This winter marks the 100-year anniversary of pine plantations in the Ovens Valley. Source: The Myrtleford Times
The first plantings occurred near the Ovens River on dredge tailings left from the gold rush days, near Mountbatten Avenue in Bright.
Northern Region HVP Plantations general manager Rob Hescock said these areas, on the outskirts of town, are still maintained as productive plantation.
“In some areas across the region this winter will see the third crop of plantation established,” he said.
“The Ovens Valley plantations are unique in that they were largely set up by the government of the day to rehabilitate and stabilise land that had been degraded by mining activity or cleared to support mining.
“As well as limiting the impacts of mining, such as erosion and water quality, the plantations also provided employment for workers and returned servicemen in tough economic times during, and following World War I, as well as during the Great Depression in the 1930s.”
Mr Hescock said some of those labour intensive jobs are still done by hand today.
“Whilst the past 100 years have seen technological advances across the forest industry, some things haven’t changed, including the planting of trees by hand,” he said.
“The work is very challenging, with planters covering rough and steep terrain in cold and variable weather.
“Each winter HVP Plantations employ over 50 contractors to plant more than 1.6 million trees across 1600 hectares in the North East.
“In 30 years’ time these trees will provide wood to local, large scale and regionally important processing plants in Myrtleford, Wangaratta, Benalla and Albury.”