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Penny, Ross (1950–2011)

by Shane Dwyer

Ross Penny, n.d.

Ross Penny, n.d.

Ross Penny, a long serving Victorian forester, passed away on 22 March having had cancer for two years.

Ross joined the forestry profession in 1968 as a student at the Victorian School of Forestry. He began work with the Forests Commission in 1971 and stayed in the public service until he retired from the Department of Sustainability and Environment in 2005. From 2002 to 2005 he was Victorian division chair of the Institute of Foresters of Australia.

He worked in several field locations and in 1983 after the Ash Wednesday fires he transferred to Melbourne as the first fire protection planning officer, occupying this position during a period of great change and development.

In 1993 Ross was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to fire service in Victoria, and the National Medal in recognition of 25 years of service.

From 1994 to 2004 Ross led the Statewide Forest Resource Inventory project that used innovative techniques to create a standardised information system thus bringing Victoria to the forefront of forest management information in Australia. His influence on sustainable forest management extended internationally through the Montreal forest indicators program. Ross represented Australia at meetings in China, Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, Finland and Switzerland.

Ross was Chair of the Victorian Division and a member of the IFA Board of Directors from 2000–2005.

Ross is remembered for his sense of vision, dynamic character, strong negotiating skills and particularly his wry chuckle and sense of humour, which often broke the ice in difficult situations. His workmates remember him as a great people manager and highly respected mentor.

After retirement Ross cherished his family ties and travelled widely with wife Bev. He pursued landscape and portrait photography and was president of the Melbourne Camera Club in 2007 and 2008. He is commemorated in the Ross Penny Memorial slide trophy.

Ross inspired many with the dignified manner with which he managed his terminal illness. His wife Bev, children Simon and Natasha, from a previous marriage, and grandchildren Jack and Jade, survive him.

Original publication

  • Forester, vol 54, no 2, June 2011, p 13

Citation details

Shane Dwyer, 'Penny, Ross (1950–2011)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/penny-ross-18458/text30106, accessed 23 November 2017.

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