|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
Scope of the Group
A Minister of Forests was appointed (without salary) in December 1899 and retired in November 1900. Prior to this the Minister responsible for State Forests and Nurseries had been:
to 1875: the Commissioner for Crown Lands and Survey (VRG 18).
1875 - 1890: the Minister for Agriculture (VRG 34).
1890 - 1891: the Commissioner for Crown Lands and Survey (VRG 18).
1891 - 1893: the Minister of Mines (VRG 30).
1893 - 1899: the Commissioner for Crown Lands and Survey (VRG 18).
In 1900 the Commissioner for Crown Lands and Survey was again made responsible for forestry functions until 1903 when the Minister of Agriculture became responsible. In 1904 a Minister for Mines and Forests was appointed and in 1909 a Minister for Forests was again appointed. For convenience each of the Ministers responsible for forests from 1900 to 1909 has been placed in the Forests Group (VRG 41) for the period of their responsibility for this function.
Until 1908 the Departments of Agriculture (VA 618), Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538), Mines (VA 2719) and Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720) were at various times responsible for State Forests. In 1908 the Department of State Forests (VA 534) was established. Until it became a department of state in its own right in 1918, it functioned as a sub-department of the Mines and Water Supply Department (VA 2720) until 1909 and thereafter of the Mines Department (VA 612). The Department of State Forests (VA 534) - also known as the Forests Commission - has therefore been included in both Mines (VRG 30) and Forests (VRG 41) for the period 1908-1918. The Departments of Agriculture (VA 618), Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538), Mines and Water Supply (VA 2720) and the Mines Department (VA 612) have also been included in the Forests Group (VRG 41).
The functional responsibilities of the Minister for Forests centred around the management and development of State Forests and the State Nurseries. Other areas of responsibility included the School of Forestry, forestry research, fencing, lay-out and improvement of reserves and plantations, the provision of recreational facilities and the purchase and alienation of land for forests purposes.
Over the years the Minister also took on a number of other related responsibilities including protection of plant and wildlife under the Wildlife and Native Plants Act 1930 (later 1958) and vermin and noxious weeds destruction in state forests from 1932 and 1943 respectively.
Although not formally recognised as part of its function the Forests portfolio had a continuous interest in soil conservation especially in the 1930's. In 1940 the Soil Conservation Board was established and comprised representatives from the Department of Agriculture (VA 618), the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (VA 538), the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723), the State Forests Department (VA 534) and the Mines Department (VA 612).
The Forests portfolio was also concerned with the regulation of the timber industry and commercial enterprises involving the utilization of state forests products such as eucalyptus oil, charcoal, sawn timber, pulpwood and firewood. The Department also had close links with rural fire-fighting organizations.
In 1983 responsibility for all matters relating to forests was transferred to the Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands (VRG 75).
Location of Records
A few records have been transferred to the Public Record Office.
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.6.9-3.6.10.
Minister of Forests 1899 - 1900
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey 1900 - 1903
Minister of Agriculture 1903 - 1904
Minister of Mines and Forests 1904 - 1909
Minister of Forests 1909 - 1983