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Australian Forestry School

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The Australian Forestry School was founded in 1925 by the Commonwealth government. The school commenced operation in 1926 in Adelaide with Norman Jolly as Principal before moving to the specially built premises in Yarralumla, ACT in 1927. The school was built at this location to take full advantage of the adjacent Westbourne Woods arboretum for teaching purposes. Charles Lane-Poole acted as Principal until the appointment of Dr Max Jacobs in 1944.

The school offered two-year diploma courses for students who had begun Bachelor of Science degrees at the state universities. Fieldwork and excursions were a large part of the school curriculum, with students travelling to all parts of the country to study various forests. A major part of the Australian Forestry School was the social life, the students having several sporting teams competing in competitions around Canberra.

There was a significant difference in enrolment before and after World War II. In 1936 the school took on no new students, with staff becoming part-time to teach continuing students only. Dr Max Jacobs, principal from 1945 to 1959, had the responsibility of steering the school in a period of high enrolments, peaking in 1950 with 41 students. In 1952 the inadequacy of the makeshift student accommodation was obvious and the residential college of Forestry House was completed.

The school made a substantial contribution to forestry within Australia and to the extended region with students from New Zealand and South East Asia. It operated until 1965 when the Australian National University assumed the responsibility of the school’s function under the new Department of Forestry in the School of General Studies.


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