Forest family honour

FAMILY NAME HONOURED: Following a collective 55 years of service in the Green Triangle forestry industry, the Higgins family has had a road named in their honour.

A RETIRING OneFortyOne employee has had a forestry road named in his family’s honour, after a collective 55 years of service to the Green Triangle forestry industry.

Higgins Lane, north of Nangwarry, has been named after 68-year-old Terry Higgins and his late father John.

Mr Higgins said it was “a real honour” to have the road named after his family – located in the plantations where his family has lived and worked for decades.

“My family are quite taken by it, after all our history here, and we’re looking forward to getting out there and getting a photo with the sign,” he said.

The location of the plantation track holds special significance to the Higgins family as it is situated near the forest reserve Muddy Flats, where the family lived for several years after emigrating from London in the mid-1960s.

Following in the footsteps of his father John – who worked for the department in the forests around Penola and Nangwarry – Terry also began working in forestry, during his school holidays, clearing firebreaks and hand weeding in the nursery.

During his 43-year career, Terry has performed nearly every role imaginable, working his way up from maintenance to machinery operator to geographic information services work and then supervisory roles.

“From hanging around so long, you get to know it all, from handplanting to machinery to hand marking. You name it, I’ve done it,” he said.

In 2016, he was made the Area Foresters and District Manager for the Penola forests – the pinnacle of his career and what he referred to as his ‘spiritual home’.

Terry found his forte in silviculture, saying he found creativity and satisfaction in seeing the growth and development of the plantations.

“It’s about creating a forest that can be the best it can possibly be in 32-years time,” he said.

“To see a tree in the ground as a seedling and then watch it grow to its full potential is very satisfying.”

But it’s enjoying the peace and quiet of the forest environment that Terry will miss most.

“It’s quiet and the enormity of it – when you’re in a 32-year-old plantation, it’s extremely peaceful… I think the term is far from the madding crowd,” he said.

During the last twelve months in OneFortyOne’s Transition to Retirement program, Terry helped develop a fire training video series for the company.

Utilising his decades of experience fighting and managing forest fires, Terry interviewed 100-plus workers about their fire experience, wrote scripts and helped direct the series of short films, which will be used to help prepare employees for busy fire seasons.

OneFortyOne fire manager Justin Cook said Terry always put his heart into his work and had earned respect from his many colleagues over the years.

“Terry is so proud of the OFO plantations that he and his family have worked on for more than 50 years,” he said.

“His dedication and commitment shows through in everything he does.

“Terry has always made a conscious effort to pass on his knowledge to the next generation and to mentor and develop people.”

Terry’s advice for anyone considering a career in forestry… take the plunge.

“Honestly, it’s the best job in the world,” Mr Higgins said.

“You can go to university and get a forestry degree but there’s also jobs in harvesting, transport and mechanics.

“There’s so much you can do. I cannot believe how lucky I’ve been.”