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Hall, Michael John (Mike) (1929–2012)

Michael Hall, n.d.

Michael Hall, n.d.

N. W. Jolly Medal, 1990 Award: Michael John Hall

The lnstitute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) awarded the N. W. Jolly Medal, its highest award of merit, to Michael Hall for his outstanding contribution to forestry at both the State and national levels.

Michael’s interest in forestry showed at an early age, when he was awarded a prize for “Tree Knowledge” while attending the Geelong Church of England Grammar School.

Having obtained a scholarship from Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd., Michael commenced forestry training in 1947 at the Victorian School of Forestry, Creswick. After graduation he became a Plantation Supervisor in Bathurst, NSW, which was followed by work in forest assessment and mapping in Victoria. Michael then went on to the University of Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree with Honours in 1954, and a Masters of Science in Forestry degree with Honours in 1956. His Masters Thesis is titled “Site Quality Studies in Eucalyptus obliqua”.

As a research forester with APM Forests Pty. Ltd., Michael worked on the silviculture of both softwood and hardwood plantations. During the 1960s and early 1970s, which was a period of rapid expansion of the plantation resource, Michael published research findings on fertiliser requirements, effect of silvicultural treatment on wood properties, and stand modelling.

Following a term in the mid 1970’s as General Manager of APM Forests, during which the company reached its maximum activity in terms of forest resource development, Michael returned to forestry research to head up APM Forest’s Research and Development Section. There he fostered the development of work in which he had been involved in earlier years, and it was during this period (1976-1984) that his Section produced a fully computerised data management information system for the company’s resources and conducted comprehensive soil surveys which are used for growth predictions and silvicultural treatments — both firsts in Australia. In addition, the Section continued to develop intensive silvicultural techniques.

From this background in industrial forestry, during which he undertook extensive overseas travel for both work and study, Michael progressed to private consulting in forestry.

He has since been, and continues to be, involved in advising and working on forest management issues including fire loss assessment, plantation planning using computer models and farm forestry.

Michael has been much sought after to serve on various committees, which include the Sirex Co-ordination Committee of the Australian Forestry Council, the Advisory Committee to the CSIRO Division of Forest Research, the National Plantations Advisory Committee as well as several Victorian Government ministerial committees. He was the sole “forestry representative” on the Consultative Committee which formulated the “draft” National Conservation Strategy developed in 1982–1983.

Michael is probably best known to most foresters as a driving force behind the Private Forest Owners Association, and later, the Australian Forest Development Institute (AFDI), now Australian Forest Growers (AFG). It was from the honorary positions of Vice President (1975–1981), and then National President (1982–1990) of the AFDI that Michael vigorously lobbied governments, particularly on the issue of taxation legislation as it applies to private forestry. Michael continues this involvement in private forestry development in his capacity as AFG National Policy Director, and he is also Vice President of the Australian Branch of the International Tree Crops Institute.

Michael has published extensively the findings of his research and in more recent years he has been the author of many papers given at conferences and articles in journals on forest management issues.

Michael has been a member of the IFA most of his career, and became a Fellow of the Institute in 1983.

It is a tribute to Michael that he also finds enough energy and interest to have what is perhaps the ultimate forester’s “hobby” — tree farming on his own property at Boolarra in Victoria. There he practices what he preaches by growing 21 hectares of Pinus radiata as well as some mixed Eucalyptus nitens and Acacia melanoxylon.

Original Publication

  • Australian Forestry, vol 54, no 3, 1991, pp 191-92

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Citation details

'Hall, Michael John (Mike) (1929–2012)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/hall-michael-john-mike-19568/text30912, accessed 14 August 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012