huntsman area of Meander where those logs came from.
    If we did an audit of what is actually in the forests, we could then set the levels of supply on a truly sustainable level. Eg, minimum 90 years for eucalypt, 200 years for celery top etc.
    Unfortunately the forest industry in Tasmania has long been a political football, used to divide voters and create division so that opposing parties could get re elected.
    By the way the largest timbers I have personally milled ( from roadside salvage) were 11 metre long and 200 x 100 section. They were used for my house that I built in Northern NSW. Carting them on my one ton holden ute was an interesting exercise.

  25. spikey

    May 29, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Mate, you’ve drawn some long bows

    Whilst I agree with myself, that trying to undermine the credibility of a contributor relating to the fact they sell old ivory was totally ludicrous.

    I fail to see how the same applies to the rapidly shrinking gang of demented forestry apologists, who hold shared responsibility for the outrageous corrupt, uneconomic, unsustainable and blatantly stupid actions and plans of yesteryear and yesterday.

    Obviously as simple as a difference of opinion.

    As I tinkle my ivories*, I reflect on the fate of the elephants. And the stupidity of a species that would threaten their extinction for their tusks. Then I change to a minor key, and ponder how the ebony is faring. Then I just bash the keys with my head thinking about forestry in tasmania.

    *the term is not literal, my keys are plastic

  26. jack lumber

    May 29, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Re 18 cont …
    You make a fair point , that current antique dealers didn’t contribute to the hunting of ivory in the past

    Similarly then those who are involved in forestry are not responsible or representing FT and MIS in the past

    Or is that different ?

    Can we not debate and discuss issues without
    claiming parties are responsible for or “apologists ”

    It may ne as simple as a difference in opinion


  27. Jack Limber

    May 28, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Re 18 sorry spikey , john was just polishing too many
    ” turds” but you knew that didn’t you

  28. spikey

    May 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    #16 Dear Jack

    Your tone, cadence and manner of interaction are certainly very variable.

    The personal attacks on anyone threatening the well polished pile of shit, that is our states greatest shame, till fishfarms take the cake, is business as usual. The well mannered response in an alternate current article showed your concern for

    ‘It’d be much better if you couldn’t add additionals to articles which serves only to hijack the stories and muddy the waters.’

    Yes, lets not muddy waters and blame shift on to antiquities dealers, as though they were involved in the current slaughter for ivory.

    What was that stuff they had on pianos again?
    sheesh maybe the boys were better off without you

  29. John Hawkins

    May 28, 2017 at 10:18 pm


    It is good to see you back Jack even though you are from the Fitch stable in the Tasmanian Forest Industry we need you for target practice.

    As a point of interest Dealers in Antiques pay a great tribute and have enormous respect for the woodworkers of old as we conserve and resell the work of craftsmen whose products have passed the test of time.

    You and yours have destroyed in a generation the resource that I try to conserve.

    I suppose in that respect I am particularly Green.

    A recycler perhaps?

  30. Jack Lumber

    May 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Dear John

    I am bit busy right now doing some research on antiques and the predatory nature of those who deal in deceased estates and other sources writing about the material used , that reflect an immoral use of animal products such a ivory and precious metals; historically extracted using slavery , unsafe conditions and exploitation of labour even when paid .

    John , of course no one hold you personally responsible for the above nor suggests that your work continued work in the antiques business condones same .

    How about let stop the bullshit stories which provide a stage for those to fap and flap and maybe more discussion as you run the risk of falling into the same category of William of the West and that would be a waste as you do make some good points from time to time


  31. MjF

    May 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Hawkins @ #12

    I’m sure you’re a more skilled purveyor of antiquities than you are a researcher. As you seem so keen to discredit me, these are the facts, for your consideration:

    1)I joined the Forestry Commission in 1975
    2)I resigned from the Forestry Commission in 1988
    3)I have never been employed by Forestry
    4)I do operate my own company named
    Real Forest Planning Pty Ltd. You can do an ABN
    look up to confirm registration
    5)RFP is not a department of FT (LoL)
    5)I do not make any “claims to fame”
    6)I did draft and certify an FPP for a Lilydale
    client over their private property on the lower
    slopes of Mt Arthur.
    7)This plan was certified on 27/1/2010, not 2012
    8)This plan was successful due to solid and
    skilful planning with a careful logger. The
    client logged wood immediately above and below
    Lilydale’s then water intake with no ill effects
    to water quality despite local community
    9)I ceased being an active planning
    FPO in 2013
    10)I have worked on FPP’s for FT, as a
    contractor, gathering field data.
    11)The last time I did the above was 2010
    12)Since I started commenting on TT in 2010, I
    have only commented as a bona fide independent
    observer with no employer affiliations other
    than being a representative of my own company.
    13)I retain a passing interest in forestry and
    forest history.
    14)I retain a small investment of my own company
    funds in the industry.
    15)I played no part in the FT report into El
    Grande’s demise other than providing you with a
    link to a publicly available document via

    So, now we have established that your “simple fact” claim of me being an employee of FT is a fib. That goes to your credibility.

    Where to from here ?

    Might I suggest your case for not castigating your pseudonym shielded friends is in tatters because it’s primarily based on falsehoods. Rebuke away.

  32. Chris Harries

    May 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks John,

    We’ve all watched the 40 year long tragedy as thousands, upon thousands of truckloads of fine Tasmanian native timbers were sent off to the chippers. We looked at those logs going by and – whether or not we saw them as trees or as logs – we all witnessed the tragedy of this ransacking of our native forests for so little long-term gain.

    Even those citizens who have no environmental sensibility and who were not at all averse to exploitation of nature could see that this forest mining saga was so utterly stupid.

    In some quarters this sorry saga continues in their heads. Like the thrashing tail of a dying dinosaur, it’s taking a long time to become stilled.

  33. William Boeder

    May 28, 2017 at 5:01 am

    A Well presented article of historic fact, full credit to you John Hawkins for your most informative articles that you provide to Tasmanian Times.
    I perceive in the future of Tasmania you will be acknowledged as an El Grande, but of entirely different substance, your contribution to the life and times of Tasmania has not received the acclaim that your personal endeavours do rightly deserve.
    Now moving on to the El Grande tree and the then raw practices and operations of Forestry Tasmania when its business practices and operations were still being architected by the hands of 2 extreme and narrow minded persons with a cant for pyro-manic grandeur, I note the managing director of Forestry Tasmania during the period of the firing of El Grande was a Mr Evan Rolley.
    The forests minister was Paul Lennon during that same specific period. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/21/1058639671045.html

    A reference link below to better understand the origin of the word pyro.
    Somewhere amongst the history of Tasmania and its forests are the records to qualify the fact that at that former time 2 individual persons held the unprinted licence to commence so much forest denudation and destruction during the era I have referenced, I make no claim to the former mightiness of these 2 aforementioned persons and the destined fate of a great volume of Tasmania’s even then renowned Old Growth Native Forests.

  34. John Hawkins

    May 28, 2017 at 2:14 am


    Martin J Fitch let us try and improve your credibility for the benefit of the readers of Tasmanian Times.

    You have worked for Forestry Tasmania since at least 1999 and your principal claim to fame is that you are an active Forest Planning Officer (FPO) in the department of Real Forest Planning(RFP) producing Forest Practices Plans(FPP) for Forestry Tasmania.

    You came to public attention as a result of a “Review by Concerned Residents” opposing your Mount Arthur FPP. This was produced in your office in 2012 for the Bardenhagen Lilydale family regarding land they owned in the Launceston water catchment area.

    I suggest that as an employee of Forestry Tasmania writing to this site under an acronym your views may be considered as those of your as yet unstated employer.

    Now we have established that simple fact you will understand why I have no need to castigate with a dressing down for hiding behind an acronym.

    I will soon be detailing a reply to your El Grande question for Tasmanian Times.

    First please explain what part if any did you play in the Forestry Tasmania Report on El Grande a report that you quote in #8 above?

    An honest reply would be appreciated.

    Again over to you sir.

  35. Doug Nichols

    May 28, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Re #9, John, sorry to dent your national pride just a little bit, but the Great in Great Britain has nothing to do with strength or mightiness or whatever. It just means large. According to Wikipedia, Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1136) referred to the island as Britannia major (“Greater Britain”), to distinguish it from Britannia minor (“Lesser Britain”), the continental region which approximates to modern Brittany.

  36. MJF

    May 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm


    Over to me…..?

    You seem very keen to engage me for a person hiding behind a nom de plume and as such “has no credibility”

    Does that sound familiar and if so are you making an exception in my case ?

    Still no dressing down from you either to the anti-logging posters who are guilty of the same crime. No need to mention names is there.

    Thank Christ it’s not 1830 England or I’d have spent the last 3 years in a putrid Thames hulk and now be departing on a leaky old privateer for 7 yrs transportation with no hope of a return to Blighty. And for what – using a non de plume.

    Did you find the el grande wash up to your satisfaction ?

  37. John Hawkins

    May 27, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    First of all MJF instead of just scanning my work you must learn to read and absorb the detail.

    In my comment #7 I introduce the 1851 Exhibition at which Tasmania was the only Australian Colony to exhibit but with no trophy to illustrate or describe.

    So I am referring in comment #7 to two Exhibitions.

    At the first in 1851 it was VDL that exhibited. At the second in 1862, a cleanskin newly minted “Cessation of Transportation”, “Tasmania” was to hold its head high.

    Both Exhibitions were held in London but in different buildings.

    As one might expect the source for the trees and the dressed timber is different for each Exhibition.

    This I have carefully laid out and documented for those who care to read and not to scan.

    Your comment “anecdotal at best”, #5 has been carefully refuted.

    When it comes to Tasmanian Aborigines this is off topic but I have written the cutting edge published essay on the – “Tasmanian Shell Necklace” which you can find on the web.

    If not I will ask the Editor to put it up on Tasmanian Times.

    When did the Fitch family change their origin from British – an important distinction to Tasmanian and on what grounds?

    The British treated the “poor bloody convicts” no differently to black African slaves. The solution if you were British was to stay on the right side of the law.

    Strong laws put the Great in Britain.

    The only exception I would make is for those Irish and Scottish political convicts who were sent to the Colony for holding fast to their beliefs, convictions and standards.

    That the: “…precious stone set in the silver sea…”, existed at all is a remarkable for it was the creation of a small group of clever people who used the Law of Precedent and the Pax Britanica, to rule the world.

    They should not be sneered at, they should be admired.

    Are your antecedants political criminal or plain ordinary?

    Mine are ordinary and I came to Tasmania for a better life.To a 21st century “Jewel Set in a Silver Sea”, to find mayhem and mischief where a Minister of the Crown could send two people to my front door to threaten me without blinking.

    I have been working on that with the help of Tasmanian Times and its team of articulate, clever and erudite people who with open minds and kind hearts are genuinely trying to make a difference.

    Over to you Sir.

  38. mjf

    May 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm


    You’re confusing me. First it was a swamp gum (E regnans) from Port Arthur, now it’s a blue gum from Brunii. Or is this another tree ?

    Towed to Hobart Town ? A barge or lighter of sorts I suppose.

    Miss your point re swindle. Are you placing an order or not ? Why would it not be above board ? I reckon FT would be just as happy with your kanga
    as anyone else’s.

    Or do you think all this 1800’s timber hooking, shaping, cutting and transportation back to the old Dart was done just for goodness of their healths ?

    I expect the usual costs of trade had to met then just as they are now. The poor bloody convicts would’ve got nothing. Their assigned masters would have cleaned up handsomely though, such was the way of the class driven, oppressive, pompous and sadistic English colonials so rewarded with slave labour. We know where our corrupt heritage comes from don’t we Mr Hawkins. Taught by the very best we were.

    They even killed off the full blood indigenous population did you know ? Chopped off a couple of heads and sent them back to London for Harley Street surgeons to dissect. Civilised mob the English.

    Re incineration of El Grande read the official story here.


    If it was avoidable I do not know, Halton is the fire practitioner and across all matters of prescribed conflagration. He may be better placed.

    That’s as factually correct and honest as I can be. I hope that goes some way towards meeting your lofty expectations.

  39. John Hawkins

    May 26, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    MJF #5

    In reply, I attach the following from the Britannia Trades Advocate published in Hobart on 27 January 1851.

    The log of blue gum referred to here was taken from a tree felled directly into the sea near Adventure Bay and towed to Hobart to be processed.

    At a dressed 142 feet by 20 inches by 8 inches it had been shortened so that it could be strapped to the side of a boat for the voyage to London.

    On arrival the dressed log could not travel through the narrow streets of London so after all the effort it was cut up and joined together on site.

    This was a great disappointment to all those involved.

    In order not to make the same mistake twice for the London Exhibition of 1862 the dressed log was cut up into 20 foot lengths in Hobart each branded for rematching on site, with the brands crossing the cuts.

    The reconnected log had to be exhibited outside the 1862 Cromwell Road Exhibition building which was to small to house this magnificent natural object which had also been felled into the sea.

    I have no doubt that today for cash anything can be bought in this your corrupt Tasmania.

    It is interesting that your thinking is always set in terms of a potential Forestry swindle.

    Maybe in 1862 thinking Tasmanians possessed some integrity were on my side of the fence even if they had to prove it to your lot by using brands.

    I think I am correct in stating that Forestry Tasmania managed to destroy by fire the tallest giant tree in Tasmania and one of the largest living things on earth in very recent times.

    It was incidentally still smaller than the 1862 finished and dressed log.

    I ask both you and Halton who happily inhabit the other side of the Forestry fence and will therefore know the Gossip: Was this yet another Forestry Tasmania controlled burn that accidentally escaped?

    Perhaps you would care to comment and provide a factually correct and honest answer?

  40. Chris

    May 26, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    We all know that Forestry in Tasmania is sustainable, plantations of Nitens prove the bidiversity, and ply is plied in some Malaysian bank to benefit the 100 year rotation plan. Barnertt is …..put definition here……..

  41. MjF

    May 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    If money was no object I expect FT could provision you the order Mr Hawkins although producing a 70m long board would take some time doing. What finished width and thickness please and are you picking up ?

    As was the problem pre1865, transportation would still remain the key issue.

    It would appear the exhibited piece by Mr Boyd was one of the 20ft pieces docked from the fabled 230 footer so the existence of such a long swamp gum board is anecdotal at best. Assuming it did exist, it must have been a hurculean task to produce such a board. Whole log would have had to have been split several times and then hand trimmed with adze. Would take amazingly straight grain to achieve this feat.

    You should know where the unlimited supply has gone.

    The supply began to diminish in 1804 when Lt Cl Patterson began to clear the forest at Yorktown to establish an orchard, crops and put up huts. All downhill from there thanks to the English and their obsession to head off the French to everything unclaimed.

    The fact that you need to grow new trees as replacements to sustain a resource probably didn’t occur to George Whiting and many others in 1865.

    What a grand affair the Exhibition must have been though. Good story.

  42. Russell

    May 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    In just over 150 years (but more likely 100 years) it’s all gone!

    What a shameful waste of a valuable resource.

  43. Wining Pom

    May 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Nice research John. Good read. But wood 230ft long nowadays? No problem. There’s piles of woodchips that would dwarf that.

  44. TGC

    May 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    And, as important as finding the trees for the workers- governments have some responsibility in finding workers for the ‘trees’- which meand ensuring a continuous graduation of apprentices well qualified in their ‘trades’.
    There is some evidence in this latest Tasmanian Budget that the Treasurer is aware of that responsibility.

  45. Studler van Surck

    May 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Does not John Hawkins know that the Tasmanian Forestry industry has always operated on a “sustainable” basis and that any reasonable person, including Halton, Woodworker and Jack Lumber therefore knows that by definition FT would be able to supply John with any number of 230ft lengths of dressed hardwood tomorrow if they wished without even having to enter “old” forest.

    FT however being a “not for profit” organization prefers to sell this timber as chips to contractors that – unlike John – ask no questions and need a hand-out.

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