Historical information

In the post-war era from 1947 to the mid-1980s, the Forests Commission sponsored Australia's only military sawmilling unit, the 91 Forestry Squadron. It was a special reserve unit of the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE).
Established and commanded by Commission forester and WW2 veteran, Major Ben Benallack, the "Woodpeckers" as they were known comprised a small pool of specialised soldiers capable of rapid mobilisation in the event of need.
Several other Victorian departments such as the State Electricity Commission (SEC) did the same thing who supported a construction squadron based at Newborough in the Latrobe Valley.
The scheme created a very active and capable part-time military group that completed many worthy projects across the State.
In addition to their military training, the Woodpeckers operated bush sawmills, built timber bridges along the Murray River, the Snake Island Jetty, forest roads and performed various demolition tasks.

Physical description

Presentation plaque from the "Woodpeckers"
Mounted on polished wooden burl