Project Description

Dick Perry (1902-2002) recorded this reading 30/9/1984 in his 83rd year. Dick emigrated to Australia in 1912. He schooled in Dongara until he was 14 then became an apprentice with the WA Forests Department – Jack Thompson and Dick were the first two apprentices appointed to the Hamel nursery where he worked from 1917-18 before moving to Ludlow.

Overall, Dick worked for the Department from 17/3/1917 to 27/7/1967. Dick mentions the first two Conservators of Forests in WA, Mr Lane Poole and Mr Stephen Kessell. Mr Lane Poole was the architect of the 1918 Forestry Act. He supervised and carried out the mapping of WA forests. Dick worked in that area. Dick explains what information was recorded in that mapping exercise. When Dick was an apprentice Mr Poole told him that three things a forester should always have in his pocket were a folding knife, a length of string and a box of matches. Mr Poole laid the foundations and pointed the way the Department would go in the years ahead. Mr Kessell joined the Department as Working Plans Officer shortly before Mr Poole retired. He took over the training of field staff and apprentices. Mr Kessell was the second of the professional foresters.

Dick talks of Charles Ahern, an ex serviceman with great knowledge of hardwood trees and logs. In 1922, while working at Ludlow, Dick was transferred by Mr Kessell to Business College in Perth to train as a shorthand typist. He then worked as secretary to Mr Kessell. This gave him a great insight into the working of the Department. Mr Kessell was a very fair man and spent a lot of time working out in the field collecting information.

Dick relates some of the stories that Mr Kessell told him – one about a prank at Oxford University another concerning buying the men a beer at Sawyers Valley pub and a story about Barney Traynor.

During the Depression years he told senior officers to ride free issue bicycles and not to use vehicles. He also tells a descriptive story about Dr Stoate and a day spent in the Gnangara Forest.