Guide to the Papers of Charles Edward Lane Poole


MS 3799

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

C. E. Lane Poole
Papers of Charles Edward Lane Poole
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 3799
0.64 metres (4 boxes, folio items)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, diaries, notes, articles, photographs and slides, published material and press cuttings. Much of the material relates to Lane Poole's work in Papua and New Guinea between 1922 and 1925. There are also papers on his work in Sierra Leone and Western Australia and as a consulting forester after 1945. Correspondents include Lord and Lady Novar, M. R. Jacobs, G. Rodgers, H. C. King, Professor J. D. Ovington, Jack Lever, Sir Russell Grimwade, Lane Poole's wife and children, Major J. McAdam, timber merchants, the C.S.I.R.O., Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd., Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd., Mallison & Sons Ltd., and the Department of Forests, New Guinea. The collection does not contain any papers relating to Lane Poole's work as Commonwealth Inspector-General of Forests, nor as Principal of the Australian Forestry School, Canberra.

See the Correspondence Index for a name index to all letters in this collection. (under Related Documentation tab).

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Charles Edward Lane Poole, National Library of Australia, MS 3799, [series and/or file number]'.


The papers of Charles Lane Poole were presented to the National Library in October 1972 by his widow, Ruth Lane Poole.

A few papers relating to Charles Lane Poole's official career are held at the National Archives of Australia (CRS A1, A458, A461, and A1606).

The National Library also received a collection of books, periodicals and reports from Lane Poole's own Library. They have been dispersed in the various book collections of the Library. See Appendix A for a list of these. (Under Related Documentation tab).

A report on forests of Papua by Charles Lane Poole is held in the Manuscript Collection at MS 496.

Biographical Note

Charles Edward Lane Poole, son of Stanley Lane Poole, historian and Egyptologist, was born on 16 August 1885 at Eastbourne, Sussex, England. After an education at St. Columba's College, Dublin, he attended the Forestry course of l'Ecole Nationale de Eaux et Forets at Nancy, France, graduating with the diploma in 1906.

Lane Poole's first appointment was in the South African Forestry Department in Cape Colony and then in the Transvaal as a District Forest Officer.

From the Transvaal, Lane Poole transferred to Sierra Leone in 1910 where he was appointed Conservator of Forests. His work there included the demarcation of virgin forests and the introduction of various trees of economic value, particularly rubber and conifers. He was also engaged in the drafting of Forest Ordinance for which he was made a member of the Legislative Council.

In 1916 Lane Poole left Sierra Leone and came to Western Australia, where he held the position of Conservator of Forests until 1922. Here he endeavoured strenuously to put into effect a policy of conserving the forests of Western Australia and he was responsible for the 1921 Forestry Act and for organising the Forests Department of the State. He published several articles relating to Western Australian forests including 'Fires in forest' (1921), 'Notes on the forests and forest products and industries of Western Australia' and 'Short descriptive notes on the principal timbers of Western Australia', (1920).

In 1922 Lane Poole was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government to report on forest resources in Papua. He spent twelve months in Papua and was then invited by the Administration of New Guinea to undertake a similar forest survey of the Mandated Territory. At the conclusion of his work in 1925 he wrote a report entitled The forest resources of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea in which he concluded that "Australia's tropical dependencies while offering no prospects of immediate gain to large saw milling interests possess forests potentialities of a high order."

In 1926 Lane Poole was appointed Inspector-General for the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau and held that position until his retirement in 1945. During his nineteen years as Inspector-General he was also principal of Australian Forestry School in Canberra and was credited by D.A.N. Cromer, the former Director-General of Forestry, as being "largely responsible for putting higher forestry education on a sound footing in Australia".

Lane Poole also represented the Commonwealth Government at a number of Empire Forestry Conferences. He attended the First Empire Forestry Conference held in London in 1921, he was Vice-President of the Third Conference held in Australia in 1928 and he represented the Commonwealth at the Fourth Conference held in South Africa in 1935.

On retiring from Government service in 1945 Lane Poole set up practice as a Consulting Forester in Sydney and was retained by the following firms as Consulting Forester: A.J. Bedwell Pty. Ltd., Sydney & Suburban Timber Merchants Ltd., Commonwealth & New Guinea Timbers Ltd., and New Zealand Forest Products Co. Ltd.

His works as a consultant involved him in visits to various districts in Australia and countries in the Pacific, including New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, Papua and New Britain. During his retirement he also appeared before the Tariff Board on several sittings to give evidence on the fiscal problems arising from the importation of timbers from overseas.

Charles Lane Poole died in Sydney on 22 November 1970.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. General correspondence, 1910-1967

The series is arranged chronologically with undated letters placed last. The pre-1945 correspondence consists of letters relating to Lane Poole's application for a transfer from the Transvaal in 1910 and correspondence with Viscount and Lady Novar (1931-1937).

The bulk of the correspondence relates to Lane Poole's work as a consulting forester after 1945. The correspondents include M.R. Jacobs, Principal of the Australian Forestry School, Canberra; G. Rodger of the Forestry & Timber Bureau, Melbourne; H.C. King, Forests Department, Sierra Leone; Professor J.D. Ovington and Jack Lever, District Forester of Kyogle, N.S.W.

General correspondence (Item 1-126) - Box 1

Series 2. Articles

The articles in the series have been divided into two sub-series.

Articles (Item 1-162) - Box 1

Subseries 2 (i). Forestry

Lane Poole's papers included about fifteen typescript and published articles by various authors on Australian trees and forests and the problems associated with them, an article by M.R. Jacobs on forestry education in Australia and an article by Lane Poole on Lord Novar's work in forestry.

Subseries 2 (ii). Miscellaneous

This sub-series contains articles from both Australian and overseas journals on aspects of natural history, botany, coin collections, Lane Poole's father (Stanley Lane Poole) and an article on the importance of the olive tree in the Renaissance period.

Series 3. Photographs and slides

This series contains photographs, negative and glass slides relating to Lane Poole's work in France, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Papua and New Guinea, Norfolk and Phillip Islands, Queensland and Tasmania. It includes photographs of the New Guinea natives and a large collection of photographs and slides of different trees and forests.

The series also contains a few family photographs and some glass slides of Ruth Lane Poole's interior decorations at Government House, Canberra.

Photographs and slides (Item 1-465 (including folio items)) - Folio-Box 1

Series 4. Lists

In this series have been placed Lane Poole's "catalogues" or lists. They include lists of wood specimens, botanical families, the State forests of New South Wales, maps used in compiling reports on New South Wales forests in 1961 and lists of personal belongings such as books and clothing.

Miscellaneous lists and documents (Item 1-162) - Box 2

Series 5. Sierra Leone

This series contains material relating to Lane Poole's work as conservator of forests in Sierra Leone between 1910 and 1915. It consists of correspondence, diaries, and typescript copies of a story entitled 'Lucy the chimpansee' and a publication by P.S. Savill and J.E.D. Fox entitled Trees of Sierra Leone, 1967.

The correspondence relates to Lane Poole's application for the position in Sierra Leone in 1910, and to his appointments as a member of the Legislative Council and as a censor in 1914. There is also correspondence of a later period (1953-1963) relating to Lane Poole's pension for services in Sierra Leone.

The diaries kept by Lane Poole between 1911 and 1916 contain brief notes on his work, descriptions of his travels, the people he met and general matters such as weather and health. A diary in Series 6 also contains information on Sierra Leone.

Photographs relating to Sierra Leone are found in Series 3.

Material relating to Lane Poole's work in Sierra Leone, 1910-1915 (Item 1-63) - Box 2, Folio-Box 2

Series 6. Western Australia

This small series contains correspondence and diaries relating to the period when Lane Poole was Conservator of Forests in Western Australia.

The correspondence concerns Lane Poole's application for the position in Western Australia and it also includes correspondence with Lord Novar, former Governor-General of Australia, relating to Lane Poole's fight to conserve the forests in Western Australia in 1921.

The diaries relate to Lane Poole's arrival in Western Australia and his first journey to South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. They contain descriptions of his first impressions of Australia, its forests and the people whom he met including William G. Ashford, N.S.W. Minister for Lands and Agriculture, the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Craufurd Munro-Ferguson (later 1st Viscount Novar), Henry Sanford King, Western Australian Inspector of Mining Survey, and Russell Grimwade.

Material relating to Lane Poole's work in Western Australia (Item 1-37) - Box 2

Series 7. New Guinea, 1922-1925

In 1922, Lane Poole was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government to report on the forest resources of Papua and New Guinea.

This large series contains long typed and handwritten letters from Lane Poole to his wife Ruth giving detailed descriptions of the natives, the countryside, the German Lutheran missionaries, government officials and references to Lane Poole's forestry work. Other correspondence includes letters to his daughters Charlotte and Mary and correspondence relating to his initial appointment in 1922 and his transfer to the Mandated Territory in 1923.

There are also four diaries and a typescript paper entitled 'Jottings from a timberman's diary' published in the Melbourne Age. They all contain descriptions of the forests, the natives, the countryside and people Lane Poole met.

Other items in this series are three typescript stories entitled 'Floating Islands of Lake Embi', 'Pym's Patent Python Pepsin', and 'A deal in skulls' written by Lane Poole under the pseudonym of Jack Wander and a government report by Lane Poole entitled The forest resources of the territories of Papua and New Guinea, 1925.

The series also contains newspaper clippings relating to Lane Poole's work and experiences in Papua and New Guinea. Photographs of the natives and forests are found in Series 3.

Material relating to Lane Poole's work in Papua and New Guinea between 1922 and 1925 (Item 1-792) - Box 2, 3

Series 8. New Guinea, 1945-1962

This series relates to Lane Poole's work as a forestry consultant to firms concerned with the timber industry in New Guinea.

The correspondence dating from 1945 to 1962 contains information on the timber industry in New Guinea after World War II, and the work of Commonwealth New Guinea Timber Ltd and Bulolo Gold Dredging Ltd in the Bulolo pine forests. The correspondents include Mallison & Sons Ltd, Major J. McAdam, Director of Forests, New Guinea, Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Ltd and the Department of Forests, New Guinea.

The series also contains a typescript paper on the history of Commonwealth New Guinea Timber Ltd, notes entitled 'Plantation volume yields Bulolo Valley and their influence on annual cut' and a processed article by J.B. McAdam entitled 'The forests of Papua and New Guinea and their role in the future of the Territories'.

Material relating to Lane Poole's work in New Guinea between 1945 and 1962 (Item 1-161) - Box 3

Series 9. Preservation of Timber

This series contains correspondence, notes and journal articles relating to Lane Poole's work as a consultant on timber preservation. It is divided into seven sub-series according to the different diseases and insects that attack timber and different methods of preservation.

Subseries 9 (i). Lyctus

This sub-series contains correspondence with the C.S.I.R.O. and various timber merchants, typescript papers, reports, a copy of the 1947 N.S.W. Timber Marketing Act and articles from Australian journals, all relating to lyctus attack of timber.

Correspondence relating to lyctus attack of timber (Item 1_295) - Box 3

Subseries 9 (ii). Anobium

This sub-series relating to the susceptibility of pinus radiata to Anobium (the Common Furniture Beetle), contains correspondence, typescript papers with photographs and a journal article entitled 'The common furniture beetle'.

Subseries 9 (iii). House Longhorn Beetles

Correspondence, notes, articles, photographs and newspaper clippings relating to the attack of the house borer in Australia, and the methods of controlling it.

Subseries 9 (iv). Bark Beetles and other wood boring insects

Correspondence and notes relating to bark beetle attacks on woods imported from Sweden, on plantations at Murrguldie, N.S.W. and at Waite, U.S.A. and articles and notes on the attack of the pin hole borer.

Subseries 9 (v). Phasmids

Contains a newspaper clipping an article entitled 'An enemy of our eucalypt forest'.

Subseries 9 (vi). Sapstain

Letter to Sydney and Suburban Timber Merchants and typescript notes on Sapstain, its cause, recognition and prevention.

Subseries 9 (vii). Processes for preserving timber

Correspondence and articles relating to different types of insecticides and to methods of fumigation. The correspondents include various timber merchants such as Murray Bros. Pty Ltd, Sydney & Suburban Timber Merchants Association Ltd. and A.D. Chapman & Company of New Orleans.

Series 10. Sir Russell Grimwade

This series relate to the industrialist Sir Russell Grimwade, a friend of Lane Poole and a great patron of forestry in Australia. It contains material that Lane Poole lent to J.R. Poynter for a biography of Grimwade and it includes correspondence, handwritten biographical notes, published articles, newspaper clippings and photographs.

The correspondence dates from 1947-1955 and includes letters from Grimwade discussing personal matters, his work, the Grimwade Forestry Scholarship and his hobby of woodwork.

Other items in the series are a typescript paper entitled 'Tribute to Grimwade' by G.J. Rodger, a manuscript paper by Lane Poole entitled 'Sir Russell Grimwade: an appreciation' and two published articles, 'Craftsmanship' by Grimwade and 'Botany of the Russell Grimwade Expedition' by James J. Willis.

The series also contains published articles, newspaper clippings and photographs relating to a journey made by Grimwade, Lane Poole and five other men from Port Lincoln to Perth in 1922, organised to collect and annotate the vegetable and animal life of the route.

Material relating to Sir Russell Grimwade (Item 1-163) - Box 4

Series 11. N.S.W. Conservation Act, 1949

In 1949 the N.S.W. Parliament passed a Conservation Act which amended the Forestry Act and enabled the Government to appoint two assistant-commissioners for Forestry without reference to the Public Service Board. The Act was denounced by all foresters and described by Lane Poole "as the most bare-faced instance of political patronage which I've encountered in 39 years of forestry administration."

The series contains a copy of the 1949 Bill, copies of the debate on the Bill, letters of protest against the Bill, typescript notes of suggested amendments to the Act made in 1959 and newspaper clippings relating to the protest.

Material relating to the 1949 Conservation Act Bill (Item 1-118) - Box 4

Series 12. Coffee production

This series consists of Lane Poole's small collection of papers relating to coffee production throughout the world. Lane Poole's interest in coffee production was not related to his professional work as a forester; instead he described himself as "an amateur who studied the production of coffee in many lands."

In the series there is correspondence, notes (including lists and tables relating to imports of coffee to Australia), a typescript copy of an article by Lane Poole entitled 'Coffee', film negatives and prints of a book and a journal article entitled 'Annual coffee statistics 1957'.

Papers of Lane Poole relating to coffee production (Item 1-202) - Box 4

Series 13. Miscellaneous

This series includes two maps, newspaper clippings, notes containing mathematical problems and answers and other miscellaneous notes.

Miscellaneous material (Item 1-146) - Box 4