If you drove along the Princes highway between Millicent and Mount Gambier, this is the view you would most remember, besides the fields of sheep and cows. It is the same view across many parts of the lower South East of South Australia.
I travelled the highway every school day of my high school life, watched the pines from the seat of the Tenison College school bus. Dotted along the side of the road are also apple trees. I like to think they've grown from apple cores being tossed out the bus windows by school kids over the years.
I remember our bus driver never liked us eating on the bus. I ate an orange once and nearly got away with it, except for the idiot kid who purposely bumped my hand, resulting in orange peel being flung high in the air and scattered several seats away. Little prick! Sid (our driver), wouldn't let me get off the bus without sweeping the bus out when I got to school. He wasn't all bad. He'd let us play our music on the cassette player, usually Bon Jovi or Guns n Roses, until he got sick of the behaviour and Dolly Parton or some other unbearable country music would come on. I must say I wasn't in trouble much at school, I was one of the quiet ones. Dolly and Kenny Rogers have become much more bearable as I've aged.
I spent my primary school years in Nangwarry, another small town surrounded by pine plantations, again travelling by bus, from Kalangadoo. So these trees have been a big part of my life.
|Block number, and year of planting underneath|
|It's so beautifully quiet, just the birds, the cracking of wood underfoot. Eerie at the same time.|
In the past these trees have supported jobs for thousands of families in this region. My dad felled trees in the forest(and has many lifelong friends from it), and went on to work in the Kalangadoo Timber Mill. I even worked in the Carter Holt Harvey Nangwarry Mill 15 years ago, on a production line making laminated veneer lumber (LVL) or what you would probably recognise as plywood. Hubby used to cart pine chips to Portland for export, and work out of the various mills in the region. Kalangadoo Mill is closed, Nangwarry Mill is closed and the company hubby used to work for no longer carts chip to Portland, due to the Gunns collapse.
The state government has sold off the plantations in the lower south east to private investors(The Campbell Group) for the next three rotations. It takes about 35 years for trees to be ready for harvest, so 105 years. Long time. There was much protest by local businesses and people, to no avail.
'My place in time' is a local area history photo project. You can see the original challenge at the blackcurrant photography blog.