Started as the ‘Save the Forests Campaign’ in 1944, the league emerged like a phoenix out of the ashes of south-east Australia’s devastating bushfires of 1939. The campaign to help revegetate the State grew and, by 1951, was incorporated as the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria (NRCL).
For over sixty years now, the league has maintained its dedication to conservation and wise use of native forests, and promoting awareness of the synecology of soil and water, plants and wildlife on public and private land.
Along the way an impressive reputation was earned for numerous conservation initiatives, including annual production and distribution of over a million native trees for farms, local councils and schools, and for various publications and conventions, field days, training programs, Junior Tree Lovers’ League and Arbor Day activities.
In 1972, the League’s accomplishments were publicly recognised by the State Minister for Conservation with the inaugural ‘Victoria Conservation Prize’ for “the most significant contribution to the conservation of the natural resources of the State of Victoria over the previous five years”. The award related particularly to the League’s role in the statewide campaign to protect what became the Little Desert National Park.
NRCL was responsible for starting some other conservation movements and providing vital advocacy and support to several more. Education and training programs have historically been an essential part of the league’s activities with various programs provided to government authorities, local councils, farm members, schools, clubs and other interest groups.
Significant re-organisation in 2003, included divestment of four plant nurseries and withdrawal from the League’s long term home in Springvale. From 2004-10, the NRCL operated environmental education activities at Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre and the Waterwheel Centre at Warburton.
A history of the League was published in 1991, although currently out of print, this is available in some libraries. Reference: Robin, Libby (1991) Building a Forest Conscience: An historical portrait of the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria (NRCL) 1944-1990, Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria.
Recently Dr Libby Robin (ANU) presented an insightful retrospective on the history and work of the NRCL since its formation 6 decades ago. Dr Robin’s presentation is available here for download NRCL Retrospective… Dr Libby Robin.
|Early Film Footage|
|Victoria’s Resources (1959-1980)|
|Trees and Natural Resources (1985-2003)|
|Trees and Victoria’s Resources (1981-1984)|
|Conservation News (1954-1958)|
|NRCL Highlights 1944-1965|
|1954 Ouyen Convention|
|NRCL Inauguration & Development|