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Logging Victoria's Forests


Gerard is thirty-two years old. He lives in a cottage in a small timber town in Gippsland. Though he was born in the city, he dreamed of making a life for himself in the bush and he made this dream come true. Almost as soon as he left school, Gerard moved to the country and made his home there, doing whatever jobs came to hand to survive. All of these involved tramping the bush tracks and learning the 'lore' and the law of the bush.

He loved the magnificent stands of eucalyptus with their understoreys of acacia and fern and the rich variety of animal and bird life that made their homes in them. But he also listened to the stories of the old-timers. He saw the sadness on their faces as they spoke of the old days and he shared the difficulties suffered by the townspeople as the forests were progressively closed. First the mills shut down, then the shops, the post office, the school, the banks and the bush hospital. Churches consolidated in larger towns, the police left, the pub closed.

When Gerard visited old school friends in Melbourne they were right behind the conservation movement and spoke derisively about the 'rednecks' who wanted to plunder the forests. Back in the bush the townspeople, deprived of their livelihoods, despised the 'greenies' who were condemning to death the only life they knew.

What ought he say to his friends in the city, and to his friends in the bush?

The following scenario allows you to explore the viewpoints of a range of different people.

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