Brief History of the Jarrah Forest Lodge / Forestry Cadet Training Centre


In 1928 a Forest Department office was established in Dwellingup. In 1952 a Forest Trainee School was opened about 2 miles/5km west of Dwellingup. The school consisted of 2 Nissen huts for sleeping quarters, 1 hut as a lecture room, 1 as a kitchen and dining room and ablutions were down near the creek with cold showers. This school and the district office operated until it burnt down in the 1961 Dwellingup fire.

The Current buildings were in place and operational in 1961 and thankfully survived the fire that saw a large portion of the Dwellingup town site burnt.

The first intake at the Forestry Cadet Training Centre was in 1955 with the first trainees graduating in 1956. These trainees were to be appointed as forest guards in January 1957.

The last course at the ‘old school’ was in 1959, with the second year being held at the new Forestry Cadet Training Centre after the fire.

The new Forestry Cadet Training Centre (Jarrah Forest Lodge) was built in 1959-60 and used both as a school and as district headquarters after the fires, until a new district office was built. Each course ran for two years, and was under the control of a forester. (John Sclater (c1961-62), Roger Underwood (1963-65), Geoff Airey (c1966-67), Ross Gobby (c1968-70), John Skillen (c1970-72), Brian Beer (1970-c1972), Frank Pridham (1972-86), Tony Brandis (c1986-88), Alan Scott (c1988-89), and Alan Byrne (c1988-). Roger Underwood (who was the first full time training officer.)

In 1967, the trainees became known as forest cadets and were appointed under a cadetship. They were located at Dwellingup for 2 years, with 6-8 weeks practical training in both years.

In 1969, there was a major restructure of the course. The course was divided into 2 separate years. Year 1 was at a Technical College (Mt Lawley) and Year 2 with the Department. From 1978, the first year of the course was in Bunbury.

The Forestry Cadet Training Centre closed in 1992, and since 1995 the Forest Discovery Centre has maintained and operated the facility. Originally for tertiary training programs and on-the-job training, attached to the Australian School of Fine Wood (1994 – 2014) and now for tourism and recreation.