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Hopkins, Eric (1930–2013)

by John Clarke

West Australian foresters were saddened at the passing of Dr Eric Hopkins earlier this year.

A noted scientist, and the first officer in the history of the WA Forests Department to have taken study leave and to be awarded a PhD, Eric led the Department’s research programme for many years. He was active in tree breeding work with radiata and pinaster, nutritional and silvicultural work, and many other research projects across the forestry board. Later in his career he became Chief of Inventory and Planning, but his love for research was such that when he retired in 1989 he worked in a voluntary capacity, going back over decades of unpublished research into maritime pine silviculture, nutrition and genetics, pulling it all together and publishing the results.

Eric was well known for having his own views on most issues and was a man who did not hold back. This doggedness no doubt helped him overcome a very tough time in his early years. During his honours year at university in Canberra, Eric contracted tuberculosis. This was an enormous blow for a young man in his twenties, but new antibiotic treatments were just becoming available and Eric became part of the testing programme. After two years of recovery he was able to launch into his career with gusto.

As well as being a dedicated officer of the WA Forests Department, Eric was active in the IFA, including holding the position of chair of the WA Division for some years, as well as ANZAAS and the WA Royal Society. He was the author of the first environmental impact study ever produced in Australia—on the proposed WA woodchip project.

Eric died peacefully in Perth after a short illness. He is survived by his wife Jill, sons Mark and Paul and their families.

Original publication

  • Forester, vol 56, no 2, June 2013, p 29

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

John Clarke, 'Hopkins, Eric (1930–2013)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 9 August 2020.

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