Some or all of you may or may not be aware that the two northern forests in SA have been severely damaged by bushfires in 2013 and 2014. Firstly Bundaleer Forest lost around 30% of plantations and the following year Wirrabara Forest lost about 80% in the devastating Bangor bushfire which burned for 30 days and razed 35,000 hectares.


The Morgan Sawmill operation which relies on timber from these forests employs 53 (46 in Jamestown & 7 in Wingfield and Loxton), representing 3.3% of the total full time employment in the region and injects $9.4m annually into the local economy. Incidentally, 3.3% of employment loss in Adelaide would be equivalent to the closure of 10 Holden factories


The region is under threat of the State Government not providing funds of $6.5m to replant the forests, resulting in the closure of the local sawmill.

There was a self- insurance fund of $19m held by Forestry SA until the end of 2012. This fund was liquidated and returned to treasury general revenue by way of “special dividend”.


We established the Northern Forests Community Initiatives Group in November last year and are developing complimentary and new ideas to ensure the future of our forests and as friends I am seeking your support. Please consider the following facts and go to our website to provide your support and feedback, via survey, petition, or Facebook.

The NFCIG and Morgan Sawmill are developing new ideas and a modified replanting program to reduce replanting costs and improve the efficiency of commercial forestry and developing new initiatives to enhance the use of the forests for tourism and recreation purposes and are anxious to obtain your comments and ideas.

  • Bundaleer is the first commercial plantation forest in Australia commencing in 1876
  • the first commercial sawmill in Australia began at Wirrabara in 1902
  • Commercial forestry has continued in the region for this entire period
  • 103 full time jobs providing $9.4m annually to the local economy are at risk
  • A business as usual replant has an estimated cost of $6.5m spread over approx. 5 years
  • Due to the slow growth of trees the total cost to govt over a 44 year period including ongoing management costs is estimated $11.4m or $244,000 per year
  • Due to the extent of the fires, there will be a log supply gap for the sawmill and we are asking government to help us in negotiating some top up log supply from other regions for this period. It can be done but needs the will and support from government.