North Coast Farm Forestry Trip October 2017



Lismore region

The NSW North Coast grows fantastic trees and once contained “The Big Scrub” rainforest.

HFFN member Brian Wright invited HFFN to visit, and 14 of us spent 4 days experiencing plantations, forests, researchers and nurseries in the area. We also enjoyed local farmstays, B&B’s and restaurants and invited north coast growers to visit HFFN.

Thanks to our hosts Brian and Mark Wright, Martin Novak, Joe Harvey-Jones, Doland Nichols and Mark Dunphy.


Hardwood Plantations, Cattle Grazing and Environmental plantings

Members of the Wright family have several properties where they are planting eucalypts for durable timber, converting ex-joint-venture plantations into productive plantations, grazing cattle and establishing environmental plantings.

Over two full days Mark and Brian amazed us with the scale of their forestry, soil improvement, innovative planting methods and tree recording. They are developing new products and markets to suit plantation timber, and considering establishing milling and processing facilities.

1 Cattle grazing integrated with plantation eucalypts

2 Plantation thinning

3 Mark Wright and environmental plantings


The Subtropical Farm Forestry Association (SFFA)

The SFFA is a group similar to HFFN.

Martin Novak and Joe Harvey-Jones led us through rainforest plantings nearly 20 years old, towering overhead and forming a carpet of soft leaves with glistening blue fruits from the enormous Blue Quandong trees Elaeocarpus grandis. We talked about how to harvest some of the trees and keep the forest growing. They are promoting native tree plantations and ways for farmers to improve lands that have been taken over by Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora

We discussed their Quality Timber Traders initiative which is linking smaller forest growers to markets. and HFFN members were asked to register their interest

4 Joe Harvey Jones yo rainforest planting


Southern Cross University Forest Research Centre

SCU has the most comprehensive forestry courses in Australia and are working closely with the Wrights and other local growers. They also work with overseas forests where research and development funding is often more available than in Australia.

As well as forestry courses, Doland Nichols invited us to further discussions about hosting research students in the HFFN area.

5 Doland Nichols at the SCU Forest Research Centre


Rocky Creek Dam Rainforest Plantings

The late Ralph Woodford pioneered rainforest establishment on degraded farmland on lands around the Rocky Creek Dam.

We were left speechless at the results of his work, which is available online

6 Rocky Creek Dam rainforest plantings


Firewheel Ecological Restoration and Rainforest Nursery

Mark Dunphy walked us through his specially built nursery at Durroughby Many of the methods he uses were developed by the Wingham Brush project.

For many rainforest species they germinate seed when it’s available and keep the seedlings in trays until they are needed to grow on. This works for species that naturally sit as small plants on the forest floor until a storm opens up the forest canopy.

Mark has a wide range of plants and many of them overlap with the Hunter and Mid-Coast areas.


Hunter Farm Forestry Network (HFFN) facilitates the exchange of information about farm forestry and promotes the productive and sustainable use of trees on farms in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia.

Farm Forestry takes many forms including timber belts, windbreaks, revegetation projects and timber production

Farm forestry includes  commercial trees and shrubs incorporated into farm operations.

Farm Forestry improves agricultural productivity.

It’s about which tree you want, for the purpose that you want.