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Edward Lindsay (Len) Hudson (1901–1970)

Mr L. S. [Edward Lindsay] Hudson retired on 1st March at the age of 65, after almost 47 years service with the Forestry Commission of New South Wales. He is recognised as being a principal planner behind the extensive development, protection and roading of the State’s Forests over the last 30 years.

During his service, forestry has grown from what was considered a relatively unimportant Government undertaking to a highly skilled profession. The establishment of 110,000 acres of State pine forests, 17,000 miles of forest roads, a network of fire detection towers and the development of the world’s most modern fire-fighting equipment took place during Mr Hudson’s working life.

He also saw the transition from bullock teams for log extraction to highly mechanised techniques, and indiscriminate burning of valuable forest to provide grazing lands to a public awareness of the need for protecting our forests from fire.

In recent years, Mr Hudson was the main advocate for forestry planning on a national scale. His aim was realised in 1964 with the formation of the Australian Forestry Council.

As Commissioner for Forests, Mr Hudson is also a Member of the Conservation Authority of N.S.W., Chairman of the Hume/Snowy Fire Prevention Scheme, Member of the Standing Committee, Australian Forestry Council, and Member of the Advisory Committee on Higher Education, Australian National University.

Mr Hudson joined the Forestry Commission as a field hand in July, 1919, and worked with a forest survey party at Newnes State Forest. His wage was £ 2 pounds per week.

In 1920 he was selected to attend a two-year course at the Commission’s newly-formed Forestry School at Narara.

Several months of silvicultural work on Coopernook state forest followed. Mr Hudson was then transferred to Urunga, the district head-quarters for what now are the Kempsey and Coff’s Harbour Forestry Districts. He was appointed Temporary Relieving Forest Guard in 1922, and spent the following two years on relieving duties on the North Coast, often travelling long distances by horse and buggy. In 1924 he was appointed Temporary Forest Guard in charge of the Kyogle Sub-District — a rough and forbidding area in those days.

Mr Hudson was one of the first Australian foresters to receive professional forestry training within this country. In 1926 he was nominated to attend the Australian Forestry School in its first year at University of Adelaide. Attendance was initially on the basis of leave without pay, but later an allowance of £150 per year was provided. The School was transferred to Canberra in 1927, where Mr Hudson gained his Diploma of Forestry.

On returning to work with the Commission, Mr Hudson was posted to Taree with the grading of Forester. During the next seven years he was responsible for laying foundations of the extensive roading, silvicultural treatment and forest protection systems now found on the more valuable forests of the Taree District.

Through the depression years of the early 1930’s, he organised relief forestry work for hundreds of unemployed men throughout the State. His work formed the basis of the extensive roading systems established during that period.

Mr Hudson was transferred to Head Office, Sydney, as Working Plans Officer in July, 1935. In the same year he attended the Fourth Empire Forestry Conference in South Africa as the Commission’s representative.

In 1938 he was appointed Forest Management Officer and in 1942 his services were loaned to the Commonwealth Ministry of Munitions as Deputy Timber Controller for New South Wales and he was later appointed Timber Controller for the Commonwealth. He resumed duties with the Forestry Commission in 1946, and was appointed Commissioner for Forests in April, 1948.

Mr Hudson has travelled extensively overseas, including attendance at Commonwealth Forestry Conferences in Canada in 1952, and East Africa in 1962.

Original Publication

Citation details

'Hudson, Edward Lindsay (Len) (1901–1970)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 June 2024.

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