The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River. This area of state forest in north east Victoria lies right next to the Alpine National Park. These coupes are located in a series of clusters, where separate sections of bush will be harvested, creating a large zone of cleared land over time.
This area is especially important because the upper catchment of the Little Dargo is in a pristine condition, without roads. It has not been burnt in recent decades, whereas much of the surrounding area has been devastated by repeat fires.
At this point it is very difficult to get in to the upper Little Dargo catchment. However, a rough route has recently been opened into the area to allow visitors to see the area before logging starts.
Friends of the Earth hosted a guided walk into the catchment on Sunday April 24 2022. You can find a report from the trip here.
Why is the Little Dargo important?
Once you visit the headwaters, you realise what a significant place it is. Being a deep valley, the landscape naturally protects the area from fire, and it is completely free of roads or other access, so it is in pristine condition. Multi aged forests of Mountain Gum, Alpine Ash and other species merge into Snow Gum woodlands on the higher areas.
Rare species like the spotted quoll and the alpine tree frog have been observed.
In the larger landscape around the Dargo High Plains, so much of the mountain forests have been burnt or logged. The pristine nature of the Little Dargo makes it incredibly precious.
This area had an old track that was used to deliver mail back in the gold mining days. This service was run by the Treasure family, who continue to graze cattle on the Dargo High Plains (DHP). The mail was carried on horseback, initially by Harry Treasure, who collected the mail from Harrietville then up into the mountains, to Mayford, and then crossed the upper Little Dargo river. At this time (the mail run started in 1896), there was mining on the Upper Dargo River, at Happy Home (George Treasure) and in the Little Dargo River (Lathleens Hut Mine), on the Kings Spur, and the Golden Spur Mine on Shepherds Creek down the Long Spur.
This Mailmans Track continued to be used by the Treasures long after the mail service ceased on the DHP. The track was used as a short route from the homestead to the grazing country known simply as “Shepherds” down the Long Spur. This track is of significant cultural heritage value and Christa Treasure, a fourth generation member of the Treasure family says the area should be protected from the planned logging by VicForests.
In the heart of the upper Little Dargo valley you will find Fred’s Flat. In 1921, Fred, who was the eldest son of Harry and Clara Treasure, was injured while mustering on the DHP. Sadly he died from his injury, just 17 years of age.
“When my father’s elder brother died, the family named the pretty flat on the Little Dargo River in memory of Fred”.
ABOVE: Fred's Flat
Speak up and help protect the Upper Little Dargo
This area will be devastated if VicForests is allowed to log the headwaters.
All 11 coupes in the Little Dargo catchment should be removed from the Timber Release Plan (TRP). This rare, mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, must protected. Alpine Ash ecosystems have suffered greatly due to recurring fire in the high country. This is a particularly special, undisturbed bush – currently without any roading – that is greatly valued by local high country people.
These are the coupe numbers.
Please email the environment minister, the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, and urge her to protect the Little Dargo River by cancelling all coupes.
Or call the Environment Minister’s office on 03 9637 9504 and leave a polite message about the need to protect the Little Dargo river from logging.
ABOVE: a rivulet that flows into the Little Dargo.
ABOVE: Map shows the logging coupes planned for the Little Dargo River catchment.