Mt. Beenak tower with solar panels for various instrumentations.
||Port Phillip East
||Tree, Timber and Steel
||2.1m x 2.1m
||Public access to site
||In use since
||Tree tower: 19?? - 1969
Timber tower: 1970 - 1973?
Current tower: 1973? -
||13 - Central
Before this tower was built, there used to be a plank of wood in a large Mountain Ash (E. Regnans). The fire spotter would go up the tree every couple of hours to check for fires. He travelled around a few of these sites. All that remains of the original tower is a tree stump with some metal stakes in the side that used to act as a ladder.
The most amazing experience Paul Jones has had was a visit from the Mormons who came to the tower to spread the message of God.
Since the installation of a new lightning arrester system, the tower has been hit with lightning more than ever before.
Above information, photo and details supplied by Paul Jones
In some notes supplied by the Historical Section of the NRE it states:
"This fire tower is only a short distance from Worlley's mill where fourteen people died in 1926."
Please click on thumbnail for enlargements
|Mt. Beenak telephone, last used in 1970
Phone is in Upper Yarra Museum, Yarra Junction.
Supplied by Andre Belterman
|Mt. Beenak in 1957
Supplied by David Morley
Guy wires and 2 climbers visible
In January 2010, the FLO became ill and was taken from the tower by the local SES. Details unknown.
Mt.Beenak received a new cabin in January 2011.
||Mt. Beenak with the new cabin and it's interior in March 2011. Photos supplied by Andre Belterman
The photos below and the following information were supplied by Colin May in February 2012.
My father was Frank May who was Forest Officer in the Mt Taylor, Buchan, Marysville, Powelltown and Kallista districts.
I used to be employed as fire watcher on two Beenak towers between approx 1968 to 1970,
the first one being the tree tower which had spikes up the side which could pull out in your hand and the tree rocked around badly in strong winds.
It was destroyed around 1969 when clearing operations snagged one of its guy ropes and pulled it over.
Consequently, a new tower was hastily built which had the timber supports.
The first fire season was spent watching from sitting on the floor since the cabin and sides had not been constructed in time.
This had its interesting moments with wind gusts sometimes exceeding 100km/hr.
I think this tower was in operation for about 3 or 4 years until the taller steel tower was built.
Also, I would have been about the last person to use that old phone listed on the web site.
||Mt. Beenak in 1947. Photo supplied by the
Melbourne Walking Club (Robin Bailey)
||This photo appeared on various Facebook pages during July 2020 and so far, we've been unable to find the original post and it's source.
If you do know, please contact us, thanks. The year the photo was taken varied greatly on the various FB posts; from 1910, 1947 and 1957.
In January 2021, we received the following information from Stephen Gillespie:
Hi, my Father, John (Jack) D Gillespie, was District Forest Officer Upper Yarra District FCV in period late 1950s early 1960s.
I found the following references to early towers at Mt Beenak and Mt Victoria in a talk he gave at the opening of a new Office at Powelltown in April 1998.
"Here at Powelltown I had two forest foremen who had worked in the bush all their lives. About 1958 one climbed and topped a shining gum tree and helped to build the tree tower cabin on Mt Victoria.
Earlier he had taken about 25 ft off the top of the 90ft tree on Mt Beenak where we had to replace the cabin of the existing tree tower due to storm damage, and we thought the upper part of the tree was suspect"
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