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van Loon, Adrian (1930–1999)

by Dick Curtin

Adrian van Loon’s initial training in Holland prepared him for employment in the rubber plantations of the Indies. Opportunity evaporated with independence, so he commenced work in 1950 with the Forest Research Institute of Sweden. In 1952 Adrian came to Australia and was employed by the Forestry Commission, first in the Pennant Hills Nursery in Sydney and in 1955 he became Nursery Foreman in Dubbo and later Marketing Foreman in West Wyalong. In 1959 he was transferred to the Taree Forestry District as Temporary Forester undertaking roading surveys.

The Commission set up the Central Coast Silvicultural Research Centre in Taree in 1960 and Adrian was the second forester appointed to the Centre. At that time the Commission was expanding its harvesting operations into the wet sclerophyll eucalypt forests of the coastal escarpments of the north coast and the more traditional regeneration techniques used in the lower, drier, coastal forests were not very successful. Consequently Adrian’s initial major research project was to examine various experimental approaches to regenerating these forests.

In 1965 he set up a program of research into fire effects at the Taree Research Centre. It is a tribute to Adrian’s ability, enthusiasm, and thoroughness that these experiments were still producing valuable data and continued to be analysed by his successors up to the recent past. He authored Research Notes on the effects of burning on even-aged Blackbutt, Slash Pine, and the mixed forest of the Blue Mountains National Park.

Adrian became the OIC of the Eden Research Centre in 1972 but returned to Taree in 1974, and later became OIC of the Research Centre. He continued with his personal studies and successfully completed the internal examinations for the classification of Professional Forester’ In 1977 he was appointed to the position of District Forester, Dubbo and then Project Forester, thus returning to the environments of Cypress Pine and nursery management.

Adrian retired from the Forestry Commission in 1985 after 25 years of sterling and gifted service. He established his own Herbside Plant Nursery at Dubbo and continued to propagate and market a variety of plants. Adrian and Jenny moved to South Australia in late 1998.

Adrian Van Loon was an Associate Member of the IFA. He was highly regarded by his fellow researchers in the fire effects field. Most particularly Adrian had a great empathy with his fellow workers. He was very gregarious and always enjoyed a good time. He contributed substantially to forestry research in NSW and this contribution continues today and into the future. We will miss him.

Original publication

  • IFA Newsletter, vol 40, no 4, p 17

Citation details

Dick Curtin, 'van Loon, Adrian (1930–1999)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/van-loon-adrian-19011/text30615, accessed 20 September 2017.

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