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Gilbert, John Maxwell (Max) (1913–2007)

Max graduated from the Australian Forestry School in 1933 and then joined the staff on the Tasmanian Forestry Department. After holding positions of Divisional Forester and of Fire Protection Officer, he was appointed Silviculturist in 1949, and held this position until his retirement in 1974.

Max directed research in pine establishment in the fifties and in 1952, when Sirex wasp was discovered in Tasmania, he was responsible for designing the basic program of research into factors influencing the role of Sirex in pine plantations.

In 1955 Max won the first Australian Newsprint Mills Forestry Fellowship and in 1959 was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Tasmania, his thesis being titled Eucalypt–Rainforest Relationships and the Regeneration of the Eucalypts. Apart from the immediate silvicultural value of this work, Max made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the role of fire in the development of Australian vegetation.

Max has always been an active member of the Institute which he joined in 1936 and was its Treasurer from 1954 to 1957. From 1962 to 1965 he was Chairman of the Tasmanian Division. In 1973 Max was awarded the Institute’s N W Jolly Medal and in 1974 Appita awarded him its LR Benjamin Medal for “… achievements which contributed in an outstanding way to technical progress in the pulp and paper industry”. Since retiring, Max has maintained a strong interest and activity in forestry and in the Institute. Max and his wife, Tai, are regular attenders at State and National meetings of the IFA.

Original Publication

  • IFA Newsletter, vol 31, no 1, March 1990, p 28

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Citation details

'Gilbert, John Maxwell (Max) (1913–2007)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 August 2020.

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