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Creswick Historical Exhibition opens to reveal The School on the Hill

A new exhibition will showcase the history of the Victorian School of Forestry at Creswick, bringing to life students’ experiences and achievements and reflecting the history of forestry in the region.

The exhibition The School on the Hill will showcase material from the Creswick Historical Collection and will celebrate prominent teaching staff and explore changes in the School’s structure and curriculum over the years. It will also reflect broader social events throughout the last century and their impact on the school.

The Creswick Historical Collection grew out of the ‘working museum’ that was established in 1912, to cater to the study and research needs of the students and staff of the School of Forestry, and ran until its closure in the 1980s. It is the only collection focusing on forestry education in Australia.

Gerard Fahey says the exhibition traces the memories and includes keepsakes of the hard work and camaraderie of students as they fostered their knowledge and careers in forestry.

“It’s well known that fortunes were made and lost during the Gold Rush leading to early social welfare reforms, but less is known about the enduring mark this feverish time left on Victoria’s forests,” Mr Fahey says.

“Devastated beyond belief, the forests were subsequently protected by forest legislation and it was during this seminal moment in 1910 that Australia’s first school of forest education was established.

“EJ Semmens, one of our notable principals, had an ardent belief in the place of the museum in the School’s curriculum. He is one among several pioneers who gifted us with a tangible link to the past to help inform future practices.”

The School on the Hill is the only forestry education collection in Australia and one of few repositories committed to the nation’s history of forestry.

“Putting this collection on exhibit will give the community access to explore the world-class forest science education we have at Creswick,” Mr Fahey says.

Located on Dja Dja Wurrung land, the Creswick campus has a significant collection of trees planted and nurtured as an arboretum over its 100-year history. The campus is a hub for research with real-world impact.

The exhibition will open on 26 October and run until December during normal library opening hours.

The exhibition will also be available online.


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