Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born in Kristiansand in Southern Norway on 23 March 1898. He arrived in Australia in March 1928, died in Melbourne on 25 October 1993.
He arrived in Australia in March 1928 aged thirty as one of three Norwegians employed by the Victorian Forests Commission as Forest Assessors. During his long career Bjarne Dahl probably saw more of Victoria’s forests than most foresters ever did, and quickly developed an affection for Eucalypts, especially Silvertop Ash.
Assessment work acquired a new urgency with the declaration of war in September 1939, when timber quickly became a critical commodity. During this same year Victoria was also subject to widespread bushfires. Bjarne and other forest assessors of the time must have been devastated to see much of their assessment work lay in ruins after the 1939 bushfires. However, loss of men to the armed forces contributed to a chronic lack of staff and, in 1942, it was decided to suspend further work.
By 1944 Bjarne Dahl was once again in charge of Forest Assessment and, in early 1945, he started an assessment school near Toolangi.
Bjarne Dahl resigned from the Forests Commission of Victoria in August 1948.
Dahl’s new job was for Australian Paper Manufacturers (APM), which had established a major pulp mill at Maryvale in Gippsland in 1939. Dahl was employed to create a private forest estate for APM. During this activity he also purchased and sold land in a private capacity, and in this way he built up a considerable fortune.
Bjarne Dahl retired from APM in 1961.
In late 1976 Bjarne was widowed from his wife Ann and became more reclusive. In July 1988 he made a new will leaving his entire estate to the Forests Commission of Victoria. Upon changing his will he is known to have said “how much I owe to Australia which ... helped me to stay alive and prosper with the loving help of dear Ann.” When he died on 25 October 1993 at the age of 95, he left an estate of some $2.5 million.
While the estate was professionally managed and grown by Perpetual Trustees, as directed in his Will, the establishment of the Trust was a more complex matter. In 2007 an Order by the Honourable Justice Hansen in the Supreme Court of Victoria clarified the Trust's Objects and administrative structure and enabled formation of the Bjarne K Dahl Trust, independent of the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Source: Extracted from: http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/dahl-bjarne-20811; http://dahltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/BjarneBioSynosis.pdf
Portrait Photo: Extracted from: Canberra Times, 15/3/2016