Forestry Heritage Museum
The Museum is located in the Historic Precinct on Ford Street, Beechworth in one of the Town’s original buildings & was known as the “Gold Warden’s Office”. It was officially opened on 27 July, 2003 by the Chief Justice of Victoria, John Haber Phillips, A.C. during Beechworth’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations. For many years, the building was the Forests Commission’s District Office for Beechworth.
The Museum, operated by volunteers from the Forests Commission Retired Personnel Association [Vic.] Inc., was established to show how Forests Commission personnel managed, administered & protected Victoria’s forests, which originally covered about 84% of the State.
This Museum holds equipment used for the surveying of forest boundaries, estimating quantities of timber products, developing techniques to suppress forest fires & other everyday tasks for forest managers. Many of the displayed items resulted from Foresters finding a better way of doing things.
Displayed are some of the many hand tools used by farmers & timber workers to:
[a] fell trees & fashion the wood to make shingles (for roofing) replacing roofing of bark sheets stripped from standing trees;
[b] fence palings so that property boundaries were defined,
[c] many other everyday items in use at that time.
Also displayed are instruments used for building tramways & roads to access the difficult terrain for timber harvesting by the many sawmills that operated in Victoria; to convert logs into useable timber for building & for measuring quantities of timber harvested. These roads were also needed to provide access for fire control & fire management.
Much of the equipment displayed was developed to assist in bushfire control, including tools used for research & to better understand fire dynamics & help with fire suppression. A range of equipment to assist in general forest research is also displayed.
Although vast quantities of trees were felled for saw logs, fuel, rail sleepers, construction timber & pulpwood, the trees were selected in such a way that new forest seedlings would grow in those spaces to provide a new forest ? a renewable resource of wood material.