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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

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John Horace Harding (1908–1985)

by Patrick Waite

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

It is with deep regret that we report the death of Mr John Harding, a dedicated forestry research officer, who was instrumental in improving a number of practices in Australian forestry. He pioneered the South Australian Woods and Forests Department seed orchards and established practices to improve the health of forest areas throughout South Australia.

John joined the Department in October 1955 as the Investigation and Research Officer; a position that had been vacant since 1940. Prior to joining the Department, John worked with the Western Australian Forestry Department under an outstanding forest scientist, Bill Stoate. In 1971, he retired due to ill health, at the age of 63 years, and died last November.

On taking up his position with the Department, John made an enthusiastic start in forging strong links, which are still in place today, between the Department, CSIRO, universities and other government department with common interests. In a few short years, he built up an extensive network of cooperative work that set the pattern for a vigorous program of forestry research for the benefit of South Australian forest industries.

John’s foresight in forestry research was not only reflected in the adoption of many of the results of his experiments into silvicultural practices today, but also in his efforts to involve other research organisations such as CSIRO, Waite Institute’s Department of Chemistry and the Weeds Research section of the Department of Agriculture, in similar work. His aim was to ensure that good-quality information and advice about experimental work related to forestry would be available to the Department.

John participated in the first interstate meetings of forestry research scientists in 1958 and 1965. His strong conviction to encourage liaison at the research worker level provided support for the setting up of Forest Research Working Groups at the next interstate research conference in 1968. John was a founding member of the Research Liaison Committee for the Mt Gambier Research Station of the Forest Research Institute.

During his working career, John always had a very active interest in the Public Service unions and served as President of the SA Public Service Association, and was appointed a life member of the PSA in 1968.

John is survived by his wife Vera and three children. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Original Publication

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Citation details

Patrick Waite, 'Harding, John Horace (1908–1985)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012