Life On The Job


Charles Edward Lane Poole (1885 - 1970) - Forester

Charles Edward Lane Poole


Arguably Australia’s most famous forester, Charles Lane Poole introduced systematic, science-based forestry to Western Australia and made the first thorough inspection of Papua and New Guinea forests. He was the Commonwealth’s first Inspector-General of Forests and trained many of Australia’s professional foresters at the Australian Forestry School in Canberra." (Source: Australian National Herbarium: Charles Edward Lane Poole (1885 - 1970))

"Charles Edward Lane-Poole (1885-1970), forester, was born on 16 August 1885 at Eastbourne, Sussex, England, youngest son of Stanley Edward Lane-Poole, Egyptologist and professor of Arabic at Trinity College, Dublin, and his wife Charlotte Bell, née Wilson."
(Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography)


"Born in Sussex in 1885, Charles was one of two English cadets, sponsored by the Colonial Office, to graduate from the French Forestry School at Nancy in 1906. He then spent more than four years in the Transvaal Forest Department and then another five years in Sierra Leone.

When he arrived in Australia in 1916 and became Western Australia’s Conservator of Forests, he was only the second university-trained forester working in Australia.

Between 1916 and 1921, Charles put enormous personal energy into the development of Western Australia’s first forestry legislation. The process was long and complex and was a battle between the forest scientist and powerful stakeholders, particularly the owners of Millars, then the largest sawmilling company in Western Australia, that stood to have their concessions converted to permits and their log prices increased to levels consistent with those of other timber permit holders. He had to do battle with the Premier of the state, and in the end when he could not achieve the outcome that he believed was right for the forests he tendered his resignation.

In 1927, he became the acting principal of the Australian Forestry School when it opened in Canberra and remained in the post for 28 years." (Source: Australian Forestry 2009 Vol. 72 No 1 pp. 52 - 53)

Did You Know?

At the age of 19, Charles Lane Poole had his left hand amputated and replaced with a steel hook.

Eucalyptus lane poolei  and Cycas lane poolei were named after him.

Flora base
(Source: Florabase)

Cycas lane poolei
(Source: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney)

Lane Poole’s wife Ruth had great skills in interior design and was given the job of designing the furniture and interior colours in both the Prime Minister’s and Governor General’s residences which were under construction in the new national capital of Australia, Canberra.
(Source: Australian Forestry 2009 Vol. 72 No 1 pp. 52 - 53)

He was considered a founding father of Australian forestry, and helped trial exotic species of timber around Canberra that would later form the heart of the nation's timber industry.
(Source: ABC News)


"He was educated at St Columba's College, Dublin, and at the Ecole Forestière, Nancy, France." (Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography)


He graduated in 1906 and was sent to South Africa, where he was made a district forester in the Transvaal Province at only 22 years of age. He worked hard there to restore its depleted forests, but disagreed with the government’s policies and resigned.

The Colonial Office then sent him to Sierra Leone on Africa’s ‘ Fever Coast’. His small field notebooks, now held in the National Library of Australia, give a picture of his work there. With little help and in spite of bouts of malaria, he drafted forest legislation, set up the first Forestry Department, laid out the first forest reserves, established nurseries, plantations and an arboretum, and collected herbarium specimens, some of which were new to science.

1916 to take up a role as Western Australia’s Conservator of Forests. He resigned in 1921 from this job.

Next, he went to "survey the forests of Papua, then an Australian territory, and later those in New Guinea. He spent an arduous three years traversing the forests from the swamps to the high mountains, surveying the country, measuring trees, and collecting herbarium specimens and timber samples.

Charles was appointed the Commonwealth’s Forestry Adviser in 1925.

Charles Lane Poole retired in 1945 and died in 1970."
(Source: Australian National Herbarium: Charles Edward Lane Poole (1885 - 1970)


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Uncommon Lives: Charles and Ruth Lane Poole

Charles Lane Poole - Uncommon Lives

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Australian National Botanic Gardens

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Book Review: The Zealous Conservator: A Life of Charles Lane Poole

Zealous Conservator
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Australian Dictionary of Biography

Charles Lane Poole - ADB
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Lane Poole Reserve

Lane Poole Reserve

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Westridge House sold off

Westridge House


bullet.gif (981 bytes)National Arboretum Canberra - How can you market this feature of Canberra to the rest of Australia and particularly to Australian children? 

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ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

1. Charles Lane Poole was keen to have an Arboretum in Australia's National Capital, Canberra. But what is an Arboretum? And, why should people come to visit this feature?

National Arboretum Canberra


Aims and vision

Definition: An arboretum is a place where trees are cultivated for conservation, scientific and educational study and display.

The National Arboretum Canberra features 100 forests of rare and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. It is a significant recreational and educational resource for visitors and plays an important role in the protection of world-wide tree diversity and the generation of new knowledge on tree growth and survival, biodiversity and water management.

Vision: The vision of the National Arboretum Canberra is to become one of the great arboreta in the world; to provide a place of outstanding beauty and interest that is a destination and recreational resource for the local community and visitors to Canberra.

(Source: National Arboretum Canberra)

Playground at National Arboretum
Playground at National Arboretum Canberra

Children playing in Pods
Children playing in "Pods"

Australia has a new National Arboretum. Located in Canberra, this important cultural facility is host to 100 forests of rare and endangered trees from around the world. High on the hill sits the pod playground.

The opportunity to design a play space as part of the 100 forests facility offered an opportunity to creatively engage children with the beauty of trees and we hope, foster a life-long connection to this remarkable environment.
Using the idea of seeds as the beginning life amongst the forest, children and their families can enter a fantasy world of exaggerated scales. A play space with giant acorns floating in the sky, and enormous banksia cones nestled on the forest floor.
(Source: TCL)


An arboretum (plural: arboreta) in a narrow sense is a collection of trees only.

Related collections include a fruticetum (from the Latin frutex, meaning shrub), and a viticetum, a collection of vines.

More commonly, today, an arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants intended at least partly for scientific study.

An arboretum specializing in growing conifers is known as a pinetum. Other specialist arboreta include salicetums (willows), populetums, and quercetums (oaks).

The term arboretum was first used in an English publication by John Claudius Loudon in 1833 in The Gardener's Magazine but the concept was already long-established by then.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Aerial View of National Arboretum
Aerial View of National Arboretum

National Arboretum Canberra:

It includes an existing stand of 5000 Himalayan Cedars and the 80 year old Cork Oak plantation which were damaged by the 2001 and 2003 Canberra bushfires. It features different types of threatened and symbolic trees from around Australia and the world, including the world's largest planting of the Wollemi pine.
(Source: Wikipedia)

2. Look at the following videos about the National Arboretum






3. Create an Online Poster or  [incorporating the videos above] showing the beauty of the National Arboretum Canberra and why Australians [including children ] and other visitors should come to Canberra to see this attraction using EduGlogster or

Edu Glogster Scoop It

4. Share with your class

Material sourced from 

Australian National Herbarium: Charles Edward Lane Poole (1885 - 1970)

Australian Forestry 2009 Vol. 72 No 1 pp. 52 - 53

Australian Dictionary of Biography

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