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Frederick Melville (1863–1928)

Mr. Frederick Melville, who was Assistant Conservator of Forests, died on March 23, at his residence, Giles-avenue, Glenelg, and a notable career with the Woods and Forests Department, which he served for 49 years, thus closed. Mr. Melville was a son of Mr. H. D. Melville, who in the seventies was secretary to the Forest Board, and was born at Robe. He received his education at Whinham College, Adelaide, and joined the service of the Forest Board as a cadet in 1879. When he had served six months in the office he was transferred to the forests in the north, and was connected with Wirrabara and Bundaleer for six years. For five years, from 1885 to 1890, he was in the Mount Gambier district, and upon leaving there was appointed forester-in-charge of Wirrabara, being made Inspector of Forests in 1911. His transfer to the Adelaide office occurred in 1911, and his appointment as Assistant Conservator was made in 1924.

The Conservator of Forests (Mr. E. Julius) stated that Mr. Melville’s experience in forestry was unique in Australia. He was the first to mill plantation pine. As a forester he collected seeds, sowed forests, and later milled the timber he had grown. At Wirrabara his activities stood as a record of faithful service. He was responsible for supplying the Murray River dried fruit industry with cases for many years, and his knowledge of forestry was valuable in regard to the large programme now in operation. He possessed a youthful vision and outlook in forestry that were remarkable, and applied methods of operation which had done much towards enabling forestry in South Australia to yield some ultimate profit and to compete with other States and the industry overseas. His sympathy for junior officers was noteworthy, and his kindly thoughts for their welfare were characteristic of him. Mr. Melville was a man of unswerving fidelity in his profession, and even though latterly he must have been suffering, he carried out his duties with efficiency. The staff of the department bore him great affection, and sincerely mourned his loss.

The Public Service Commissioner (Brigadier-General S. Price Weir) referred with regret to Mr. Melville’s death. He said he had been closely associated for over 40 years with Mr. Melville, whose death had robbed the public service of a valuable officer, who probably possessed a wider knowledge of the growth of the State forests than any other person, except the former Conservator of Forests (Mr. Walter Gill) under whom he had worked for many years. Mr. Melville had been much interested in the development of the forests, many of which were planted under his supervision.

A widow and live daughters survive. A son (Mr. Dudley Melville) was killed at the war. The family are Mesdames A. L. Pinches (Glenelg). D. Williams (Mount Crawford), C. Boothby (Curnamoona Station, near Yanta), and K. Phillips (Booborowie), and Miss Nancy Melville (Glenelg).

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Citation details

'Melville, Frederick (1863–1928)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

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