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No. 228: Eucalyptus rostrata

Schlecht.

Murray Red Gum.

(Family MYRTACEÆ.)

Botanical description.

— Genus, Eucalyptus. (See Part II, p. 33.)

Botanical description.

— Species, rostrata Schlechtendal in Linnæa xx, 655 (1847).

A tall tree with a greyish-white bark, smooth and separating in thin layers (F. Mueller, and others), rarely persistent and rough? (F. Mueller.)

Leaves lanceolate, mostly falcate and acuminate, 3 to 6 inches long or even more, the lower ones sometimes ovate or ovate-lanceolate and straight, not thick, the veins rather regular, numerous and oblique, the intramarginal one not close to the edge, or in some desert specimens thick with the veins much less conspicuous.

Penduncles rather short, terete or scarcely compressed, bearing each about four to eight flowers on rather long pedicels.

Calyx-tube hemispherical, 2 to 2 1/2 lines diameter.

Operculum more hemispherical than in E. viminalis and about as long as or shorter than the calyx without the point or beak, which is almost always prominent and sometimes rather long, or very rarely the whole operculum is elongated and obtuse without any beak, but much shorter than in E. tereticornis.

Stamens about 2 lines long, inflected in the bud; anthers small, ovate, with parallel distinct cells.

Ovary short, convex or conical in the centre.

Fruit nearly globular, rarely above 3 lines diameter, the rim broad and very prominent, almost conical, the capsule not sunk and the valves entirely protruding even before they open. (B.Fl. iii, 240.)

Botanical Name.

— Eucalyptus, already explained (see Part 11, p. 34); rostrata, Latin, beaked, in allusion to the beak-like operculum or cap of the flower-bud.

Vernacular Names.

— This is the Red Gum par excellence of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. The term "Gum" is applied in Australia to those species of Eucalyptus which have smooth barks. This is called "Red Gum," because it has a red timber. I proposed the name "Murray Red Gum" for it, as it is abundant on the river of that name, and to avoid confusion with the closely-related "Forest Red Gum," but in any convention for the better use of vernacular names I feel sure that the name "Red Gum" would, by common consent, be reserved to the present tree and timber.

For obvious reasons it is also called "Flooded Gum," "River Gum," and "Creek Gum." It used to be called "White Gum" more frequently than it is at the present time. I think that use is confined to South Australia.




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Aboriginal Names.

— By the aborigines of the Lower Murrumbidgee (New South Wales) it used to go by the name of "Biall," while to those of the western interior it was known as, "Yarrah ." "Yarrah," however, according to the late Dr. Woolls, was applied by the aborigines to almost any tree. The late Mr. Forester Kidston stated that it was formerly known as "Gunwung" by the aborigines of the Lachlan.

It was an important tree to the aborigines of Victoria, and the following aboriginal names are quoted:— By Mr. J. G. Saxton, "Moolerr," and "Bealiba," Beal-Red or Flooded Gum, Ba- Creek. By Dr. C. S. Sutton, "Yarrah," "Bwal" (Loddon), "Moolerr," "Yooro" (Lake Tyers).

Mueller quotes the name "Polak" for the aborigines of the Gascoyne River, Western Australia.

Edible and Non-edible Leaves.

— Mr. T. Grieve sent me from Moulamein edible and non-edible Red Gum leaves, on which I reported in the Agric. Gazette of June, 1899, p. 496, and at greater length, with the leaves of other trees, in this work, vol. v, p. 74.

I have drawn attention to this preference and repugnance of sheep and cattle for apparently the same leaves on various occasions, and believe it is worthy of the most careful investigation, but I have never been able to induce those who made reports to follow up the matter by careful collection of botanical material. Messrs. Baker and Smith, in their "Research on the Eucalypts," p. 75, in proposing a variety borealis, suggest that this may be one of the forms of the Red Gum whose leaves cattle cat, but as they say that this form does not present any morphological differences to the ordinary form, we are pretty much as we were so far as solution of this particular problem is concerned.

Opercula.

— Mr. Walter R. Harper exhibited before the Linnean Society of New South Wales, August, 1901, a necklet made by the aborigines of the Diamantina River, Queensland, of the opercula of this species. The necklet would not last very long, but the use of it was new to me.

Seeds.

— The seeds are eaten by the Mount Lyndhurst (South Australia) blacks. (Koch.)

Kino.

— This is a useful astringent, and this species could readily produce all the kino (astringent gum) required medicinally in Australia, and there would be a good balance for export; but hitherto there has not been a great demand for it. I gave some notes in a paper entitled "The Murray Red Gum (Eucalyptus rostrata Schlecht) and its kino," American Journ. Pharm. lxix, p. 1 (Jan., 1897). Later on we have a paper from a pharmaceutical chemist, W.J. Brownscombe, "Gummi Eucalypti rostratæ," Pharm. Journ. (3) 25th March, 1899, p. 276.

Timber.

— It is, however, to the timber that this species owes its high reputation.


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In regions of low rainfall, and in the tropics generally, it is considered to be of very little value. For example, in the far west of New South Wales, it is considered to be useless for structural purposes. Its average height is 30 to 40 feet, and diameter 1 to 2 feet. Locally it is not considered of much use, except for firewood. But the limbs and branches make excellent charcoal. A charcoal-burner " prefers it to any other wood for the purpose, " while a local blacksmith pronounces the product " excellent. " Some specimens of this charcoal were sent to the Technological Museum, and it is well-burnt, clean, and in every respect a good article. Mr. Robert Lucas, in giving evidence before the Victorian Royal Commission on Vegetable Products, states that, in his estimation, this species yields the best charcoal in Victoria for blacksmiths' purposes.

Speaking of Western Australia, the late Dr. A. Morrison wrote to me: "It is singular that in the Murchison district and the North-west (within the tropics) E. rostrata is considered the poorest timber of those that grow there."

This simply bears out a point to which I have often drawn attention — that so much depends on the district from which you obtain a timber. Just as a certain species of tree may produce a valuable timber in one locality, and an inferior one in another, so conversely we must not be surprised if a timber that we think poorly of may be very highly esteemed somewhere else. A tree may have an optimum as regards its timber in one district and not in another. Consideration of this point may prevent hasty judgments.

In my "Useful Native Plants of Australia" (1889) I wrote as follows:—

This timber is highly valued for strength and durability, especially for piles and posts in damp ground; it is used also for ship-building, railway sleepers, bridges, wharves, and numerous other purposes. This timber is exceedingly hard when dry, and therefore most difficult to work; this limits its use for furniture.

A drawback to this valuable timber is its liability to shell off, which limits its use for flooring, but it is an excellent girder wood.

In the durability of its timber, perhaps, it has only a rival in E. marginata (Jarrah), of Western Australia, resisting Teredo, Chelura, and Termites. When properly seasoned it is well adapted. for heavy deck-framing, the beams and knees of vessels, and for planking above high-water mark. In Victoria it has been much used for railway sleepers, and various articles of furniture (Woolls), wheelwrights' work (especially felloes), engine buffers, &c. It should be steamed before it is worked for curving. The specific gravity ranges from .858 to 1.005, or from 53 1/2 to 62 1/2 lb. per cubic, foot. A ton of the dry wood has yielded as much as 4 lb. of pearlash, or 2 1/2 lb. of pure potash. (Mueller.) The air-dried wood of this species contained, according to one experiment, 4.38 per cent. of kino-tannin, and 16.62 per cent. of kino-red; the latter (allied to Phlobaphene) is soluble in alcohol, but not in water; the large percentage of these two substances in E. rostrata is only rivalled, as far as known, by that of the hardest kind of Jarrah (E. marginata) (Mueller). In Southern New South Wales it is invariably chosen for house blocks, and preferred for posts, &c., on account of its durability in damp ground. It is also used for slabs, rails, and wheelwrights' work.

A sample of this timber, sent from Victoria to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, was tested by Mr. Allen Ransome, who reported: "The sample sleeper sent for trial, though a hard specimen, was readily adzed and bored, and a plank passed through the planing machine gave fair results."

Some Victorian specimens were examined for tensile strength by Mr. F. A. Campbell (Proc. R. S. Victoria, 1879). His results are 14,000 to 21,500, 16,200, and 15,700 lb. per square inch. "The last specimen was at a disadvantage, not being hung perfectly straight. They all broke with a long fracture."




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Later on I wrote:— "The characteristics of Red Gum are its red colour, its strength and durability, resistance to fungus diseases, white ants, teredo, &c. In common with many of its congeners, it is very hard to work up when dry. A drawback to this admittedly valuable timber is some tendency to shell off, which limits its use for such purposes as flooring and decking.

Its durability causes it to be largely used for posts and piles in damp ground. It is largely employed in Victoria for railway sleepers, for which purpose it is undoubtedly valuable, though inferior to ironbark. It is an excellent girder-wood. It is a good timber for wood-paving, though inferior to some others by reason of its tendency to warp and shrink during the process of seasoning."

It is an excellent wood for lasting in water.

Mr. J. Stead Parry says:—

Red gum is recognised as one of the best Australian hardwoods, being heavy, hard, and extremely durable, either above or under ground, or under water. The Government of Victoria use it very extensively in the construction of bridges, Piers, jetties, and weirs; and for railway sleepers and other purposes. It is also used in the deep quartz mines of Victoria, and in building steamers and barges.

Much of it has a handsome grain and takes a good polish; it has about the same specific gravity as English oak. Red gum is one of the best white-ant resistant woods in this district, where these insects are very destructive; and it is largely used for studs and joists and house blocks. Some millions of feet are now being used in Melbourne and suburbs for street paving blocks.

Aboriginal Implements.

— A correspondent, "Bushman," writes as follows to the Traralgon (Victoria) Record of 5th June, 1917. I am obliged to my friend, Mr. W.G. Piper, for the reference.

The evidence that connects our time with that of the aboriginal is rapidly vanishing, and in another generation or two will have entirely disappeared, at least as far as our forest relies are concerned.

The relics in stone will probably endure for all time, and are still fairly plentiful, even in this district, where the native population was never very large. Occasionally a "Mogo" or native axe is found, and spear flakes, scrapers, and skimming knives in red or grey quartzite can easily be found by the "seeing eye" for such things. The absence of "Kitchen middens" may be taken as good evidence that this part of Victoria was never largely used by the aborigines as a dwelling place, but we have ample evidence in the traces remaining that wandering parties used it from time to time in their hunting expeditions, or when the resistless call to the "walk about" came upon these restless people.

The statement that the aboriginal did not use the bark of the Red Gum tree for canoe making is an error. There were probably more canoes made from this particular specimen of the Eucalyptus family than any other, for the simple reason that Eucalyptus rostrata was generally to be found when it was most required for such purposes-near to water-and the aborigines made the best use of the material at hand, thus unwittingly carrying out the first principles of engineering. Down the whole length of the Murray River, from Tintaldra. to the Goolwa, canoe trees, i.e., Red Gum tree, from which bark has been removed to make canoes, are very numerous, also along the lower Goulburn, particularly from Shepparton to Echuca, they are very plentiful.

Even to-day, three or four can often be seen from one position-sometimes two or more have been removed from the same tree, one above the other. After the Red Gum, the Stringybark (E. macrorrhyncha. — J.H.M.) was the most used, particularly about the Tambo, Nicholson, and Upper Mitchell Rivers, and in fact, wherever that particular tree was found near to the larger waterways.

About Old South GippsIand, comprising Tarraville, Port Albert, Welshpool, and Corner Inlet, I believe the Stringybark was exclusively used for the same reason.




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So, taken broadly, throughout Victoria, southern New South Wales, and lower South Australia Red Gum or Stringybark canoes were used, the former predominating. These two classes of canoes differed very much in construction, a difference necessitated by the adaptability of the material used.

The process of making a Stringybark canoe was as follows:- Usually a small-sized tree was selected, when a choice was available, generally something under 2 feet in diameter. The bark, for a length of 10 or 12 feet was entirely removed. The ends were then steamed over a fire, rendering it tough and pliant. Each end was then gathered together and securely tied with rope made from the inner skin of the same tree. All remaining chinks or openings were carefully closed up with clay. One or more spreader sticks were fixed across the middle to keep the sides out, and the canoe was complete. The process with the Red Gum bark was entirely different, as the material was not amenable to the same treatment. The bark could not be steamed, gathered, and tied, as it is without grain, and very brittle. To make a canoe, a tree was always selected having a bend or bulge, and a piece of bark, including this bend or bulge, was carefully removed, and the canoe was complete in one operation, as when the bark was laid on its back, so to speak, the ends projected out of the water. Of course this was a very primitive kind of craft, but all the canoes used along the Murray and other streams as above mentioned, were of this type. On every Red Gum canoe tree, wherever found, the bark was stripped from the " knuckle " or back of the tree, and never from a flat or concave side. This may be taken as a safe guide and the genuine canoe tree distinguished from one that may have had bark removed for some other purpose, or one on which the bark had died through the ravages of some insect, or through being struck by lightning. Many authentic canoe trees are preserved here and there, all presenting the above characteristics . about which there can be no doubt.

There is one standing in the reserve between the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Punt-road, Richmond, bearing an inscription stating that a canoe was made from the tree about the time the first white settler arrived in Port Phillip.

A few years ago, the marks of the "Mogo" or stone axe, could be plainly seen, but time and the elements have done their work, and I don't think the marks are now discernible.

Some genuine canoe trees, all Red Gum, at least half-a-dozen I should say, are to be seen to-day along the Latrobe River, between Sale and the entrance to Lake Wellington. These can be seen from the steamer passing down the river, on the northerly bank-anyone interested in the subject can see for themselves what a genuine canoe tree looks like.

According to Brough Smyth (Aboriginals of Victoria, i, 299), this is one of the woods used by the aboriginals for making their clubs or waddies (kud-jer-oongs or Gudgerons).

Historic Red Gums.

— See the photographic, view showing the spot where Hume's party sighted the Murray River, and the gum tree that Captain Hovell cut his name on, 17th November, 1824. Also the monument erected to the memory of the party.

A second historic tree is in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, and is known as "Separation Tree" because under its shade and near about, some of the people gathered to celebrate "Separation Day, " or the legal separation of Victoria from New South Wales, on 15th November, 1850. There is an article on this tree by Mr. A. C. Neate in the "Home and Garden Beautiful," (Melbourne), for 1st May, 1915, p. 1043.

Habitat.

— It is found in all the mainland States. As regards New South Wales it occurs on the river banks of the interior, but is particularly abundant and readily available in the valleys of the rivers Murray (which forms the greater part of the boundary between New South Wales and Victoria) and Edwards., one of its tributaries. As regards the Murray, nearly the whole of the Red Gum is on the New South Wales side.




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In the dry areas it is found in depressions or on creek-banks, in any place where water lodges or sometimes flows. In the interior of the various States the occasions on which the Red Gum is in the vicinity of water may be few and far between.

The Murray River Flats are subject to floods, rendering the Red Gum forests unsuitable for agricultural purposes.

Murray Forests.

— Mr. J. Stead Parry, Inspector and District Forester, Deniliquin, at my instigation kindly furnished the following particulars about these Red Gum Forests:—

The most important Red Gum forests on thr Murray and Edwards Rivers, both in regard to quality and quantity of timber, and in area are the following:—

               
Millewa State Forest ... ...  ... ... 51,350 acres. 
Moira State Forest ... ...   ... ... 30,463 " 
Gulpa Island State Forest ... ...   ... ... 13,376 " 
Bama State Forest ... ...   ... ... 5,530 " 
Perricoota State Forest ... ...   ... ... 39,000 " 
Koondrook State Forest ... ...   ... ... 39,700 " 
Werai and Colimo State Forest ... ...   ... ... 23,750 " 
Total Forest Area ... ...   ... ... 213,969 acres. 

The above forests are in all stages of growth from seedlings and saplings to matured trees.

In addition to these we have a number of small reserves, some of which are carrying very useful timber; others again, are important, not so much for their timber stand and value as for their situation.

The predominating timber on the Murray and Edwards' Reserves is the Murray Red Gum (Eucalyptus rostrata), which grows on the low-lying country that is subject to inundation from the overflow of the rivers. The best, most vigorous in growth and the cleanest timber is usually found on land that is annually flooded for a period of from four to six months; providing the subsoil and drainage is good. The soil is chiefly a grey loam over a good stiff clay subsoil.

Situation in relation to transport and market.

The river is navigable for from six to seven months in normal years; and log timber is mostly out in the months from December to May inclusive; and hauled to landings or depôts on the river bank., when the river is navigable it is removed by steamers and barges to the sawmills; the principal mills being on the banks of the Murray. Piles, girders and railway sleepers are also removed in this way to the nearest wharf for loading onto railway trucks. When logs are being brought downstream they are loaded on what are termed "outrigger barges," the logs being secured at both ends to transverse outriggers. When the barges are loaded they are allowed to drift down stream; and are later picked up by the steamers and towed to the mills. Logs that are brought up stream are loaded into inside barges and towed up by paddle steamer. Loading stations for transit by rail are at Echuca and Koondrook, Victoria, and Moama and Mathoura, New South Wales.

Timber Stand.

The present average timber stand per acre is:—

(a) Timber suitable for sawmilling purposes — 2,285 superficial feet per acre.

(b) Suitable for sleeper hewing and fencing material — 2,454 superficial feet per acre.

(c) Maturing in ten years — 3,386 superficial feet per acre.

(d) Piles — The number of piles cannot be definitely stated, except by plot or strip survey by a competent man experienced in this class of timber; but it is estimated that on Perricoota and Koondrook Reserve alone, there are now 18,000 piles of 40 to 80 feet in length.




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Reafforestation.

Regeneration has taken place over practically all the flooded country; seedlings appear quickly after the débris on the forest floor has been burnt off; wherever much cutting of mature timber has taken place, and where the forests have been swept by fire.

Rate of Growth.

The rate of growth varies considerably and is dependent on character of soil, situation as regards drainage and frequency of flooding. In some instances, trees attain milling size under thirty years, but it is only under exceptional circumstances. Trees have recently been felled near Mathoura from land which I am creditably informed was cleared twenty-four years ago. Some of the trees had a centre girth circumference of 7 feet, and over 30 feet length of bole. On Millewa State Forest, on land near the bank of the river rarely flooded, which was cleared and cropped after 1870 for some years, there is now a forest of young trees 2 feet to 5 feet in girth at 5 feet from the ground. I am of opinion that these trees get good root water. Under other circumstances not so favourable to a rapd growth, I am of opinion that it takes from sixty to eighty years for trees to reach the felling girth-namely 8 feet 6 inches measured at 5 feet above the ground.

[Acquires a girth of 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet in thirty years — Evidence of Mr. James Shackell, M.L.A., before Victorian Commission on Vegetable Products].

Rainfall and Climate.

Annual rainfall, sixteen inches. Mild winter climate, with occasional heavy frosts. High temperature in summer; a dry heat ranging from 90 to 110 degrees.

Damage caused by Fire.

Extensive damage has been caused to these forests in previous, years by severe forest fires, and it is only by taking effective measures to prevent the spread of fire and to minimise fire risks that we can avoid similar losses in future.

Protective measures against Forest Fires.

Measures have been taken to establish effective firebreaks on these State Forests during the past two years; and four small gangs of men are now engaged in the preparation of breaks in different parts of the reserves where the greatest danger is believed to exist; and while they are carrying out the work of clearing breaks, their services are always available at short notice for any outbreak of fire; they are provided with fire-fighting tools for the purpose; they have also got their horses and vehicles or bicycle so that little time is lost in reaching a fire a few miles distant.

Permanent Residential Overseers are to be stationed on each of our main reserves; these men Will keep firebreaks in order, and be constantly on the watch for fires during the summer months.

The breaks now being made are 4 chains in width. In their preparation, advantage is taken of existing roads and creeks, and where possible the latter are cleared of all débris. As far as can reasonably be done traffic is being diverted to the firebreaks that are being cleared through the forest. A width of from 12 to 15 feet is being cleared on either side of the 4 chains, in order to enable us to use a road-scraper for the purpose of scraping off the grass, and it is proposed to burn off the grass and débris within the 4 chains early in the summer of each year. When these main firebreaks are completed, it will be necessary to make intersecting breaks; the first, to protect the best areas of young timber; and others to be made after these until we have a complete scheme of fire protection. Once the breaks are made the cost of maintaining them will be light, but the whole scheme, in my opinion, hinges on the appointment of active and intelligent Overseers.

Silvicultural Improvements.

Forest improvement work has been carried out on these reserves during the past two and a half years, at a cost of lls. l 1/2 d. per acre; the total area improved during that period being 5,987 acres.

It is very desirable, in order to promote a more even and more vigorous growth of seedlings and spar timber, that judicious thinning should be carried out on the more densely timbered areas, and that inflammable debris should be burnt off, in order to protect these valuable areas from total destruction in the event of forest fires. We propose to enter upon this work as soon as our firebreak scheme is completed.




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Specifications for this work are as follows:— Ringbarking useless and over-matured trees that cannot be disposed of in any other way; thinning out useless and crooked saplings and seedlings to such distances, as in the opinion of the District Forester, is considered advisable; and burning off of thinnings and inflammable débris.

Management.

The object of management is to provide for a continuous supply of matured red gum timber for all time.

The demand for this timber must increase; while existing sources of supply in Victoria are becoming exhausted.

In addition to the requirements of Public Works in the State of Victoria, this district will be drawn upon to supply a vast area of timberless country in the South-west of this State for building, fencing, railways, and probably timber for culverts, weirs and water channels. There is also likely to be an increased demand for piles and beams. This is the most profitable timber to produce, but the demand so far is limited. Under a proper system of management we can always supply the demand; chiefly by removing the piles from the thickest growth, and still have a good stand of milling timber. The removal of a few piles is often of considerable benefit to the remaining timber where the object is to provide matured timber of first-class quality.

In the past, sawmillers have left many trees because of some defect or fault which reduced their percentage of first- class timber, and under the existing circumstances they could not be profitably handled. A large percentage of these trees are now over-matured, and in order to make room for a new .crop they should now be removed. The Department proposes to encourage sawmillers to remove them, either by a special royalty or by making a liberal allowance for faults. When this is done remaining overmatured trees containing timber of any commercial value will be worked up by direct conversion; useless trees ringbarked; and the areas closed for a definite period, except for specially marked pile and pole timber and for dead wood.

Hereunder is appended particulars of the revenue collected from the Murray Forests for the past seven years. —

                 
£ s. d. 
1910 ... ...   ... ... 13,425 8 6 
1911 ... ...   ... ... 15,916 13 11 
1912 ... ...   ... ... 10,400 19 2 
1913 ... ...   ... ... 14,478 15 5 
1914 ... ...   ... ... 14,031 2 7 
1915 ... ...   ... ... 9,369 17 3 
1916 ... ...   ... ... 7,007 2 1 
Total Revenue ...   ... £84,629 18 11 

Red Gum Forests of Victoria. — The late Mr. (Dr.) A. W. Howitt, who was deputed to inspect these forests in 1895, favoured me with a copy of the following hitherto unprinted valuable report:—

Ringbarking has also been generally done on purchased and selected land. Much timber has been cut for various purposes so that at the present time the available Red Gum timber is restricted in area and in amount. The only State Forest Timber Reserve with Red Gum is, so far as I know, a small area near Bairnsdale.

To the north of the Dividing Range the principal Red Gum areas are in the River Murray at Barmah and Yieliana, above and at Gunbower below Echuca.

In the former there are 61,500 acres and in the latter 70,000 acres.




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Smaller areas exist higher up and lower down the Murray, and also on the Goulburn River. These in my opinion ought without delay to be permanently reserved as State Forests. When the Forest Branch was attached to the Mining Department I endeavoured, but ineffectually, to get this done.

Below Swan Hill there were at one time extensive forests of Red Gum along the river, and especially in the large bends liable to floods. These forests were, however, ringbarked and killed by pastoral occupants, contrary to the strenuous protests of the Conservator of Forests.

When I descended the Murray nearly three years ago from Swan Hill to Mildura I observed, with great regret, not only this destruction of most valuable timber along the Victorian banks of the river, but also the occupants in places were then engaged in destroying the young trees which would in time replace the former forest.

It will be seen from my correspondence with the Department of Lands that I endeavoured not only to have the Red Gum areas converted into State Forests, in order that the timber might be protected, but also that the destruction of young trees by grazing occupiers should be put a stop to. My efforts in this direction were also unavailing.

In contrast to the lamentable destruction of valuable forests on the Victorian bank, I observed that on the New South Wales bank of the Murray the forests from above Echuca at least, all the way down had been carefully preserved.

The results of our wasteful system, and of the wise system of the New South Wales Government, as regards the Red Gum forests, will be shown by the following facts. At the time, 1892–93, under the regulations under the Land Act, 1890, the Murray River Saw Mill Company at Echuca had obtained 1,600 logs of Red Gum from a special area of 1,000 acres in the Yieliana Forest for the sum of £31, while the same number of logs on the New South Wales side of the river would have brought in a royalty of £700. The Company had, during the year, paid to the New South Wales Government, the sum of £1,565 8s. for royalty, and £47 for license fees, in respect of Red Gum timber.

These facts go to show the manner in which our Red Gum forests have been out out at a nominal charge, and also the large revenue which ought to have been obtained from them if managed in an intelligent manner in the interests of the whole community.

At the present time the Red Gum forests are barely, if at all, able to supply our own wants, much less to yield any surplus for export.

The only other Red Gum area in the control of the Government is in the Victoria Valley. It is not of any great area, nor are the trees numerous, compared with acreage, but what there were were of excellent quality. The Tucker Village Settlement at Vonwondah was permitted to operate on this forest on a royalty charge. I understand now that the best of the timber has been cut out and sold, but that no royalty has been paid for it.

In the remainder of the Western District the best Red Gum which I have seen is on private lands in the Upper Glenelg and Wandoo Rivers.

It will be seen from the preceding statements that for the present the Red Gum forests, at any rate under State control, are practically cut out, and that any other source of supply must be looked for on private lands, and scattered timber on Crown lands. Most of the former has, however, been ringbarked, and is therefore to some extent deteriorated, as well as hard to work.

In my opinion the proper course to take in regard to Red Gum areas will be (1) TO make State Forests of all remaining patches of Red Gum forests, which are still Crown lands, especially in the Murray and Goulburn Rivers, and in Gippsland. (2) To complete the trimming out of the young forests in the 30,000 acres of young forest in the Barmah, Yieliana and Gunbower Forests, which were not thinned in 1892. (3) To carefully protect all Red Gum areas. (4) To make the royalty system of payment apply to all Red Gum, and also at the same time, if possible, to all timber in State Forests of whatever kind. The scale of royalty should be adjusted to the value of the timber for commercial purposes, and to the locality whence obtained, and the difficulties of transport.




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EXPLANATION OF PLATE 233.

Plate 233: Murray Red Gum. (Eucalyptus rostrata, Schlecht.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.



  • A. Juvenile leaf, from Bowning, N.S.W.
  • B. Buds.
  • C. Fruiting twig from Bongbilla, Moulamein, N.S.W.

PHOTOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATIONS.

River Gums. A swamp near Forbes, Lachlan River, N.S.W.



Historic Red Gum, showing the spot where Hume's party sighted the Murray River, and the Gum Tree that Captain Hovell. out his name on, 17th November, 1824. Also the monument erected to the memory of the party. (W.A. Nicholas, photo., presented by Mr. Fellowes).



King Tree. "Red Gum" (E. rostrata.) Wirrabara Forest, South Australia. 120 feet high; 35 ft. round at base; 25 ft. round at breast high. (W. Gill, photo.)



River Gums (E. rostrata). Moonie River, Collarenebri District, North-west N.S.W. (S. W. Jackson, photo).



River Gum on Moonie River, Collarenebri District, N.S.W.," showing carbuncles. " (S. W. Jackson, photo).



Log of E. rostrata. Moira Lake, Murray River, N.S.W.



Mulwala Red Gum Forest, Murray River, N.S.W.



Felling Red Gum Timber. Mulwala Forest, N.S.W., 1888.



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