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Edgerley, Mark (1923–1988)

by John Fryer

With sadness and regret we record the passing of Mark Edgerley in Canberra earlier this year.

Mark was born in Riverton, South Australia. He was educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, and immediately after matriculation he joined the RAAF to fly Lancaster bombers in England. There he met his wife-to-be, Joyce. In 1944 his plane was shot down over France and he sustained back injuries from which he was to suffer for the rest of his life.

After the war he gained a B.Sc. degree in Adelaide and Diploma of Forestry in Canberra, and spent eleven years with the Department of Woods and Forests in South Australia working in plantation management and sawmilling. In 1961 he moved to Port Macquarie, New South Wales, where he managed the Herons Creek mill, and then to Canberra in 1965 to the position of Director, ACT Forests, from which he retired in 1982.

Mark’s career in forestry, both in public service and industry, was notable for the professionalism and enthusiasm that he brought to the many tasks he tackled. In particular, it was his insight into the future role of professional forest management which moved ACT Forests into an era of strong sustainable supply to a viable local industry, in which he also played a key part in setting up. In doing this he was able to balance the growing demand for realisation of other values from the local forest estate and to open up the forests to the public and to manage them for the widest community benefit.

Mark joined the Institute in 1950 and was soon one of its more active members, particularly in the period 1975–79 in Canberra when he served as President. Under his leadership the Institute management systems were upgraded and policy formulation was developed on a wide range of topics, a task that continues to this day. Mark’s firm guidance and strong advocacy on behalf of the profession was vital to the success at a critical stage of the evolution of the Institute as a professional body. His skills were equally well applied in his involvement in the Standing Committee on Forestry, the Commonwealth Forestry Association and local industry groups. In retirement Mark continued to actively serve the Institute in a number of ways, most recently as a part-time executive officer, supporting Council ably until illness forced him to curtail these activities.

The infectious dedication that Mark gave to forestry was matched by his generous and whole-hearted approach to life in general. He was an outstanding sailor and shared his sport with his family and many friends. Above all, he led a strong family life with Joyce and the four children, David, Robert, Ginny and Katey, whose lives he enriched with his example and courage.

Mark's many friends and colleagues will join with his family in expressing their sense of loss.

Original publication

  • Australian Forestry, vol 51, no 1, 1988, p 73

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

John Fryer, 'Edgerley, Mark (1923–1988)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/edgerley-mark-18289/text29898, accessed 21 September 2017.

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