Memorial for Victorian timber workers

By: Tamara Whitsed

Locals in Gippsland Victoria want to honour timber workers who have died at work.


Names are being sought for inclusion on a Victorian Timber Workers’ Memorial proposed for Heyfield, Victoria.

The Heyfield community near Sale in Gippsland Victoria wants to build a memorial to honour Victorian timber workers who have died at work.

An enthusiastic committee led by John Mahoney aims to create a memorial walk at Heyfield’s Lions Club Park Reserve.

The walk would pass through a bush-inspired garden where friends and family can reflect on their loved one.

Pillars along the walk will feature plaques with the names of people who worked in the Victorian timber industry and died while working in the bush, coupes, mills or in log trucks

Victorian Timber Workers’ Memorial Committee member Karen Coleman says anyone wishing to add the name of a friend or family member to the wall should email, write to PO Box 274, 3858, Heyfield, Victoria or join the Victorian Timber Workers Memorial Facebook group.

Coleman's first husband Peter Ralph was a logging contractor. He died while working at Tanjil Bren, Mt Erica, in 2005.

Peter’s name is on the National Timber Workers’ Memorial wall at Eden, but Coleman says it is difficult for many Victorians to travel to the New South Wales south coast.

"Some of my family members haven’t seen Peter’s memorial in Eden. We thought we’d like to do something here," she says.

"Heyfield has always been a town that, if we decide to do something, we get it done. The locals have just been wonderful, always helping with everything. There hasn’t been one negative thing."

Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) has donated $10,000 to the proposed memorial.

Another $10,000 has been donated by the Neville Smith family, which has a long association with Heyfield and the timber industry.

Coleman believes the committee will be successful in obtaining a grant from Wellington Shire Council. Funds are also being sought from the Victorian Government.

Read more about the project in the June issue of Owner//Driver magazine. Click here to secure your copy now.

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