Hear From Locals

Logging for Reflex has very real, very personal consequences.

Boasting the tallest hardwood trees in the world the Central Highlands forests are a national treasure and the last remaining habitat of the endangered Fairy (Leadbeater’s) possum.

Despite this, VicForests – the Victorian Government’s logging agency – is reducing these trees to woodchips. Most is sold to Australian Paper to make cheap, throwaway products like Reflex paper.

One town at the epicentre of this logging is Toolangi, 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne. It was spared the devastating 2009 bushfires despite being surrounded by fire on all sides. Having survived that trauma, locals are rallying again but this time they’re fighting VicForests’ bulldozers.


Kerryn Blackshaw
Maternal and Child Health NurseMy family goes back three generations in the Yarra Ranges, and my three children attended Toolangi Primary School. The Black Saturday fires were a shock to us all. The fires kept coming from all directions, but this special place was saved and we’re so grateful to all who assisted.

The forest here has inspired me to write poetry and get involved in various community groups. It’s also helped my children to thrive and move forward in their lives. Now, my view across the mountain has great gaps where clear-felling has already taken place. It’s heartbreaking.

To know that trees from these forests are sold off on the cheap and turned into paper is criminal in my eyes. I can’t see any gain – financial or environmental – for the people of Victoria, and it means a significant loss of place for Toolangi residents.


Deanne Eccles
Owner, Strathvea Guest HouseMy husband Toby and I have travelled extensively overseas, but we can say that Toolangi has some of the most beautiful forest in the world. The abundance of wildlife here is rare, and being able to interact with it is magical.

The height of the Mountain Ash trees and the delicate splaying of the tree ferns is so uplifting.

Officeworks and the makers of Reflex need to start reading the science, and move with the times. The fact that they continue to support logging at Toolangi is completely disrespectful to our community and to the Australian environment. It’s also downright irresponsible – as logging continues, people here become more and more susceptible to bushfires.

The forests of Toolangi could be a huge tourist attraction, and need to be protected as National Park.


Michael Nardella
AA Michael Nardella Real EstateMy family has had a farm in Toolangi for around forty years. I love the small community feel of the area, and I’ve come to appreciate its unique forests – especially after working on bushfire recovery projects and joining the Country Fire Authority.

Logging in this area is spoiling the beautiful ecology of the forests and if that continues it will significantly reduce the tourist potential here. The damage that has already been done will take generations to regenerate – It’s vital that we stop the clear-felling now to allow this to happen.

Officeworks and the makers of Reflex need to shift their operations to plantation timbers, away from unsustainable native forest logging. Our forests are worth more to the people of Victoria when they’re left intact. Let’s recognise this fact and declare this area National Park.


Trevor Parton and Mary White
Adult Educators – Centre for Ecology and SpiritualityWe’ve been living in Glenburn on the edge of the Toolangi Forest for eleven years and we regularly take people on walks along the Murrindindi River, Sylvia Creek and the tracks around Mt St Leonard. Folk never fail to be impressed by the magnificence of our forests.

Over the years we have sadly witnessed coups being cleared and burnt and then covered with re-growth. Given the destruction caused by recent bushfires we really should preserve our remaining native forests at all costs. Their reduction into Reflex paper, or any paper for that matter is very regrettable.


Christine and Mark Veenhuizen
Brentwood AccommodationWe moved to Healesville 5 years ago to live a quiet life in the forest after running a demanding business for 17 years. Nestled along the great Bicentennial walking track of the Toolangi State Forest, we found the tranquillity of “Brentwood” irresistible.

Our quiet life here was interrupted by the 2009 bushfire. Reminders of the bushfire’s devastation are with us every day. We are surrounded by burnt forest and have seen very little wildlife return.

Now our life is being interupted again by clearfell logging. It’s devastating that Toolangi’s unburnt forest is being clearfelled for woodchips – particularly since sustainable plantation timber is now available to meet most timber requirements. We feel a responsibility to stand up for this ecologically significant forest, habitat for the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) possum and important to tourism in the Yarra Valley region.

Australian Paper needs to be reminded that the local community won’t stand for unethical practices. I want my grandchildren and their children to experience the wonders of the tall trees of Toolangi, to reap the benefits of the most carbon rich forest in the world, to experience the last of cool temperate rainforest in the central highlands and to see precious wildlife in its natural environment. Just let the forest be! I would love to see the whole of the central highlands declared as a national park….so we can all live a quieter life!

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